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Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Zolo 3 Tent

A palatial three-person tent with two giant vestibules

Roomiest

Engineered with giants in mind, the three-season Zolo delivers above-average length—a full eight feet—to keep the tallest campers from feeling like netted fish. “All of us enjoyed extra room at our heads and feet,” reports one 6’1” tester, who shared it with similar-sized mates. The 48 square feet of floor space let them sleep shoulder-to-shoulder (it’s 6.5 square feet bigger than the MSR, above).

Headroom, doors, and two 11-square-foot vestibules are likewise supersized, making exits easy for the big and tall, even with gear stored. The freestanding design sets up fast with one hubbed pole, and the efficient geometry is roomy and stable. Its taut pitch effectively shed howling wind and rain on Cape Cod during Tropical Storm Bill. Ventilation proved excellent for testers in New Hampshire’s Willey Range: “It was hot, with high humidity, but even with the vestibules zipped we experienced no condensation,” one reports, crediting the all-mesh body. Testers also liked the storm-watch windows on the vestibules.

But the drip line funneled rain into the tent’s doorway when the vestibule was opened, forcing testers to keep them closed during light rains. And the top-of-the-door zippers elicited gripes: The pulls are inconvenient to grab, and unless testers were very attentive to closing them completely, the resulting gap allowed mosquitoes to sneak in. $290; 6 lbs. 5 oz.

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