Sierra Designs Flashlight 2
Lightweight, low-cost backpacking tent with great space for one and cozy for two. Performs well in the rain. Lots of options for ventilation. One hack makes it roomy and quiet in the wind.
- Lightweight with trekking poles
- Good in the rain
- Dries quickly
- Easy dry setup
- Condensation a problem for all tents
- Heavy tent pegs
- Front guy line needs a trekking pole to provide lift
I just spent four nights on the Green River in Utah and Colorado. We put in at Flaming Gorge Dam and took out at Swinging Bridge. The first night we camped at Dripping Springs and had light rain but with falling temperatures there was plenty of condensation inside all of the tents (our group had 8 tents total).
There were a variety of tents, everything from a GoLite to REI domes to a pyramid tent. Everyone had lots of condensation my Flashlight 2 included. A slight breeze came up while we were making breakfast and the Flashlight dried quickly. The tent goes up quickly.
I bought Easton titanium nails and a couple of Mini Groundhog stakes in anticipation of taking this tent backpacking. The stakes that come with the ten are pretty heavy. The hack I mentioned in the summary is to put a trekking pole in the front of the tent and run the guy line through the strap to give the front of the tent more tension in an upward direction.
When I set the tent up at home, running the guy line directly to the ground collapses the front of the tent and it flaps in the wind and touches the top of your head, with the trekking pole the front is dome shaped and really feels roomy. If using this tent solo in the trail one would have to bring one of the two poles provided with the tent. This adds 3 oz. which adds some weight but I think it would be 3 oz. well spent.
Headroom is great I am 5'10" and didn't brush my head on the tent roof at all. Sitting up and getting in and out of the tent was easy, zippers all worked well. There is a lot of room if just one person is using this tent. I had a regular paco pad (24" width) and all my river junk (dry bag, mesh bag, etc.) inside the tent and PFD and river shoes in the gear closets.
The second night we had a light rain and the inside of the tent stayed dry probably because I clipped the gear closets open for extra venting. The third night just after I set up the tent it started raining and rained hard from about 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. the next morning. We set up a group tarp for cooking and about 10 p.m. when I was going to bed, I was cursing the fact that I didn't have a vestibule to get out of my wet clothes before getting into the tent.
This turned out to be a non-issue. The overhang and the storage closets proved adequate to the task. I had enough protection to strip off my rain shell and stow it in the gear closet and get in the tent without much moisture getting in with me.
I think the tradeoff in weight will be worth it when backpacking. River trips are not known to be lightweight affairs and so it is hard to tell what this tent will be like on the trail, but it is big and light enough to use solo.
My wife and I tried it out in the yard and we seem to have enough room, but as with most lightweight tents, cozy is the operative word. The overnight heavy rain did not wet out the fabric and it dried within an hour of the rain stopping even though it was overcast. I was impressed that there was no condensation on the inside of the tent. I used a compression sack to store the tent and it crunched down fairly small with no ill effects.
All in all I am happy with my purchase and look forward to taking it on the trail.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $265
Great concept that needs more work.
- Innovative design
- Able to substitute trekking poles
- Loose pitch
- Flaps like a mainsail in even light to moderate wind
I bought this tent after reviewing various choices online. I had also owned the previous Flashlight and really like it.
When I set the tent up I immediately realized that there is a serious design problem. The issue is that it is impossible to get a taut pitch on the tent body. Since this also incorporates the "fly" in that it is a single wall roof, the tent droops and sags and there are depressions in the fabric in the lower part of the roof that will be susceptible to water puddles that would further depress the shape of the tent.
This is too bad in that I really like the design of this tent. Being a single wall hybrid, I was willing to live with some condensation but feel the deficiencies of the pitch were unacceptable, so I returned the unit.
Another issue is how the tent reacts in even a light to moderate breeze which, at the time I set the tent up, caused much flapping and tent body movement. Of course, if the tent pitch was more taut, this would have been less of an issue, but the tent has a large surface area in front that would catch the wind even with a taut pitch. I feel this can be overcome, however, by site location changing the setup (there a couple of different setup options) and careful guy-outs.
Although I returned the item I would definitely consider purchasing again once Sierra Designs further works out the kinks.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $207
This tent is light and has a lot of configurations for ventilation. I just eked out the Tensegrity because it offers my wife a tad more privacy.
- Can use hiking poles for setup
- Fast pitch
- Roomy for what it is
I really like this tent, although it's a close call with the Tensegrity. Anyone considering this tent should take a hard look at that one. Super light. Lots of configurations. Pretty happy with it.
Source: bought it new
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Historic Range: $114.98-$304.99
Reviewers Paid: $207.00-$265.00