- Sleeping Bags
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I love the design and innovative aspect of this tent. It's a good start. My recomendtions are to make the vestible doors bigger and to decrease the condensation as I always seem to have water at the foot of the tent. Have not had it out in inclement weather yet. Nabesa on Jun 25th 2016
First off: the quality of this tent is excellent. It is impressive that SD was able to design a tent with 30+ sq ft at less than 3 lbs (if you leave a few stakes at home). Materials and coatings are top notch- SD uses polyester instead of nylon for the rain fly, which is a significant advantage and should not be understated. Few other tents in this category use polyester. SD includes good quality stakes and all the guylines, which is also a bonus (some companies skimp in that respect). Also, there are lots of well-thought out design specifics (awning, big door, etc) that I'm sure you can read about in other descriptions/reviews.
The bad: the hybrid single-wall design has its drawbacks and that is the price you pay for the weight advantage. The single wall does not leak, but condensation is a problem in the lower half of the tent, even with the big window completely unzipped. Moisture collects on the walls, drips down onto the floor and is trapped inside the tent, where it eventually soaks sleeping bag and sleeping pad. Additionally (and perhaps more importantly), the tent is slow to dry because you can't separate the rain fly from the tent body. This may not sound like a big deal, but it has become a significant nuisance for me to get the tent dry after a trip. This also means that on multi-day trips you inevitably put the tent away wet in the morning and wind up hiking with a wet tent, even if you don't encounter any rainfall during the trip.
Folks generally mitigate the condensation issue by sopping up the water with a pack towel; in my opinion you shouldn't have to do that with with a $400 tent. I live in the pacific NW, where the condensation problem is exacerbated by high humidity and cold temps at night. A person in a more arid climate might not have such significant condensation problems. Condensation is something to really think about if you are considering buying this tent. A few other notes: I'm 6'3 and use an XL sleeping pad and sleeping bag (both 78" long). The tent is long enough, but only by a few inches; I'm happy the big door is nearly vertical. My GF and I both fit width-wise with no problems. The vestibules do not come all the way to the ground, you can see this in the pictures. Undoubtedly this is to improve ventilation, but gear can get wet under the vestibules because of splashing, wind, etc. I put my pack cover over my backpack before going to bed, and put shoes, etc. on top of the pack to stay dry. No big problem there.
All in all, I would say the Lightning FL is a good 2-person tent, and a very good 1-person tent (less condensation with one person, very spacious, still acceptable weight for 1p shelter). I couldn't ask for more in terms of build quality, material selection, and pole/stake quality. I'm still evaluating whether I will switch back to a true double-wall tent, but overall I am happy with this tent despite the condensation problems. I applaud SD for stepping away from the norm and engineering some unique, innovative designs in their tents. Luke on Jun 23rd 2016
This is a good tent. It is light, extremely simple and fast to setup, and spacious for two on the interior. The gear closets on either side are useful and fit all the gear you need when backpacking. However, the single wall design on the foot (approx. waist down) end of the tent is its downfall. I spent 2 weeks backpacking in New Hampshire's White Mountains, where it rained almost every night, in this tent. I invariably woke up with the bottom half of the tent soaked, including my sleeping bag. One morning there was even a puddle in the corner. I tried leaving both the foot and head openings open for ventilation, but problems persisted nonetheless. Whether this is a leakage or a condensation problem I do not know, but it is not something to be ignored. Otherwise, good tent. Stephen on Apr 12th 2016
This is a fantastic lightweight tent that is ridiculous quick and easy to set up! I have been using this tent when training for and competing in a mountain marathon where me and my team mate carried all our gear during a 55-mile long race, climbing 20,000 vertical feet of elevation in the very north of Sweden. My Lightning 2 FL worked great and we finished on 2nd place! I don't compromise with quality when choosing gear and I train all year around with this tent. It kept me dry during a 48h heavy rain in the Austrian alps and saved me up in the Norwegian mountains when my backpack was based on a forecast for sun and blue sky that instead turned into very heavy wind and snow. Another cool feature with this tent is the innovative design enabling an "undertheawning" view that is unlike any other tent. One of my most memorable mornings during 2015 was waking up in the tent in Lofoten (Norway) with a stunning view of the sun setting over a still ocean covered by super steep mountains. There are also several clever features as e.g. you cant lose a tent pole because they are attached as a "spine" for the tent, tent pegs being easy to grab from the ground due to small string attached and the bag for the tent being split into two parts if you want to share the weight while hiking. The lightning 2 FL is well thought through and very enjoyable tent that I definitely recommend! Jens on Feb 16th 2016
This review is about the UL version. I have had the tent for a year now, in that time I have used it over a dozen times. I love this tent. It's very fast to setup because of the hybrid tent/rain fly design. I go camping a lot with friends who have traditional tent designs and I am always setup and ready in half the time. The large door and awning are much better for backpack camping then a vestibule. I have spent several afternoons inside the tent, with the door mesh open, reading a book. The open airy feel is fantastic. The gear closets are just big enough for the average weekend backpack, I would be surprised if it could fit a 55-60L inside. I place my 35L bag and shoes in there without a problem. I was worried the interior space might be cramped for two grown men, but I have shared this tent with my buddy and we were both surprised at how much room we had, never once did we touch each other during the night. Having one door might be the only negative this has over a traditional tent, but the sacrifice is understandable to save weight. It isn't that big an issue since the door is large and easy to get in and out of. My friend got out one morning to go to the bathroom and I never woke up. My only complaint is the tent cannot be randomly stuffed into the storage bag because of the plastic rods used support the awning and top of the tent. They help to increase the awning width and the vertical area inside the tent, but you have to pack up the tent in a specific way to roll the rods into the fabric. After 1 to 2 pack downs it's not an issues, it just means the tent can't be stuffed into a backpack willie-nillie style. The storage sack is more than adequate in size for the tent, it's never an issue getting it back in. I have not had any issues with the quality of the materials of the fabrication. I do have the footprint, but I only use that for car camping trips. I had one night of use where it rained, no moisture came into the tent. I have woken up in the morning with very light condensation on the inside of the tent, but nothing more than I would expect from any other tent, and nothing I would have been concerned with. Overall, a great tent which I highly recommend. I continue to enjoy the innovations and out-of-the-box thinking Sierra Designs does. Keep up the good work. Bill on Sep 1st 2015
Just got back from a 4 night backpacking hunting trip and had to sit down to write a review of the Lightning 2 FL. It was all that was promised, and more. The innovative pole and click system allows for very quick setup. I did not get a chance to practice-pitch this tent before my first night, but I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it went together. I was able to set the tent up in 5 minutes, in the dark no less! The extremely large "D" style front door makes it very easy to get in and out of. Next, the extremely large and spacious interior. I am large 6'3" and 220lbs. I am broad shouldered and am used to 2 person tents feeling like 1.5 person tents. Though I suspect that one large and one small adult would fit width wise and still have wiggle room. The ceiling height is ample. I could kneel upright and had headroom to spare. The interior gear-hooks came in handy to clip my lantern to at night. But the most note worthly thing to mention is the big V, Ventilation! This thing is awesome at allowing moisture to escape while somehow keeping occupants warm. We hit some nights in the low 40s' and despite reaching a temperature well below due point, the tent only had the smallest amount of condensation in the morning. And after opening up the front vent on the front "D" door, what little condensation formed would dissipate in minutes. In fact, today we had a storm roll in. It rained on us for 2 hours before we broke down camp. My hunting partner's Big Agnes tent had so much condensation around the gable edges that water was actually dripping onto their gear and floor. I had the vent open on the front door and had zero conedensation in the tent. That's right ZERO!! condensation in the middle of an afternoon rainstorm. Nothing but glowing reviews for this company and for the Lightning 2 FL. SD hit another one right out of the park. Steve on Aug 30th 2015
Light weight, super fast pitch and roomier than I expected. The side-accessable gear garages are brilliant. With the two gear garages staked out, the inside has an airy feel of being a much bigger tent. Be careful to not let the wind blow this tent across abrasive surfaces. The light fabric is strong but not abrasion resistant so treat it nicely. Mark on Aug 2nd 2015
Really enjoy this tent. First SD tent and love the really well thought out design. The integrated rainfly makes for such an easy set up. Throw in the pre-connected poles configuration, and setup was a breeze. Quality materials. I did feel that the floor was a little thin to be used without a footprint as SD suggest, but maybe that's just me. We had rain overnight and the garages performed admirably and kept everything dry. I do with the doors into the garages were a little larger, I often felt like a mad scientist trying to manipulate hazardous materials through a protective barrier as I tried to get stuff out of my pack in the morning. But it's not that bad. Accessing them via the outside is simple using the line locks. I went ahead a used the included guy-lines and man, that thing it stable. Over kill for our NM trip. Great tent, super light, plenty of room for two people (a little tight, but manageable for my wife and myself), and well made. Very happy with the purchase... Steven on Jul 27th 2015
Just got back from a trip on the JMT and this tent performed AMAZING! Through rain, hail, below freezing, to warm sunny days... Loved having 2 separate gear boxes! We ditched the stuff sacks and took only 4 stakes for weight. I would definitely recommend this tent! Bill on Jul 8th 2015
This is a great tent! It's so light and packable and the attached rain fly makes set up really quick. I just camped through a storm in it and it did great. Would definitely recommend pallavi on Jun 15th 2015