We are taking a closer look at the Flashlight UL series of tents by Sierra Designs. For years a favorite among backpackers has been the Sierra Designs clip flashlight two tent. It is hard to change a classic, but Sierra Designs has done it here with this tent.
This series of tents are none free standing, so you do have to stick it into the ground and they are a hybrid single, double wall design.
As you can see with the UL-2 you have two doors and two gear closets. With a traditional vestibule that comes out from the door you generally have to move your gear out of the way in order to get in the tent. In order to get out you kind of have to move your gear. Either bring it into the tent or move it out of the way. And with this style, you can see this is what Sierra Designs calls the gear closet right here. We have your door, two zippers. You are able to get in and out of the tent with my gear stored inside the gear closet.
With this gear closet design you have three different positions for where you can position the door of the gear closet. I have it open right now. So if you want a lot of ventilation with this tent, you don't have inclement weather, you can really open that up. You have plenty of room to store your gear. My back pack under there, boots or, you know, another piece of gear in there. If I want to secure the gear inside the gear closet I have a little clip right there and you can see that really seals it off, makes it a nice protected area. And if you want a little bit more protection you have more rain coming in, you can secure that on the third clip.
As you can see, I have got the gear closet closed and I have my backpack. Now drag that in there and I have that clip shut. It is really easy for me to get in and out of the tent. My gear isn’t in the way. And, again, if I need a little bit more protection from the weather, clip that off and zip up the tent.
As you can see, the UL-2 has two doors with identical sized gear closets, so plenty of space for two backpackers to store both their gear and themselves. On the UL-1 there is only one door and one gear closet.
I want to highlight all of the mesh venting that is in this tent. You have mesh venting on three sides. So, again, this is a single wall, double wall hybrid design. There is no separate rain fly for this tent. And so one of the biggest downfalls to a single wall tent is you get condensation built up on the inside, because there is not a lot of venting, because there is no space between the mesh tent and the rain fly. So what Sierra Designs has done is built a really nice design that allows for lots of ventilation in this tent.
You can see behind me this waterproof window on the tent can be folded down on both sides and then it reveals that mesh. So that adds a lot of breathability to this tent and, you know, if you have a lot of weather coming in, you can really just zip that up and protect yourself from the elements.
While I am inside the tent, I do want to show how much livable space there is for an ultra light weight tent. I have a 20 inch wide sleeping pad with my sleeping bag and, as you can see, I am able to sit up really well in this tent. My head is not hitting the top. I can see two backpackers able to sit inside, sit up in this tent if you need to spend a lot of time in here, there is a lot of bad weather, even, you know, play cards. I can see the ability to be able to cook right outside of your tent. So just a lot of livable space inside of this UL-2.
Again, this is a non-freestanding tarp style tent. So Sierra Designs has given a very interesting pole structure that you can take the vertical 46 inch poles that are given with the tent and replace them with trekking poles. This is going to shave six ounces off of your pack weight.
If we go down to the other pole given this is a required pole and we are going to take a look at that.
As I am setting the tent up, I just want to mention that this pole section right here is going to be the only pole section you need to bring with you if you are bringing trekking poles on your backpacking trip. And you can see how small that folds up. It doesn’t take up much room. They are really durable DAC poles. And the connectors in between each section are very durable. Looks like they are going to hold up very well.
This is going to be the ridge line right at the foot of the tent. Just show how to set that up. Simple clip design. And you stake it out at the bottom and you have it set up.
It should be noted that there is not a footprint available for the Flashlight UL series or tents. You have a 40 deep seam sealed rip stop nylon floor and 30D throughout. So you do have a lot of weather protection, a lot of water protection with that waterproof nylon. Should you choose to leave the 46 inch vertical poles at home, this is going to shave six ounces off of your pack weight. So without these poles the UL-2 is going not weigh in at three pounds eight ounces.
All in all, the Flashlight series tents by Sierra Designs are very livable, breathable tarp style tents that offer may features that you might not find in other backpacking tents in this weight category.
For backpackers who think that comfort and light weight should go hand in hand, the flashlight UL series by Sierra Designs.
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