What tent to buy MEC or Sierra Designs

I have two tents that I’m currently looking at The MEC Tarn-2 and Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight.

I will be using this tent mostly for me and my Dog. We are planing to use this tent for canoeing trips/portaging.

It will be packed in an 80L pack.It dos not need to be supper lite but it dose need to be durable as there will be a dog in it.

Please let me know your thoughts.


MEC Tran…
…is a good tent - we have and use a Tarn 3 we bought used about six years ago, and love it. Very easy to erect, handles wind well, has good ventilation, is really weather-tight with it’s full-length fly, with just enough room for two and their dog. We’ve had our dog in it, and no problem - but she is fairly small and a well-behaved animal. Don’t know the Sierra Designs, but the MEC Tarns are recommended.

I have a Tarn 3
I’m 6’5" and like the room the Tarn 3 provides. (It’s really a two person tent, I have no idea how you would fit a third person in there). The Tarn 2 is essentially the same design as the Tarn 3, just smaller. I can sit upright in the Tarn 3, but not the Tarn 2.

I use the Tarn 3 solo or with my wife. It has good ventilation to prevent condensation buildup. It’s very dry in heavy rain and can withstand high winds. It has a great little window in the rain fly. I really love this tent.

Thanks for the info.


Clip Flashlight
The Clip Flashlight is a great little tent. Very lightweight and as durable as any backpacking tent. Simple to set up, although it requires the floor to be staked out for it to stay up. (not free-standing).

I think it’s a good solo tent that allows me to keep anything I’d want overnight, and have plenty of room to stretch out. I love the big vestibule, and it stands up extremely well to wind and rain with the low-profile fly.

If your dog is small (like jack russel size) then no problem. If it’s a small lab, or even a springer spaniel sized dog, then no way, IMO. (I like my dogs in the vestibule when camping).

Check the floor specs
Some tentmakers publish the thickness of their tent fabrics. For example, the Campmor catalog often gives the thickness of Eureka tent floors and walls. Some of their models have thicker floors than others, and they make an outfitter version with heavier-duty floors. Since Eureka is reasonably-priced, you might want to look into these, too.

My dog
My dog is a Lab. I’m a bit concerned about all the mesh on the Clip Flashlight.

And I think the vestibule is a bit biger on the MEC tarn???

tarp system
I would look at a tarp system or a popup hunters shelter

Floors may be entirely different

– Last Updated: Sep-28-10 9:19 AM EST –

there has been some discussion on the increased permeability if SD tent floors.

There are no holes, but some SD floors are only rated to 3000mm of resistance to water.

By comparison MEC tents are rated to 10000 mm. I have heard of several disgruntled recent SD purchasrs and no gripes from MEC tent purchasers.

My CF is some fifteen years old and I do about 40 nights solo per year so its got some 600 nights on it. Its starting to get a little tired. But the issue is that while some of us have had SD tents for a while (I have an older Meteor Light too) the new ones just are not the same.

MEC looks better
Sorry, some of us Americans aren’t metrically bilingual so it’s hard to compare the specs. But personally I far prefer a free-standing tent like the MEC. It’s easier to put up and once it’s up you can move it wherever you want. I find it very useful to be able to turn the tent upside down and dry the floor in the sun before repacking. Also to shake it out. I vote for the MEC.

Take a look at . . .
. . . Eureka Timberline. Cheap, durable. It is also made in an outfitter version that is even tougher. Available at Campmor.

Timberline Kananaksis
the outfitter version of the Timberline 4.

Completely different animal. Having schlepped one of those heavy duty monsters across Wabakimi for three months total…it will build muscles. After 350 nights the back door (without the vestibule) started to leak.

But thanks for the memory (I think)

I dont see an outfitter 2 model at Campmor.

The Timberlines are a good basic tent but the Clip Flashlight and Tarn 2 will keep you warmer if that is a consideration. They are lower. We still have a Timberline from the 70s with a worn out floor. It took some time to wear it out. Its still too heavy in comparison to my old SD Clip Flashlight with the 5000 mm floor.

I will take a look at this.


Thanks for the onfo.

for what its worth

has a rather spirited and sometimes rambling discussion from various users. Its anectdotal but might help. Dont think its scientifically accurate though!

One more SD owner
Mine is about 6 years old, and probably around 75 nights in it. Ole Grey Dog spent most of those with me and with her at 45 pounds there was plenty of room for her and my clothing. Everything else went in a portage pack outside or under the tarp.

Not sure about the water issue described above, but mine has been bone dry.


NONE of the above…
Both tents are great for their intended useage…add a second person (or dog) and the ergonomic problems start.

End opening tents bad, side opening tents Good…'specially if they(side opening) are double door tents…look for a tent with two doors and a to the ground all around rainfly…(if you live in snow country, also look for zippered roof vents to eliminate Spin Drift problems.)

my .02; YOMV

Why MEC or Sierra Designs ?
What was your reasoning for picking these two tents.

I own a SD Clip Flashlight and several other tents as I was an Outdoor Living Instructor for 32 years. I suspect you are looking for a low weight tent with good water repellancy, medium price, ease of set up, and a reasonable vestible space for your dog.

If that is your requirements I suggest you look at the following posibilities which get good reviews.

l. Kelty Gunnison - Two person, double entry, 5.5#

Freestanding Dome with two vest-

ibles. $220. I own the old

model and it is my favorite

all around tent.

2. Big Agnes Seedhouse - One or two person, 3# Free-

standing convertible dome. $250

Lots of room and great ventila-


3. MSR Hubba- Two person freestanding $250-300

Huge room for size with high

dome. Good ventilation.

4. REI Half Dome Best buy with many of the

features of the above. $175.

There are many lightweight tents I would not consider since you have a larger dog. There are some excellent

tents I didn’t mention but they are also too expensive for most people. Stephanson Warmlite & Hilleberg Single wall tents are very light weight, all weather tents but they also cost $500 +.

Look around before you decide. Actually go in to some Sporting Goods Stores and ask them to let you assemble the tents you are interested in on the floor.

Then check the tent for ease of assembly, stitching, zippers, clips, vestibles, and tie downs. Note the waterproofness of the flooring and rainfly, and whether it has a tub floor which extends up the sides of the tent at least five inches. Check to see if all seams are sealed at the factory. Happy Tent Hunting!


More robust coatings = longer waterproof life.