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Sierra Designs Vapor Light 1

rated 4.5 of 5 stars

The Vapor Light 1 has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best 3-4 season convertible tents for 2024.

photo: Sierra Designs Vapor Light 1 3-4 season convertible tent

I have grown to love my Vapor Light. It started out a little tighter than I was used to, but it has enough room to sit up in to change and take out my contact lenses.


  • Light
  • Packs down well
  • Fast pitch
  • Intelligent design
  • Self-supporting
  • 2lb 14oz


  • Tight
  • Short
  • Weak seam tape



When I bought this tent and it was handed over to me I thought the fella forgot a few parts; it's super light. I love that it is self supporting since I often pitch on rock and can't stake down. Takes very little space in my pack. It's small but I don't mind the trade when on long hikes or climbing cliffs to get to my site.

Set up: Like most newer SD models, setting up is a breeze and it's actually enjoyable.

Stability: Not very stable in high winds unless pitched like an arrow into the wind. Has only limited guy lines that add little stability.

Weather resistance: The seam tape actually flaked off like sunburned skin and made a mess everywhere. I seam sealed it but because there was all kinds of loose stuff left, the seam seal didn't take well. I even scrubbed the old stuff with a toothbrush for 20 min trying to get the old debris off but to little avail. Now my seams are coming loose again. Argh!

Ventilation: Fine. It does condense on cooler nights. I just flip the fly upside down over the tent when I wake up and leave it for a half hour. The condensation evaporates.

Room and storage: Tight  fit, head touches, I'm 5'11". Barely room to turn on my side. One small storage pocket. Vestibule is decent but my 85 liter pack peeks out from underneath a bit.

Packability: Great

Ease of use: Super easy to set up take down (has the patented Jake's feet which makes it a breeze). Has 2 v poles with a single pole spine.

Construction and durability: Won't last forever, but it's great while it's around.

I've used this for a year now and it's great!

Update 9/28/2015

The failed seam seal was allowing water to enter the tent on rainy nights. I bought a new tube of seam seal and sealed the exterior of the fly's seams. This solved the leaky fly problems. It doesn't look that great, but it works great.

I still love the tent and have grown accustomed to its tight fit. It's just a few ounces more than my bivy but offers a lot more in comfort. Still my go-to summer tent.

Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $125

Lightweight, freestanding tent with sturdy poles; quick setup; a tight space for one, but useful for small spaces in the woods. I love that the top of the tent is all mesh—great view into the sky when the rain fly is off.


  • Lightweight
  • Freestanding


  • Door is at head of tent (instead of along the side)
  • Tight quarters

This will work well for me as a supplemental tent for when I'm solo on a bikepacking trip where light weight and small size is essential. Poles seem very durable and I like the Jake's Foot pole connection design. I'm not sure about longterm durability, but it seems very durable.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $104

Overall, very easy to set up, packs up light and takes up little space.  Footprint, poles, and fly clip and lock into place and stay secure. 

Only criticism is the small size of tent and vestibule, but it is a one-man tent so that is to be expected. Vestibule barely contained my pack and boots; would have been an issue in rainy weather. 

Lightweight, spacious, free standing. Need I say more? This tent is so easy to set up, you don't even need instructions!


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Spacious


  • Tent stakes could be lighter

The only thing I would change about this tent are the stakes that come with it. Besides that, this tent was made in heaven.

I will be using this tent during the PCT thru hike. I know I won't be disappointed since SD always makes wonderful products!

Source: received it as a sample, freebie, or prize (Sierra Designs)

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Price MSRP: $249.95
Historic Range: $102.73-$269.00
Reviewers Paid: $104.00-$125.00
Trail Weight 2 lb 14 oz / 1.30 kg
Packed Weight 3 lb 3 oz / 1.45 kg
Interior Area 15.50 sq ft / 1.44 sq m
Vestibule Area 7 sq ft / .65 sq m
Peak Height 38 in / 97 cm
Packed Length 19 in
Packed Diameter 4 in
Capacity 1
Season 3
Number of doors 1
Number of poles 2 Hubbed
Pole Diameter 9.0 / 8.5 mm
Pole Type DAC NSL
Floor Material 40D Nylon, 3000 mm
Body Material 20D Nylon
Fly Material 40D Nylon, 1500 mm

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