Sierra Designs Convert 2 Tent Review

Color pops in the Sun

Bottom Line:

A spacious yet lightweight 2 person, 4 season tent. Burly fabric, vents well. I’d recommend it. There are some design elements that I don’t personally like, but can live with. Modular in design. If drawing an analogy with a blade it would be more of a multi-tool than a simple full tang knife.

How I chose it:

What I was looking for was a single walled tent, burly enough to be used in a snowstorm on an exposed ridge crest but also capable of being used through the shoulder seasons and sometimes in the summer. Liveable, but not so large that creating a platform for it would take a long time. I also wanted it to be light, <5lbs at least.

After doing some extensive research into 4 Season tents (This spreadsheet of tents proved invaluable although it isn’t exhaustive so I’d still do some additional research), I settled on a shortlist of 3 tents.

  1. Black Diamond: Eldorado
  2. Mountain Hardwear: Direkt 2
  3. Sierra Designs Convert 2-Person Tent

The Eldorado is a bomber tent, and was a serious contender. But, it’s expensive, it doesn’t come with a vestibule (you have to buy it separately) and, even though it has more total real estate inside compared to the Convert II it didn’t have the extra space where I wanted it. The Convert II has 2 inches of extra headroom over the Eldorado and it’s 3 inches wider, which reduces the possibility of touching the sides which will get wet from condensation in a single wall tent.

The Direkt II is the Ueli Steck tent, so it had that going for it. I quickly decided against it though. It’s amazingly light, with a packed weight of 2 lb. 15 oz, but I wouldn’t consider it a true 4 season tent. It’s a pure high Alpine Mountaineering tent, or Winter tent. There is no mesh on the entrance so I don’t know how liveable it would be during the shoulder seasons or bug seasons. It’s also small. It was designed with Ueli in mind and he’s a small guy, but I just couldn’t imagine squeezing two average sized people into it. It is 4 inches shorter than the Convert II and a whopping 9 inches narrower, ouch!

Dimension Comparison

 Length (in)Width (in)Height (in)
Convert 2855445
Bibler Eldorado 875143
Direkt 2814545

Here are some reasons why I decided upon the Convert II.

  • It had the right mix of light weight and space in the right places
  • It had a very adaptable, modular design making it a true 4 Season tent in my opinion
  • It has a vestibule that you can bring when you feel you will need it, but it can be removed and left at home when you don’t to save weight.
  • It has additional corner struts that Sierra Designs calls “Jake’s Corner Poles” which improve the stability of the tent if you are expecting particularly gnarly conditions.
  • All the air vents have bug mesh that can be opened or closed allowing for use below the treeline in bug country.

Observations since purchasing and using it:

I have to admit that thus far I have not needed to use the vestibule or the Jake’s Corner Poles. This is not to say that they are redundant, just that I haven’t taken the tent out in conditions that required either of them. I prefer using the tent in “light and fast” mode, which is basically just the tent body, tent poles (2 main poles and 1 short pole to hold open the ceiling vents), a few guylines and the tent pegs.

Here’s what I’ve noted as the Pro’s and Con’s of the tent, using it in this minimalist mode.

Pros:

  • Packs down small – I don’t use the stuff sack that came with the tent (I generally don’t use the included stuff sacks with anything as they are all too large) I use an 8L Outdoor Research compression sack and the main tent body compresses down to a size just larger than a Nalgene bottle.
  • Relatively Light – It’s certainly not the lightest tent on the market, but for the space and features, the weight is good (~5lbs 5oz)
  • Burly – The fabric feels extremely strong and it’s reinforced in all the right areas that receive the most tension like guy line points. The main body is made from 40D PU coated nylon and the bathtub floor is made from 70D PU coated nylon.
  • Spacious – Thanks to some well placed guy points the space inside is actually quite livable. The spaciousness is definitely the best feature of this tent.
  • Venting – We’ve found the venting on the Convert II to be excellent. We especially appreciate the mesh which has been removed from similar tents. While we understand the mesh is mainly to keep bugs out we’ve found that it allows us to vent the tent while also cutting down the speed of the breeze coming in.
  • Value – You can tend to find this tent on sale frequently which definitely should be considered. I bought it for over 25% off. The other tents I was considering almost never went on sale.

Cons:

  • Pole Sleeves – I haven’t had to put this tent up in a windstorm yet but I know the sleeves for the poles would be my biggest problem in those conditions. They just don’t slide in smoothly, the poles tend to stick in the material and cause it to bunch up. Just getting the pole into the hole at the start of the sleeve can also be difficult.
  • Tent Pegs – I don’t use the pegs that came with the tent. They just aren’t durable enough for my needs although they are light. I use generic snow pegs in Winter and the pegs from an MSR tent for everything else. The pegs that came with this tent have a tendency to bend and break if the soil is hard enough for you to require hammering them in.
  • Condensation – I’m going to mention it as it is a con, but it’s generally a con of all single wall tents. Condensation will always form on the walls and floor when the temperature inside the tent is notably different to the temperature outside. Moisture from perspiration and respiration will also add to this. The Convert II suffers from condensation but we deal with this by bringing a shammy to mop up any moisture. We’ve found that the condensation caused from the sun heating up the inside of the tent like a greenhouse is greatly reduced if you pitch the tent in the shade.

Specifications:

  • Capacity: 2
  • Season: 4
  • Trail Weight: 5 lbs 5 oz / 2.41 kg
  • Packed Weight: 6 lbs 12 oz / 3.06 kg
  • Interior Area: 29 ft2 / 2.70 m2
  • Vestibule Area: 8.50 ft2 / .79 m2
  • Peak Height: 45 in. / 114 cm
  • Packed Length: 21 in.
  • Packed Diameter: 7 in.
  • Number of doors: 1
  • Number of poles: 2 main, 1 vestibule

Places to Purchase it:

  1. Sierra Designs Convert 2-Person Tent
Winter camping with the Convert II

Winter camping with the Convert II

Author: Leigh McClurg

I grew up in County Dublin, Ireland and moved to British Columbia, Canada with my wife in 2010. I fell in love with being in the Backcountry and Mountains that are all around me here and try to spend all of my free time exploring those wild places. My main goals are to chase happiness, see as much of this planet and its cultures as possible and grow every day through knowledge and experiences.

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