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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2013

Editors' Choice 2013: Sierra Designs Flash 2 Tent

Score a tent that has it all: low weight and impressive durability, plus ample living space and solid storm protection.

by: The Backpacker Editors

Sierra Designs Flash 2 (Ben Fullerton)
Sierra Designs Flash 2 (Ben Fullerton)

Tent designers have long used single-wall designs to cut weight, but the tradeoff has often been steam-room-style condensation. The Flash 2 solves the problem with a hybrid single/double-wall construction that maximizes ventilation and provides surprisingly livable features for a sub-four-pound tent. Since there’s no separate fly to attach, setup is particularly fast, using one hubbed pole that clips to the outside. “I had to pitch it in a hurry during a thunderstorm in Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness, and the integrated fly kept the interior dry,” says one tester, noting that it proved stable in sustained 30-mph wind. “It’s very airy and well-ventilated for warm nights, too,” reports another. Even dripping-damp conditions in Mt. Rainier National Park failed to create condensation (mesh side doors and covered vents on the ends allow cross breezes).

An 8-inch gap between the fly and ground enhances ventilation as well, and it only allowed some minor mist to penetrate during Superstorm Sandy, when AT-hiking testers were camped near Manchester, Vermont. At 85 inches long, it’s not for the tallest hikers (our 6’6” tester’s head and feet touched the ends), but the 30-square-foot floor is reasonable for two adults, who can sit up without smooching mesh thanks to steep walls and a 39-inch peak height. The two 8-square-foot vestibules offer lavish space for gear storage and cooking. And compared to the expensive, 10-denier materials used by many of the lightest double-wall models, the Flash uses 20- and 40-denier nylon, which increases durability and keeps the price reasonable. $340; 3 lbs. 15 oz.;

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