Sierra Designs High Side 3000 Tent Review - Trek Scotland

Posted by Trek Scotland on Apr 19, 2022

As the weight and appearance would suggest the High Side 3000 1P tent from Sierra Designs is built with fast travel in mind, making its way into our pack for packrafting, bikepacking, and wild camping amongst some of Scotland’s remote mountain areas.

At just over 1kg (110 grams extra with footprint) it fits into the lightweight category rather than ultralight. It might then seem odd that for a tent which is comparable in weight to say a modern high walled free-standing tent, that the High Side 3000 1P sits low to the ground with just enough room inside to sleep and store gear.

To quickly write off a product by Sierra Designs on first appearance and not delve into the finer details would be a big mistake. Packed into this small unit is an abundance of clever features which make perfect sense for a tent where “Solo and simplicity go hand in hand.”

The first noticeable design feature is in the name “3000”. This is in reference to an upgrade to the fly fabric from a HH of 1200 to 3000. The increase is made predominately for the European market, in which heavier rainfall is common compared to California, which is the home of Sierra Designs. The internal body and floor fabric are made up of 30D 3,000mm, and 20D Nylon Ripstop. The setup is a double wall shelter with the main body being pitched first, 2 DAC Featherlite Aluminium poles fixing to the body, finishing with the outer fly fabric and guylines.

Pitching inner first is not to everyone’s preference although even in bad weather we could have the High Side 3000 weather tight in under a minute. This type of pitch also tends to lend itself to using just the inner as an option for dry summer nights in which just protection from bugs is needed, free to enjoy the view around you. Granted, this may not be very often in the UK.

Although only noted as including 12 stakes, we counted 13 pegging points which is way above most lightweight shelters giving great confidence in inclement weather, whilst also just a little bit annoying that you must add yourself an extra stake to the kit.

The internal space is on the tight side and is comparable more so to a luxury bivvy, a quick up and down shelter for ‘on the move’ activities. The pre-bent poles are made as such to create, as the name of the tent again suggests, a "high side" to offer increased space in the area you most need it. This is certainly not for anyone looking for a shelter in which they can hang out inside and spend large amounts of time. We could easily fit ourselves and kit inside the main body although for taller people this may not be possible with the awning area most likely needed to store a rucksack. A few nights away using the High Side 3000 1P and we soon got used to the limitations and instead really started to appreciate some of its finer qualities elsewhere.

The entrance has two zippers creating an "awning panel" that offers a space to sit underneath to prepare and eat meals if the weather takes a turn. Having only used the High Side 3000 1P in the colder months it can be imagined that this would be a perfect space to also escape strong sunlight. This simple design is very quick to set up using a pair of walking poles, or as we used whilst packrafting, two sections of our paddle.

Condensation is surprisingly minimal with options to vent when needed, although being a tight fit inside it can be difficult not to find yourself hitting the outside wall when moving around in the morning.

Where the High Side 3000 1P really comes into its own is dependability and build quality. The low profile feels safe and secure. Heavy rainfall simply sheds away, but it’s protection against windspeeds which we found most impressive. Stronger gusts provided little worry as the fly can be adjusted to hunker down to the ground, adaptable to the sudden changes in weather conditions we experience in the UK, and the varying terrain travelled within just a few days. This is backed up with the excellent build quality that has left no areas susceptible to drastic weight saving to create a lighter tent. Guylines are of the correct length and strength, all fasteners and connecter points are robust, with even the included stakes being of quality useable for use in a wide range of ground types.

Our Verdict
At around 1kg in weight this would appear oddly heavy considering the pack size, although the extra weight has correctly been distributed to areas which is needed the most, giving a very solid shelter, adaptable to a wide range of environments and weather conditions. The High Side 3000 1P has a very low profile, although does include some clever design features to maximise space. If it’s a larger shelter you are looking for with increased headroom to relax inside and spent a bit of time planning routes etc, then there are plenty of other options available that would better suit. The reason we really got on board with this design was the build quality, quick pitching, and reliability. Never once did we say to ourselves, “I wish they had included an extra guyline in this section,” or, “I’m not sure this tent will be ok to handle these conditions.” So, it will all come down to personal taste and the type of adventure you wish to achieve. As a small unit that’s built to last, that can be pitched in minimal time, and takes up little space on your backpack or bike, you will quickly appreciate the qualities of the High Side 3000 1P.

Trek Scotland is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...

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