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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2 Carbon > Owner Review by joe schaffer
Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2 Carbon Tent
by Joe Schaffer
October 15, 2020
NAME: Joe Schaffer
HOME: Bay Area, California USA
I frequent California's central Sierras, camping year around with a goal to match my age in nights out each year; often solo. Summer trips typically last 5 to 10 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food related; about 5 mi (8 km) per hiking day. I winter camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.5 km) on snowshoes, pulling a sled.
The Product: Tiger Wall 2 Carbon tent & footprint
Web site: www.bigagnes.com
Packed weight: 1 lb 11 oz (765 g)
Packed size: 6 x 17.5 in (15 x 44 cm)
Floor area: 27 sf (2.5 sq m)
Floor size: 52-42 x 86 in (132-107 x 219 cm)
Weight: 4 oz (113 g)
MSRP: US $999.95 for tent and US $80 for footprint.
MY SPEC: 1.922 lb (873 gm) canopy, poles, fly, footprint, pegs, tent sack, pole sack, peg sack & two tape squares. Bears repeating--the whole shebang weighs 30 3/4 ounces (873 gm). And that's with a dirty footprint.
Three-season Tiger Wall 2 Carbon clip tent offers 2-person, 2-wall, 2-door, 2-vestibule, full coverage fly with semi-free standing setup in a package weighing less than 2 lbs (0.9 kg) including footprint. That’s about 3-4 lbs (1.5-1.75 kg) less than a ‘standard’ premium tent. The main strategies for such significant weight reduction while maintaining interior volume suitable for two occupants are pole design and lighter materials.
MATERIALS: Tent tub and fly are both Dyneema, a remarkably light material for its strength that also folds very compactly. (Dyneema is a trade name for the material formerly known as Cuben Fiber.) Canopy fabric is gossamer-weight nylon ripstop. Easton pole sections are mostly carbon fiber, with two sections of pre-bent aluminum. Guys are 2 mm reflective cord. Pegs are no-twist aluminum. Very small zippers. All rub points on the fly are reinforced with tape, as are guy-outs. Nylon taffeta footprint with side-release buckles and guy-outs.
POLE DESIGN: The primary pole set is shock-corded into a single unit of three arches conjoined by a hub. Hub and pre-bends allow an angular design maximizing tent volume while minimizing the amount (and therefore weight) of pole structure. Head end poles form something of a slightly squashed triangle, with the top points meeting at the hub. A ridge pole extends from the hub to the center of the foot end. A center-placed secondary pole of two short carbon fiber shock-corded sections spreads the top to make side walls nearly vertical.
TENT SHAPE: Walls are closer to vertical due to pole design. Ridge height tapers down significantly to foot end, but due to the arch maintains a more vertical end wall than with the typical X pole design. Floor shape is trapezoidal, being wider at the head end. Tent will accommodate two standard (i.e., 20 in/50 cm) mattresses with a bit of room to spare.
DOORS: A large door on each side of the tent provides ingress and egress. Each door has two zipper tracks; one that runs horizontally at the bottom, and another that arcs to the top. Each track has one slider, meeting at the lower head end corner. Zippers have short loops of cord pull, finished in a plastic loop that’s always open. Each door and vestibule has a single tie to hold it open and out of the way, using loop and toggle to secure. Vestibule can be tied back on the foot end side as well.
VENTING: Foot end netting at the bottom, and head end netting at the top of the wall with adjacent ceiling netting allows circulation in the canopy. Fly vestibules zip open from top and/or bottom for venting.
POCKETS: Each side of the canopy has a netting pocket, plus another at the top of the head end.
SEAMS: Double-sided tape joins seams, eliminating stitch holes, seam sealing and thread.
FOOTPRINT: This piece does not come with the tent and must be ordered additionally. (The case with most tents, it seems.) Shape follows the tub outline, slightly smaller so as to leave no edges exposed. There are three grommeted webbing straps to match pole tips; and each has a side-release female buckle. This allows the pole set to work with the fly and without the tent canopy for those intrepid campers intent upon saving a few more ounces. Foot end corners have guy lines.
PITCHING: Lay out the footprint shiny side up. Shake out the canopy over the footprint, matching color-coded webbing. Assemble poles and insert tips into corresponding grommets. Clip canopy to poles. Insert spreader pole tips into webbing pockets. Peg head end, then peg foot end. Shake out the fly and match color-coded webbing. Join side-release buckles and peg out vestibules. Guy as necessary to support the structure in wind.
Sep 28-Oct 5, 2020: Emigrant Wilderness, California, USA. 8 days, 25 mi (40 km) 15 hours; leave weight 32 lb (15 kg); 40-80 F (4-27 C), sunny, smoky. 7,000-8,000 ft (2,100-2,400 m); 6 camps.
This tent package weighs about the same as a ‘standard’ tent fly and compresses to about the size of French bread. It is so light that care must be taken on the first lift to avoid hitting oneself in the nose.
Hardest part about pitching is getting the tent or fly to unfold. They are so light it’s hard to shake them out of the roll; and of course they misbehave in the slightest wisp of breeze. Tape for Dyneema holds fast and requires exact precision to leave no exposed edges. While I find the precision quite satisfactory, there is nevertheless a roll ‘stickiness’ from minute edges of exposed tape here and there. I expect this to diminish with use as dust accumulates.
Interior volume surpasses expectations by any measure. The pole design stretches the tent out for plenty of room. I only used the tent solo, but I felt it was much larger inside than many of the much heavier tents I’ve used. Very little floor space is lost to the ‘wedge of wasted space’ so many tents have at the foot and head ends, where slope of the walls minimizes usability around the edges. I’m a man of average stature, though, and were I much longer I might have a different impression.
In me wee mind, a tent supported by one pole quite logically cannot be as sturdy as a tent supported by two, but in practice the design does surprise with the level of structural integrity. I hope not to test it in snow or wind load. It is a three season tent, so this concern must be held in check.
Experience with Dyneema in a couple of homemade products suggests this material withstands folding and crumpling extremely well--better in my opinion than typical coated fabrics. (Dyneema is a coated fabric, but in a different sense than scraping waterproofing across taffeta.) Dyneema folds up very compactly and will retain a tight roll as easily as coated nylon.
Having gushed to this point, there are some issues to which I will have to adjust:
A) I don’t like having two separate zippers on each door, a Big Agnes design element not unique to this model. Opening or closing the door requires pulling one zipper, letting go of it, then reaching to pull the other zipper. This seems clumsy to me, compared to one sweeping motion of a typical ‘D’ door.
B) I miss having double sliders on the door zips. I always leave my double sliders at the top, where I know where they are. With single sliders, there’s no question where they are, but in a different spot than I prefer and am so much more accustomed to having. I can’t vent the top of the door without leaving the whole upper track unzipped. With so little netting in the tent, this compromised opportunity to enhance ventilation becomes an issue as the morning warms up.
C) The spreader bar seems to me about one-half inch (1 cm) or so too long. The pockets for it are mounted on webbing providing essentially no purchase, especially for old cold arthritic fingers. I find it quite difficult to get the ends properly inserted. Stretching the gossamer nylon so tightly also makes me particularly concerned about where the first failure in fabric strength is likely to occur.
D) My unscientific and randomly divined opinion regarding UV exposure comes to light in the face of multiple vendor admonitions to keep such exposure to a bare minimum. I feel how thin the canopy nylon is and extrapolate my experience to ‘standard’ fabrics in concluding this tent is not made for the way I prefer to enjoy my mornings. I like to put the tent where it will get morning sun because I usually have too light a sleeping bag (or blanket) and not enough clothes. And then I want to lollygag in the tent until heat drives me out. Such behavior is not consistent with a degree of longevity that I long for in any product, and certainly not a shelter product that equals in cost the down payment on my first house. Thus, I found myself getting up at sunrise and moving the tent to the shade. When I’m grumpy like that, having to fuss with pegging adds an increment of dissatisfaction I’d prefer to avoid.
Continuing the line of excoriation, I found that I just wound up getting up earlier and hitting the trail several hours sooner. That works OK, but when I get to my next campsite, I won’t put the tent up until sundown or shade is otherwise abundant and steady. With no contained shelter for the sleeping bag, it needs to stay compressed in the backpack along with the mattress. I don’t like that. I like to get the tent up first thing and release the bag and mattress from their torturous contraction. I can’t unload my pack into the tent and then hope to move it.
E) I can’t sit up and see when the bogeyman is out there. The head end netting is too high and requires turning the body over to get on the knees, which is way too much work and which causes TFKG (tent floor knee grinding) which I prefer to avoid on fabric not a whole lot thicker than cigarette paper. A randomly seizing spine will not allow leaning forward low enough to see out of the rear netting either. And while the canopy fabric is so thin as to be nearly transparent, it’s not enough so that I can see very well through it, but any predators outside wanting to aim for a particular body part can. Most disconcerting.
F) Slightly pre-bent sections exacerbate a rather untidy pole pack owing to the hub. Poles do not insert into the hub, but rather onto fixed extensions from it, with any two sticking out much like Aunt Bertha chasing after a grandkid for her hug. The third can be left inserted in a pole. So many protrusions from the pack make me nervous about rubbing holes. I assuage this concern by wrapping the pole pack in the footprint; and then toting the pack apart from the tent.
G) I don't like no-twist pegs because they hurt my hand too much to push in and they don't hold line well enough. I used hook pegs instead.
H) Dyneema seems intent upon holding static electricity, clasping voluminous quantities of forest floor debris, including dried needles.
So, how would I sum up all these nit-picks? It weighs much less than a full Nalgene bottle. Shut up.
a) insanely light
b) remarkably roomy
c) easy to pitch
d) requires tender use
e) requires some pegging
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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2 Carbon > Owner Review by joe schaffer
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