When considering an ultralight backpacking tent, the Sierra Designs Lightning HT 2 is a good choice. It weighs less than 4 pounds and includes a fast-pitch option while providing ample room for sleeping two campers and their packs.
A solid performer. The Sierra Designs Lightning HT 2 lives up to its two-person claim and provides ample room for sleeping two adults. "I managed to accommodate two 6-foot tall men, two packs, one rifle and one dog during a recent trip-gone-slightly-wrong. Not bad for a lightweight!" one camper on Backcountry.com says. The 40-inch ceiling height is not the tallest, but reviewers say it provides good headroom.
The Lightning HT 2 has mesh walls for maximum ventilation potential and to decrease condensation buildup and stuffiness. Backpacker.com testers found the all-mesh tent body provided "good (but not great) ventilation." They believe this is due to the single vent on the rainfly. Other user reviews call out this issue as well, wishing there was another vent on the opposite side of the fly. A few testers wished for better-placed guyout points on the fly to keep the fabric more taut, which would reduce flapping in the wind and improve ventilation.
Experts are confident in the tent's ability to stand up to the elements. In addition to the waterproof fly, the floor fabric features fully taped, PVC-free seams for added protection from rainstorms and soggy weather.
Fast-pitch option. The Sierra Designs Lightning HT 2 features a fast-pitch option in which campers can affix the rainfly to the tent beforehand to prevent precipitation from entering the tent in inclement weather. Additionally, as a three-season tent, the Lightning HT 2 can be stripped down to just the fly, poles and footprint (which must be purchased separately) to save on weight. This setup option creates more of a tarp shelter.
The regular setup can be a little tricky at first as the instructions picture the three-person version, the Lightning HT 3. Once users practiced in the backyard, setup was "very easy."
The Lightning HT 2 has great accessibility thanks to its two doors and adjoining vestibules, which campers find adequate for packs, but not much else. Inside, campers can store flashlights and other small gear in the hanging pockets.
No complaints. We did not find any complaints about the durability of the Sierra Designs Lightning HT 2 from user reviews or expert testing. Sierra Designs provides a lifetime warranty. For a "nominal charge" they will repair accident damage not covered in the warranty.
Review Credibility: Very Good Backpacker.com editor Kelly Bastone gives the Lightning HT 2 a brief review in the 2011 Gear Guide. She bases her comments on the experiences of expert testers for Backpacker.com. She notes the tent has expansive headroom and an airy interior, but lacks storage space.
Review: Gear Review: Sierra Designs Lightning HT 2 Tent, Kelly Bastone, Not dated
Review Credibility: Very Good The editors of Backpacker.com name the Lightning XT 4 to the Editor's Choice Hall of Fame based on its unsurpassed performance on a staff trip to Wales in 2008. Although that was a few years ago, most of the Lightning features have not changed since then. In addition, this is not the exact model as the HT 2, but shares the same basic design. The XT series is slightly shorter but overall bigger than the HT. The XT is also freestanding -- guylines optional.
Review: Time - tested Gear: Tents, Alex Geller and Kristin Hostetter, November 2010
Review Credibility: Good Amazon.com allows space for customers to share their personal experience and opinions on products they purchase. In a handful of reviews, the Lightning HT 2 earns an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5, with owners saying it's light and easy to set up. It also gets good reviews for comfort and a smart design.
Review: Sierra Designs Lightning HT 2-Person Ultralight Backpacking Tent, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2013
Review Credibility: Good Like many retail sites, customers can leave feedback for products on Backcountry.com. The Lightning HT 2 receives an overall rating of about 4 stars out of 5 in a small number of reviews, which are brief but helpful. Customers can also ask questions of staff and other contributing users. Owners praise its light weight, good headroom and ease of use.
Review: Sierra Designs Lightning HT Tent: 2-Person 3-Season, Contributors to Backcountry.com, As of April 2013