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Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 Review

This lightweight tent is the right move if you want to move fast and light.
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Price:  $200 List | $149.96 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, compact, long
Cons:  Limited headroom, not enough stakes, single door
Manufacturer:   Sierra Designs
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 2, 2019
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 10
  • Comfort - 25% 4
  • Weight - 25% 10
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 5
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 5
  • Durability - 10% 6
  • Packed Size - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 is a lightweight budget tent that requires stakes to achieve livable volume. Its single front door is large and its mesh canopy allows for stargazing. The flashlight pocket is a little gimmicky but the cord that holds it up can also be used as a clothesline if you need to dry out small articles. There isn't a ton of headroom and it feels pretty cocoon-y. If you are into the lightweight single door tent, you should also check out the Big Agnes C Bar 2, which comes in at just about the same weight but is freestanding. We had a few issues with the Clip Flashlight 2 but if you're on a budget, it could be right for a backcountry adventure for two.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
Price $149.96 at Backcountry
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$159.00 at REI$158.95 at Amazon
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$199.95 at REI
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$169.00 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, compact, longTwo side doors, easy to pitch, large trapezoidal vestibulesHeadroom, large tent doors, ventilationLightweight, easy to pitchRoomy, two doors, included footprint
Cons Limited headroom, not enough stakes, single doorDoors can be annoying, heavyHeavy, unsteady in high wind, cheap stakesSmall interior, single door and vestibuleSmaller vestibules, small pockets, no top vents
Bottom Line This lightweight tent is the right move if you want to move fast and light.This basic tent is easy to set up and provides comfortable nights of camping on a budget.This spacious tent makes the most of its dimensions and offers plenty of features that will have you camping in comfort.A budget tent for those who want to minimize weight and don't mind sacrificing a fair bit of comfort.A comfortable camping tent that serves well in both the front and backcountry.
Rating Categories Clip Flashlight 2 REI Co-op Passage 2 The North Face Stormbreak 2 Big Agnes C Bar 2 Marmot Catalyst 2
Comfort (25%)
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
4
10
0
8
Weight (25%)
10
0
10
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
7
Weather Resistance (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
Ease Of Set Up (10%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
Durability (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
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7
Packed Size (10%)
10
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7
10
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5
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5
10
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8
10
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5
Specs Clip Flashlight 2 REI Co-op Passage 2 The North Face... Big Agnes C Bar 2 Marmot Catalyst 2
Measured Packaged Weight (pounds) 3.88 5.29 5.89 3.96 5.19
Floor Area (Sq ft) 30 33.75 30.5 28 32.5
Packed Size (inches) 6.5 x 19.5 7 x 22 7 x 22 6 x 19 7 x 21
Dimensions (inches) 89 x (52 x 45) x 42 88 x 52 x 40 87 x 50 x 43 86 x (52 x 42) x 4 88 x 53 x 44
Vestibule Area (Total, Sq Ft) 8.8 18.75 19 7 16.2
Peak Height (inches) 42 40 43 41 44
Number of Doors 1 2 2 1 2
Number of Poles 2 2 4 2 3
Pole Diameter 8.5 mm 8.5 mm Not provided Not provided 8.5/9 mm
Number of Pockets 2 + light pocket 4 + 2 door stuff pockets 4 3 2 + light pocket
Gear Loft Flashlight pocket Yes No No No
Pole Material DAC pressfit aluminum 7001 aluminum Aluminum DAC pressfit aluminum Velocity HD aluminum 7000
Guy Points 4 4 4 7 4
Rain Fly Material 68D 190T Poly Taffeta Coated polyester taffeta 68D lightweight polyester taffeta, 1200 mm PU Polyester taffeta 68D polyester
Inner Tent Material 70D Nylon Tafetta Nylon/Taffeta Mesh 68D polyester taffeta, 1500 mm PU coating Polyester & mesh 40D/68D polyester
Type Non-freestanding Freestanding Two door, freestanding Freestanding Freestanding

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 scores big for low weight. It also has a decent packed size, however, its comfort score and set up pull down toward the bottom half of this review.

Performance Comparison


This tent is a good budget model for the backcountry.
This tent is a good budget model for the backcountry.

Comfort


Overall, we have to say this tent has a cozy feel. It has average or slightly above average dimensions; its 89" is sufficiently long for six-foot sleepers. At 52" inches wide at the head, it also offers enough shoulder room, and the 42" peak height is also right on par with what we would expect in a budget tent. However, to keep the weight so low, this model has to taper pretty dramatically from head to toe. There is a narrow plane near the door where you can actually sit up comfortably.

You have to scoot back after you sit up if you don't want your head to rub up against the mesh.
You have to scoot back after you sit up if you don't want your head to rub up against the mesh.

The single head end door is large, but it isn't as convenient for two people as the double side doors that you can find in the The North Face Stormbreak 2 or the REI Passage 2. The vestibule space can accommodate two packs, but it won't really leave a whole of room for getting out of the tent.

This tent's namesake feature — the flashlight holder at the head — is fine, but it sort of feels like it is included just because. It's nice to the extent that having a holder for your headlamp or flashlight overhead is a good convenience feature, but the design of the pocket itself with the opening on the bottom makes directing the light more of a hassle than it needs to be. One thing that we did really appreciate though is the extra cord that holds up the flashlight pocket. This can be strung through the loops at the top of the tent to make a clothesline.

Our makeshift clotheslines with the flashlight pocket in the background.
Our makeshift clotheslines with the flashlight pocket in the background.

There are two decent sized pockets near the door, one on each side. We do really like the vestibule awning that can be pitched with a couple of trekking poles. It dramatically increases ventilation and creates a space for cooking or organizing outside of the tent.

The side pockets can hold plenty of small items to keep close at hand.
The side pockets can hold plenty of small items to keep close at hand.

If comfort is a top priority, we would direct you to the The North Face Stormbreak 2 or Mountainsmith Morrison 2.

Ease of Set Up


This tent is easy to pitch, but it is not freestanding. Two poles horseshoe around the head and the foot to create the structure and the corner stakes provide the tension to volume it out. The fly and tent have a color-coded corner, so you know everything is oriented properly and then the fly clips into place. There are a variety of points to stake out the tent. The bummer is that between the four corners of the tent and the seven stake points in the fly, we were left a couple short with the nine stakes that the tent came with.

This tent comes with two poles that provide rigidity. Here they are attached to the tent on the sides but not yet clipped to the main body.
This tent comes with two poles that provide rigidity. Here they are attached to the tent on the sides but not yet clipped to the main body.

For a tent with even easier setup, check out the REI Passage 2.

Weather Resistance


The Clip Flashlight 2 has decent weather resistance for a non-freestanding model. The fly keeps moisture away from the tent body when it is properly tensioned, but we found that it was difficult to get to that point. The front vestibule is long and sloping, so there is just a lot of fabric that can sag and flap in the wind. Because of the vestibule door design, if the fly is wet, you are almost certainly going to get wet getting in and out of the tent. There's just not a good way around it.

The flappy door is an obstacle to navigate when getting in and out.
The flappy door is an obstacle to navigate when getting in and out.

The amount of mesh makes for good ventilation, improved even more by the roll-up vestibule. However, there are no external vents, and the vestibule side flaps can really whip if they get caught in a crosswind.

We like that the vestibule runs low to the ground for weather protection but a stiff breeze makes it flap quite a bit.
We like that the vestibule runs low to the ground for weather protection but a stiff breeze makes it flap quite a bit.

The hex-shaped hook stakes are certainly sturdier than the typical silver hook stakes of many other budget tents, but since so much of the weather resistance of this model relies on its ability to stay staked out, we would consider upgrading to some shovel stakes that offer more gripping power.

If you like the front door design but want something with better weather resistance, we would recommend the Slumberjack Nightfall 2 or the Big Agnes C Bar 2.

Durability


The 68D polyester floor and 70D nylon fly are a unique combination of materials for a tent. We think that with the regular care this tent can last for years to come. This tent does have a high proportion of mesh, which is great for ventilation, it also just increases the probability of snagging it on something and starting a run.

We found that the vestibule zipper got caught quite a bit on the flap meant to keep out precipitation.
We found that the vestibule zipper got caught quite a bit on the flap meant to keep out precipitation.

Though not explicitly about durability, we aren't huge fans of the circus tent feel that the fly colors and pattern bring to the table. They are just decidedly not stealthy.

These stakes are certainly better than those that come with many budget tents but since it's a non-freestanding model and relies so heavily on them  we would consider upgrading right off the bat.
These stakes are certainly better than those that come with many budget tents but since it's a non-freestanding model and relies so heavily on them, we would consider upgrading right off the bat.

Weight & Packed Size


Coming in at 3 pounds, 14 ounces, the Clip Flashlight 2 is actually the lightest tent in this review, making it a nice option for the backcountry. Split between two people, each is carrying less than two pounds each — a very reasonable load for a budget tent. You will need a couple of extra stakes though if you want to tension out every point on the fly, which will nudge up the weight.

The Big Agnes C Bar (middle) compared to the Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight (left) and the ultralight backpacking tent Big Agnes Tiger Wall (right).
The Big Agnes C Bar (middle) compared to the Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight (left) and the ultralight backpacking tent Big Agnes Tiger Wall (right).

It has a packed size of 6.5" x 19.5" which is also smaller than most of the other tents in this review. We usually ditch it when we go on an adventure, but for what it's worth, it has a unique frontloading tent bag with compression straps that make it easier to store than the typical model.

Best Applications


This tent is best used in the backcountry. It offers the lightest load for two in this review, and its smaller dimensions make it a model for those who are looking to sleep in their tent rather than live in it. These same reasons are why it wouldn't be ideal for car camping or casual summer overnights — you could get away with it — there are just many more comfortable options out there.

Value


At $200, this tent costs the same amount as the almost-equally-lightweight Best Buy winning Big Agnes C Bar 2. With that in mind, we think it is a fair, but not exceptional value.

Conclusion


The Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 is a lightweight non-freestanding tent. It's a good inexpensive backcountry companion. It lacks some of the comfort features of many other less expensive (albeit heavier) models. It doesn't offer a huge amount of versatility, but it may just meet the needs of a couple of backpackers who want to keep it fast and light on a budget.


Ben Applebaum-Bauch