By RYAN DIONNE
In the world of outdoor adventure, weight can make the difference between a good time and an ‘I-wish-I-was-sitting-at-home-watching-college-football’ time. And Sierra Designs, a Boulder, Colo.-based company that specializes in tents, sleeping bags and clothes, knows that. So in the off-season (which, in the outdoors world, doesn’t exist) the company revamped its tents.
Most notable, for now, is the Meteor Light 2. It’s a 3-season, 2-person tent made to ensure comfort while on the trail. ‘This one is mainly designed for experienced backpackers that are looking for more protection,’ said Kris Versteegen, the company’s spokesman.
With a new pole construction, Sierra Designs shaved a full pound off the rectangular tent’s trail weight. Yes, that’s 1 pound — almost.
It will go from 6 pounds 14 ounces to 5 pounds 15 ounces, which is significant for backpackers counting every ounce.
The new pole system — dubbed the “Eye Pole Configuration” — is shaped like an eye with a pole extending from two intersections.
A short pole extends from the ground toward the opposite corner but splits with a ‘Y’ joint and starts the eye shape. When the eye comes together on the other side of the tent, another ‘Y’ joint connects it and another short pole extends to the ground.
Meanwhile, a single straight pole connects the other two corners.
The tent is smaller than last year’s model by a smidge. Instead of a roughly 59 × 96.5-inch floor in the 2008 tent, the 2009 has a 55 × 93-inch floor. That makes for an area 4 square feet smaller than the old design, according to the company.
A smaller tent typically means a smaller packed size, but it’s not the case here. Versteegen said the new packed size — 6 × 6 × 24 inches — is the same as the older model.
The new pole construction will also be used in the company’s Meteor Light 3, which is the equivalent 3-person tent.
With the newly-designed tent hitting shelves in March 2009, expect to find a $269 price tag.
—Contributor Ryan Dionne is based in Boulder, Colo. He writes a blog on the outdoors and gear at http://explore-it.blog.com