Sierra Designs Flash Magic



I bought this tent way, way back in 1990. I needed…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Design: 3.5 season, non-free-standing, single wall
Sleeps: 2
Ease of Setup: Easy!
Weight: 3
Price Paid: $200

I bought this tent way, way back in 1990. I needed a super-light tent for mountaineering uses. This bugger weighs in at just under 3 pounds, and packs down to a small roll. I can set it up in less than a minute on flat ground. Sleeping with two people is tight--pretty much people-only, and they'd better be in love.

It's a great tent for drier conditions and light snow or heavy wind. It's lousy for wet warm conditions. I have about 200 nights in mine, and it's still running strong. It survived an overnight 20" snowfall just fine.

Sierra Designs had the best tent design in the world with this one, and it's a shame they stopped making it so soon.


Used this tent backpacking around Australia and New…

Rating: rated 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Don't recall, probably ~$175


Used this tent backpacking around Australia and New Zealand about 20 years ago. Overall good quality, held up well in a strong thunderstorm. Condensation is an issue, but it beats getting rained on. Light and compact, but not self supporting.

Best with a poly sleeping bag and closed cell or inflateable pad since any water that gets in will pool in the depression created by your body. Not perfect, but a good value for the weight, size and money. 3.5 stars


  • Light
  • Small
  • Simple


  • Needs stakes
  • Condensation

Not much more to say than what was covered in the summary.


Welcome to Trailspace, Misneac. I and many others love to see pics of older gear. Got any of your Flash Magic you'd be willing to share in your review?

2 years ago

This was one of the earliest single wall tents for…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Design: three-season plus, non-freestanding
Sleeps: 1
Ease of Setup: Easy
Weight: 3 pounds
Price Paid: $200

This was one of the earliest single wall tents for mountaineering. It is small and light. I have fit two people in it and it accommodates one with gear inside. It has survived some pretty strong gusts and pitches easily. The tent is designed for cold and dry conditions, above treeline use for the membrane to work well. It has been perfect for one night Cascade volcano summits. I still use it, but will replace it will another SD ultralight that is bigger and has more features for the same weight.


Ultralight, but little more than a bivy sack. I've…

Rating: rated 2 of 5 stars
Sleeps: 1
Ease of Setup: not too bad
Weight: 3 lbs.
Price Paid: $200

Ultralight, but little more than a bivy sack. I've used it at high altitudes in Colorado, and it's great in the snow (got dumped on). On the other hand, it leaks like nuts in the rain, and requires constant seam sealing. I've actually never had it in a heavy rainstorm where it DIDN'T leak. You cannot sit upright in it, and there is barely enough room for one person, much less gear. But for the ounce-conscious, it's not bad.


This is a very rare single walled version of the Flashlight.

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Design: 3 season (4?) hoop tent
Sleeps: 2
Ease of Setup: 5 of 5
Weight: 3lb 4 oz complete
Price Paid: $250

This is a very rare single walled version of the Flashlight. I have used it in winter, but don't recommend it if you expect heavy snow -- light snow is OK, like summer in the Sierras.

There can be condensation but a camp towel easily wipes it off. OK in a rain. Quickest tent I have to set up, bug proof and vents pretty well. 51 ounces complete with stakes makes it my 3 season tent of choice. Two hoop poles with clips, no fly to put on means it doesn't get wet inside while you are setting it up in a rain. Vestibule small, but OK for boots and keeps tent dry. I prefer single walled tents always.

LOVE IT! Doesn't meet California fire proof rules.

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Sierra Designs Flash Magic


The Flash Magic has been discontinued.

reviewers paid:
$200.00 - $250.00

The Sierra Designs Flash Magic is not available from the stores we monitor.

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