The Sierra Designs LT Strike 2 uses a radical pole design to make a roomy two-person tent. The Strike is listed as the company’s lightest two-person tent and has the space to actually be usable for two to hang out in. I used it as a solo tent as well as with another sleeper in both three- and four-season conditions.
Design and Features
The Sierra Designs LT Strike 2 is a non-freestanding tent that is the newest addition to the company’s Ultralight Series of backpacking shelters. While they list it as being their lightest two-person tent, I found the actual weight to take it over their Vapor Light 2. As far as I can tell, my version is a retail unit, not a prototype, so maybe they just haven't updated the website.
The most distinctive aspect of the Strike is the new Eye Pole design employed. It drew comments every time I set it up. When the two poles are connected by way of hubs, they make an ellipse with two legs. Those legs go into Jake’s Feet attachment points in two corners, leaving the ellipse above the tent. The opposite corners of the tent must be staked, and the 22.5-ounce (638-g) inner tent clips to the poles by means of eight Ultralight Clips. The result is a very spacious interior.
As may be seen in the pictures, the space is asymmetrical with high ends at opposite corners. This lets two people share the same head room without being forced to sit cheek-by-jowl. The fact that the two mesh gear storage pockets are also at opposite corners makes it obvious that SD expects the tent to be used to sleep two foot-to-head.
Top: The 3.51-pound (1.59-kg) trail weight Strike 2 uses an Eye Pole design to pull the side walls to nearly vertical in areas, making for a very nice two-person abode. The stated 50-inch (127-cm) width is accurate. Bottom: The rain fly fully encloses the tent and has two vestibules to provide plenty of covered storage.
Top: The rain fly has two very spacious vestibules that allow plenty of storage while still allowing easy access to the tent. Bottom left: The poles go into Jake’s Feet anchoring systems, which also hold the fly. The fly tensions with a strap. Bottom right: On the non-pole corners, a stake pulls the tent out and anchors it. Fastex clips hold the fly to the corners and tension with nylon cord.
The 19.9-ounce (5640g) rain fly goes over the poles and attaches at the Jake’s Feet with a clipping hook. The other corners use good old Fastex clips. The two spacious vestibules are formed by pulling the fly away from the dual doors. Waterproof zippers sit in “parking garages” when zipped to the top to keep drips out. This is needed, as the top of the vestibule openings meet right at the top of the inner tent. The only way to get high/low air movement is by opening the top of the vestibule doors since there are no high vents in the fly.
Sierra Designs send just enough DAC J stakes to peg down the corners and pull out the vestibules. To further guy out the tent, more stakes need to be buyer-supplied. They do send plenty of storage sacks. We get a large stuff sack that weighs 1.8 ounces (51 g), a 0.3-ounce (9-g) stake sack and an over-kill 0.7-ounce (20-g), 31-inch (79-cm) long sack to hold the 14-inch (36-cm) long poles. I never used this sack.
I was able to use the LT Strike 2 in California in great three-season conditions as well as at the end of winter in Minnesota. My son (who lives in Minnesota and spends a week with me each month) wanted to try spending a night in a tent in the snow. His twin sister had no such desire (must have got mom’s smarts...), so I set up the Strike right outside the living room window where Emma could see us. I set up on top of about eight inches (20 cm) of melting snow pack. Soon after we turned in that night, it started hailing, later turning to rain, forcing me to button up the vestibule I had left open to see the window. There was a pretty good wind blowing, but once I shut the doors there was nothing much making it inside. We experienced some severe condensation.
In California the rains were finally over, and I was able to use the Strike in my favorite manner: that of inner mesh tent alone. I spent a night solo at Fisherman’s Camp in the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness.
I was able to use it with another BackpackingLight member in the Sespe Wilderness. We stayed at Willet Camp at 2,600 feet (792 m) elevation where it got down to just above freezing. There was no wind on the night above the banks of Sespe Creek. I lost my camera (most likely during one of the twenty stream crossings we had), so have no pictures from this trip.
Top: The Strike set up on rapidly melting snow at the end of winter. Bottom: Even with warm, puffy down bags, Raymond and I had plenty of room in the tent. Heavy rain with moderate wind never broached the Strike’s defenses, but the condensation did get quite heavy.
I found the LT Strike 2 to be a pretty nice tent for two people. The pole design really works well to give a lot of interior room. In the Sespe Wilderness one of our group retired early, leaving the other two of us to sit up talking. The mosquitoes got pretty bad, so we decided to move the discussion inside the Strike. It had plenty of room for us both to sit up without crowding the other, and we were able to laugh at the frustrated whining horde on the other side of the mesh.
The actual 50-inch (127-cm) width of it let us sleep later without encroaching on the other’s space. In fact the Strike has room to use two large pads, should you need it. I would like to see Sierra Designs put a high vent or two on the fly. This would help a lot to move moisture out of the tent when the weather forces the vestibule doors to remain closed.
As a solo tent, this was a palace. With my little quilt inside, the Strike still looked empty. At Fisherman’s Creek I brought a book and some Scotch and read inside away from the numerous bugs, enjoying the afternoon in my spacious tent.
One thing that needs to be remembered is that this tent needs to be staked well. I have used rocks to hold stake points when above tree-line in the rocky Sierra Nevada, but the Strike’s design makes it hard to get the kind of support it needs in this fashion. Without the two pole-less corners secured well, any wind will cause the Eye Pole (and attached tent) to flip on its side.
While I used the Strike on snow, I would be hesitant to use it any time I expected snow to fall. The large flat area of the fly created by the Eye just begs to be overloaded by collecting snow, possibly leading to collapse. Heavy rain was not a problem at all though.
The LT Strike 2 as a solo palace on a beautiful spring day in Cleveland National Forest. It just doesn’t get any better than this (and then the Swedish Bikini Team dropped in...).
Dare to Compare
Trying to compare tents with like attributes, I would say that the Strike stacks up to the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 and the Big Sky International Evolution 2. The Strike has more livable space than either with its steep sides, but it weighs more too. Both other tents use high vents to help control condensation, and I know from personal experience that the Copper Spur will handle all but the worst snow storms. With it carbon fiber pole option, the Evolution wins in the weight category, although that comes with added expense.
- Light weight.
- Good floor space.
- Great interior volume.
- Large vestibules.
What's Not So Good
- Vestibule doors don’t protect the inner if open at the top during inclement weather.
- Because of same, condensation is more of a problem than it could be.
- Flat area above Eye Pole will collect snow if surprised by a snow storm.
|Year/Manufacturer/Model||2010 Sierra Designs LT Strike 2 Two Person Tent|
|Style||Three-season, two-person, double-wall tent.|
|Fabrics||Body: 20D nylon mesh
Floor: 3000mm 70D nylon polyurethane coated
Fly: 1500mm 40D HT nylon
|Poles and Stakes||Poles: 8.5 mm DAC Featherlite NSL poles, total weight 13 oz (369 g)
Stakes: 6 ea 6.25 in (15.9 cm) DAC aluminum J stakes, total weight 2.4 oz (68 g)
|Dimensions||Length Listed: 83 in (211 cm)
Width Listed: 50 In (127 cm)
Inside Height Listed: 37 in (94 cm)
BPL Verified Accurate
|Packed Size||6 x 18 in (15 x 46 cm)|
|Total Weight||Listed Weight: 3.69 lb (1.67 kg)
BPL Measured Weight: 3.85 lb (1.75 kg)
|BPL Trail Weight||3.51 lb (1.59 kg)|
|Protected Area||Floor Area: 29 ft2 (2.7 m2)
Vestibule Area: 18 ft2 (1.67 m2)
|Protected Area/Trail Weight Ratio||13.39 ft2/lb (2.79 m2/kg)|