Serra Design Zia 3 Tent
When you are planning on spending most nights in a tent for the best part of 18 months, you want to get a comfortable one that ticks all the criteria boxes.
For us it had to be:
– a 3 person tent to fit our gear and ourselves with room to spare so we are not squished in.
– free-standing so we could erect it in any given situation with no pegs and no fly covering.
– well ventilated for maximum airflow.
– have multi-entrances with 2 vestibules for easy access and storage.
– camouflage colours for stealth camping on tour.
– as light as possible, weight is top priority on long self supported tours
– as cheap as possible for the quality of material used.
Most of our research brought us back to the MSR Mutha Hubba tent. It covered almost all our criteria except for cost ($459) without a footprint.
By chance we found the Zia 3 in Vancouver and on most points was better suited than the Mutha Hubba. Price and air flow were all winning with size and weight almost identical. The only real draw back was the lack of camouflage. It is grey and blue which pretty much stands-out in any camping situation.
– light weight for size, 3kg pack weight
– mostly ventilated mesh under the fly
– square floor design (3.7 sq m )with 2 doors
– free-standing without the fly
– can be fully erected with only 4 pegs with the fly on
– 2 vestibules with fly on
– value at only $360 (about $ 180 cheaper than the MSR)
– the gear hammock is a bonus
– internal side pockets at either end makes it multi directional when setting up
– comes with a footprint at no extra charge (with the MSR tent the footprint is separate)
– colours are not so good for stealth camping
– the fact it is so ventilated can be a negative in colder and or dusty conditions
For us this would have to be one of the best purchases of gear when we started, and the company has been awesome in supporting us with some replacement issues in the USA. We did have a pole failure and the seam on the fly started to delaminate early on in our tour. Sierra Designs have a truly amazing customer service department and replaced both items without question. This alone makes us confident in the product and with the knowledge that they will support us if we have any further problems during our 18 month tour.
We have used the tent in variable conditions from hot and humid coastal camping, to cold and wet mountain camping and even in winds gusting to over 100kph. This tent has not missed a beat for 9 months on the road and we hope it will well out-last our 18 month tour.