The Sierra Designs High Route 1 FL Tent (MSRP $299) is a 2 pound 5 ounce, one-person trekking pole tent that’s easy to set up and has a lot of interior space. A double-walled tent, it has an inner tent that is set up after the rainfly so it will never get wet in the pouring rain. While not unique to the High Route tent, it’s a feature that you’ll appreciate immensely if you’ve ever had to put up or take down a backpacking tent in the rain.
The High Route tent has what’s called a dual-apex architecture with two peaks instead of one like a pyramid tent. The two peaks are offset from one another along the sides of the tent in order to interior maximize headroom and prevent the front and rear sides from sloping down too closely over your face and feet. It works great too. There’s an abundance of space and headroom inside the inner tent to spread out your gear or pack the next morning without feeling like a contortion artist.
While the front and rear sides of the High Route fly slope down, the peaked sides are vertical giving the fly perimeter and interior a rectangular shape that makes the tent very easy to pitch, even in heavily forested terrain. While the High Route 1 looks huge, it’s actually far easier to fit into stealth campsites than I expected, since rectangular-shaped campsites are easy to spot between trees.
Each peaked side also has a door, so you don’t have to worry about orienting the tent when you pitch it, and you can get in or out whichever side is convenient. The inner tent also has two side doors so you don’t have to worry about orienting it either.
When pitching the tent, you stake out the four corners as shown above, staking each guyline out at a 45-degree angle. The next step is to insert your trekking poles into the peaks and guy out the tent ridgeline so that the fabric between the peaks is stretched tight.
This creates a lot of tension on the ridgeline, so I’d advise you to swap out the stakes that Sierra Designs provides with the High Route for something with much better-holding power, like a MSR Groundhog Tent Stake, for those two guylines. You really don’t want them pulling out at night. (If you consistently camp in areas with very loose sandy soil or on top of wooden platforms, I’d recommend using a freestanding tent or one with an exoskeleton style pole set instead.)
Next, attach the side doors to your trekking poles with the velcro strips provided for added security. This helps provide more structural rigidity and prevents the trekking poles from slipping if you jar the tent. While the doors zip shut with a bi-directional double zipper, they have plastic clips to take pressure off the zippers about mid-way up the wall and along the floor. The combination also gives you a lot of different options for ventilation.
The height that you set your trekking poles is flexible, depending on how much ventilation you want under the side walls. I adjust my pole length in real-time to lift the bottom of the fly about an inch or two off the ground for better ventilation using a pole length between 48-50″ in length. Accessory poles are apparently available if you don’t use trekking poles.
Once the outer fly is set up and secure, it’s time to set up the inner tent (also called a nest). This is attached to two clips below the peaks and to the four corners using plastic hooks. You have crawl on your hands and knees for this step, something to be cognizant of if the ground is wet and muddy. You don’t have to use the inner tent: it really is optional if you just want to use the fly as a tarp, but it provides bug protection and maximizes the comfort provided by this tent.
The inner tent doesn’t take up all the space under the fly, but there isn’t a lot of extra space along the sides of the inner tent to store a large backpack under cover. While you can use the webbing and clips shown above to move the inner tent closer to one side of the tent than the other you don’t want it to touch the side of the fly to prevent internal condensation transfer. Your best bet is to either accept some deformation on the leeward side of the tent wall where a large backpack bulges out or to shrink its size by transferring some of its contents to the inner tent.
The inner tent really is luxuriously large (90″ x 30″ x 43″) for one person with plenty of room to store most of your pack contents within easy reach and still have plenty of room for your sleeping pad and sleeping bag or quilt. It’s large enough that I can store the entire contents of my pack in the inner tent and pack it back up while kneeling inside the tent the next morning. That’s a nice capability, especially when it’s raining outside.
The Sierra Designs High Route (MSRP $299) is a one-person, double-walled tent that’s well suited for three-season camping and backpacking. Weighing just 2 pounds 5 ounces (minus stakes), it is a very comfortable and easy to set up tent, ideal for protected campsites in wooded terrain or below treeline. Pitched with trekking poles (accessory poles are available as well), it has numerous ventilation options making it a good tent for wet climates as well as dry, with an inner tent that can be pitched after the outer fly has been set up, to prevent it from getting wet when you pitch your tent in the rain. While not as lightweight as some ultralight tents, it’s a very capable offering available at a reasonable price and optimized for serious adventure.
- Easy to pitch
- Doors on both sides
- Excellent ventilation options
- Lots of interior space to sit up, stretch out, and pack your gear under cover
- Can hang or take down inner tent without getting it wet in rain
- Limited covered storage space for large backpacks
- No interior pockets in the inner tent for holding small delicate items, like glasses
- Packaged Weight: 2 lbs 12 oz / 1.25 kg
- Weight, less included Tent Stakes: 2 lbs 5.4 oz (on sectionhiker.com scale)
- Stuff Sack: 0.9 oz / 26g
- Tarp Weight: 1.5 lbs / 654g
- Inner Nest Weight: 15.5 oz / 440g
- Number of Doors: 2
- Internal Peak Height (Tarp): 48 in / 122 cm
- Internal Peak Height (Nest): 43 in / 109 cm
- Awning Height: 38.5 in / 98 cm
- Length (Tarp): 108 in / 274 cm
- Length (Nest): 90 in / 229 cm
- Width (Tarp): 48 in / 122 cm
- Width (Nest): 30 in / 76 cm
- Fly Fabric: 20D Nylon Ripstop, Silicone/1500mm PE, FR
- Floor Fabric: 30D Nylon Ripstop, WR/3000mm PE, FR
- Body Fabric: 15D Nylon, No-See-Um Lightweight Mesh
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