Pre-bent poles give this semi-freestanding tent more space without the extra weight.
After cycling with and sleeping in Sierra Design’s Sweet Suite 2 tent from Colorado to Washington, I can say it’s pretty – ah-hem – sweet. Unique design creates a taller frame without bulky poles, and dual vestibules can store a ton of gear.
Hitting shelves early 2018, the Sweet Suite two- and three-person tents aim for the sweet spot between lightweight and livable.
First look: The two-person Sweet Suite is made for beginner and seasoned outdoors people alike. Packaged weight is 3 pounds, 10 ounces, and the tent has a peak height of 41 inches. You can find it at Moosejaw for $369.95.
Sierra Designs Sweet Suite Tent Review
After getting my hands on this tent, I cycled with it for more than 2,000 miles. From alpine desert to open plains, piney forests, and the lush Cascades, I put this tent through a beating.
The fly and floor are made of 20D and 30D nylon ripstop, and the body is made of 15D nylon no-see-um mesh. Sierra Designs reinforced the tent where needed but cut weight everywhere possible. It held up like a tank but didn’t feel like one in my pack.
To be forward, I must admit I dislike two-person tents and mostly consider myself a tarp person. The main reason I don’t often use tents is because of how cramped they feel. I feel most descriptions of two-person tents should also say “if you’re spooning.”
But the Sweet Suite 2 is mostly mesh, with a bathtub bottom and removable rain fly. The first time I slept in this tent, I immediately noticed how much room it offered. The tent is 85 inches long, with 51 inches across at the head and 48 inches at the feet. I could fully sit up, and dual entrances meant me and my co-sleeper didn’t have to awkwardly crawl over each other.
When set up, the tent looks a little different from other pop-up-style tents. It is “semi-free standing,” holding most of its shape with poles. Stakes and lines complete the setup.
Setup is simple, with only two pole sections: a 3-in-1, Y-shaped pole, and one short ridge pole. The poles are pre-bent, allowing them to achieve a taller shape without bulky reinforcements. This structure gives the tent a beak-like shape at the head of the tent, prompting my bike partner and I to refer to it as “The Eagle.”
The rainfly creates two 30-inch vestibules, more than enough space to store two cyclists’ gear with room left to enter and exit without tripping over packs. And both vestibules roll up to air things out. Or, you have the option to roll up the fly from the head or foot, keeping out bugs without sacrificing starry views.
Suite Life in Storm Country
Light weight and a spacious interior are great qualities, but those things don’t matter if your tent leaks or blows away. With the Sweet Suite’s interesting pole design and low-profile rainfly, the tent hunkers down into the landscape and lets wind blow right over it.
What if we add rain? The 20D nylon fly is more than enough to keep the rain off your head. But, like most tents, if you’re breathing in it all night, you’ll still feel a little damp.
I used a prototype model that had slightly longer poles, which pulled the fly away from the corners at the head of the tent. Rain would drip and pool on top of the material. It might have kept me up some nights, but it never soaked through to me or my stuff.
While not the lightest tent on the market, the tent provides exceptional living space and still packs up small. You can strip down the setup to reach its minimum weight of 3 pounds, 3 ounces.
Sierra Designs Sweet Suite 2-person Specs
- Minimum weight: 3 lbs 3 oz (1.45 kg)
- Packaged weight: 3 lbs 10 oz (1.64 kg)
- Vestibule area: 8.9 sq ft + 8.9 sq ft (0.83 sq m + 0.83 sq m)
- Floor area: 29.2 sq ft (2.71 sq m)
- Peak height: 41″ (104.1 cm)
- Dimensions (L x W): 85″ x 51″ (head) x 48″ (foot) [216 cm x 130 cm (head) x 122 cm (foot)]
- Packed size: (L x W): 16.5″ x 6.5″ (41.9 cm x 16.5 cm)
Sweet Suite: Final Thoughts
Sierra Designs put a lot of thought into its 2018 tent line, and it really shows when you’re out in the elements. The Sweet Suite is intuitive and not complicated. Its easy set-up and tough materials make it a quality and functional tent.
It offers a surprising amount of interior space while maintaining a minimal exterior profile. It sheds wind and rain nicely and offers ample views and breathability with multiple rainfly roll-away options.
At $370, it’s not the cheapest piece of gear you’ll buy. But the tent should hold up and keep you sleeping cozy outside for a long time.