Sierra Designs Comet CD
Design: 3 season, free standing
Ease of Setup: Easy
Weight: 7 lbs
Price Paid: $250 thru REI-outlet.com
I was significantly underwhelmed by the quality of this tent. I admit, my two prior tents were The North Face tents, but I've heard good things about SD tents, needed a bigger tent and wanted to give SD a try.
First, the good points, ventilation is pretty good. There could be more mesh on the side panels, but unless it's really humid out, you won't be fogging this tent up. Also, set-up is a easy. Same-length poles and color-coded clips are a help. Second, for weight of the overall tent, the floor space is huge. You could easily fit three full-size adults in this tent, but it doesn't weigh a ton.
But part of the reason for its relative light weight is that the fabric is pretty low-quality nylon. It's thin, and importantly, all of the seams are maybe 6 stiches per inch, which I saw as being a sure indicator that I'd be dealing with blown-out seams in the future.
The tent is advertised as being factory seam-sealed, and I guess that maybe SD has opted to factory-seal their 1999 tents, but other than the middle seam on the floor, this pup wasn't factory sealed at all.
Another thing I really didn't like about this tent was its height. It was too tall. Hardly low-profile, the tent would be painfully obvious to anyone hiking anywhere near your wilderness campsite. On cold nights, the height gives you a lot more air to have to heat up. The tent isn't wind resistant because it stands so high. And the extra height doesn't add value- -it's still too short for anyone taller than about 5'0" to stand up in, so why do you need all that extra head space when you're just going to be sitting, lying down or crawling around a bit? Seemed to me to be a glaring design flaw.
Guy lines are just 1/8" nylon cord again of marginal quality, no helpful little plastic guy line tighteners. Metal zippers, again of lower quality, would give you a nice windchime effect on a windy night....
My read on this tent is that it's overpriced for the quality. I guess it's ok for car camping in warmer, non-windy areas. But for serious backpacking, you can get a similar (or slightly better) quality tent by buying an REI brand tent for less money, or you can spend a bit more and buy a Mtn Hardware or TNF tent on sale. Granted, by buying over the internet, I didn't get a chance to check out stuff like fabric weight and strength, zippers, height and seams before I bought the tent. I guess I just had higher expectations of SD, who tends to make good quality clothes and gear overall.
So, I spent $10 and mailed this tent back to REI.com
Design: three season freestanding asymetric dome
Ease of Setup: one person easy
Price Paid: $180
Love using this tent. I didn't even look at this tent before 2002, but it sounds like some changes were made. I have enjoyed my SD Clip Flashlight for years, but my wife hated the lack of space. In 2002 I purchased the Comet CD from a local camping store, after repeated vists involving setting up various tents on the display floor, and waiting for a sale to happen. (yeah, I am that guy.)
I find the tent a wonderful fit for two adults, with the dual doors and asymetric design. I live in the Midwest, so I like how the mesh ceiling provides lots of venting in the summer, how the fly covers almost all of the tent with a spot left to put the boots, the many strong tie down points, and the zipper ending at the top of the door (rather than the bottom).
I am very happy with the quality of the fabric and the attention to detail that has been given to create a very durable tent. I wish that the length when packed was a couple of inches shorter, but that is trivial. Light enough to backpack or canoe, yet room enough to live out of for a good number of days.
Design: 3 Season
Ease of Setup: Very easy to set up
Weight: 9lbs, 10lbs w/options
Price Paid: $199, $259 w/options
This is a very nice tent! I looked at many other tents in this price range and found that they had lower quality fabric or a lighter waterproofing coat on the floor and fly.
I feel that this is really a fall and spring tent, as this tent really holds in the heat with the fly on. I would of liked to of had more vents in this tent. Without some good wind this tent almost seems stagnant.
I felt that this tent also needed to come with more stakes, at least 2+, and more guide strings so that the rain fly could be pulled away from the back of the tent.
I also would have been willing to pay a little more if the seams had been factory sealed, this is a slow process to do yourself and takes awhile to dry.
I bought the tent through REI-Outlet.com, the fast pack footprint from REI.com and the gear loft from REI.
Overall I am happy with this purchase.
Where to Buy
The Sierra Designs Comet CD is not available from the stores we monitor.
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