User Review: Sierra Designs Hyperlight 3 AST
Design: 3 Season
Ease of Setup: Very easy and quick
Weight: 5 lbs. 10 oz (packed)
Price Paid: 575 (CND)
We are JR, Jessica and Reed, just-research review team. We bought our SD Hyperlight 3 AST in December of 05 in Southern Ontario. We paid $575 (CND), although it was a special order for the '06 model which had the second door, plus $40 for the additional footprint, for fast-packing trips. This may appear to be a premium however, contrary to popular belief, there are not a lot of camping gear places to choose from in Southern Ontario. We are not online buyers, as we like to test/touch what we want before we buy it. This may seem old school, with the internet and E-Bay so readily available, but it is our preference. Moving on to the SD Hyperlight 3 AST.
First the CONS: It's yellow! We like it but make it available in different colours. Yellow is yesterday... Next, we noticed that the Hyperlight has a very hard time ventilating properly with the fly on in rainy weather. In fact when we had it out in a warm downfall, that lasted about 5 hours, the tent kept rain out but unfortunately trapped the condensation inside to the point we had wet sleeping bags and all our clothing were damp. When the temperature dropped that night we had no dry clothing to put on.
Moreover, the shape of the interior may be great for wind resistance but it doesn't lend itself kindly to comfort. Because the kite-like shape of the Hyperlight narrows at the feet, it is difficult to fit two Therm-a-rest sleeping pads with gear at the end. The vestibule(s) are large enough for boots and a very small pack but nothing else. If you have a mountain dog that travels with you on your excursions make sure he/she knows they will be sleeping outside this time. There is barely enough room inside for all your gear, pending you need to bring it all in due to inclement weather. It would be nice for the vestibule(s) to have a floor, like in our Kelty. We would also like to be able to cook in the vestibule at any time. You never know when you might get caught inside, or for how long.
To finish the CONS and move on to the PROS of the Hyperlight we would like to end with the Jake's corner connection when applied to the fast-pack footprint. Basically it cannot be attached because SD, in 2006 when adding the second door had the brilliant idea to sew the Jake's corner connector itself to the actual tent, thus needing an additional connector for the footprint and fly set up. SD does not provide this with the tent. The worse part of it is, SD had no idea of the design flaw until we made mention of it.
The PROS: It's yellow, we like it cause we are old school. The set up is extremely easy and at the time Jess, with absolutely no knowledge of tents, had it set up virtually by herself in about ten minutes. The poles are very light and aid in making this 3-person tent very light for the overall size it provides for 2 (with gear). We weigh the tent in at exactly 5lbs 10oz packed. You can always opt to lighten the load even further if you wanna dish out 50 extra bucks for lighter tent pegs! This 3-person, truly a larger 2-person tent, is as light as they get for the room it provides.
This Hyperlight not only holds up to its birth name but maintains its youthful nature by providing loads of see-through mesh for those star-gazing nights. It is wonderful with the fly off on a cool summer's night and vents quite well.
The fast-pack is extremely light and if you want to call SD, as we had to after finding out they sewed the Jake's corner connector to the tent for stability in '06, they will send you a separate connector. We didn't have to pay for the part and Sierra Designs, aka Black Water Designs Inc. the Canadian representative for SD, was very helpful in shipping us what we needed immediately!
If you have a relatively new washer with a 'hand-wash' cycle on it, the Hyperlight 3 is small enough to get a great gentle cleaning. After a muddy trip in Algonquin Park, trust me, machine washing your gear is a huge time saver. Make sure you use NIKWAX Tech Wash, which is recommended for a variety of waterproof/breathable materials like Gore-Tex.
When all is said and done, the tent pitched, you can rely on this structure to never blow over or away on you during your day excursions. I don't think you can get much better for the overall weight of this tent.