Camping is about connecting with your loved ones and with nature; not hiding away in your tent.
Too many shelters these days offer crazy designs, fancy prints, and unnecessary features.
Your tent should protect you from the elements, but not hinder your experience – or your bank account.
If you want to focus on a tent’s functionality, rather than all its bells and whistles, then you should seriously consider the Sierra Designs Summer Moon 2.
Sierra Designs Summer Moon 2
Minimalism aside, what’s so special about the Sierra Designs Summer Moon 2?
This lightweight 2-person shelter is one of the top all-around tents on the market.
With a trail weight of under 4-lbs., you can carry it into the wilderness on a week-long backpacking adventure, or keep it neatly tucked away in your trunk for a spontaneous car camping trip.
This tent offers a multitude of outdoor possibilities for a very reasonable price
Now that’s what I call efficient functionality.
Unlike the name would suggest, there is very little flash to the Summer Moon 2.
It’s made for comfort, durability, and ease-of-access, yet without the glitz and glamor of unnecessary amenities.
Like a well-oiled machine, every aspect of this tent serves a purpose. This way, you can focus on your outdoor aspirations, rather than drowning in futile features.
Although, if you seek a shelter with loads of bells and whistles, there are plenty of other options out there on the market.
I’m not claiming that Sierra Designs has created the holy grail of tents. In fact, the Summer Moon 2 has plenty of flaws…
The fly is oddly designed, there is only one door, and extreme winds can uproot the guylines.
Still, these problems shouldn’t be dealbreakers, since it also has a wide range of other capabilities.
Size: Spacious Interior
The Summer Moon 2 has plenty of room for you and your companion to stretch out with a 29 sq. ft. floor area.
This is about average, if not slightly smaller than average of compared to similar products.
Add in the 41” ceiling height, and those numbers are pretty typical for two-person tents.
Although tents that possess the same ‘X’ support structure typically have a shallow sloped roof, Sierra Designs has managed to build a shelter that provides maximal volume without utilizing a crossbar.
Still, if you are a giant, you may not have enough room inside.
In that case, I suggest moving one size up to the Sierra Designs Summer Moon 3.
At a length of 84” inches, the 3-person version is the same as the 2-person, but the width increases 20” total (from 50” to 70”).
Season: 3 Season Tent
If you want to sleep in the snow, stop reading now; the Summer Moon 2 is meant to be enjoyed… well… underneath a summer moon.
There is excellent ventilation through the tent to keep you cool and dry during the August heat, yet plenty of water resistance to protect you from April showers.
Yet, as I’ll get into in a bit, the fly may not protect your gear from getting wet if pitched incorrectly.
Sierra Designs also did you a courtesy by providing fully-taped, PVC-free seams. This way, water won’t sneak through the needle holes from the stitching, and you don’t have to seam seal the Summer Moon 2 before heading to the campsite.
Note: If you do need to waterproof your shelter, make sure to check out how to seam seal a tent.
Setup: With Some Practice It’s Hassle-Free
Face it: you are never going to set-up your tent perfectly on the first try.
But the Summer Moon 2 makes it easy enough that you’ll get it right on the second (or third in my case).
The two 7001 Aluminum poles are lightweight, easy to handle, and the shell structure erects in less than five minutes.
Sierra Designs even lays out a step-by-step process to ensure that you are pitching your tent correctly.
Having said that, the rain fly itself can be troublesome.
Instead of clips or grommets, there is a String Lock cord which you are supposed to wrap around the pole on each corner.
It’s different than most similar tents, so it may be difficult to maintain a taut rain fly, which can greatly affect the vestibule area, leaving your gear wet.
The key here, again, is practice.
Once you get a hang of where to place the nine hex stakes and how much tension to put on the seven guy lines, you’ll assemble the Summer Moon 2 faster than a fat kid chasing an ice cream truck.
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It reassures me to know that the canopy and rain fly of the Summer Moon 2 are composed of polyester taffeta with a thread density of 68D and a 1800mm coating.
That should be enough to handle a formidable watery assault.
Plus, it utilizes a 15D Nylon No-See-Um mesh to keep those pesky gnats out of your shelter.
On top of the fabric, the aluminum poles provide a lightweight solid structure for the canopy and rain fly.
The hex peg stakes and reflective guy lines hold up to inclement weather.
When it comes to the Sierra Designs Summer Moon 2, you can be sure your shelter won’t degrade after only a few uses.
The Sierra Designs Summer Moon 2 touts itself as the lightest sub-$200 fully freestanding dome tent in the market.
And they’re probably right.
With a weight of between 3.5 and 4-lbs. (depending on humidity, number of stakes, etc.), your feet will thank you for purchasing a lightweight shelter if you’re backpacking it into the woods.
Even if you are strictly a car camper, don’t limit yourself with a bulky shelter, since one day you may want to journey into the backcountry, and the Summer Moon 2 will be your guide.
You don’t need always need flashy features in your tent. Sometimes you just need a tent that has the basics covered. That’s the Summer Moon 2.
For features, it comes with one large D-shaped door – so you may have to step over someone – but it serves its purpose as an entrance and exit.
There are also interior storage pockets for your gear, and believe it or not, they even include a “Night Glow” pocket to shed some light in the dark.
There’s the gear vestibule and that’s it.
Don’t think that because the price is reasonable that you’ll be slumming it at the campsite.
It’s not luxurious, but it is practical.
Wrapping It Up…
Whether you’re backpacking, car camping, or hanging out in the backyard, you’ll enjoy the versatility of the Sierra Designs Summer Moon 2.
Instead of having to fork over half of your paycheck on an expensive shelter, you can purchase this tent for a-week-or-two’s worth of groceries.
Although you may not be having the most luxurious wilderness experience, you’ll be safe and secure from the elements with tough, durable materials.
Keep in mind, the camping experience is what you make of it, and hopefully, you’ll be over the moon about the Summer Moon 2.