Sierra Designs has established itself as one of the most innovative tentmakers out there and the Sweet Suite 2 show’s they’ve still got it. Weight to volume ratio is hard to beat and there’s a host of innovative features that help make this tent easy and fun to use. It’s a great choice for anyone who values weight and packability but doesn’t want to sacrifice too much comfort.
At just under 30 square feet, the Sierra Designs Sweet Suite 2 is not a huge tent by area, but it feels roomier. The tripod main pole lifts the tent to a max height of 41 inches. Add a “knee” in the pole near the head end of the tent and a cross-pole between the doors push all the walls to nearly vertical. A gentle bend in the poles at the foot adds extra elbow room down there too. Two vestibules, one at each door, created 8.9 square feet of additional storage, plenty for keeping pack, boots and more dry but out of the way. All in, while it didn’t feel roomy when we were lying down, it did when we were moving around or sitting up.
A minimalist pole structure, mostly mesh-paneled tent walls and lightweight fly and floor materials add up to a svelte 3.8-pound weight for the Sierra Designs Sweet Suite. For a two door, two vestibule tent, that’s excellent. The poles fold into short segments adding to its packability. And the burrito style stuff sack opens wide and closes with a cinch, making it easy to pack this thing away, no matter how poorly we folded, stuffed or rolled it.
The hubbed tripod pole and cross-pole design of the Sierra Designs Sweet Suite are easy to maneuver and get into place. But the tent is not freestanding. Peg out the corners first and it would stay upright. Clips hook onto the poles to lift the tent. It goes up fast and easy.
The Sierra Designs Sweet Suite fly extends right to the ground and the pole design creates plenty of pitch across most of the tent. Rain rushed off. Big vestibules helped keep it far from the tent itself. The vestibule fabric is pretty light, 20 Denier across most of the tent, so it needs to be treated with respect, but it felt plenty weatherproof for summer and light shoulder season use.
The fly hooks onto the Sierra Designs Sweet Suite tent body with clips. When the weather is good it’s easy to unclip it and roll it back from both ends to the center, exposing the tent’s bug mesh for full ventilation and to watch the stars. It’s quick and easy to roll it back into place.
Ryan Stuart is freelance writer and jack of all sports—trail running, mountain biking, whitewater paddling, surfing, climbing, skiing and mountaineering—based on Vancouver Island. Follow his testing on Google+.