Friday, February 09, 2007

Sierra Design's "Light Year" -- Ahead of Its Class

Looks like all my gear is making it onto the blogosphere! Steven Leckart shares his thoughts on Sierra Design's one-person tent:

Two ultra-light poles, rainfly, a nylon case and tent weigh in under four pounds. Packed up, this compact three-season tent is a little longer than a shoebox. Unpacked, it isn't spacious (about 20 sq. ft.), but there's more than enough room to stash a mid-sized pack in the event of a downpour or just to use as a headboard while reading -- try that in a bivy sack. Backpackers will also appreciate the quick, intuitive set up: clip the poles to eight hooks, insert the four pole ends into grommets at the base, and drive five stakes (the fifth is for the door). If you need the rain guard, the shape of this tent - as opposed to a dome - makes it obvious to surmise what goes where. Throw it on, fasten a couple Velcro straps to marry the fly to the poles, and be sure the stakes go through the holes at the base of the fly. Lastly, drive a sixth stake for the "entryway." All of this takes maybe three minutes and the learning curve is rapid.

I spent two months in the tropics crashing in this tent (i.e. escaping mosquitoes). Even on a sandy beach, a heavy rock or two worked great to maintain the tension needed to retain the door's shape. The tent also held its own in a number of windy rainstorms, and I've since used it for wintertime jaunts into the coastal hills of Northern California, which isn't exactly the High Sierras, but hey, there can be morning frost. To this day: no tears, no leaks, no busted seams. Since I purchased mine in 2000, Sierra Designs apparently added a more resistant silicone coat to the rainfly and knocked off a few ounces by switching to even lighter poles.

While I haven't quite put it through the paces Steve has, I've spent several weeks sleeping in mine over the past few years and it has saved me many a night's hotel bill. I've used it on road trips and taken it hiking on several occassions. It is small enough to fit in my lumbar back. (I've gone on one overnight that way.) I can attest to the 3-minute set-up. The small footprint means you can set it up almost anywhere.

This too is available on Amazon. See the product page here.

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