User Review: Sierra Designs Vapor Light 2 XL
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $198 + $26 for footprint
Highly recommend for the ideal solo backpacker's tent. Also can sleep two with one or two backpacks also inside across head of tent (if a bit cramped). Just 4.6lbs with footprint and fits in small compression drysack, yet design looks and feels like structure would hold up in a 40mph windstorm (others' reviews confirmed this). Very small vestibule.
- Weighs just 4.6 lbs (incl. footprint, 8 MSR needle stakes, and size S eVent compression dry sack)
- Optimum design with ideal dimensions given tent weight
- Stake sides of fly close to tent body and stayed really warm down to 30°, OR stake fly several inches from sides and good ventilation with little condensation
- Small vestibule
- Make sure don't stake entrance corners of tent too widely, or may be hard to zip entrance
- Fly touches two sides of tent mesh unless two stakes hold out sides of fly
I take this for a solo tent on 5-6 day backpacking trips in the Rockies, and used it a total of perhaps 20 days in the wilderness so far the past three years and it still looks practically like new. Just camped with it up to 11,000 ft last week at Mirror Lake and Mummy Creek Pass in RMNP.
It's the ideal tent for the solo backpacker and I couldn't be much more pleased with it. I take 8 MSR (red) "needle" stakes and the tent weighs just 4.6lbs including footprint and size S eVent compression drysack, yet it's 7 and 3/4 ft long end to end, and 38in at one end is just tall enough I can do reverse crunches inside (I'm 5'11"). It would be a bit cramped but could sleep two in a pinch. It's wide enough for two 20in wide sleeping pads and long enough two people might still fit one or two backpacks across the entrance (a good thing, since the vestibule is pretty small).
The tent body and fly fit in a size S eVent compression drysack (so in case tent must be packed up wet the rest of my pack stays dry), and I even crammed them into my size XS eVent drysack once by mistake (meant for my down sleeping bag). The great small packed size mattered to me even more than the weight, since I go for nearly a week with all food and gear in a 65-liter pack and don't like a lot of stuff hanging on the outside. The poles are pretty short and are the only part I strap to the outside of my pack.
Sets up in no time and easy to figure out. The fly is reinforced heavily at a few key places where poles touch the fly and though I haven't been through a really terrible windstorm yet, I read several other reviews say it can stand up in storm winds better than most others in this weight class. I trust this tent in extreme wilderness conditions. While the tent has only one entrance, it's at the head so neither person has to climb over the other.
If I have one real gripe, it's that if I stake the four corners out too taut, the front door doesn't zip closed very easily. So at the door end, just learn not to put the corner stakes of the tent too far apart, either for the tent body or the fly. If I stake the sides of the fly close to the tent body I stayed really warm down to 30° but got some condensation, you have lots of flexibility here and can choose to stake the sides several inches away from tent body and then got very little condensation. Have also used when it was 80°s and humid with rainfly pulled to side, but ready to pull over tent quickly in case of a storm.