The Convert 2 is a semi free-standing, 4 season tent whose design is both simple and practical. The name Convert 2 is owed to the removable nature of the vestibule, and the 2 person capacity. This is a single door, single vestibule (or no vestibule when the weather is pleasant) tent. The semi free-standing nature of the tent is due in part to the vestibule. Without the vestibule, the tent will stand without being staked out, but the vestibule requires stakes in order to stand.
The new Sierra Designs Convert 2 Tent in its happy place.
Setting the tent up is fairly intuitive, and easy to follow clues subtly guide you in the right direction to ensure things end up where they belong. For example, coloured poles match the colour of webbing that house the appropriate grommet for that pole. Custom hardware allows for hassle-free setup and take-down, and the new Burrito Bag Storage System makes packing the tent away a dream. Learn more about the Burrito System in the video below
The tent body frame consists of 4 poles, 3 of which are permanently affixed forming an “H” shape. One long pole that runs lengthwise has two swiveling poles attached at the head and foot of the tent with swivel hubs; a separate pole slides into the Hybrid Hub between the two swiveling poles. These three poles connect to the sides of the tent forming ribs which create the tube shape, and the pole that runs lengthwise pole acts as a spine. This lengthwise pole overhangs either end of the tent, and with the help of the fly, creates small awnings that add shelter to the door and back window. Another pole creates a fourth rib when the vestibule is added to the mix. The removable vestibule can be attached (or removed) via a zipper on the awning at the entrance.
The tent body and fly connect to the poles with custom grommets and clips. The pole tips feature grooves which lock into the specialized grommets, called Tip Clips, which alleviate the frustration that follows poles popping out of the opposite grommet during setup. Split Clips pull the tent body up to the poles and connect around the hubs, while smaller Tent Lite Hooks pull the side walls out to the ribs. The fly connects to the poles with Tip Clips at the head and foot awnings, and Velcro Loops tie it to the ribs at the guy-out points.
When the vestibule is included, the fly has 8 guy-lines; otherwise, it has 6. Each guy-line features Line-Lok runners, and 4 of these lines include sliding rings. These Line-Lok cleats allow for quick and painless adjustment of line length and tension. To shorten, or create more tension in the line, simply push the runner-up the line towards the tent, away from the anchor point. In order to release the tension and lengthen the line, grab the two lines on the anchor side of the cleat and pull them apart. The sliding rings are used to triangulate upper and lower guy-out points.
A tapered rectangular floor sleeps two at a comfortable distance and still leaves plenty of space to bring packs inside. Arching poles create a comfortable living space that feels both wide and tall. Inside the tent, there is a small pocket on either side of the door, and many small loops line the ceiling offering attachment points for hanging things. Both the door and the window have zippers on the inside which allow occupants to control visibility and ventilation. The water-resistant 20D poly panels can be zipped down to reveal mesh panels on both the window and door. At the bottom of both the door and window, a small toggle and loop keep the panels out of the way when they are down. A similar toggle and loop system can be found on the vestibule door to keep it out of the way when open.
The Sierra Designs Convert 2 Tent drop sheet on the left and burrito bag on the right. The burrito bag keeps the Convert 2 compact and is super easy to use.
I took the Sierra Designs Convert 2 Tent into the Bugaboos in mid-October because I really wanted to test it in the snow, and I definitely found what I was looking for. It was cold, snowing, and windy, and I was really happy to have this tent with me. In what my father would surely call a “boneheaded move”, I hadn’t set the tent up before going up into the mountains, so I was really pleased with the simplicity of the tent setup. It did take a little longer to pitch than my 3 season tent of the same 2 person capacity, but it’s also much larger once set up. If the vestibule is left at home you would certainly make up some time on setup, but for a little bit of extra time I was happy to have a boot room.
I found that the tent really needed to be staked out to be stable, but once all the guy lines were tight, my confidence in the Convert 2 was very high. While the fly didn’t get super tight across the tent, it held strong in high winds and wasn't too noisy. The Line-Lok cleats make adjusting guy line length and tension a breeze, and once locked in, they remained taut despite the best efforts of the wind. The stakes that come with the tent are good quality but are a bit small for use in the snow. For 3 season use, or whenever you are able to dig into the ground they are a great tool, but I would suggest a larger set of stakes for use in the snow. Sierra Design has a couple different stake options available in the tent accessories section of their website.
I mentioned before that it was windy and cold, but once I was inside the space heated up quickly. When the tent is all sealed up, there is next to no ventilation which is ideal when you want to trap all the heat in. If you need some fresh air, the window at the foot of the tent and the door at the head can be opened to reveal mesh panels which create great airflow.
The living space also features lots of little loops to hang things from, but without a little bit of addition, they are almost too small to be very useful. I had to use a carabiner to hang my headlamp, and hanging much else would prove to be difficult. If you were prepared, a piece of string could be tied to the loops to create a great system for hanging things up. The tent also features two mesh pockets, but I found these to be quite small as well.
I feel like most tents kind of push the capacity vs comfort boundary with their rated capacity, but this tube-shaped tent seems an exception. If the living space wasn’t comfortable enough, the added storage space in the vestibule makes this tent feel luxurious. The Convert 2 is big enough to fit two people and their bags comfortably, but the added convenience of a vestibule to leave snowy boots, or anything that may be wet is great. If you don’t need the extra space, leaving the vestibule at home can save you 0.48kg in the bag and that little bit of time when setting up.
While the tent seems quite large when unpacked, it still rolls up to be very compact. Side by side, the burrito bag storage system keeps this 4 season tent as compact as my 3 season tent, which isn't nearly as big when set up. But where the extra living space has really shown is the weight. While it is lighter than most 4 season tents, it is definitely noticeably heavier than a 3 season tent. The MSR Remote 2 has a total packed weight of 3.61kg, a full kg heavier than the Convert 2. Compared to other 4 season tents on the market, the Convert 2 may not be the lightest, but it is definitely a big contender.
If all this isn’t enough to sell you on the Convert 2, the price should be the tipping point. This true 4 season tent goes for only $642.50, a steal compared to $905 for the MSR Remote 2 whose price is similar to many 4 season tents. The Convert series also includes a 3 person capacity tent, which features 2 doors and 2 vestibules.
Price: $642.50CAN / $499.95US
Dimensions (not including vestibule): 213 x 140cm / 84 x 55in
Floor Area: 2.81m sq / 30.3 ft sq
Vestibule Area: 1.52m sq / 16.4ft sq
Peak Height: 102.9cm / 43in
Packed Size: 40 x 17.8cm / 15.75 x 7in
Min. weight w/o vestibule: 1.87kg /4lbs, 20z
Min. weight: 2.35kg / 5lbs, 3oz
Packed weight: 2.61kg / 5lbs, 12oz
Number of stakes: 15
Number of doors: 1
Weight: 203g / 7.2oz
Dimensions: 203 x 132 x 117 cm / 80 x 52 x 46"
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