Brand: Sierra Designs
Model: Zia 3
This tent was our family home during a summer-long road trip through the Rockies and Badlands, where it got pummeled by thunderstorms that collapsed neighboring tents. The 40-square-foot floor let our kids kick and thrash without waking one another and the interior felt airy thanks to mostly mesh, near-vertical walls. Setup is a cinch (our 9-year-old did it herself), with two arched poles over each of the two doors and one hubbed pole to stabilize the ceiling. Bummer: Small vestibules barely contained our boots and dry bags during a kayak trip on Lake Umbagog. sierradesigns.com
Basecampers and budget-minded backpackers
> Catherine Buni
> Duration July to Oct.
> Locales/conditions SD, WY, VT, NH; 100°F heat, thunderstorms, icy nights, screaming wind
> “It’s not the lightest option. But durability is excellent—careless kids and dogs had no effect—and comfort is superb.”