Sierra Designs Polaris
Design: 4 Season Tunnel-Dome (taller in front)
Ease of Setup: Set-up is easy with four poles (Easton 0.340) and clips
Weight: 7 lbs, 2 oz
Price Paid: $335
This is a moderately large two man tent (39.0 sq ft of floor space). Two people plus some gear fit inside nicely. Could work for three in a pinch. Clips make set-up easy, although the poles are a little long and can be clumsy for one person.
Tent has a large zip-out panel in the roof (covering no-see-um mesh) and storm flaps for the front door and rear window. The door is large and side-hung, which is a nice feature (keeps you from stepping on the door every time you leave the tent).
Tent is tall enough in front for me to stand on my knees, and you can sit up everywhere inside except the very back. Fly attaches to the ends of the poles as well as to the tent and goes all the way to the ground. Front of fly forms fair sized vestibule (10 sq ft) that can easily hold two large packs plus muddy boots, or one large pack and a golden retriever. Tent is free-standing, but you have to stake the fly to get the vestibule. Stake straps are large enough to use a ski to stake it down in the snow.
I bought this tent because it was the most versatile model I saw anywhere. I plan to use it primarily forbackpacking, but also for winter camping, car camping, etc. In good weather, you only need to use three of the poles. This tent is very solid and well worth the money. Only knock so far is that the seams weren't factory taped (no big deal).
Design: 4 Season Convertable
Ease of Setup: Even a liberal arts major can do it
Weight: 6-7lbs all included
Price Paid: $150 on sale
I picked this tent up on sale without really doing much research on it, I just had to buy it and figure out if it was worth it or not later. So far it has been great. It is fairly easy to set up, even when it is pitch black outside. It keeps the rain out and still can keep you reasonably cool on a warm night.
I am 6'1" and still have plenty of room to move around. Headroom is sufficient to sit upright at the door and use the vestabule half zipped as a make-shift kitchen when it raining.
I do wish the poles were a little shorter to make packing easier, but I do not find that a reason to down the tent at all.
It handles gusts fairly well, but I have not yet had a chance to really test it out on a cold winter night with the wind howling. The vestibule and mid-rear points need to be staked to keep it flat, but I choose to just stake the entire thing down (family members got caught in a freak summer wind storm one night and flipped their tent over and trashed the poles, shook them up too). When it is set up and staked down, I call it the LITLLE BLUE BOMB SHELL. I am looking forward to testing it out this winter in the carolina mountains.
Overall I give it an A, No complaints so far except that Sierra Designs stopped making that model.
Ease of Setup: setup under 4 minutes takes two trips around tent to connect poles then fly
Weight: just over 5 pounds
Price Paid: $300
Combines the pluses of a dome and a hoop style tent. It's called a convertable, meaning the ceiling can be zipped out and removed along with a pole. Without the pole the rain fly is useless because it sags onto the tent in a bad way. Ventilation is unbelieveable with the fly on. A little modification on setup can create a bomb-proof tent. A totally free-standing tent, no guide lines, even in the worst weather. It's a huge tent measuring 5'x8' and 50" tall. My backpacking partner and I are both 6'3". We have no problem fitting in this tent
Downsides. Pole design creates a dip in the roof that water pools in and a possible problem in snowy conditions. Occupants must push up on the ceiling every so often to let whatever has collected, run off.
This tent must have been a limited run because I have never seen it ever again, in catologs, stores, and out there. Sierra Designs didn't believe me that I had this tent made by them. I had called trying to find a footprint for it. I still haven't found one yet.
Design: 4 season convertible
Ease of Setup: Very easy
Weight: 5lbs. 10 oz.
Price Paid: $150 closeout
This is one that you'd have to find used or on sale somewhere b/c they quit making it. Why I don't know. I love the tent, esp. its ability to be three or four season. Its four pole design can be reduced to 3 in better weather and with 3 it's still very sturdy.
It would have been nice to have had taped seams, but after sealing them myself it was water tight. One night I didn't put on the fly and the water pooled up in a flat spot on the ceiling, but it held kept it out. I've loved it and would recommend it to anyone.
Design: 2 person, convertible
Ease of Setup: A bit tricky at first
Weight: Not sure, but I'd guess 7 lbs. or so.
Price Paid: $175
I bought this tent at a pawn shop around 1999(?). I have used it a lot and it's a bombproof shelter. After all these years, I'm still surprised at how big it is when I set it up. Plenty of space for 2 big dudes and the vestibule is nice, too. I rarely use the fourth pole, but the fly does fit a lot tighter with it. Either way, I have never been wet in this tent. My only gripe is that it's quite a bit heavier than most newer 2 man tents.
Design: 4 season
Ease of Setup: Peanuts
Weight: 5 lbs, 11oz.
Price Paid: $295
Bought this tent two years ago. Very pleased. Extremely pleased. Cannot believe that SD took this one off the market. Have been out in high winds, hard looong rains several times, and have yet to get wet. I did seal this thing super tight with Seam Grip. Easily large enough for two. I can stand on my knees due to great headroom. The vestibule is fair size, enough for a couple of packs. Very wind stable, easy to set up in the wind (relatively.) Hope to winter camp in it this year.
Design: 3-season convertible freestanding
Ease of Setup: Very easy
I'm very pleased with the tent overall, but displeased with the support from the company. The tent came with a lifetime warranty on the zippers, but for the past few years, I've been unable to get Sierra Designs to recognize that they ever produced a model called the Polaris.
Design: polaris 2 person 3 season
Ease of Setup: simple
Weight: 5 lbs.
Price Paid: $450 new
Bought this tent approx. seven years ago and absolutely love it. Got caught in a spring snowstorm in Alberta and was cozy warm and dry. Unfortunately Sierra Designs no longer makes the tent and to try and find poles to fit if you break or misplace them is a pain. Downside is no stuff sacks for poles/pegs.
Design: 4 season dome
Ease of Setup: very easy set up
Weight: around 6lbs
Price Paid: $330
Excellent tent except it came without stuff sacks for poles and stakes. And the stakes bend if placed into anything harder than oatmeal.
Where to Buy
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