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Tents

What We’re Testing Now: Snooze Better in the Frontcountry With This Light-Blocking Tent

The Sierra Designs Alpenglow is made to help you get a good night’s sleep.

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If you love camping but find yourself waking up with the first rays of the sun, you’ll be happy to know that’s something tent makers are starting to take more seriously.  The biggest trend in this regard: using light-blocking materials. 

The latest example is Sierra Designs’ new-for-2022, four-person Alpenglow tent, which I’ve been spending some time in as part of our summer testing cycle. It’s the first tent in Sierra Designs’ line to use black-out material on the fly, which is made from 70-denier light-blocking polyester/taffeta.

On a car camping trip to Island Lake on Colorado’s Grand Mesa, the Alpenglow stayed reasonably dark, even with the front door open, thanks to the big, awning-like front vestibule. Sitting inside, it feels like you’re under the shade of a porch. With the vestibule tied open, the cool mountain air poured in through the half-mesh tent body and the large, all-mesh front door. The black-out material of the fly blocked the sun’s hot rays, and I fell asleep gazing at the lake from my cave. 

Size-wise, the Alpenglow is a nap-worthy tent if I’ve ever seen one. It has 63 square feet of interior space, a bit larger than average for its class, and a 19.5 square-foot front vestibule (it does only have one door, though). While it’s too heavy to backpack with, weighing almost 13 pounds, this shelter is a spacious, livable car camping option for groups or families. 

Setting up the Alpenglow takes a little longer than average because the vestibule requires a support pole at its door, but it’s worth the few extra minutes to construct what is essentially a full mudroom. Then all you have to do is lay down, relax, and let the z’s start flowing. I’m looking forward to maximizing my shuteye in this shelter for the rest of testing season.