Outbound Collective logo

Outbound Reviewed: Sierra Designs: Sweet Suite 3 Tent

If you are looking for a lightweight tent that still has a lot of room inside of it to take out on the trail, this is the tent for you.

By: Brandon Dewey + Save to a List

My family and I had a great time chasing fall colors and camping in Shenandoah National Park.  Since the beginning of fall in the Mid Atlantic was very warm, the leaves turned colors very late this year (if they changed at all).  Shenandoah National Park historically peaks around October 10th, but this year the park didn’t peak until November 2nd.  Since the colors were late this year, it meant I was also camping later into the year, and once the sun goes down the temperature quickly drops in the Blue Ridge Mountains. So I made sure I packed my Sierra Designs: Sweet Suite 3 Tent to keep my family dry and warm through the chilly night.

I grew up camping and backpacking with my family, and now that I am a father of two adventurous boys, I take them camping as often as I can.  As my boys get older, we are quickly outgrowing my 2 person tent, so I’ve been looking for a well-made, lightweight tent that would fit my growing family, and I found the Sierra Designs: Sweet Suite 3.  One of the main reasons why I picked this tent is because of the floor area. Unlike most three person tents, where the only way to actually sleep three people in the tent requires the person in the middle to sleep with their head near the feet of the other two people, in the Sweet Suite 3 all three people can comfortably sleep the same direction.  In my family’s case, the Sweet Suite 3 is large enough to sleep my wife, two young sons, and me (keeping in mind that we have a toddler and an elementary school aged child).  There is also plenty of head room, so I can sit up straight, which makes it easy to change in the morning.

The first thing I noticed is the unique design of the carrying bag. Instead of a typical bag that usually makes it almost impossible to get the tent back into after you open it for the first time, the Sweet Suite tent bag is shaped like a burrito, with the opening of the bag along the long side of the bag.  This may be something small, but I was easily able to get the tent both in and out of the bag, making setting up and tearing down camp that much easier.

The Sweet Suite is semi-free standing because two of the four corners require stakes.  If you are looking for a free standing tent, this is not the tent for you. The poles are shaped like a tripod with two (gold) poles fitting into corners and a single (blue) pole fitting in the middle of the of the tent. I found putting the blue pole into place first makes sure the other poles will line up correctly.  There is also a small ridge pole that helps expand the middle of the tent.  If you are looking for a free stating tent, this is not the tent for you, but the pole design is what really helps give the Sweet Suite such a large footprint while still keeping the weight low.   There are two large doors, one on each side, making it easy to get in and out of the tent.

The rain fly is also super easy to put on. To help orient the rain fly correctly, clip the red buckle on the rainfly to the red corner on the tent. Since the tent is not a perfect rectangle I recommend starting with this corner when putting on the rain fly to make sure it lines up correctly.  Once the rain fly is on, it creates two vestibules (one for each door), which is large enough to store gear in if needed.   One of the features I can’t wait to use next summer is the ability to easily roll both sides of the rain fly to the middle of the tent. During those hot summer nights, I will be able to enjoy lying in my tent away from the mosquitos and other bugs while still being able to enjoy a 360 degree view of the night sky.  But if the weather changes or it looks like there will be a lot of dew, I can quickly roll the rain fly back down and clip the corners back into place in less than a minute. 

If you are looking for a lightweight tent that still has a lot of room inside of it to take out on the trail, this is the tent for you.  There is plenty of room for two people plus gear inside the tent or three people with gear in the vestibules without feeling like you are on top of each other.  The only thing I would change is not with the tent itself but with the footprint.  I wish the footprint had wings to extend under the vestibule.  This way I would not have to worry about storing my gear under the vestibule on the ground especially when it is wet and muddy. The Sweet Suite 3 is an awesome tent, and I see it being packed in my backpack for the foreseeable future.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


8 Amazing national park lakes to explore this Summer

The Outbound Collective

Add these three North Carolina destinations to your must-visit list

The Outbound Collective

California national parks 101

The Outbound Collective

You gotta make this camping recipe for herby red lentil spread

Emily Nielson