Sierra Designs Zia 3
Great overall car camping or base camp tent for 1…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $140
Great overall car camping or base camp tent for 1 or 2 people. It could be divided between 2 people for backcountry camping. I would highly recommend this tent to anyone looking for a solid 2.5-3 season tent.
- Very roomy (vertical walls on ends)
- Comes with footprint and gear loft
- Very solid rain/snow fly
- Easy setup
- Solid stance
- Small vestibules
- Not quite a full 3-season tent
I have taken this tent out two times now and have used it for a total of 8 nights. Overall I am very pleased and impressed with this tent's initial performance.
Weather conditions: Heavy rain, freezing rain, heavy snow.
Temperatures: 5 degrees (f) lows to 40 highs. Max winds around 40 mph gusts.
As I mentioned in a trip report, my first night with this tent it saw heavy rain and then freezing rain and then heavy snow. The tent kept me dry and warm. I had a good sleeping bag (SD DriDown Zissou 12) and a good sleeping pad (Exped Synmat 9 LW) which help with the cold conditions.
Setup: I did a trial run in my living room setting up the tent before taking it in the field. It wasn't real easy the first time but after the first time setup is a piece of cake. I can set this tent up now in about 10 minutes after only a couple uses.
I like that you don't have to fish the poles through any solid loops. The tent hooks to the poles via clips and makes setup quite easy. It is actually faster to set up than my classic Kelty Dome tent with just 2 poles. The Zia 3 has 2 loop end poles and an "X" cross center pole.
It is a pretty cool design I have never seen in a tent before. The rain/snow fly clips to the tent at the four corners and anchors with 2 tent stakes at each end of the tent. There also additional anchor tie downs on the fly that make the tent extremely stable and solid on the ground.
Stability: For 3 days in a row this tent was in 40+ mph gusts with the wind never letting up much. It held very solid and stayed very stable.
Weather Resistance: I can simply state that this tent is very weather resistant and handle moisture without a problem. The bathtub floor kept all moisture out and performed as it should. The rain fly kept moisture away from the tent without a problem.
Ventilation: This tent has a significant top portion that is mesh. This helps the tent breathe very well but it also lets in cold drafts that go under the rain/snow fly. I think the manufacturer uses a significant mesh top to help reduce weight. This is one of my gripes about the tent. I would rather see a more solid nylon wall and less mesh so the tent would keep the cold air out better in winter conditions.
It is by no means a lightweight backpacking tent at nearly 7 lbs. so a little extra weight with less mesh would be better in my opinion. I am sure I will appreciate the mesh a bit more during warmer weather camping. Overall, condensation was not a problem and the tent breathes very well.
Room & Storage: This is one of the strengths of the tent. Due to the vertical walls on the ends of the tent and the tent geometry it is very roomy. The floor area of the tent is 40 sq. ft. but it sure feels like more due to the vertical walls. The tent is perfect for 1 man with a lot of gear but 2 guys could comfortably fit. The tent comes with a gear loft but I didn't use it. I had plenty of room on the tent floor for my gear.
Packability: As mentioned before, this tent is NOT a backcountry backpacking tent. It is best for base camp or car camping. It could easily be used by 2 guys though for backcountry backpacking if it were divided up. In that case each guy would be carrying approximately 3.5 lbs and this tent can easily accommodate 2 full grown men.
Ease of Use: This tent is very easy to use with entrances on each end of the tent. The zippers work flawlessly on both the tent and the fly. It is a little difficult for a tall man (I am 6'2" tall) to get in and out of the tent. The way the main vestibule is designed one has to really crouch down to get in and out of the tent. The main vestibule actually goes over the door a little bit and minimizes the entrance/exit area.
The secondary vestibule is smaller but easier for ingress and egress. The center tent height is about 45" so sitting up in the tent is not a problem. The vertical walls also help with headroom. Installation of the gear loft will definitely minimize headroom in the tent though. I probably would not be able to sit up in the tent if the gear loft were installed.
Features: This tent comes standard with a footprint and a gear loft. The footprint could be a little thicker in my opinion. Again, this isn't a backpacking tent so a little extra weight in the footprint wouldn't be a problem.
The tent also comes with 2 vestibules. The main vestibule has a little more floor area (8.75 sq. ft.) than the secondary vestibule floor area (5 sq. ft). Overall the vestibules are pretty small for a 3-man tent. You could get a large backpack and a pair of boots in the main vestibule and maybe a small backpack in the secondary vestibule.
The rain fly on this tent is very sturdy and thick. I wish the rain vestibule anchored a bit closer to the ground to keep drafts out of the tent. I am going to experiment with this a bit on future uses.
Construction and Durability: This tent is constructed well and I expect it to last for years to come. Sierra Designs makes quality products that are made for heavy use and longevity.
I mentioned there was heavy snow for the first couple days I used this tent. While out hiking for about 8 hours the tent accumulated several inches of fresh heavy snow and a tree branch near the tent also accumulated a lot of snow and laid down on the top of the tent. This caused the tent to buckle.
After removing the snow and the tree branch the tent sprang right back. It bent one of the poles a bit but that ultimately was not a problem. I was very pleased the tent and fly didn't rip or stretch and I was also pleased the aluminum pole only bent a bit and did not break.
I would recommend this tent to anyone who needs a good 2.5 season tent. It would be much better 3-season tent if there were less mesh on the top portion of the tent and if the rain fly went about an inch or two closer to the ground.
Here's what other sites are saying:
Formed using the unique 'x' ridge pole geometry, the Sierra Designs Zia 3 Tent Package with Footprint and Gear Loft certainly is a spacious abode for laying your head or three of them. This three-season tent protects from the elements, while still managing to ventilate well during the heat of the summer. Plus, the Zia has a superseal floor (for super moisture protection), nifty hanging pockets and gear loft to stow headlamps and trail mix, PVC-free seam tape for the conscious camper, and two doors... no waiting.
- Altrec Outdoors
On Sale. Free Shipping. Sierra Designs Zia 3 Person Tent (w-FP and Gear Loft) FEATURES of the Sierra Designs Zia 3 Person Tent PVC-free seam tape Superseal Floor Dye-Free Optic White Canopy Reflective door trim and/or guy outs Hanging pockets D doors 2 doors, 2 vestibules Clip Locks SD Swift Clip Grommet pole attachment Locking pole tips Ball cap connector Swivel Hub (H,C, H/C) SPECIFICATIONS of the Sierra Designs Zia 3 Person Tent Capacity: 3 Season: 3 Trail Weight: 6 lbs 7 oz / 2.92 kg Packed Weight: 6 lbs 15 oz / 3.15 kg Number of Doors: 2 Number of poles: 4 hubbed Pole Diameter: 9.5 / 9.0 mm Footprint Weight: 9 oz Footprint Attachment: Grommet Interior Area: 3.72 square meter / 40 square feet Vestibule Area: 0.81 + 0.46 square meter / 8.75 + 5 square feet Peak Height: 45in. / 114 cm Packed Length: 22in. Packed Diameter: 6in. Material: Floor: 70D Nylon, 3000 mm Body: 68D Polyester, dye free Fly: 75D Polyester, 1500 mm