Gear Review: Sierra Designs High Route One-Person Tent

The Sierra Designs High Route 1 FL is the first non-freestanding tent I have ever used. Because of this I was pretty nervous to see how it’d turn out, but after the first time setting up the tent, every time after that was a breeze.

During the month of May I went on a monthlong road trip from Oregon to Colorado, venturing through Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Arches National Park. The High Route withstood rain and high winds in Yellowstone and the Tetons and held up beautifully in the sunshine of Arches. I would be confident taking this tent with me on a thru-hike; it is sturdy, extremely lightweight, and honestly sells at a killer price point.

Sierra Designs High Route 1 FL Basic Specs

MSRP: $299.95
Minimum weight: 1 pound, 12 ounces
Packed weight: 1 pound 15 ounces
Tarp only weight: 1 pound, 1 ounce
Shelter type: Three season, non-freestanding
Doors: 2

Dimensions

Floor: 102 inches x 42 inches
Tarp Interior: 29.8 square feet
Nest Interior: 16.6 square feet
Vestibule: 7.3 square feet
Peak: 45 inches

Materials

Floor: 20D nylon ripstop w 1200mm PeU
Fly: 20D nylon ripstop silicone w 1200mm PeU
Mesh: 15D nylon ripstop and no-see-um mesh

Setup

The Sierra Designs High Route 1 FL can be set up three ways: just the tent body, as a tarp, or as a tarp with the tent body inside. Setting up a new tent is always hard for me, and it was easy for me to get frustrated the first time, so I tried to spell it out for you here in detail and pictures. Once I got the hang of it, I found this tent extremely easy to set up, relieving my non-freestanding-tent fears.

Tent Body (Pictured Above)

The tent body is a good option for decent weather and if you want to do some stargazing.The majority of the tent body is mesh, but has a bathtub floor to keep you dry in a storm, and two doors.

Simply start by staking out all four corners of the tent body. Set your trekking poles to 119 cm, and insert them tip up through the yellow loophole at the top of the tent corner facing you. Attach guylines to the loops and guy out.

Tarp

Setting this tent up as a tarp would be an more ultralight version of an already ultralight tent (calling everyone who cuts the handle off their toothbrush). The tarp is bottomless, but provides a ton of space for a UL tent—nearly 30 square feet.

Lay the tent out with the larger door side facing upward, making sure the zippers are closed on both doors. Next, stake out all four corners of the tent. Set your trekking poles to 119 cm, and insert the poles, pole handle up, inside the corner of the tarp. Wrap the gray Velcro straps, located in the corner of the inner tarp, around each pole.

Put the tip of the pole through the grommet at the bottom webbing of the tarp (near the zipper) and adjust the tension lock. Then move to the outside of the tarp and stake out the guylines of the tarp on both sides, making the tarp stand up.

Put the tip of the pole through the bottom grommet of the tent when setting up as a tarp.

Tarp and Tent Body

The advantage to setting up the tent body in addition to the tarp is 1) it’s super duper easy, and 2) you gain a bug proof webbing, a bathtub floor AND two large gear closets.

To set up the tent body inside the tent, follow the instructions on how to set up the tarp. Then lay the tent body inside the tarp (follow the color coordinated buckles to know which side goes where) and connect the corner hooks to the corner loops in the tarp. Once you’ve done this, adjust the string locks accordingly for a taut pitch.

Connect loops on tent body to loops on tarp.

Then, connect the tent body to the ceiling of the tarp by connecting the buckles at the top of the yellow strings on the tent body. Also tighten these strings accordingly for a taut pitch. Voila.

Things I Liked

  • I really liked how large the floor of the tarp is. Set up as a tarp, a hiker would have ample space for themselves and their gear, unlike many one-person tents. Even after adding the tent body inside the tarp, a hiker would have two large gear closets that keep things dry during a storm.
  • The vertical walls of the main entrances of the tent do not allow moisture in when it is raining. The oblique design of the tent seemed to just repel the rain, and I stayed perfectly dry on very wet nights.
  • The tent has two options for awnings, which allow ventilation.
  • The color coordinated buckles, tension locks, string locks, and hooks and loops help get a taut pitch of this tent, which can be hard to achieve with non-freestanding tents.
  • The internal tent had pockets for gear storage.
  • The tent has large enough head space that you can sit upright in it.
  • Side doors are always a bonus for easy packing in the morning, or having to get out in the middle of the night. I was impressed this tent had two side doors and still weighs less than two pounds.
  • A lot of non-freestanding tents at this weight cost an arm and a leg, I think Sierra Designs asks a reasonable $299 for a tent that would do its job, and won’t make you pull your hair out while setting it up.

Things That Could be Improved

  • The setup of the tent could be inconvenient if unexpected rain comes along, because the tent body is designed to be set up inside the tarp. If it starts to rain and you’ve only set up the tent body, you would have to take it down, set up the tarp, and then set the tent body up again inside the tarp.
  • The grommet at the bottom of the tent doesn’t allow your trekking pole to really stab into the ground, which doesn’t allow the poles to stand up perfectly. I personally didn’t put my pole through the grommet and found the tent worked better that way. HYOH.
  • The guylines that you use for the tent body are the same guylines that you use for the tarp. So you would have to untie the guylines from the tarp every time you want to set up the tent body, which can be frustrating if you have your guylines set perfectly in length. Why not just throw in a second pair of guylines?

Overall

The Sierra Designs High Route 1 FL is a great ultralight, non-freestanding tent. The design is fantastic in wet-weather conditions and the set up is easy; what more can you really ask for? For a hiker looking for a lightweight shelter with an easy to do setup that won’t break the bank, I would look no further than this tent.

Shop the High Route 1 FL here

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Comments 6

  • Avatar
    Ana : May 30th

    Great review! I’ve been stalking this tent for a while (as one does) and definitely find the lighter weight from the older version appealing. Do you think there’d be enough space in the inner tent to keep your pack inside? (I use a 5’6″ neoair). Also, how was the ventilation on those wet nights? Did your feet have good clearance from the outer?

    Sorry for the deluge of questions 🙂

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Alexandria Cremer : May 30th

      Hi Ana! No worries about the questions! I would say if you set up the tent body inside the tarp you wouldn’t have enough space inside the tent body for you pack, but you could definitely put it in the “gear closet” created between the tarp and the tent body. The ventilation was AWESOME on rainy nights. Totally recommend this tent in rain. And my feet did have good clearance from the rain!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Brandon : Jun 1st

    The timing of this review is serendipitous!! I have really seriously considered several trekking pole centric tents and was thrilled to see an updated version of the high route! Your review is wonderful and it’s great to hear the ventilation works well in rainy weather! It’s safe to say you have sold me on this tent! Much love, happy trails!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Alexandria Cremer : Jun 2nd

      Hi Brandon,

      So stoked to hear that!! I hope you love the tent & am glad you liked the review. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! Happy trails to you!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Ben : Jun 13th

    Excellent tent, I liked its design very much, I read in this (https://medium.com/theymakedesign/top-branding-agencies-bcf12154af9b) article that the design of this tent was developed by one of these agencies! Do you think this is true?

    Reply

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