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Backpacker Magazine – April 2009

Gear Guide 2009: Sierra Designs Vapor Light 2 Tent Review

This top ultralight stood up to fierce winds in Alaska, and is a snap to set up.

by: Kelly Bastone

Sierra Designs Vapor Light 2 (Seth Hughes).
Sierra Designs Vapor Light 2 (Seth Hughes).

Gear Guide 2009: More 2-Person Tents
Search through our extensive library for more reviews.

Top Ultralight
Most double-wall tents in this rarified weight class flirt with durability or weatherproofing issues. Not the Vapor Light. Plus, it's not fussy to set up, like many ultralights, and it pitched drum-tight even without guying. "It held up well in 20-mph winds and even a couple of inches of snow in Alaska," reported one tester. The ultralight fabrics showed no wear after a summer of use. The Vapor Light's only concession is space, which is tight but sufficient for sub-six-footers. The 25-square-foot floor narrows at the foot, so sleeping pads overlap slightly, but that's mitigated by ample headroom that allows two people to sit up.

The single vestibule is similarly diminutive, sheltering two small packs. But if the tent fits, as they say, you'll like it in camp and love it in your pack. $329; 3 lbs. 4 oz. Sierradesigns.com

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READERS COMMENTS

Craig
Apr 24, 2011

I agree with another poster. My Six Moons Design Lunar DUO is an absolute dream. Love it.Love it. Love it. The only reason I would buy these others like the Vapor Light or REI T2 is for my son so he can share a tent with a hiking partner. From what I have read, the Vapor Light is too small for that; so I'm back to the T2. For solo hikes, I let my son use my Hennessy Hammock. 2.2lbs and absolutely awesome.

Dan
Oct 12, 2010

Most true ultra tents that you mentioned above, that are lighter, use trekking poles as the stakes for support. The trekking poles are not calculated in the weight. They are also not free standing.

Fu
Jul 31, 2010

This weighs a pound more than the Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2, but this tent is longer and is broader at the top. This tent can also be found for quite a bit cheaper than the Big Agnes. I haven't seen one in person, but I think this tent is competitive. Comparing to non-freestanding tents such as the Lunar Duo is an apples and oranges thing.

mjo
Jul 24, 2010

Are you kidding me... Anything under 3 pounds in ultralight. Sierra Dhey happen to be my favorite. I agree the pricing is high. I picked one up new for $120 with free shipping. Not bad

translus
Jan 21, 2010

you should think before you get so high up on a soapbox.
First of all, this is a freestanding tent. Second, you cant sit up in a seedhouse SL-2, and comparing a dual-wall to a single wall is just not a proper comparison

debmonster
Jul 07, 2009

This is a joke, right? The Big Agnes Seedhouse SL-2 provides more space (28 sq. ft), weighs less (2 lbs 14 oz), costs less and is freestanding. Tarptent makes the double-wall Scarp 2 that weighs exactly the same, has a freestanding mode AND has a 4-season option.

Most real ultralight folks use single wall tents anyway. Six Moon Designs makes the Lunar Duo that weighs just 2 lbs 11oz, has 2 doors and 2 huge vestibules, is incredibly spacious (34 sq. ft), totally stormproof, rarely has condensation issues if set up correctly thanks to the excellent mesh wall inserts and costs $50 less!

These guys need to get a clue if they are going to promote something as ultralight. This Sierra Designs tent is more like a car camper's version of ultralight.

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