A few more edits, but this is moving along nicely.
One section of information that would be most useful to incorporate is
some detail on the erection of the tent, including time from bag to
completion. An added brief paragraph would cover this.
For the next (final?) phase, I'd like you (having incorporated the
edits) to produce the HTML version and place it in the Owner Review
section, You will need to log on to the BGT website in order to do
this. Please alert me on this list when this has been done.
BGT OR Editor
Owner Review Sierra Designs Alpha Tent
Date: January 22, 2006
Name: Greg Welker
Height: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
Weight: 225 lbs (102 kg)
Email address: gdwelker@...
Backpacking Background: In the 1960s and 70s I was a Boy
Scout. Those were my first backpacking experiences. Later in the
1980s, I backpacked on my own in parts of Virginia. Those were the
days of external frame packs, A-frame tents, wood fires and blue
jeans as trail pants. In the 1990s my interests turned to sea
kayaking, and I have done numerous kayak camping trips. In the last
couple of years I have returned to backpacking, via the lightweight
and ultralight philosophies. The majority of my backpacking is in
the Maryland/Virginia/West Virginia/North Carolina area.
Manufacturer: Sierra Designs
Year of Manufacture: 2002
Manufacturers Trail Weight: 8 lbs 10 oz (3.91 kg)
My measured Trail Weight: 9 lbs 0 oz (4.08 kg)
Manufacturers Packed Size 23" x 7" (58 cm x 17.78 cm)
My measured Packed Size 22" x 8" (0.6 m x 0.2 m) for body and
fly. Poles in a separate 20" x 3" (0.5 m x 0.1 m) bag, not including
Number of Doors 2
Manufacturers Interior Area 46 sq. ft. (4.27 sq m)
### EDIT: Manufacturer's
My measured Interior Area 38.2 sq. ft. (3.55 sq m)
### EDIT: sq ft [no periods after sq and ft]
Manufacturers Vestibule Area 17 sq. ft. (1.58 sq m)
Manufacturers Peak Height 45" (1.14 m)
My measured Peak Height 48" (1.22 m)
Manufacturers Internal dimensions: 93.5 inches long (2.37 m) x 62.5
m) at the foot by 70 inches (1.78 m) at the head.
My measured Internal dimensions 86 inches long (2.18 m) x 59 inches (1.50
m) at the foot by 64 inches (1.63 m) at the head.
### EDIT: Contract inches to in; don't put a period after!)
Floor Material 70D Taffeta Nylon, 3000 mm
Body Material 70D Nylon Rip Stop
Fly Material 70D Taffeta Nylon, 1500 mm
Number of Poles 3
Poles DAC Featherlite SL
MSRP: $349.95 USD
The tent and fly are packaged in a coated nylon stuff sack, with the
poles in a separate nylon bag. A separate bag is provided for the
tent stakes. Stakes and guy line material was not included. Packed
size was reasonably close to the advertised packed size.
The tent is an extended dome design, stretched to a rectangular
shape. While the body of the tent is free standing, the fly requires
the placement of two stakes for the front vestibule and one stake to
hold out the rear portion of the fly.
The floor is flat coated nylon and seamed at the edges. The interior
wall to a height of about 10 in (0.3 m)
### EDIT: 10 in (30 cm)
is made of coated
nylon. There is a mid floor seam which is taped. There is a seam
around the tent where this wall fabric meets the floor fabric. This
seam is not taped or seam sealed. The inner tent body has a
triangular nylon panel in the middle section of the ceiling that can
be zipped open and rolled out of the way to expose a large panel of
no-see-um netting, providing ventilation for summer. In winter
conditions, the nylon panel can be zipped into place to decrease
ventilation and increase warmth. The front door on the tent body is
designed to have the nylon door removable if I wish to only use the
no-see-um netting door. Both front doors zip completely out of the way
and can be pushed to the left corner of the doorway. The rear door
is smaller, allowing access to the tent from the rear. Four mesh
gear pockets are provided along the inside of the tent. The tent
floor and lower walls are dark blue. The remainder of the inner
walls are white.
The tent requires two diagonally placed poles and one front ridge
pole. The poles are attached to the tent via proprietary Swift Clip
systems. Where the poles cross, the poles are held together by
slipping the Swift Clip around the pole juncture then wrapping shock
cord around the juncture, securing the shock cord by a plastic ball
into the slit in the Swift Clip. The front ridge pole can be reduced
to just the top section to support the fly peak in order to not have
to carry a full third pole in summer use.
The fly is made of coated nylon with taped seams, and is fastened to
the tent poles via ladder locks and grommets at the six webbing
straps that extend from the internal tent floor/wall seam. The fly
also attaches to the poles via hook and loop fastener
I have owned two of these tents, and have used them on extended trips
to the Ontario lake systems and North and South Carolina, and many
two and three night kayak and car camping trips in the mid Atlantic
region. Conditions have included nights at 0 degrees F (-17.77 C) to 90
degrees F (32.22 C),
### EDIT: respectively (-18 C) (32 C) i.e. round the conversions up
misting rain to heavy downpours and thunderstorms. The
tent has been used solo, and with two people. Most usage included
high humidity conditions. The following observations are distilled
from those trips.
The fly only comes down to about within 4 inches (0.10 m)
### EDIT: 4 in (10 cm)
of the ground
which allows wind driven rain to reach the lower portion of the inner
tent body if the user sets up the tent according to the directions.
However, if you run the tent stake through the fly webbing, and then
through the tent body webbing, you can pull the fly
out further from the tent allowing better rain protection and
increasing ventilation. The storm flaps on the two doors do not
fasten down, and in windy conditions rain will get to the zippers and
leak inside. Since I have yet to find a need to use the back door in
the fly, I glued the storm flap shut to stop this problem, and the
leaking water would get inside the tent body at the rear door. I
have had to seam seal a few of the locations where the hook and loop
fasteners in the fly are sewn in, as I noted water penetrating this
area in heavy rain. I have also had to seam seal the seam of the
floor at the side walls to reduce water infiltration during rain.
The front vestibule is large enough for several pairs of boots, and a
large pack. From inside, opening the vestibule fly is best done from
the top, stepping out over the lower part of the fly door so you do
not have to crawl forward to reach the lower front zipper pull - a
wet experience when there is condensation on the fly. The window is
a nice feature, allowing a view, and good light penetration.
I originally owned an older version of this tent. That tent
experienced dramatic water penetration through the floor after about
a year of ownership. The penetration occurred where ever heavy
objects rested on the floor during saturating rains. The tent
was returned to the manufacturer, which tested it and found no
problems, but agreed to provide a newer model of the tent as a
replacement. They also returned the original tent. This was very
good customer service. The newer version has not demonstrated this
problem as often, although it has occurred once or twice.
The Alpha is a very good tent for four season camping where
structural integrity and room are more important than weight. With
the exception of the problem with the water penetration of the floor
the tent has given very good service in the three years I have owned
the current tent.
Things I like:
1. Room for two plus ALL your gear.
2. Structurally sound.
3. Very good ventilation.
Things I don't like:
1. Leaky floor.
2. Floor would be better if designed as a bathtub type floor of
3. Storm flaps should have hook and loop fasteners to prevent wind
blown rain from penetrating to the door zippers.