Designed firmly with backpackers and remote camping spots in mind, Sierra Designs' Meteor Lite 2 is a new incarnation of the brand's popular Meteor Light tent. This version shaves off the grams and is a lightweight hiker- and bikepacker-friendly tent – but it still boasts an impressive amount of room once you pitch it. We tested this tent out on multiple camps over hill and dale to see if it measured up in the great outdoors, and were extremely impressed – in fact, it's right at the top of our best backpacking tent list now, and the winner of our T3 Award 2021 in the tent category. Read on for our full Meteor Lite 2 tent review.
Sierra Designs Meteor Lite 2 review: design and features
Sierra Designs Meteor Lite 2: specs
Size: 213.36 cm x 129.54 cm
Pitch time: 10 minutes
The 2 in the title of the Sierra Designs Meteor Lite stands, as you might expect, for the fact that this is a two-man tent – other versions of this model can sleep one or three people. The Meteor Lite 2 fits two people side by side with room at your feet for two backpacks, and two generous porches on each side give extra space for storing cooking equipment and hiking boots. This is a tent of two parts, an inner mesh tent and an outer waterproof 'fly' – what we like about this design is that on hot nights you can sleep in the inner mesh tent on its own or just roll back half of the outer fly, which is great if you fancy a spot of stargazing.
One factor that may put off dedicated wild campers is the rather bright colourway of this tent – if you’re going for stealthy sleeps, you may be better off choosing a dark green or brown backpacking tent.
The Meteor Lite hits a sweet spot when it comes to its size – it's lightweight at 1.66kg and compact enough when packed down to carry in a larger rucksack or to strap to the front of a smaller one, and can also be split between two people. A 'burrito'-style carrying bag makes the job of packing the tent away in the morning a simple one.
Sierra Designs Meteor Lite 2 review: pitching and living space
Hate wrestling with unwieldy tent poles? You’ll love the Meteor Lite 2, which is quick, intuitive and easy to pitch in just a few minutes. Magnetic poles clip onto the inner mesh tent, and colour-coded tabs make it easy to pop the waterproof outer fly over the top to finish the pitching process. The tent can then be pegged out tautly to withstand wind and rain using the wide metal pegs that are included (although we’d have liked to have a few more spares handy).
Once up, the Meteor Lite has more than enough space for two campers, and the two wide doors and two porches make this model feel surprisingly roomy and airy despite being a compact tent. We find many two-man tents with just one main door are quite hard work to share with a friend, but the two door, two porch design of the Meteor Lite makes it easy to get in and out of the tent at night without disturbing your sleeping partner.
A half-dome design leaves more space over your head at the top of the tent, which is vastly better than smaller, claustrophobic backpacking tent designs, although you’ll have to think about which end you want to have your head at before you pitch the tent. This may be a tent aimed at – and perfect for – travelling light, but it’s big enough inside to be a good all-rounder for festivals and camping trips with friends.
Sierra Designs Meteor Lite 2 review: long-term test
We’ve had the Meteor Lite on test for months now, and have been impressed every time we’ve camped in it. It’s quick to pitch and pack away even in bad weather, and has stood up very well to repeated outings in high winds and rain – it still looks and feels as good as new after around 20 camping and wild camping adventures. If we were splitting hairs, we’d ask for more pockets – there are two small mesh pockets on each side of the inner tent, each of which will take a phone, a water bottle and other small bits and bobs, but bigger pockets would have been very handy for storing kit. All in all, though, the Sierra Designs definitely gets our vote for lightweight camping adventures year-in, year-out.
Meteor Lite 2 review: alternatives to consider
In many ways the Meteor Lite 2 looks and performs like its popular rivals, MSR’s lightweight two-man backpacking tents such as the Zoic 2 and Hubba Hubba NX. We’ve tested the similarly shaped and pitched MSR Hubba Hubba on multiple wild camps – while it’s also great quality and pleasingly simple to pitch, we did notice that MSR’s tent won’t survive very heavy rain without some leaking.
Sierra Design’s own alternatives, such as the Meteor Lite 3, for three people, or the smaller Clip Flashlight 2 for two but with less storage space, are good alternatives to the Meteor Lite 2. Another great choice for hikers is Alpkit’s Ordos 2, an ultralight backpacking tent for two people that’s more affordable than the Meteor Lite 2, although the downside is there’s less space for kit and only one small porch.
Sierra Designs Meteor Lite 2 review: verdict
We’ve got nothing but good things to say about the Sierra Designs Meteor Lite 2, which is thoughtfully designed, feels like great quality both to use and to sleep in and manages, Goldilocks-like, to be small and lightweight when packed down but still pleasingly roomy for one or two people when erect. You’ll find lighter, smaller and more stealthy backpacking tents available on the market, but we think the Meteor Lite 2 really delivers on comfort, space and weatherproofing. Well worth investing in for years of adventures to come – and while Meteor Lite sits at the more expensive end of the two-man tent market, it’s pretty well priced given its quality, especially if you’re a regular backpacker or wild camper looking to invest in your next trusty tent.