Last autumn, Sierra Designs sent me an early prototype version of their new Flashlight 1 UL tent, a lightweight, 1-person, hybrid single wall/double wall tent that can be pitched with trekking poles. Although it had some issues with internal condensation, I rather liked the prototype because it was so easy to set up in dense forest without requiring a lot of room to pitch.
The new updated version of the Flashlight 1 UL is now available commercially and significant improvements have been made to the ventilation, which is now on par with that found in many single wall ultralight tents.
In addition to shaving the weight of the tent, Sierra Designs refactored the big side vestibule and replaced it with a second aerodynamic “awning” that lets air flow through the tent more easily. The screen mesh behind each side window is also now backed with a 3/4 solid door which can be zipped up to reduce airflow and block horizontal rain or kept down to help vent heat and moisture buildup.
I’ve already had the new Flashlight 1 UL out in a wild thunderstorm and the awnings are quite effective at blocking rain from entering the tent without compromising air circulation. They’re also good at shedding wind and preventing your tent from becoming airborne, although it helps if you make the side guy out points (below the two peaks) on the awning taut when you pitch the tent.
The Flashlight 1 UL comes with one side vestibule which is large enough to fit a 70 liter backpack and completely enclose it. Last year, the Sierra Designs tent designers were calling this vestibule a ” gear closet” which can be left open for more ventilation or closed to completely shield your pack from the elements.
While the Flashlight 1 UL can be pitched with trekking poles to save on weight (5.8 oz), you still need to carry a foot hoop pole (3.5) which suspends the ventilated foot box. A minimum of 7 tent stakes are required to pitch the tent: four in the corners, one in the middle of the foot end, and two on the awning guy out points.
If rain threatens, it’s advisable to add two more guy out lines (2 extra cords and guy line adjusters are included for this) to the peaks to pull them backwards and down. Without this adjustment, the roof of the tent has a slight sag, which can lead to water pooling on the tent seam below the hoop. The seams on this tent are factory-taped so this water is unlikely to leak into the tent. Still, cinching the front guy under the hoop pole tights and adding the extra guy lines to the peaks to pull the roof taught will eliminate any chance of this entirely.
Here are the weights of the Flashlight 1 UL Tent broken out into its component elements.
- Foot-end pole: 3.5 ounces
- Side poles: 2.9 ounces x 2 = 5.8 ounces (can be replaced with trekking poles)
- Tent stakes: 0.4 ounces x 8 = 3.4 ounces (replaceable)
- Tent and stake bag: 0.5 ounces
- Tent bag: 0.6 ounces
- Tent body: 2.0 pounds (32 ounces) including all guy lines
That brings the total weight of the Flashlight 1 UL 1 Tent to 45.8 ounces with all of its packaged components.
If you were to discard all the bags, replace the side poles with trekking poles and replace with the stakes with Easton 6″ aluminum stakes weighing 0.2 ounces each, the Flashlight 1 UL’sweight drops to 37.1 ounces or 2 pounds 5.1 ounces which is pretty respectable for a lightweight tent.
The Sierra Designs Flashlight 1 UL tent is an extremely livable 1 person tent suitable for camping and backpacking. It’s very easy to pitch and its hybrid single well / double wall design prevents the inner tent from being soaked if you need to set it up in the pouring rain. Sierra Designs has significantly improved the airflow through the tent, which now has two mesh sidewalls, with 3/4 solid doors that can be raised to block cold wind if necessary. While somewhat boxy in shape, I like this tent because it requires very little space to set up, but still provides excellent interior space and external gear closets to store gear. I wouldn’t recommend this tent for use in very windy and exposed conditions, but it’s an excellent lightweight option for less demanding weather conditions. .
- Light weight
- Linelocs or mini cord adjusters on all guy lines.
- Can be pitched using trekking poles
- Ability to sit up completely
- Plenty of interior space for sleeping pad and gear
- Vertical walls maximize interior room and livability
- Light colored roof fabric lets in exterior light
- Color scheme is neutral and blends in well with landscape
- High bathtub floor protects against flooding
- Taped seams
- Hybrid rain fly and mesh design
- Additional solid fabric weather protection on side doors to block wind/dust
- Tie-outs on top of the apex peaks for added wind stability
- Number of Doors – 1
- Interior Area – 18.8 sq ft
- Gear Closet – 3.5 sq ft
- Peak Height 46″
- Awning Height – 31″
- Floor Material – 40D Nylon Ripstop, 3000 mm PU
- Body Material – 20D Nylon Ultralight Mesh
- Fly Material – 30D nylon Ripstop, Sil 1500 mm PU
Disclosure: Sierra Designs provided Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) with a complementary Flashlight 1 UL tent but Philip was not under any obligation to review it.
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