For backpackers, light weight, functional gear is very important. When traveling long distances over multiple nights, having the ability to cut back on ounces is always welcome. That is one of the reasons why we were extremely excited to test out the Sierra Designs Divine Light 2 FL tent. Not only does the tent have a lightweight design, the minimal setup option allows you to leave two of the poles behind and use your trekking poles instead, cutting back even more on the overall weight of the tent by 6oz.
Does this lightweight design hold up? Will it keep us dry and out of the elements and allow us to sleep comfortably? Here’s what we discovered…
- Minimum Weight: 3 lbs 1 oz (Does not include 6 oz. vertical poles)
- Doors: 3
- Dimensions: 88″ L x 50″ W
- Vestibule Area: 10.30 ft2 / .96 m2
- Floor Area: 29.30 ft2 / 2.72 m2
- Peak Height: 45.5″ / 115.6 cm
- Guylines: 4
- Steaks: 11 DAC J-Stakes
- Non-freestanding, 2-person tent
- Trekking Pole compatible – cut weight by leaving two of the tent poles behind, and use your trekking poles instead.
- Night glow light – illuminate your tent by connecting your headlamp to the Night Glow light diffuser for soft light inside of your tent.
- Three doors including 2 J-shaped doors with waterproof window panel make getting in and out of the tent easy.
- Full 360 Degrees of Ventilation when the window panels are opened.
- Awning Vestibule setup allows you to use your trekking poles to expand the tent and create an awning area.
As you will read about in the next section, there are three ways that you can setup the Divine Light 2. Depending on which way you choose to set up your tent will affect how much you need to pack. We will talk more about the different setup options below, but the important thing to note in terms of packability is that you can reduce the weight of the tent by 6oz if you choose to leave the two front support poles behind and use your trekking poles instead. If you choose this option, the minimal trail weight is 3 lbs. 1 oz. That is very light for a 2-person tent!
Before we get into the different configurations of this tent, it is important to note that this is a non-freestanding tent. If you are not sure what this means, you can think about it this way. A freestanding tent gets its shape and support from the tent poles. A non-freestanding tent gets its shape and support from the tension created by staking out guylines. In other words, if you were to take a non-freestanding tent, lay the body out, and clip the body to the support poles, the poles would collapse on the tent and the tent would lay flat.
So how do you setup a non-freestanding tent? More specifically, how do you setup the Divine Light 2?
- Lay the tent body flat on the ground and steak out all 4 corners, as well as the 2 vestibule corners.
- Attach the rear pole to the bottom (foot area) of the tent.
- Insert the one of the awning poles (or use a trekking pole) and stake out the guyline so that there is tension.
- Inset the other awning pole (or use a trekking pole) and stake out the guyline so that there is tension.
- Stake out the guyline by the rear vent.
If all of this sounds confusing, or if this sounds like a big hassle, as someone who has never setup a non-freestanding tent before, I found it to be only slightly more complicated than a freestanding tent. The very first time I set it up, it took me a little bit to totally grasp how much tension I needed to make the tent stable, but after that initial setup, I had no problems getting the tent setup going forward. With that said, all of the areas where I setup this tent had relatively flat ground that was not rocky and was easy to stake out.
You have two options in terms of how light you want to pack. The first is the standard setup, which requires you to pack the tent, one footbox pole, and two vertical awning poles. The second is the minimal setup, which requires you to pack the tent and one footbox pole. The minimal setup also requires that you also have trekking poles, which can substitute the two vertical awning poles. If you were already planning on bringing trekking poles with you, this can cut back on your overall weight by 6 oz.
There are three basic configurations, shown below. It is important to note that if you only have one set of trekking poles and do not bring the 2 vertical awning poles, you can only use the tent in the Full Rain or Full Ventilation positions.
Full Rain Protection (two vertical poles can be replaced with trekking poles)
Full Ventilation (two vertical poles can be replaced with trekking poles)
Open Awning (requires vertical awning poles and trekking poles, or 2 sets of trekking poles)
The Divine Light 2 is a hybrid single/double-walled, non-freestanding tent. The hybrid-walled design means you do not need a separate rainfly. The floor of the tent is made up of 30D Nylon Ripstop. The fly of the tent consists of 20D Nylon Ripstop coated with silicone. The body of the tent contains 3 doors, 2 smaller doors on each side of the tent, and one large door at the front. The front door is made up of 15D Nylon No-See-Um Mesh. The side doors have windows that can be zippered close. The windows are made up of the same 15D Nylon No-See-Um Mesh. The guylines used to stake out the tent are coated in a reflective material, which is great when walking around at night. The guylines are easy to see at night, and I surprisingly didn’t trip or pull a guyline out once while walking around (I swear, I am always THAT guy).
The tent shape is angled, giving you maximum headroom towards the front of the tent. If you are sitting up straight at the front of the tent, it definitely feels roomy inside. However, if you are storing anything towards the foot area of the tent, you are going to have to duck your head in order to retrieve your gear. Luckily there is plenty of other storage, so this shouldn’t be a problem. There is a 10’’ awning on both side doors which might not provide enough protection in a heavy storm, but will work great in good weather or light rain. The front vestibule also has plenty of room to store your pack and other gear.
The tent provides ventilation on all sides of the tent. There is a rear vent near your feet, the two side doors have a window that can be zippered close if you are in a heavy storm, and the front of the tent is one large window. For most of our trip, we had the side windows open. On the days that we had the front vestibule shut, we did notice condensation on the inside of the tent. The only time that it felt stuffy inside of the tent was the one night where we had to shut the side windows due to rain. The next morning, we also noticed quite a bit of condensation on the inside of the tent.
With two people in the tent, we had plenty of room and did not feel crammed together. The two side vestibules and the front awning provide plenty of storage for your gear, allowing you to keep most of the clutter outside of the tent. Having ventilation of all sides is great for hot summer nights, especially when there is a nice breeze.
With an MSRP of $389.95, the Divine Light 2 FL offers a ton of great features in a relatively inexpensive, lightweight package. This price is right on par with other tents in this weight class, and the unique design of the Diving Light 2 offers more space and storage than some of the other similarly priced options.
- Plenty of gear storage
- 360 degree ventilation
- Non-freestanding design is slightly more difficult to setup than a freestanding tent