Sierra Designs Half Moon 3



For an older model tent, this one still stands strong…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $30


For an older model tent, this one still stands strong even now. Tough, reliable, easy to set up, with a reasonable weight; what's not to like?


  • Around 6lb (2.7kg)
  • Easy to pitch
  • Durable


  • Snug for three people, but still reasonable
  • Around 6lb (for those who demand a sub 4lb 3P tent)

Setup: The tent has a basic cross pole design with a shorter top pole that fits into two grommets.

The apex pole clip holds the top cross pole in place with respect to the other poles (see pic).



The poles use clips and don't require any sleeve insertion. This cuts down setup time and headaches. They fit into standard brass corner grommets. 
The footprint can be inserted through the same corner holes. 
The poles are aluminum. The fly clips into the corner webbing.

The stakes have an interesting circular design. When you slide them through the webbing loops the webbing actually slides into the stake loop and doesn't easily come out. I found this to be quite ingenious. You know when you don't pound your standard stake in all the way, it sometimes turns in the ground and the webbing pops off of the stake. This doesn't happen with the circular stakes.

The only problem is that when it comes time to remove the stakes, it takes extra time to remove them from the webbing. 
20170502_172736.jpgThe overall design of the tent body looks as follows:
Stability: The tent pitches quite tautly. It has always stayed stable in standard three-season weather. There are a limited number of guy points if you feel the need might ever arise to guy it out. 
Weather Resistance: I had it out in a rainstorm that lasted all day. It shed water well. I've never had a drop get into the tent. Because of the cross pole at the top of the tent, it creates a vertical wall exit. This eliminates any water getting in when you open the fly to exit or enter the tent. A simple design that isn't easily topped. 
20170502_172620.jpgThe floor and the fly have never leaked. This is an early Sierra model with the three pine trees under the mountain and yet the floor and fly tape and coating is still fully intact. 

Ventilation: The tent does not have a traditional fly vent. Nevertheless, because you can unzip the top of the door without fear of rain getting in (in reasonable weather), you can vent the tent quite well using this method. I've found that the tent vents as well as any other. 

Room and Storage: The vestibule holds two packs quite well or three packs stacked. There is room enough to sit up. The top cross pole extends the side walls out vertical giving the users more headroom. There are four pockets inside the tent (one on each side of the tent). As you can see from the picture, two people would fit nicely into the tent with some room to spare. Three sleeping bags and pads would be snug but doable. 


Packability: The tent packs down well. It's barely distinguishable from the volume of most two-person tents. Because there are no awkward plastic pole hubs and the poles are all straight, it cuts down on the volume when you roll it up. Relative to the area of the pitched tent, I think that the pack size is quite nice. 


Ease of Use: The pole clips are really easy to pop onto the poles. The corners have fly clips that are really easy to use. The underside of the fly has some grommets that you are supposed to slip over the single cross pole. These take a second to insert but they're not that big of a nuisance. Oftentimes, I don't even bother putting them on if I know the weather will be nice. 

Features: I can't say that the tent has any noteworthy features. It's really quite simple and non descript but that is the beauty of this tent. Its appeal lies in its simplicity. Everything just works.

Construction and Durability: The materials are very durable but light enough to keep the weight reasonable for a 3P tent. All seams are double stitched. Corners and guy points are reinforced. Because there are no plastic pole hubs (just brass grommets), there are fewer parts that could fail. The zippers are all high quality and perform well. 

Conditions: I've used the tent for two years now. It has been out in rain, light snow, and sun. I live in Minnesota



In the end, I highly recommend this tent if you can find one. There are definitely lighter options out there but the durability of the half moon's materials to weight ratio are a fair trade off in my opinion. It will last for years and will provide for you a no-nonsense, reliable source of shelter. 


Thanks for the helpful review and pictures, Jesse!

2 months ago

Nice review, Jesse!

2 months ago
Go Time! (Jesse Maloney)

Thank you. The tent deserves it.

2 months ago

I bought this tent on sale for less than half off…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Design: three season
Sleeps: 2
Ease of Setup: Easy
Source: bought it used

I bought this tent on sale for less than half off as it was a rental and received plenty of use. After a few minor fixes (zipper, sewing bug screen, new grommets) the bag was good as new and has worked well in cold temps and rain.

As usual the tent is rated for three persons, but two with gear is max.

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Sierra Designs Half Moon 3


The Half Moon 3 has been discontinued.

reviewers paid:

The Sierra Designs Half Moon 3 is not available from the stores we monitor.

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