Sierra Designs Mountain Meteor 3
Design: Four-season, three-person freestanding dome
Ease of Setup: Easy - Once we figured out the Jake's Corners
Price Paid: Loaner provided by Sierra Designs
The Sierra Designs Mountain Meteor 3 is the newest addition to Sierra Designs’ four-season tent lineup. Introduced in 2010, its robust design makes it the ideal tent for extreme mountain conditions—and camping year round.
A four-season tent must be able to sustain the weight of snow and the abuse of strong winds, especially when camping in open terrain. Jake’s Corners, which are jointed poles at the tent’s base, provide extra stability against strong winds and eliminate the pole rotation that can lead to pole failure in extreme conditions.
The poles themselves are thick enough to be strong yet thin enough to save weight and plenty of guy ropes make certain that you, and the tent, stay put when the stalwart winds blow.
Two doors with taped seams and two roomy vestibules make access easy and provide ample room to store gear. The reflective door trim and guy outs are a nice safety feature to increase visibility of the tent in low light conditions.
Inside the tent features a roomy 53 square feet of interior space to hold three people and their gear. A SuperSeal Floor of 5,000 mm 70D Nylon also guarantees the occupants won’t be sleeping on a soaked floor. If the weather turns south, and you find yourself tent bound, three nice features will help you pass the hours in relative comfort:
Dye-Free Optic White Canopy. Think of this as non-electric ambient lighting. The optic white canopy transmits light to make the inside brighter and more pleasant should weather conditions keep you tent bound.
Two sixteen-square foot vented vestibules: Granted, cooking with a stove inside a tent is never recommend, and I’m sure Sierra Designs didn’t add vents in the vestibule for this reason, but the reality is that sometimes you need a hot meal or beverage and conditions are not conducive to firing up the camp stove outside.
Excellent venting on the tent and rain fly: Ventilation is important in cold weather conditions because the moisture you exhale during the night collects on the ceiling and walls, freezing and creating an indoor snow storm, or melting and then dripping on you. The Mountain Meteor has vents on both the tent itself and the rainfly to reduce condensation.
While the weather conditions during our test where not extreme (8 deg. F, calm winds, 2' snow base, Wild River State Park), it did allow us to get an overall impression of the quality, design and ease of setup in winter conditions. We found that the tent was fast and straight-forward to set-up without having to consult the set-up instructions.
Because of the quality of construction and choice components, it is obvious that Sierra Designs intends this tent to be used in extreme conditions. We’ve seen lesser tents blown flat to the ground in high winds. The Jakes Corners combined with the guy lines stiffen the tent laterally. We have no doubt that this tent is capable of withstanding high winds and heavy snow loads. If you are a mountaineer and extreme winter camper, or someone who simply wants a four-season tent to extend the camping season, you can be assured that the Sierra Designs Mountain Meteor 3 (or its little sister the Mountain Meteor 2) is the best choice.
At $649 is it worth the money? Yes. It's a one-time investment. We’re still not entirely out of the woods with the recession. Camping still ranks as one of the best economical vacations around.