Sierra Designs Meteor Lite 3
High quality design, lightweight and spacious.
Updates to 2022 model are now heavier - check specs!
- Decent weight fabric
- 2 doors
- Large vestibules
- Burrito bag
- 10 corded stakes .35 oz each
- Lots of guy points
- Good zippers
- Vertical walls
- Dac NSL Green poles
- High bathtub walls
- Fly could go lower and could be tighter at the mid section.
- Colors are a bit bright AND if they stuck to 1 color scheme, it would reduce seams.
- 84" length may cramp taller campers.
Just spent 2 nights in 40 mph winds with rain and snow, and 0 issues! We were in a rush to keep moving, so no pics from this trip, but I'll update on subsequent trips.
I bought this as a bigger backpacking tent for my wife and I. We still have an LL Bean Microlight 2 ul, but for shorter trips or those with more tent time we wanted some room and the Meteor Lite delivered. The shoulder and head room is great. We had four people in the tent playing cards without rubbing heads on the ceiling or touching the sides.
We staked out the tent at the mid points of the foot and head, vestibule and two guy points and we experienced little flapping. I did notice the mid section of the head and foot is not completely taut if you do not stake out the fly at the corners. I staked out both mids and was able to get things very tight using the line locks at each corner. When the winds picked up I decided I better stake out the corners as well.
There are lots of tie down points and keeping this tent firmly on the ground should not be a problem. I used a piece of polycro (you get 2 footprints using the Frost King Extra Large Window Insulation Kit) under the tent and noticed no moisture on the floor. However the polycro was very wet and muddy—this is why I use footprints!
I looked at footprints for this tent and didn't see a really light option from Sierra Designs. My polycro weighs 2.4oz and is a perfect fit vs Sierra Design's 9.7 oz footprint. The only downside with the polycro is I wouldn't be able to deploy this in a fast and light config (fly and footprint). I mostly camp in areas with lots of critters, so I prefer lots of mosquito netting anyway.
The fabrics are well water proofed and seam sealed. The zippers worked without any issues (you do need two hands to open the door). We closed the roof vent due to sideways blowing rain, and had no leaks. The vent must be closed from the outside, and there is a stiffener and velcro to keep it open. It was below freezing outside the tent and we did have condensation inside the fly. But the very vertical walls and bent poles meant nothing inside the tent got wet.
The fly zips are two-way, so if you need extra ventilation you could unzip a small area at the top. However, there is no stiffener to keep that open, so it would be less than optimal for ventilation, but could allow for some cross breezes. The fly does not go all the way to the ground (like most three-seasons), so there was some backsplash from the rain (it was pounding!). But the foot and head bathtub walls do go up pretty high, so the backsplash did not enter the tent. I do think guying out the tent at the mids of the foot and head also helped keep the rain out and condensation out.
We used an Enlightened Equipment Accomplice and 25" wide pads and had plenty of room to store all gear inside the tent by our side. Getting a third person sleeping in the tent would be tight, but fine for close acquaintances. We had plenty of room to have a four-person card game in our tent. The top spreader pole is 51" wide, so that should give you an idea of the shoulder room.
The poles go into color-coded aluminum blocks that hold the poles in place. I set up the tent by myself in under 5 minutes with no issues. With two people it would go faster, but the pole locks definitely make a one-person setup doable. I recommend you find the red side of the fly and put that on first, everything else will fall in place. The 2 ends of the fly are both yellow and my first trial at home I found myself putting the wrong yellow to yellow initially.
The fly also has color-coded guy lines with line locks that match the poles and blocks, so setup is super easy. The top spreader pole snaps into plastic bits at each side and the fly has nice plastic "snaps" that fit over the plastic boots. So everything goes together quickly, easily, and pretty tightly.
The 10 included stakes include reflective cordage. The stakes are only 6.25", so if you are in very soft soil or sand, you may need something with more holding power. I had no issues in the wet, sandy soil on this trip. They are very light at .35 oz each, .05 being the cordage. I don't see a manufacturer on them, they have a little flex in them, but no more than my heavier Dac stakes. The poles are 9mm (according to my measurement) DAC featherlight NSL green poles ( more info here: DAC Green Poles ) so they are supposedly a little more environmentally friendly!
Dac NSL featherlight NSL green poles, pole and stake bag
The whole setup is 4 pounds 3 ounces, so there is a 1-pound weight penalty versus our 2p ul.
Previously we had a Quarter Dome 3. The Quarter Dome was heavier and the fabric degraded after just a few years.
Also owned a Cabelas XPG ultralight 3. The Meteor Lite 3 is lighter, has 2 doors, and is less bright, but the XPG was taller at its max height.
Keeping my LL Bean Microlight 2 UL for longer trips where 1 lb makes a difference.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $375
Where to Buy
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The Meteor Lite 3 replaced the Sierra Designs Meteor Light 3.
Current Retail: $275.97-$419.95
Historic Range: $275.97-$419.95
Reviewers Paid: $375.00
4 lbs 4 oz / 1.95 kg
4 lbs 10 oz / 2.09 kg
40.8 ft2 / 3.79 m2
42 in / 106.68 cm
84 x 70 in / 213.36 x 177.8 cm
18 x 6 x 6 in / 45.72 x 15.2 x 15.2 cm