Sierra Designs Lightning XT 1

2 reviews
5-star:   0
4-star:   2
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0



First my goals in selecting this tent so you know…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Design: 3.5 season free standing
Sleeps: 1
Weight: 3 pounds

First my goals in selecting this tent so you know where I am coming from with this review (in order of importance to me):

- Must be 1 person 3 season ultra-light tent around 3 lbs.
- Must be free standing and durable enough for hard use.
- Must have side entry with a vestibule large enough to hold a pack and cook in.
- Must have a full coverage rain fly.
- Must be earth tone colors. (This one limited the selection very fast. I can’t understand why 80% of the tent colors out there belong in a disco room instead of the great outdoors. There were several other good tents that met my other criteria but didn’t get my money because of this one sore spot with me.)

I received this tent on my porch yesterday and did the prerequisite yard set-up and boy am I glad I did! You don’t want to save this experience for the back country with a rain squall and darkness closing in. The instructions are minimal at best but once I got the idea of the design it went fairly well.

Tip- once you think you have it set up right, look at all the clip and Velcro attachments from the inside and you will clearly see any mistakes you made that are not so evident from the outside.

First of all the footprint is side specific, only because of how its clips attach to the tent. These clips must hook into the innermost bar leaving the outermost bar available for the rain fly attachment point. The instructions say to stake the tent down before setting it up but that is more cumbersome and even counterintuitive for a free standing tent. For me the best way was to insert the polls first, then stake the 4 corners down. This allows you to get the proper tension on critical areas such as the zipper.

There are no instructions or photos about proper stake placement and the only place for them is at the end of a 4” loop of rope on each corner. To me this was odd as I am use to having the stake holding something solid such as a metal ring or a sewn in loop but time will tell if this design holds in wind or not.

The rain fly went on easy but the clips in the ends of the 2 antennas and the proper place for Velcro attachment took some fiddling with. The Velcro wanted to attach right where the swivel hubs are so I ended up stretching them to just below the hubs and this seamed to be the best place. The fly staked out nicely and provides coverage closer to a 4 season tent than a 3 season.

I’ll keep this brief because it is so objective. I am 6 foot tall and 180 pounds. My feet and head touch the sloping mesh walls at both ends but as a minimalist backpacker, this is not a problem for me. There is plenty room both in width and height for normal activities with small amounts of gear inside with you. The vestibule can hold a large external frame pack but it would be hard to cook in there with the pack present.

-I like the tent so far but will try to post another review after I have actually used it under conditions.

-The instructions say to waterproof it before use. My research never reveled this requirement.

-While the tent can be stuffed to the small advertized size, the provided sacks will not keep it that small for you. The sacks are very loose fitting and much larger than needed.

-The tent requires 7 stakes and 3 guy-lines for complete secure set-up but it only comes with 6 stakes and 2 guy-lines.

-Nice sized vestibule and rain-fly provides more coverage than comparable tents.

-When fully staked out it is approaching a 4 season tent for the weight of a 2-3 season tent.

-It needs 3 more stakes and another guy-line which will add a little weight.

-Set up time but I think this will get better with experience.

I would recommend it to others that have similar objectives to mine. I did extensive research on all tents of this type and almost tried the Quarter Dome T1 but glad I picked this one due to the increased size for the same weight.


I really like this tent. I am 5'11" and I fit inside…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Design: 3 season freestanding
Sleeps: 1
Ease of Setup: easy to set up
Price Paid: $179

I really like this tent. I am 5'11" and I fit inside the tent. The vestibule is big enough for a large internal frame pack to fit under. The vestibule has complete coverage. The only thing that I don't like is that to completely guy out the fly, you have to have 3 more stakes and one more guy line. Overall, nice solo tent.

Retailers' Descriptions

Here's what other sites are saying:

CLOSEOUTS . A top-tier tent for solo backpacking, the Lightning XT from Sierra Designs saves on weight and pack space, while providing nearly 20 sq.ft. of livable space thanks to a spacious, free-standing design. Superior watertight protection is ensured thanks to the most innovative, weight-saving components and materials Jake?s foot pole snap-in system allows for quick set up and easy attachment for tent fly Freestanding design provides large door access and expansive livable space DAC Featherlite(R) NSL poles 1-person, 3-season Floor: 83x32", 18.5 sq.ft. Vestibule: 9 sq.ft. Height: 38" Stuff size: 19x5" Weight: 3 lb. 6 oz. Material: 70 denier nylon floor, 20 denier nylon body, 40 denier nylon fly Made in Vietnam Available Colors: GREY/GREEN.

- Sierra Trading Post

Are you the type who likes to get some solo time out in the wilderness' Us too, and that's why we know the Sierra Designs Lightning XT 1 Tent is a soloist's ultralight dream. This free-standing 1-person 3-season tent features an ample amount of living and gear space and weighs less than three pounds, so you can pack it in your bag and head off for adventures unknown.


Solo hiker? Freestanding tent? Under three pounds? Yes! The Lightning offers a roomy and livable solo shelter, with nine square feet of vestibule, and nearly twenty square feet of livable space.

- SunnySports

On Sale. Free Shipping. Sierra Designs Lightning XT 1 Person Tent (Fall 2010) FEATURES of the Lightning XT 1 Person Tent by Sierra Designs Swivel H Hub Ball Cap Connector with SQ Ring SuperSeal Floor Tunnel Dome SPECIFICATIONS: Trail Weight: 2 lb 15 oz Packed Weight: 3 lb 6 oz Number of Doors: 1 Interior Area: 18.5 ft2 Vestibule Area: 9 ft2 Peak Height: 38in. Floor Material: 70D Nylon, 3000mm Body Material: 20D Nylon Fly Material: 40D HT Nylon, 1500mm Poles: DAC Featherlite NSL Season: 3 Capacity: 1 Packed Size: 19in. x 5in. Number of Poles: 3 hubbed Pole Diameter (Outer): 9.0 / 8.5 mm

- Moosejaw

The Sierra Designs Lightning XT 1 tent is an ultralight solo tent designed for those who want to go fast and light. It's has an all mesh body, which gives great ventilation and allows for stargazing. It is supported by an innovative swivel hubbed aluminum frame that maximizes space while saving weight. A large side entry door is easy to use and on the weather shedding full coverage fly is an attached front storage vestibule where you can keep excess or wet gear. Or your dog. With it's quick to set up all clip body and color coded fly the Lightning XT 1 is ready for a fast and light long distance hike. Sleeps 1 Main fly and floor seams are factory taped with PVC free seam tape to keep you dry Full coverage fly keeps you dry and comfortable Freestanding design is stable and easy to set up Super Seal Bathtub floor wraps up the sides and keeps you dry DAC FeatherLite NSL Swivel Hubbed aluminum poles are strong and reliable - they are less prone to breakage in part because of their unique means of joining the poles with a precisely machined insert rather than an unreliable ferrule - utilizes Reverse Combi Technology by using varying diameters determined by where extra strength is needed which gives the best strength to weight ratio of any pole - saves weight with a thicker diameter pole with a thinner wall and the process used to make them is far less polluting than other methods 1 large door for fast and convenient entry or exit Front vestibule for excess or wet gear storage All mesh body is great for ventilation and stargazing Aerodynamic and ergonomic shape is weather shedding and user friendly Color coded pitch system for even faster set up Swivel Hubs - light and strong - save weight by eliminating redundant poles - allow for new space gaining and weight saving pole geometries - also joins multiple poles into a single set - no loose poles Body to pole attachment is with the ultralight SD clips and the ultra secure 'H' clip at the hubs - clips speed assembly and allow more airflow under the fly Revolutionary Ball Cap Connectors quickly and securely attaches the spreader poles to the mesh body in 1 quick and easy motion Secure tent/pole attachment with Jake's Foot a rugged plastic fitting that is more reliable than grommets Internal pockets and gear loops make organization and stuff stashing easy All carry bags and stakes included Import.

- Campmor

Sierra Designs Lightning XT 1


The Lightning XT 1 has been discontinued.

previously retailed for:
$137.97 - $239.00

The Sierra Designs Lightning XT 1 is not available from the stores we monitor. It was last seen March 15, 2011 at Sierra Trading Post.

If you're looking for a new 3-4 season convertible tent, check out the best reviewed current models.