Home / Gear Reviews / Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 Tent Review

Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 Tent Review

manufactured by :
Philip Werner
Version:
2016
Price:
199.00

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On October 17, 2016
Last modified:October 19, 2016

Summary:

The Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 Tent (MSRP $199) isn't the lightest weight double-walled tent that you can buy, but it's easy to set up with a roomy interior that's still lightweight enough for backpacking if you split the load 2 ways. Featuring a unique roll-up front door and side wings, the Clip Flashlight 2 has excellent ventilation when the door is open or closed, while giving you the ability to see the stars or nature from the comfort of your sleeping bag. It's also a solid performer in wet weather, made with durable waterproof materials that will keep you high and dry.

Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight Tent (2016 model)
Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 Tent (updated)

The Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 Tent (MSRP $199) is a relaunch of old customer favorite with an updated design, fabrics and hardware. It’s a double-walled, two-person tent, lightweight enough for backpacking if the weight is shared (3.5 pounds), but also well-suited for car camping when you want a shelter that’s roomy for two and super easy to set up.

The inner tent of the Clip 2 Flashlight clips to two curved poles, making setup easy.
The inner tent of the Clip 2 Flashlight clips to two curved poles, making setup easy.

The tent is called the “Clip ” Flashlight 2 because the inner tent clips to two collapsible tent poles, ensuring good ventilation between the bug netting of the inner tent and exterior fly, and keeping internal condensation away from occupants. High sidewalls on the bathtub floor prevent rain water from entering the inner tent if you have to set up on “dished out” campsites that pool water in the rain.

The Clip 2 Flashlight has plenty of interior room for two people plus their gear.
The Clip 2 Flashlight has plenty of interior room for two people plus their gear.

The interior space of the Clip 2 Flashlight is quite comfortable, with lots of headroom, provided you sleep with your head at the front end of the tent. Large side pockets sewn into the inner tent hold a ton of personal effects and there’s extra space at the head and foot end and along the sides for your pillow, shoes, and other gear storage. The headroom at the front end of the tent is also excellent for sitting up, changing your clothes, and packing your gear the next morning.

The front door has two side zippers so it can be rolled open or unzipped on either side.
The front door has two side zippers so it can be rolled open or unzipped on either side.

Access in and out of the tent is good for two people, even though the tent has just one front door. This is because the front door has two side zippers and can be rolled up and away, eliminating the need to climb over and wake up your partner when you want to get out for a midnight stroll. Side wings along the front of the tent, help protect the front door from wind and blowing rain, while providing an unfettered view outside and excellent ventilation. This is my favorite feature of the tent.

The rear of the of the fly attaches to the inner tent using jakes foot connectors which let you save two extra stakes
The rear of the of the fly attaches to the inner tent using jakes foot connectors which let you save two extra stakes.

While the clip and curve pole architecture makes the Clip Flashlight 2 look like a freestanding tent, it isn’t. The inner tent requires a minimum of four corner stakes.

Unfortunately the stakes provided with the Clip Flashlight 2 Tent are terrible and bend easily if you pound them in with a rock or a wooden mallet. You’ll want to replace them with something much more durable like an MSR Groundhog stake. This is disappointing because the hardware included with other Sierra Designs tents I’ve reviewed recently (Lightning FL 2 and the High Route FL 2) has been so much better than what many other manufacturers normally include with their tents.

When closed, the front door creates a nice space for covered gear storage.
When closed, the front door creates a nice space for covered gear storage, but it can be tricky to get a super taught pitch in the rain fly.

The fly attaches to the rear stakes using jakes foot snap connectors, saving two stakes, but you’ll need an additional stake for the rear vent and two more for the wings of the front door. For maximum airflow between the inner and outer tent, I also suggest you stake out the two optional side stabilizer guylines which are attached to outside of the fly on the front pole. This helps stretch the fly as tight as it will go and maximizes the air gap between the inner tent and the rain fly. It’s hard to get a super tight pitch on the rain fly with this tent, but the side guylines do help.

When the front door is closed, it creates a large vestibule for gear storage…although storing gear there blocks entry and exit to the tent. The door closes with two side zippers, but it also has side velcro patches along the zipper tracks to “pat” it closed if you want to avoid making noise. However, the door is suboptimal if it’s been raining, the door is closed, and you want to get out of the tent. You’re going to get wet when you open one side of the door to exit and it brushes against your clothes. That’s true of just about any vestibule though.

While the Clip Flashlight 2 is made with 70 denier polyester and nylon, which is pretty heavy duty compared to a lot of recent lightweight double-walled tents made with much thinner materials, it’s still relatively lightweight at three and a half pounds. All in, it’s not a bad value when you factor in its interior roominess, ease of setup, and price. You can pay a lot more for a tent and get a lot less.

Likes

  • Easy to set up
  • Roomy interior
  • Great airflow between inner and outer tent
  • Lightweight enough for backpacking, if split two ways

Dislikes

  • Low quality tent stakes, easily deformed
  • Heavy material:
    • Inner tent: 68D 190T Poly Taffeta WR/PU 1500 mm
    • Rain fly: 70D Nylon Tafetta, WR/PU3000 mm

Recommendation

The Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 Tent (MSRP $199) isn’t the lightest weight double-walled tent that you can buy, but it’s easy to set up with a roomy interior that’s still lightweight enough for backpacking if you split the load 2 ways. Featuring a unique roll-up front door and side wings, the Clip Flashlight 2 has excellent ventilation when the door is open or closed, while giving you the ability to see the stars or nature from the comfort of your sleeping bag. It’s also a solid performer in wet weather, made with durable waterproof materials that will keep you high and dry in camp and on the trail.

Specs (measured by SectionHiker)

  • Minimum weight: 55.7 ounces (3 pounds 7.7 ounces)
  • Total weight: 62.7 ounces (3 pounds 14.7 ounces)
    • Inner tent: 20.3 ounces
    • Rain fly: 24.8 ounces
    • Poles (2): 10.6 ounces
    • Stakes (9) w/extra cords: 5.0
    • Stuff sack: 1.3 ounces
    • Pole/stake sack: 0.7 ounces
  • Inner Tent Height:
    • Head: 38″ (sides), 42″ (peak)
    • Midpoint: 29″
    • Foot: 23″
  • Inner Tent Width:
    • Head: 52″
    • Midpoint: 50″
    • Foot: 44″
  • Inner Tent Length: 86″

For complete specifications, visit the Sierra Designs Clip 2 Flashlight Product Page
Sierra Designs provided Philip Werner with a sample Clip 2 Flashlight tent for this review.


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19 comments

  1. The velcro patches you mention… these are also on the tents I own and they drive me nutty because it makes the door so hard to open and close, especially from the inside. That, and the rain flap snagging in the zipper pull.
    Tent makers should be using a rubberized waterproof zipper like we get on our hardshells.

    • There doesn’t seem to be any point in putting a waterproof zipper on tents (any tent) that’s going to be wet on the outside and inside from internal condensation in rain. Is there?

    • Those rubbery water-resistant (not waterproof) zippers aren’t dependable – they do slightly better in a vertical orientation like on a rain jacket but they inevitably leak in heavy rain and with extended use will wear enough to get leaky consistently. The chunky Vislon zippers do better but those add bulk where it isn’t really necessary. There are true waterproof zippers out there but those are quite a bit heavier and bulkier and fussy (and expensive). Fabric flaps with or without velcro insurance do a pretty great job in most circumstances and also help somewhat to reduce blowing dust getting onto the zips. I got in the habit decades ago of using a finger or fingertip as a guide in front of/beneath the zipper slider to prevent snags for tents, bags, most of my jackets…works great except sometimes if fabric tension is so noodly that you need two hands anyway. No doubt someone will or maybe already has put a “waterproof” zipper on a tent but that won’t be one that I’ll ever consider buying.

  2. My friend had the original Flashlight tent- if memory serves, he paid $150 in 1982. I ran that through an online inflation calculator and it’s $391 in 2016 dollars.
    I think that’s pretty typical. Backpacking gear is about half the price is used to be (and it’s a lot better now too).

  3. What is the total interior length? I have been looking for a low-cost smaller shelter for when I do solo trips. I’m a big guy (6’6″, 250 lbs), so most one-person tents just don’t do it for me.

    Do you have any other suggestions for large one/two person tents in the same price range?

    • See the specs listed in the post. I measured them myself since most manufacturers don’t list true interior dimensions.

      Your limited in this price range ($200 or less). I’d suggest looking at the Eureka Spitfire or Tents from Tarptent.com
      The Spitfire is not a bad tent, actually.
      http://amzn.to/2e1dtJ9

      • In my browser, at least, the length specs aren’t visible in your post. Just weight, height, and width.

      • my bad – forgot to add it from my notes – 86″ – I’ve updated the post as well.

      • Thank you for the suggestion. I looked at the Eureka Spitfire 2 is a very reasonable price, generous length, and a good weight reduction compared to my old Marmot Limelight (saving about 2 pounds).

    • I checked the Amazon link for the Spitfire and when I pulled up the page, it had the tent listed as 6 inches high and 6 inches wide, which just might be a tad undersized for a 6’6″, 250 lb. backpacker…

      …or maybe they have a typo in their specs?…

      …naaaah…

      • I saw that, too, and I kid you not, when I thought about saying something about it, I thought to myself, “I’ll bet Grandpa will see that and comment.” Honest-to-goodness truth!

      • Grandpa kept falling off mammoths and landing on his head when he was a child…

  4. Does the double zip on the front entry allow it to be setup in “front porch” mode?

  5. The fly-to-tent attachment is not the dreaded Jake’s Foot, which looks like this:
    http://dacpole.com/html/jakes_foot_new.htm

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