In the past I have backpacked with a two-person tent as well as a bivy and tarp. Since my bivy is pretty old and is maybe not so “waterproof”, I opted to go with a solo backpacking tent for my upcoming adventure.
Choosing a house for three weeks on the trail might seem like a difficult task; however I was lucky enough to receive Backpacker Magazine’s Gear of the Year issue right around the time I was trying to decide. Score! I quickly locked eyes on the newest one-person ultralight tent from Sierra Designs: High Side. Given that our two-person tent is the same brand and I like its features, this made my decision a piece of cake (or so I thought…)
I ordered it straight away from an online retailer that I was familiar with but had yet to order from. They were surprisingly one of the only websites that carried it aside from the manufacturer themselves AND at a slight discount from MSRP. I read their policy saying that items tend to ship anywhere in between 7-16 days. Perfect since it was the end of March. Plenty of time (eye roll.)
At the 21 day mark I thought it might be a good time to email customer service to see what’s up. I got a fairly quick response saying that they were scheduled to receive it May 12 – okay that’s not horrible; I can wait. As you may have guessed May 12 came and went with no tent. I responded again to the email simply to check in; this time taking a little longer to respond, the representative apologized for not responding sooner but assured me that the tent would be arriving May 18 and that I should receive by the end of May. Okay again not horrible but I was now significantly pressed for time to practice with it. Sure enough May flies by and now we’re in June – still no tent. I called this time and spoke with a guy who was clearly unimpressed and asked if I wanted to cancel my order. No I don’t want to cancel my order – I just want the damn tent and a straight answer! He then assured me I was first on the list to receive the tent once they receive their shipment and that maybe I should contact the manufacturer to see what’s up (um isn’t that your job?!)
At this point I had to start researching other options. I’m now not only stressed about finding something comparable but also not going to be able to test drive whatever I end up with. ARGH. But I was able to find the MSR Freelite 1 with similar specs and a decent price. I promptly ordered this new tent in hopes that I could put this issue to rest and cancel my other order.
At last on a Wednesday in June a week and a half before I’m scheduled to be California bound, my tent arrives! Hallelujah! Now I can finally cancel that stupid order and be done with them. I called them up and spoke with a new representative who as soon as I ask to cancel my order (THAT I PLACED IN MARCH) was very kind and assured me it would not be a problem (must happen often eh?) He took care of everything and even waited on the line with me while I triple checked that I in fact had not yet been charged for it and kindly agreed to pass on my feedback about my experience. I did also contact the manufacturer just out of curiosity to ask when they would be receiving a new stock for that tent. He told me August! Ha! Good thing I didn’t wait around any longer.
Either way I’m excited to try out this new tent and will hopefully have a positive review to leave here when I return.
Happy (tent) camping!