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The Best Backpacking Tents of 2018 | Best Buy - Outdoor Gear Lab
One of The Best Summer Tents of 2017 - Outside MagazineSierra Designs' best-selling, most iconic tent is back! It's been redesigned to have more usable interior space, a taller peak height, and more gear storage all without an increase in weight (and a lower MSRP). The single door, single vestibule, and all-mesh body make it the perfect minimalist shelter for those looking to travel light and fast.
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I have the original flashlight tent. It has withstood the test of 10 years of swamp, desert, alpine and backyard adventures. The zippers have never gotten stuck in mad dashes to zip up the tent running from rain, hail and mosquitoes. It has withstood many muddy/dusty dogs jumping on to get in and out. My husband (6 foot 175#) , 2 large dogs (55-80#) and myself (5'2", 135#) fit comfortably with gear(2-30liter packs) into the tent. Sam L. on Jun 24th 2018
I was very reluctant to purchase this tent. I was looking into the BA tents due to the lower weight. I just couldn't afford one. So I settled on the Clip Flashlight 2. This is not the first time I have owned this style of tent. My Uncle purchased the original clip flashlight in the mid 1990's. He used it when he thru hiked the AT. Due to an illness he was unable to complete the thru hike and was never fully recovered to start again. That was about the time I got started in backpacking and so my Uncle gave me the tent. I used it for many years. It never leaked and held up great to strong winds. I replaced that tent with my Mountain Hardware thru hiker tent. That was also a great tent. Next I purchased at one man SD tent and only used it a few time. It worked very well. So I am familiar with SD tents and the clip flashlight style. I recently took my new Clip Flashlight 2 tent on a 11 mile backpacking trip. I hiked solo, so I had plenty of room in the tent and in the vestibule for my gear. Unfortunately it did not rain that weekend so I was unable to test the rain durability of the tent. It was windy however and the tent held up just fine. I like that all of the seams are already seam taped. I found no condensation on the inside in the morning. I also like the all mesh body. I also like the fact that the foot print and rainfly can be used together and without the main body of the tent. I am very pleased with my purchase. Joe on May 14th 2018
I held off purchasing this tent for a long time as I was worried about it not being free standing. I needn't have been concerned. Once staked out, it's very stable and will stand up to pretty windy days with ease.
The set up is easier than any tent I've ever owned, and the tent floor and fly material seems more robust than many other tents, yet the weight is very manageable- just 1.5 lbs more than the one man tent I was using. Best stargazing tent ever! Dave Jarvis on May 3rd 2018
I love my clip flashlight! It's the second Sierra Designs tent I've owned, and it will definitely not be the last. While it is a 2 person tent, I usually use it as a solo tent since I don't care (too much) about a little extra weight, which leaves plenty of space to move around in or store gear.
While the rain fly does a good job of keeping things dry, where this tent really shines is on dry nights with the fly off. Where I live and do most of my backpacking/camping bugs are an issue most of the spring and summer, especially mosquitoes. It just isn't possible to sleep comfortably without shelter, even on the warmest nights.
With the fly off, you get the best part of sleeping under the stars (actually being able to see them!) without the misery of whining mosquitoes or coating yourself in industrial strength chemicals. If the weather is lousy, just put the fly on and you have a comfy place to rest, with a nice, dry "porch" where you can cook. As a bonus, you don't really get any condensation problems, since the mesh lets the moisture out. It does collect on the fly, but you don't get a shower if you bump into your tent wall.
It's super easy to set up, which is nice after a long day on the trail, packs down small, and is really light given how roomy it is (I'm guessing that's because it's mostly mesh). If you use the (water resistant) bag that it comes with, you can easily strap it to the outside of your pack. Or, just stuff it in a stuff sack in your pack. Either way, you can't go wrong with this tent!
Cascades Hiker Chick on Mar 16th 2018
Just picked this up and real like this style of tent. Have used a one man version with 2 poles similar to this for years so I thought I would give this a try for two people. Just took it on a multi day rafting trip and it performed great. The weather was decent so didn't get to try the fly and test it in the rain, but it seems solid. We set up mostly in sand and it held down nicely with stones. Can't wait to try on a backpacking trip later. The nightglow is an excellent feature also. Definitely roomy enough for two and gear. I am 6'2",my wife is 5'3" and we had plenty of room. I would recommend this tent to anyone looking for a comfortable, lightweight, sturdy, and easy to pitch tent that won't break the bank. Rick on Jul 5th 2017
I inherited an old Sierra Designs tent with a similar design from my mom, who had bought it heavily used at a Montana State Outing Club sale years before she had even met my father. After withstanding two generations of use and abuse by college kids, it finally gave up the ghost in a particularly brutal thunderstorm in Northern Maine the summer after my senior year of college. I probably could have prolonged it's life even longer with some patching, re-weatherproofing, and seam sealing, but I let it go to the alpine meadow up in the sky.
After a couple years running a tarp and a used bivy, I finally decided to pony up and buy another 2-person tent, and after a good amount of research settled on the Clip Flashlight 2. Couldn't be happier that I did.
Crazy simple setup, lighter than you have any reason to expect a tent at this price point to be, and has kept me dry so far in variable conditions. Took it out for it's inaugural backpacking trip this past weekend, so I can't comment on durability based on experience, but it feels as rugged as I would expect based on the last Sierra Designs tent I had. Plenty of room for 2 people and gear between the interior and the vestibule.
Also--the Night Glow headlamp diffuser is something I never knew I wanted but wouldn't want to go without now. You can ditch the headlamps and read, play cards, or if you're fortunate enough to have the right tent mate fool around basked in a romantic glow. Unknown on Jun 21st 2017
This was given to me from casey, Shawn, and Candyce. This tent was amazing in the wind and rain but in 100% humidity you might get a few drops of rain and it's not the most breathable tent.
Travis Travis Cohan on May 29th 2017
I'm so excited to see the reintroduction of the Clip Flashlight 2! I purchased a Clip Flashlight 3 back in 1992 and I have pitched it more than 500 times on as many overnight/multi-day/week-long outings, from the Rocky Mountains, to coastal beaches, to desert, and most other places in between. It has weathered rain storms, blistering heat, desert hail storms, and incredibly high winds. The aluminum poles have NEVER given out! I have replaced both the rain fly and tent door zippers (after nearly 25 years of use things do wear out) but this tent has never leaked or given out on me, even in the harshest storms. It is still my go-to tent! Probably still one of the lightest, easiest to pack 3-person tent out there. Garrett M. on Dec 9th 2016
Since I contributed a comment on this tent just a few weeks ago I have received about a gazillion emails asking me questions. Here is an answer to most of them:
No, I do not work for Sierra Designs. I only contacted them once about five years ago to get some advice on seam sealing which is necessary after about 200 nights. I was expecting either a poser or an outsourced phone operator and got neither. In that single experience the guy I spoke to had first-hand experience of the tent and was obviously a hardened outdoorsman. Nonetheless I became disgruntled with the company when I learned they had discontinued the Clip Flashlight 2 and resigned them to the category of penny-loafered number crunching fashion designing traitors until they-re instituted it.
Yes, some of the other tents Sierra Designs make are more expensive. I don’t have any personal experience with them so I can not attest to their function. On general reputation I would guess that they are well made and designed.
No, I have not had this tent in weather that it could not handle. I have extended its recommended usage far beyond what it was designed for and it was a dandy. I think that if I was in weather that this tent could not handle I would want to go home anyway to make sure my house was ok.
Yes, this tent does set up very quickly but you have to do it properly, and I do intend to make a Youtube instructional on how to do that.
Marc Lawson on Oct 7th 2016
I was hitch hiking to Alaska in 2008 and needed something better than the cold, wet, crap $30 tent I had. Onto the scene came my first Sierra Designs. Im not a cold weather camper but I got down to -5*C a few times, both dry and coastal wet. Then I took it to New Zealand and lived in it. 5 days straight rain, 3 if them so torrential we were slogging through mush and still not a drop inside. Then battered it with the crazy UV rays of NZ.
I packed it up and had it in storage in extreme temps of Canadian winters and summers so I had questionable faith when years later I needed it for a festival circuit... but yet again, no problems.
Tough and still lightweight and with a lot of room to move around.
Still my go to tent! And will be for a long time ... But when I'm not carrying the two person tent I still use a Sierra Designs, one person.
Adventuress42 on Oct 5th 2016