*New tents will be posted on the site in January when the 2014 models arrive for delivery.
*For those wanting the inside scoop sooner, I posed the relevant pages of the workbook on a new sierra designs page at zenbivy.com Note: I crossed out the wholesale price, which is what retailers pay before any discounts we give them. For some insight into the corporate greed, we charge the retailer about half of the retail price, so I am selling them a $300 tent for a smidge over $150.
*only one of our 2 person tents has a single door. The Flashlight, our lightest tent, has two doors. When I was talking about a single door, I was referring to getting in and out of the tent. Tents with vestibules require you to open and close 2 doors, plus crawl over your gear, plus they crush ventilation. Vestibules, IMO, are just about the worst thing you can do to a 3S tent. The first vestibule was done by TNF when they converted the venerable VE24 to the VE25. They were used to eliminate snow tunnels, so that a person could get into a vestibule, then shut the inner tent before opening the next door. Sort of a storm chamber that eliminated shimming through a storm tunnel in bad weather. Then people figured out you could cook and store there, and most tents have been ruined following this model ever since. Gear stored in the door is not smart. Two doors on a 3S tent is not smart. Killing ventilation on 3S tents is not smart. Vestibules do all these things, which is why you won't find any on SD tents anymore.
*The new flashlight is reminiscent of the Zoid (I used to be the S&M Director at MSR, and I was the one who started MSR tents from the remains of Moss and Walrus. Unlike the Zoid, the front poles are vertical, and can be replaced with trekking poles. Plus, there is no vestibule blocking the door and hindering ventilation, the gear storage is moved away from the door, and the door creates a huge vent that you can open in bad weather, and a nice window that you can always see out of. I live in the Northwest, and nearly every shelter on the market (except for the MSR Missing Link/Faststash) require you to close the tent up in bad weather. In most cases, you can't even get in and out without water coming into the tent interior. To be truly comfortable, a tent has to both vent in worst case conditions, and you MUST be able to see outside in poor weather, so you avoid that cooped up feeling, and you MUST be able to cook. ALL SD tents allow all three, because the door is no longer a door, it is a wall that can be height customized (drop door can be zipped up part way to block lower wind, but still get over it to cook (and see), it is a HUGE vent (really the best part, which allows us to get away from double walls and use it like a real tarp. The key is the awning over the door. When I named the Missing Link in 2002, that is what saw. Most people saw a funky ugly trekking pole single wall freak show (which is was), I saw the future: awnings over doorways fundamentally redefine the experience. Every SD tent is descendant from the MSR Missing Link, the shelter I use in most conditions to this day. We even have mostly double wall (they are all exoskeleton/hybrids) freestanding versions, but they all have awnings and drop doors, and are dramatically more livable as a result. Think about it: isn't this freedom why most of us love tarps? Is it really all about weight?
*I will do a quick video of the Flashlight 2 and post it to the SD page on zenbivy.com; I'll try to do it today but priority is to get off this computer and outside before the rain comes this afternoon....
*EN ratings are not in the workbook, since they were still being tested at print. But yes, the 28 degree number is the Limit (not extreme, that is something else), the comfort rating is 38 degrees.
*Regarding Lance's questions comparing the SD quilt to the HG Burrow 20. I am not familiar with that bag, but I can tell you there is no rocket science to the weight of any of these bags. Ounces of down (given the same fill power) is probably your best comparison tool for judging relative warmth of bags that are not EN rated. Beyond that, weight is a simple factor of size and material weight. So, though I admit I have no idea, I doubt that bag would rate at 20 degrees on the EN test (In fact I know it wouldn't, since it does not insulate the head, but just speaking relatively). But with super high fill power down, and an uber light shell, it is certainly conceivable.
*Lance: you nailed it: "Are you going after what you perceive as a gap between the commercial and the cottage gear maker? What I am seeing is something in the middle." I even have this funky chart in my business plan that shows the "gap" you refer to, with the following caption:
"In general, our competitors are not providing much that is very interesting. Since our objective is to produce products that fundamentally change the customer dialogue so that we change the state of the marketplace, in total defiance of anything that could be considered status quo, it is pointless to review them in detail.
Competitively, all the “big brands” are nicely piled on top of one another, each fighting for the same space using the same “aspirational” marketing model. Meanwhile, when it comes to Sierra Design’s core activities of backpacking and hiking, the big brands are doing nothing innovative. As a result, many of the enthusiast level backpacking and hiking customers have deserted the traditional outdoor marketplace, and a small but dedicated cottage industry has grown to fulfill the need created by simply being ignored by the big brands.
And there exists a void, a white space, and a key opportunity for Sierra Designs."
Then I have a big arrow that shows are vision of customers moving from the traditional toward the dedicated enthusiast. As has been stated in this thread over and over, there is not much that Sierra Designs can bring to the enthusiast crowd that you are not already getting (but there is some). Our real mission is to provide real ways to turn casual backpackers into dedicated backpackers, by making the experience light and comfortable. Right now, if you want to go backpacking, and you walk in to an REI, what you walk out with is generally crap that is both heavy AND uncomfortable. But that is what people do all the time, and I hate it, because many people who have that experience simply stop participating, which is a shame. More backpackers means more emphasis on resource protection, and more people who share our passion for the wild places. If I have my way, Sierra Designs will actually GROW the cottage industry by introducing more people to new and better thinking.
I showed this slide to the buyer of a major retailer, and no kidding, the buyer said "what is this cottage industry you are talking about?" He had no clue that you guys even existed, or that people were so passionate about backpacking.
Now, some of you may not want the average Joe to become more involved in backpacking. For me, just about the last thing I want to see on my trips is another backpacker. But I think that more backpackers is a good thing, because more backpackers means more voices, and hopefully more protected wild places for us to wander. Readers of this forum may need to wander farther to obtain solitude, but keep making those packs lighter and you can do just that!