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'Best Overall Backpacking Tent' - Outside Online
"We've reviewed backpacking tents for 40 years, and during that time we’ve tested a lot of well-designed models. But if we had to choose the best all-around tent to take backpacking right now, we’d buy the Sierra Designs Flash 2 FL. We love it because it’s fast and simple to set up, easy to get in and out of, weighs less than 2 lbs./person, packs up compact, and has held up to years of use from our testers."
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Hands down, Sierra Designs are the best tent manufacturers I know. All my tents are Sierra Designs - the Convert 2, Flash 2 FL and Lightning 2 UL. The external frame system of each of these tents simplifies and speeds up pitch time immensely. The all in one pitch eliminates the usual issues of the inner tent getting wet - and also means that you can store equipment in the dry whilst erecting your shelter. The clip to pole fixing system keeps the tents taught and (in my experience) makes the shelter solid in winds and storms. And unlike so many leading brands (that use a silnylon for the fly), the flys on Sierra Designs will not sag and stretch when wet so re pitching after a rainstorm is never required.
With the Flash 2, the best feature however are the awnings. The ability to have both sides of the tent open at all times, but protected from rain etc. is fantastic. I've spent long periods in wet conditions where all my fellow hikers had to sit enclosed in their tents with little ventilation and no outside view. The awnings on this tent have meant that I've been able to have great ventilation and maintain a view - keeping claustrophobia and cabin fever at bay. The interior of the Flash 2 is cavernous and I have never had an issue with storage with 2 people inside and when used on solo trips it has been a palace. The height makes moving around easy too - and as a large 6 foot 2 inch male this is essential for me.
The weight of this tent is also very low, and unless you are an ultralight fanatic (I once was, but now prefer to actually be comfortable) I doubt the weight and pack size will be of a bother - certainly not if you are able to share the load with a friend.
In my years outdoors I've been through many, many designs of tent and have found non as livable and functional as the current range from Sierra Designs. Absolutely recommended. Alex Gifford on Aug 28th 2016
I've used this tent three times and I'm impressed. It is easy to setup and has more inside than other 2-person tents that I've used. The 42.5" height makes a difference in allowing me to sit up inside the tent. It is very light yet feels sturdy enough to withstand strong rain and wind storms. The only drawback that comes to mind is repacking it. As another reviewer noted, the poles of the awning can make it difficult to repack the tent in a tidy manner. All in all, this is a great tent! Eddie on Aug 10th 2015
I have used this tent almost 10 times now and I love it. From the way it packs ups. Single system poles in its own bag with all the steaks in their own pouch on the other end. (I like to put this in my backpack and carry the tent under my pack. It's so small and light I don't even notice it). One thing I hate about tents I can never repack them in the bag they came in as good as the company did. I don't know what it is about this tent and bag but I seem to get it in with more room to spare. I can fit my tent saver footprint in with the tent. I have set this tent up by myself all but once. Super easy set up. It's been windy most of the set ups so I would steak the floor corners first then set the poles and hook everything up. When I backpack I always carry a poler stuff magic tarpon to cover my pack up. And it worked awesome to unpack my gear in and then tuck it away under the vestibule then steak then it down. The access doors on the inside are so nice it's like having a little hobbit door to your gear. Having the awning over the doors is really nice in the rain or not. The view out the door/windows is so wide and obstruction free you don't feel disconnected from the outdoors. The awning also offers a perfect place to take your boots off and stow them so they stay dry and protected from the elements. The tent is also tall and spacious for a 2 man tent. Plenty of room to sit up to change clothes. When sleeping with two people head to toe I never got kicked in the head so we both had plenty of room. Out of the last 8 tents I've owned this is by far my favorite. The only thing I think it could use improvement on is more pouches to stow stuff like eyeglasses, flashlight, phone and battery packs for charging phones or battery's for cameras. But I don't think many other tents have that many pouches or bags. Zak on Jun 16th 2015
I liked the Flash 2 FL before the third leg of my 1,300 mile trek to Canada but decided against it because I was happy with the tent I had. My concerns about the Flash 2 FL were several that may not concern other people, but because I had been living in a tent for over fifty days, I knew what I needed. My concern for the Flash were the color, which I actually like, but I prefer to be unnoticed because the places I ended up camping, and the yellow color just stands out too much. Secondly, though the wind tunnel tests show that the poles withstand high winds, the stakes in the ground are generally the weak link in the chain of keeping a tent upright, and the shape of the tent with two fairly flat and open fronts are like open sails to catch the wind. I have been in wind gust up to Forty and fifty MPH, and steady winds of thirty, and the stakes holding in the ground was always my concern. Lastly, for me, the weight was a bit more that my current tent. I am solo, but over the many days of trekking I found that I like the extra room of a two person tent because of days stuck inside the tent on many rainy days. I also ended up putting all my gear inside to keep it out of the weather. As I mentioned, I have been pretty content with tent that I had, but that changed when I hit the wet Oregon weather. I had excellent rain gear, but was stuck several days having to keep trekking in the rain in hopes of a break in the rain so I could set up the tent. On several occasions I was just forced to set up in the rain as it was getting dark, and hurried, but still found the inside of the tent soaked because I could not set it up quickly with the rain fly. Once the inside of a tent gets wet in this type of wet environment it never dries out. Packing it up was just as bad, as to keep it dry during rain I just had to roll it up with the fly on and totally wet. After weeks of foul weather, I weighed the pros and cons of my tent and the Flash 2, and decided that I'd give it a try and picked one up at my next stop. I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked the Flash 2. It was easy to set up, and I have to say much less work than having to attach a fly. Setting up for so many days you really notice the difference in how easy it was to set up. Though it weighed more, the extra room was really great as it felt like a luxury to have all that room after being in such a small tent. For me, the size made up for the little bit of extra weight. I also found myself really liking the two large zipper windows and with the overcast weather it was definitely more cheerful, and it helped to be able to look out to see the conditions and not have the rain drip into the tent. With my other tent I had to zip up the vestibule during rain and sit in a dark little tent. Then, when I had to open the vestibule, the rain usually dripped in. I was able to set it up while it was raining, which was great, but I found that there was a drawback in the morning when packing it up. In this moist environment the tent was covered by condensation, inside and out, including the inside of the fly. I use a fleece cloth to wipe the tent down before I pack it away, but was not able to do this with the inside of the fly and therefore had to pack it up still somewhat wet. When it was raining, I didn't even try and just packed it up wet. That of course made for a little moist tent when setting it up at night, but better that a totally drenched tent. I have gone over 1,000 miles and about 76 days, and really wished that I had gotten the Flas 2 sooner because I like it better than I thought. There are still those concerns of mine about the color and the aerodynamics. For me, having the spacious room and the cheerfulness of the windows the aerodynamics is a trade off that I so far can live with, unless of course I hit high winds again. One other thing that would make it a bit more usable would be larger or a few more inside pockets. It's always nice to stash you flask light, gear, etc., in those little nooks. I still have hundreds of miles and weeks to go, but from what I am experiencing, the Flash 2 FL Has been a nice upgrade and suits my current needs. Ted on Jun 10th 2015
I really like this tent. I almost didn't get it because of how yellow it looks in pictures, but to my surprise its much more of an off green. All of the positives to having this tent are pretty well documented if you do any research and they are spot on. I do have a few issues however. The set up and tear down is not very fast compared to a lot of other tents I've owned. You do save time with not having to attach a rain fly, but the poles are clumsy and kind of a pain. The 3 sections are attached making it rather obnoxious to work with. It is something that of course can be worked around by setting yourself up, but then again when you tear down they're flopping all over the place. The other issue is the awning has a sewn in metal frame of sorts. I haven't quite figured out the best way to pack it because of this. Usually I just grab a section and start stuffing, but with the frame I feel like I am about to tear the tent or break the frame. I am sure there must be some reason or way to deal with this though. The last issue is the size of the vestibules. I have a 70 and my girlfriend has a 60 pack that barely fit under there. There is also a pretty large space between the ground and bottom of the vestibule that gets splashed during a rain. Im not sure what size packs are in the drawings, but its a little misleading. All in all though its a good tent with room for my dog, me, and my girlfriend Derek on May 30th 2015