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Sierra Designs – light and cheap

The Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 retails for $399.

After a soft launch into the New Zealand market in 2018, the Sierra Designs brand is now available in several retail outlets in the South Island and includes the full range of tents and sleeping bags.

The brand has been brought to New Zealand by distributor Further Faster. Company director Martin Walker said the brand is finding a following among those wanting light and cheap products.

“The brand was made in 1965 on the premise that people deserve to have good gear for exploring the outdoors, regardless of who they are,” said Walker. “It’s always been a brand that has tried to be price-conscious.

“What I like about it is they have got some very creative thinking when it comes to designing product.”

Walker said the brand’s zipperless Cloud sleeping bag was proving popular, especially among women. Rated to -3℃ and weighing just 790g, the top half of the bag tucks into itself rather than using a zipper.

“In terms of innovation on the sleeping bags, they also have self-sealing foot vents, hideaway hoods, hand pockets and pad sleeves on the back,” said Walker.

The Cloud 20 zipperless sleeping bag.

The down used in the bag is hydrophobic and ethically-sourced.

Walker said the High Side 1 tent ($579, 1110g) was the number one choice among backpackers and through-hikers. And the Clip Flashlight 2 ($399, 1530g) was a cheap and lightweight two-person option.

Asked about whether Sierra Designs is up to handling the notoriously fickle and wet conditions found in New Zealand, Walker said: “A lot of people mention that, but it depends on where your conditions are. Not everybody is on top of Mt Cook. These tents are fine for Te Araroa for instance.

“These days there’s a real call for lightweight stuff. There are a lot of lightweight customers. This is a trend that is not suddenly going to turn around and go back to how it was. As fabrics get stronger and lighter, you’ll see more people gravitate to the outdoors because it’s more fun.”

The High Side 1 tent is designed for bikepackers and through-hikers.