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Sierra Designs Lightyear
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neil miller
(neilthemeal) - F
Sierra Designs Lightyear on 02/17/2008 07:09:56 MST Print View

Well, after looking at one person tents for the last year I was in REI yesterday and they had a Light Year on sale for $50. At 3lbs4oz advertized weight I figured it was about the best deal I would ever get on a one person tent. I was told the sale would be going until monday, but this rei is on the other side of town, and it really wouldn't be worth driving home, researching the tent and then driving back, not to mention the chance of it selling.

I set it up in my basement this morning and I am fairly happy. The construction is solid. The setup is fast and easy. The weight was 3lbs5oz. Laying in it is not cramped for all 5'9", 140 pounds of me.

The thing that worries me is it not being freestanding. This is my first non-dome tent of any kind.

Either way it is about half the weight of me and my wifes current tent, and lighter than that tent in fastpack mode.

One thing that surprised me was that Sierra did a lot of things that would seem to add weight. Like the pole stuff sack being way to long and having a velcro closure. The inside had a lot of pockets, I need maybe one. I guess I'd rather have them put that stuff in, I can always trim it off.

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
A good, solid tent on 02/17/2008 07:56:52 MST Print View

Welcome to the cutting edge of ultralight backpacking gear, circa 1995 (-ish?). This tent has been around for quite some time, and is now a tried and true trail classic. Once upon a time, during thru-hiking season, there was hardly a night where every 20 mile stretch of the AT didn't have a SD Lightyear pitched alongside it.

Sure, the Lightyear could be made be made lighter and more functional, but for $50 you've got a very well tested shelter thats only 32 (+/-) ounces or so heavier than the latest and greatest single person fully enclosed shelter...which would cost you 4 times as much (very possibly more) as your price. With a pair of shears, I bet you can get that tent close to the 3 lb. mark (leave the stuffsack at home).

Don't sweat the tent not being freestanding. Few options lighter than your tent are. Even supposedly freestanding dome-style tents are almost always staked out to maximize stability, floorspace, or make the tent fly usable. I'd wager that the SD Lightyear has been pitched in pretty much every kind of terrain and has crossed the finish line of more thru hikes in the last 15 years than possibly any other double walled shelter. And, hey, you already set it up in your easy of a pitch was that?

Edited by rswanson on 02/17/2008 07:58:00 MST.

neil miller
(neilthemeal) - F
the reviews confirm it on 02/17/2008 08:41:12 MST Print View

Hey russell. I knew the design had been around a while. Thanks for feedback. It seems like 3 pounds is kind of the point of diminishing returns as far as shelters go without going with a tarp. My leading choice up til getting the Lightyear was to get a BD Lighthouse, to use for both 3 season mountaineering and my solo shelter. I think I'll be better off having a dedicated shelter for both.

I'm definately on my way to going light. Pocket rocket, GSI al pot, cell foam pad and now a 3.3 pound tent. All I need now is a lightweight sleeping bag and I'll be content.

Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Re: the reviews confirm it on 02/18/2008 11:53:28 MST Print View

"All I need now is a lightweight sleeping bag and I'll be content."

Famous last words...

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Sierra Designs Lightyear on 02/18/2008 12:18:33 MST Print View


Regarding whether non-freestanding might be an issue -- a question to ask yourself: In the last few years of camping, how many times did you camp at places where you simply couldn't and didn't stake down your dome tents and there was just nowhere else nearby where you could? Those will be the occasions where the SD Lightyear won't work for you. My hunch, however, is that the number is somewhere between very low and zero.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Sierra Designs Lightyear on 02/18/2008 14:20:10 MST Print View

> how many times did you camp at places where you simply couldn't and didn't stake down your dome tents and there was just nowhere else nearby where you could?

I use a tunnel tent, and that HAS to be staked. In all my years I have never found a place where I could not anchor the tent. About the funniest place was on top of a very large boulder in a steep gully - it had a flat top nearly horizontal. Room for two. I used some sticks and rocks as anchors. The gully itself was ... interesting ...