Sierra Design is one of the most innovative tent design companies out there and nothing proves this more than their Sweet Suite 2 Tent. Big interior space with a small pack size and minimal weight make this tent a winner for anyone looking to get outside. You don't have to give up comfort or features to save on weight. But don't take our word for it, check out the new Sweet Suite 2 Tent and you'll quickly see why it's worthy of our Gear Of The Year Award.
The Backcountry Skiing Canada Team.
In the Fall of 2017 Sierra Designs launched the new Sweet Suite—a two-door, two-vestibule semi-freestanding tent—as part of a large revamp of their shelter line-up for 2018. A backcountry skiing colleague tipped me off on this tent after a sneak preview on a backpacking trip in August. You can watch product designer Casey Sumnik, give a decent run through of the Sweet Suite 2 tent on that trip further along in this review.
I have been on the market for a spacious lightweight tent for backpacking and this tent design peaked my interest, particularly given Sierra Designs track record with innovative and quality tent designs as evidenced in our other reviews of Sierra Designs Convert 2 Tent, Sierra Designs Flash 3FL Tent and the Sierra Design Clip Flashlight 2 Tent.
Generous full coverage 30 inch vestibules, located at the front of each of the two doors, provide ample space to move in and out as well as store gear.
Sierra Designs’ Sweet Suite series is the largest most liveable lightweight tent in their lightweight tent series. It’s available in two sizes: two person with a minimum weight of 3lb 3oz and 3-person with a minimum weight of 3lb 13oz. According to Sierra Designs their design goal for the Suite Sweet was to find the ideal balance between lightweight and liveable space. Their solution: a unique hubbed pole geometry to save weight and make as much space available as possible.
At the head of the tent, there is a single DAC Featherlite Aluminum pole with sharp pre-bend that creates a vertical headwall.
This meets two other DAC Featherlite Aluminum foot poles just before the apex where it is secured by a sturdy aluminum hub.
A ridge pole spans the centre of the tent at the apex and creates near-vertical side walls that measure 51 inches across the head and 48 inches at the feet.
When in place the 20D Ripstop Nylon fly contours up the vertical headwall to the adjacent ridgepole with a nod to Sweden in blue and yellow panels that brighten up the neutral light grey.
Generous full coverage 30 inch vestibules, located at the front of each of the two doors, provide ample space to move in and out as well as store gear. Below, a view of the vestibule space from the inside.
A footprint is available for the Sweet Suite 2 as an add-on it is constructed of 68D polyester taffeta (1800mm PU/WR/FR) and provides a custom fit protective tarp to reduce wear and tear on the base of the tent. It adds 6.8 oz / 193 g but fits snuggly into the tent bag.
The body of the tent is designed with a bathtub construction where the 30D Ripstop Nylon floor fabric wraps up and around the base of the tent a minimum of six inches – higher in places where the fly sits closer to the tent. This ensures optimum waterproofing of the base of the tent and will reduce the chances of backsplash coming into the tent during a heavy downpour. All seams are seam sealed and each corner and peg point is thoroughly reinforced to accommodate tension on the fabric and avoid tearing.
On the inside the verticality of the interior allows for ample space to sit up thanks to the cathedral pole and the aggressively angled head and foot panels.
As two-person tents go the Sweet Suite 2 does indeed feel generous with space, providing a peak height of 41 inches at the head of the tent there is ample headroom for sitting and at just over 7 ft long it would easily accommodate the height of most NBL players. It’s evident that Sierra Designs put a lot of time and effort into the structural details to enhance the liveability of the interior space. The innovative pre-bent pole structure is light-weight, simple and intuitive to assemble. Though my testing began late in the season last Fall so I have yet to put it through its paces I feel more than comfortable with the idea of taking this out on a multi-day backpack trip in unpredictable mountain weather. For a semi-freestanding tent, I found the structure to be quite sturdy even without pegging thanks to the hub-tripod pole geometry. The bathtub construction is articulated to the fly, sealed and reinforced thoroughly but not excessively so it remains efficient with weight but highly effective at keeping you dry (with the fly on of course). ‘Thorough but not excessive’ may actually best describe the approach Sierra Designs have taken in the design and detailing overall. The quality of materials and detailing is exceptional.
What also makes the Sweet Suite 2 highly functional and liveable are the two doors with two ample sized vestibules, which negate the possibility that one may need to climb over or disturb one's tent buddy to get up and go pee in the night. Also, there is plenty of space to store muddy boots, packs and probably even a canine camper. My hands-down favourite feature though is the versatile rollback fly system which lets you look at the stars at night whilst keeping the fly ready to roll in case of inclement weather. One reviewer pointed out the lack of vents in the fly but in my books, given the versatility of how the fly can be set up, the ventilation options are plenty and on target with ‘thorough but not excessive’.
A final touch that sets the Sweet Suite apart from others in its class and sweetens the deal substantially is the introduction of the Burrito Bag, the Sweet Suite’s storage system, which not only takes up minimal space in your pack but takes any headache out of packing and unpacking. The Burrito Bag design is one of those innovations you look at it and think “why has no one thought of this before?”. Hats off to Sierra Designs for putting so much thought into how the tent spends most of its time—packed away.
The Sweet Suite may be on the pricey side but for me, this is one of those cases where you really do get what you pay for—space, views, efficiency, quality and durability.
Price: $467.70CAN / $369.95US
Minimum Weight: 1.45kg / 3lbs 3oz
Packed Weight: 1.64kg / 3lbs 10oz
Number of Doors: 2
Number of Vestibules: 2
Vestibule Area: 0.83 + 0.83sq m / 8.9 + 8.9sq ft
Floor Area: 2.71sq m / 29.2sq ft
Peak Height: 104.1cm / 41"
Dimensions (head x foot): 85 x 51” x 48"/ 216 x 130cm x 122cm
Packed Size: (L x W): 41.9 x 16.5cm / 16.5 x 6.5"
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