Sierra Designs Electron RC 2
If you can find one this is a rugged lightweight tent that will keep you dry.
- Keeps you dry
- Zippers bind occasionally
This is a tent that is free standing and pitches in little to no time, nice if it is raining. This tent I have had now for 4 years running, has never failed in high winds and rain, been dry each time.
Moisture is always an issue but Sierra has it licked with this tent. Some moisture will form on the inside storm fly with big temp swings, but have never had it form in the living space or drip in. As for space, well if you are solo hiking this is a palace. If hiking with friend ample room for 2 and gear in the roomy vestibules with space left over to cook in, with vestibule door open, on those rainy days.
The tent packs well for a free standing tent and weighs about 4 pounds when packed tight, size wise does fit nicely right next to sleeping pad inside the pack. The nice thing about this tent is that it came with the tent attic, great for drying stuff out during the night, coffee slings but most of all it came with the foot print.
Paid less then $275 for the whole thing. Wish they would bring this tent back. It is a great beginner tent but good enough for the experienced hiker.
Design: Three season free standing "X" pole design
Ease of Setup: One of the easiest and fastest pitching tents I've tried
Weight: full packed weight with footprint and attic 5lbs 4 oz,
Price Paid: $199
Sierra Designs Electron RC2 Tent:
OK, so it's not the lightest tent you can carry...but...there are some unique and comfortable properties that make the Sierra Designs Electron RC2 tent a great choice for many situations.
If you are embarking on a 9 day thru-hike, the WHOLE Electron tent may not be the best choice, but taking its provided footprint, fly and poles is a great idea to save weight.
If you are doing a weekend or three to four day trip where you really want comfort, room, water shedding ability and a great deal of versatility, the Electron RC2 tent is virtually ideal for 2 hikers. If the tent components are shared by two hikers it's quite light to carry.
The roomy tent body (5' X 7') has a really well designed bathtub type floor with fully taped seams. The top is sheer white netting that offers bug protection and prevents any condensation problems. The two circular 360 degree doors are versatile, large and easy to manipulate.
Someone at Sierra Designs was thinking when they came up with a door stuff pocket for each door. This ingenious idea allows you to quickly and easily stash the doors with one hand into its own stretch pocket on the tent wall. No clips, no toggles, no ties...just stuff it in the pocket and it stays clean, dry and undamaged. This is a top notch idea folks!
The tent frame utilizes DAC Featherlite aluminum poles that are of very high quality and are quite light, but because of the thin walled design they need to be treated with care. These are REALLY light poles and can be damaged if bent improperly or otherwise mangled.
On the up side the "X" frame clip design is sturdy, free standing and incredibly easy to pitch and the addition of the short third pole renders the tent walls nearly vertical adding space. This is a design feature carried over from the Sierra Designs "Reverse Combi" tent, hence the "RC" added to the name of the Electron.
This tent is an astonishing value, not only for its great design but also for all the extras that come with it. Included in the retail price is a great tent attic with additional pockets and two "coffee slings", an interesting hanging device used to hold a beverage cup or bottle. I find this feature really useful for holding your drink bottle out of the way and off the floor of the tent at night, no spills, no mess. It does tend to bang you in the head if you sit up suddenly, so I just tie it to the side, out of the way.
The other feature that is included is a full tent footprint. These are essential for keeping the floor of your tent undamaged and waterproof and typically must be purchased separately adding $30 to $50 to the price of most other tents. This is a true gift from Sierra Designs. It also offers the ability to "light pack" this unit in the form of the footprint, poles and fly to make a much lighter but still very effective shelter for the weight trimming folks.
Last but certainly not least is the thoughtfully designed rain fly. This unit is a full coverage rain fly, no gaps, no uncovered areas and it is astonishingly waterproof. I was in a 2 hour torrential downpour in Southern Colorado in June and had nary a drop of water in the tent.
Another great feature is the double vestibules added to the double doors. When tenting with a second person you each have a door and a vestibule for your assorted gear, boots, pack, etc. and you don't have to crawl over one another to get out of the tent at night. This is how all two person tents should be designed.
If you are carrying this tent solo, it is a great convenience to have both vestibules at your disposal. You can store all of your gear in the rear vestibule and leave the other one open for easy entry/exit. You can even cook in the vestibule if its raining, although this is not recommended for safety reasons.
Overall the Sierra Designs Electron RC2 tent is a great value. While it's not the lightest tent around it offers a lot of versatility in how it can be used and offers great comfort in wet weather resistance, room and features.
Pros: Roomy, easy to pitch, two doors, two vestibules, various pitching options, many included extra features, full coverage rain fly, no condensation problems, door pockets, affordable price.
Cons: Heavier than other two person tents, somewhat fragile poles, net design on tent body prevents condensation but could be chilly on cold nights.
Design: three season freestanding
Ease of Setup: 5 minutes or less
Weight: a little less than 6lbs
Price Paid: $160
I love this tent!
I was in the market for a new canoeing/kayaking tent after my last river trip when my old Outbound just couldn't cut it. I wanted something that was big enough for the girlfriend and I (although I'll be using it primarily solo), was light and small enough to backpack with if necessary (makes it just barely), but most of all - and I mean most of all - I was looking for something that was dry.
I bought this tent after looking at quite a few different models from a number of manufacturers. I was actually looking for something a little smaller (more in the Anu, single door range) but when I found this bad boy on sale I went for it.
My first (and only so far) trip with it was a fall weekend car camping trip with some beer buddies. I know, it's not really a good test given what I bought it for, but the great thing about the trip (apart from beers at 9am) was that it was absolutely miserable weather-wise, and it rained on and off all weekend. I couldn't believe my luck - I had the perfect opportunity to test my tent against the rain, and boy did it come through.
I'd gotten used to the end of my bag being wet from brushing up against the walls of my tent (that or my head). Similarly, I'd gotten used to the undersized fly not covering a good portion of the non-vestibuled door, creating a "no go zone" for people and gear. I'd learned to live with these less-than-charming quirks of my old tent, but said enough when one night the leaks became large enough that a pool of water formed in a corner, and my headlamp suffered catastrophic submersion.
After two days and two nights of varying drizzle, rain, and heavy rain, I was bone dry in my Electron and couldn't have been happier. I brushed my feet and head up against the tent wall just for the fun of it, and not a droplet of water came through. I even stuffed paper towels in the corners to see if they'd absorb any moisture - and nothing.
I can't say that I've tried a great number of tents, but from my past experience, this is one amazing piece of tent-engineering genius. I loved the pockets everywhere, the two vestibules with all kinds of room for gear, shoes, and cheetos.
I loved the attic that was really handy for creating an overhead light with my headlamp, and I loved how easy it was to set up. Most of all, I loved how this tent kept me dry.
I've read other reviewers' complaints about the zipper getting stuck and I too found this happened if I wasn't careful, but given the other positives of this tent this very minor negative is hardly worth mentioning.
I love this tent.
Design: three-season freestanding
Ease of Setup: moderate
Last week my brother and I took the Electron RC2 out for 5 days of 14er climbing in Colorado. It rained and stormed nearly the entire time, and we stayed perfectly dry.
One the major selling points for me was that each side of the tent gets its own door and vestibule. This proved invaluable, since we could both store our gear, and cook under the large vestibules during the rain. We would have been miserable without them.
Another selling point for me, was the interior height. I am 6'3", and was able to sit up and move around inside with a few inches to spare!
The only reason it gets a 4.5 instead of 5, is that it is a little heavy, compared to other 2 person tents. However, my brother was still able to carry it by himself, while I carried the rest of the group gear.
Overall, this tent was much more comfortable to live in, than any of the other tents I have tried in the past, and makes base camp a much more enjoyable experience.
Design: three season freestanding dome
Ease of Setup: had it up in one min
Price Paid: $148
Very good tent. I love it.
I took it backpacking. I took it on a three day camping trip in Florida. We had 14 inches of rain and I stayed very dry. Great tent, I would recommend it to anyone who is in market for that type of tent.
Design: RC Three season
Ease of Setup: First time was tricky but, now is easy
Weight: Trail weight was about 5lbs.
Price Paid: $250? (Gift)
I have owned the tent since Christmas. I have used it for a weekend winter camping in Vermont. Yeah, I know it's a 3 season tent but I really wanted to try it out. I used the tent for a weekend of hiking on the Long Trail.
I have just returned from NM and CO backpacking near Wheeler Peak (NM) and Mt Elbert (CO). I am 6'5" tall and two of us slept comfortably in the tent. The vestibule entrances are handy. I did find that the zippers snagged the tent on occasion.
This is "monsoon" season in the west. Storms came in by 1400hrs and were gone by 2000hrs. I slept and awoke dry. Condensation was not an issue. I would pack the tent damp and bake it dry during lunch. The tent could be lighter but I will trade weight for space and a lightweight showerhouse.
I actually had a small stream run under the tent one night and stayed dry. This was due to the fact that we often had to set up in the dark, which was not too bad. Love the reflective tape.
I did notice some minor bends in the pole set after I returned. I will continue to use this tent. I am now a happy customer.
Where to Buy
The Sierra Designs Electron RC 2 is not available from the stores we monitor.
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