If you have the right gear and don’t mind dealing with frigid temperatures, Winter can be a great time to get outdoors and enjoy mother nature. It’s truly as easy as strapping on a pair of snowshoes, hiking a few miles out, and setting up camp. Winter is one of our favorite seasons. If you want to feel alone in the wilderness you simply can’t beat it. To get started you’ll going to need the right gear, and shelter is top priority.

For 2015, Sierra Designs redesigned their Convert series of tents with the goal of making them the most livable and functional winter tents available. When we were offered a chance to review the new 2015 model of the Sierra Designs Convert 2 four season tent, we thought there would be no better way to test these claims than to leave our heated homes and spend some time sleeping outdoors in the Adirondacks.

convet-2-review

Tech Specs:

  • Minimum Weight: 4lbs 9oz (tent and poles only, no vestibule)
  • Packed weight: 5lbs 2oz
  • Doors: 1
  • Interior Area: 31.5 ft²
  • Vertible: 12.4 ft²
  • Peak Height: 39’’
  • Floor Material: Water Resistant 30D Nylon Ripstop
  • Body Material: 40D Breathable Nylon Ripstop
  • Fly Material: 20D Polyester Ripstop
  • Poles: DAC NSL poles 

Key Features:

  • 4 season tent featuring a hybrid double/single wall design that provides a quick, dry set-up and reduces weight.
  • Large front door that can sit two people side by side.
  • 15’’ integrated awning poles that help maximize the door opening and drip line without the weight of a support pole.

 

 

 

Sierra Designs Convert 2 Review Breakdown

Design

The 2015 Convert 2 tent is, as Sierra Designs calls it, a hybrid double/single wall tent. What this means is that the entire tent, with the exception of the door end and foot end of the tent, is a double wall design. The sides and top of the inner wall are made of a breathable canopy fabric, and both the door and foot sides of the tent have a fullzip waterproof window panel, which can be opened or closed to adjust ventilation and visibility. The exterior fly walls are made of 20D polyester ripstop with a waterproof rating of 1200mm. There is a single entry door, which is typical of most 4 season tents.

This hybrid approach reduces the overall weight of the tent. Compared to the old version of the Convert 2, the 2015 model has a pack weight of 5lbs 2oz and a minimum weight of 4lbs 9oz, while the old model has a pack weight of 6lbs 10oz and a minimum weight of 5lbs 5oz. The 2015 model is significantly lighter.

sd_convert2_2015_vestibuleStorage inside the tent is limited. Each side of the tent has one small mesh storage pocket, but other than that, you are on your own. This isn’t a huge deal if you have the vestibule attached and are storing your gear there, but if you have many items you need to store inside the tent, know that you will need another way to keep things organized, such as storing gear in a compression sack, or even using the tent storage sack to keep small miscellaneous items together.

The vestibule portion of the tent is connected to the main tent via a zipper, allowing you to remove the vestibule if you don’t need it. This is a great idea, especially if you are aiming to pack ultra light and will be in conditions where you might not need it. Our only complaint with the vestibule area was that it was a little cramped when we stored gear for 2 people in it. It is an adequate size, and fit our gear, but depending on your gear load, things could get crammed quickly.

Assembly

This tent was incredibly easy to setup. Like the previous model of the Convert 2, the 2015 model pitches entirely from the outside of the tent. However, unlike the old model, the 2015 does not require you to thread poles through openings on the outside of the tent. Instead, it uses clips that are common to most tent setups.

The pole system consists of two separate poles: 1 main pole, that has two cross sections for the door and rear of the tent, and one middle pole to add structural support to the middle section of the tent. The middle pole connects to the main pole through a locking mechanism, which was easy to connect and felt secure. If you choose to use the vestibule, there is one small additional pole that adds support to the vestibule.

Since we were camping in about 2 to 3 feet of snow, we pulled the corners of the tent taught and used winter tent stakes to secure the tent by digging a small hole in the snow, burying the stake, and covering the hole back up with snow. In some corners, instead of using a winter tent stake, we tied the corner lines to fallen down branches from nearby trees, and buried the branch in the snow.

There are a total of 6 guylines that you can use to adjust the tautness of the outer wall (there is one additional guyline for the vestibule if you choose to use it, which we did), which add stability to the overall structure of the tent. With the tent staked down and the guylines adjusted properly, the tent felt very secure.

Comfort

The 2015 Convert 2 fit two people comfortably with all of our big gear stored in the vestibule. With the peak height at 39’’, there is plenty of room to sit up and move around.

sd_convert2_2015_inner

On both nights that we used the tent, we were in a more wooded area and had virtually no wind. We had both vents open, one at the foot side of the tent, and the other on the door side. The temperature at night was in the mid to upper teens. Both my camping partner and I had 0 degree down sleeping bags, and we were very warm. When we woke up, we did notice some condensation on the inner wall of the tent. There was also some light condensation on the outside of both of our sleeping bags, but neither bag was wet. When we returned to the tent after snowshoeing for the day, this condensation was gone, but when we woke up the next morning, it was back.

Durability

The NSL poles feel very sturdy. We were not camping in windy conditions, but as I mentioned before, with the tent staked in and the guylines taught, the tent felt very secure, so I don’t imagine there being any problem. All of the clips seemed to be high quality, and did not feel flimsy or loose.

 

Packability

Quartdome (left), Sierra Designs Convert 2 (right).If you are considering using this as a backpacking tent in the winter, the Convert 2 offers a lot. Although there may be some extremely minimal, lighter tents available, at 5lbs 2oz pack weight, this tent is very manageable for all of the features that you get. Furthermore, this tent packs down relatively small. The separate pole bag that slides into straps on the exterior of the tent bag is a great addition. The tent packs down relatively small. To compare sizes, here is a picture of the Convert 2 (on the right) next to my 2-person three season tent (REI Quarter-dome):

Quartdome (left), Sierra Designs Convert 2 (right).

Value

The Convert 2 has an MSRP of $569.95. For a tent that performs this well, has a pack weight of only 5lbs 2oz, and packs as small as some lightweight 3-season tents, this is well worth the value. Some other top of the line 4 season tents, such as the Hilleberg Jannu, cost as much as $885.

Buy Now: $569.95 or, learn more at SierraDesigns.com

Sierra Designs Convert 2 (2015) Review
As Sierra Design promised, the 2015 Convert 2 is an exceptionally livable and functional winter tent. It is light, packs down small, is easy to setup, and most importantly, serves as a great shelter in winter conditions. The 2015 Sierra Design Convert 2 is, without a doubt, our new go-to tent for winter expeditions.
Design9.8
Comfort9.2
Packability10
Value10
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Feels very secure when setup
  • Packs down small
Cons
  • Some condensation in the mornings
  • More storage pockets on the inside would be nice.
  • Vestibule area was tight with all of our gear
9.8Overall Score
Reader Rating: (44 Votes)
4.9

About The Author

The Gear Junkie

Having grown up in Western New York, Jon has experienced and loves all four seasons of the year. He works in the tech industry during the week, and spends most of his time outdoors on the weekend. On his adventures, he tries to pack minimal and light, so he pays attention to design and functionality to ensure only the best, lightest, and most functional gear make it into his pack.

9 Responses

  1. Ted Stekkinger

    I brought the Convert 2 home to have a look at it and was pleasantly surprised how easy it really was to set up. I was a little disappointed in the stakes that are provided with the tent as they are very light weight and definately would not hold up in hard ground. For winter camping they are so light that they would not make good deadman stakes. Of all the four season tents I looked at, these were the weakest I have found. Maybe they were included with the Convert 2 just to reflect a lower weight?

    With the tent I set up I found two straps with grouments on the bottom of the vestibule near the start of the zippers. I was not sure if these are for additional tents stakes or some other function? They are not noted in the basic instructions and customer service at Sierra Design did not know either. The other issue that I found with this tent was that the single pole for the vestibule was very difficult to remove from the groument hole. I had to force it into a bend to remove it from the groument. Sierra Design makes great quality equipment, as I have several of their products, but they should at least have better instructions. Overall, I think this will be a great light weight winter tent.

    Reply
    • Jon Nalewajek

      Ted,

      I remember having a similar issue with that vestibule pole as well. I chalked it up as a minor thing, because bending the pole wasn’t too difficult, but I did remember thinking, “I wonder if there is a better way to do this.”

      Regarding the straps with grommets on the bottom of the vestibule: were these the straps you could use to keep the vestibule walls open? When we were getting some of our gear situated in the vestibule, I remember rolling up the wall of the vestibule and using a strap to keep the wall up just to keep it out of the way. I don’t know if the strap we used were the same ones you are referring to or not, but I figured I would mention it just in case.

      Reply
      • Ted Stekkinger

        Interesting, that I called Sierra Design and the customer service rep didn’t know what the straps were for, but I don’t think they know all the products in detail. I called back later and spoke with another rep and he had set one up and pointed out a picture of the tent that showed the straps. Apparently they are to attach onto the tips of the front tent poles the same as the corner straps of the tent. They are meant to hold the vestibule down in high winds so it doesn’t come unzipped from the tent. It makes sense, but I wasn’t sure if it was for separate stakes without instructions? The rep agreed that it should have been included in the instructions. He didn’t know if it was on last years model or just the new 2015 version.

        I mentioned the difficulty with the pole and he said he didn’t have a problem with it when he set one up, and thought it might have been a manufacturing defect with the tent I had. I don’t think I was overstating the difficulty I was having because it really took a lot of pressure to bend the pole to get it off. I had to actually place it on hard ground to bend it and thought how difficult it would be if it were in deep snow. I’ll just have to try another tent.

        One more question? Overall I like the tent, but do you think the vestibule with the pole and guy line would hold up in high winds? They show the tent in 50 mph winds in the DAC wind tunnel, but not with the vestibule.

        I just finished a 62 day, 760 mile, trek in October and plan to continue in April for another 800 miles or so, but wanted to get a four season tent since I might hit some weather at the start. I have a light weight three season tent now and thought of using the Convert 2 at the start, and then either switch back to the three season tent or continue on with the Convert and just leave the vestibule off to save weight?

        Sierra Design makes good quality products and they stand behind them, as I had an issue with one of their older products and they were great about trying to repair it and then just offered me a replacement of any of their products. You really can’t go wrong with anything that Sierra Design makes.

        Thanks,
        Ted

      • Jon Nalewajek

        When we were camping, we were in a well wooded area with virtually no wind, but the vestibule felt pretty solid. With all of the guylines adjusted so that each was as taut as we could make it, the tent felt very secure.

        Enjoy the 800 mile trek! I think it would be a good idea to leave the vestibule behind to save weight once the weather breaks, as long as you can fit all of your gear you need to store inside the tent. I know there are some very light 3-season tents you can use, as well as some extremely light and minimal tarp tents, but if you don’t mind the added weight, the Convert without a vestibule seems like a fine option. If you are trying to pack as light as possible, it might be worth switching to a 3-season tent. I probably would, but it all comes down to personal preference.

  2. Jon

    I’d like to purchase a new Convent 3, the version that’s been re-designed for 2015.

    I understand the part number for the Convent 3 is 40147015. Retailers often do not include manufacturer part numbers on their websites.

    My question is: Was older product clawed back by Sierra Designs or is it likely retailers have older part numbers in stock and for sale?

    It seems like ordering from Sierra Designs directly is the best way to assure updated product is delivered instead of “new old stock.”

    Have I lost the plot?

    -Jon

    Reply
  3. Ian

    Hi there, just curious – I’m 6’1″, and haven’t been able to find any info on the dimensions of the convert. Do you have any info about this?

    Thanks!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.