The time had come to buy a new tent. Heck Yes! Who doesn’t love new gear?! To make it more exciting, I’ve never actually bought a high-end tent. I bought a $100, one-man, Coleman tent back in 2009. I have a great, four-season, Mountain Hardware tent that was a gift, but I’ve never purchased one. I was pumped and little did I know that the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 3P was in my future.
- The Search
Most of my hunts are solo hunts, but my children have finally reached the age that they can follow me into the woods. They love the adventure and I want to do whatever I can to foster their enthusiasm for the outdoors. The kids still aren’t quite big enough to carry their fair share of the load. On top of that, my gear budget only had room for one tent. So, I would be looking for a single tent that was light enough to carry by myself but big enough to fit more than one person. With weight as the main factor, I started compiling a list of tents on the BlackOvis website that weighed less than three pounds.
While weight was the primary concern, it wasn’t the only factor. I also had to consider price and versatility and functionality, etc. I couldn’t buy a tent that didn’t have a floor. I couldn’t buy a “summer only” tent. I made a spreadsheet to help me keep it all straight in my head. It looked something like this.
The first thing I did was to convert the weights into ounces. Instead of trail weight, I chose to use packed weight since it is a standard across the industry and I felt it made for a more fair comparison. After the various other data fields were loaded onto a spreadsheet, I was able to sort according to weight, price, packed size, or whatever information I felt was worth comparing. Right off the bat, the NEMO Spike 2P Backpacking Pole Tent was added to my wish list. It barely tipped the scales at a mere 31 ounces. Holy smokes that is light!
After month of joyously agonizing back and forth, I settled on the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2P Backpacking Tent. It was incredibly light at 37 ounces. I felt like the price was spot on. It was a 2-man tent and I loved the High Volume concept. After visiting with a buddy who had used this tent on a goat hunt in AK,the search was officially over. I had found my tent… or so I thought. I logged into my account. I clicked on my wish list and went to “Add To Cart” only to find that they were “Out of Stock”. This was a sad moment. Just three little words brought such sorrow (as of press time, they are back in stock now.)
Not to be discouraged, I retreated to my spreadsheet. My number two choice was the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL3P Backpacking Tent. It was the only 3-person tent on the 3-pound list. That meant it was also the heaviest. However, I am not a small man. I can fill up a 2-person tent pretty quick! If I could eke out a little extra tent space and still keep it under 3 pounds, I would literally be a happy camper. I added it to the cart, checked out and waited for the mail to arrive.
The moment it showed up, I set it up in our garage. Talk about a mind-blow. It was SO EASY. In fairness, the newer tech in the tent industry has far eclipsed what I was familiar with. The Tiger Wall has a single pole design. Everything is color coded, simple, fast and efficient. I was totally amazed by the process and I was instantly in love.
- The Hunts
I used it on the Montana archery opener with my 11 year-old son and it was fantastic.
I used it on a high country mule deer scouting trip with my brother-in-law and I was totally impressed (with the tent that is, as we saw zero deer)
The dual doors made tent life easy. No one had to crawl over the other person’s bedding to get in and out. The dual vestibules provided plenty of space for our packs and gear. Inside, there are three mesh pockets and something like five ceiling loops? There is a lot of storage for headlamps, iPhones, chocolate bars, etc. The head space felt luxurious and made changing clothes comparatively easy.
Best of all, for the first time in my camping experience, I didn’t feel like I was snuggling with the other camper. I had room. I had personal space. I could roll over in my sleeping bag without crushing on my unsuspecting buddy. I am so glad I pulled the trigger on the 3-person tent!
My only concern is durability. In order to get a big tent this light, they have to use semi-fragile materials. In this case, it is mostly rip-stop nylon. This makes me nervous. I trust the tent. I just don’t trust the Howard! My light weight coats can attest to my caveman ways. In spite of this, my fears continue to go unfounded and the tent is doing well. No issues.
Like most of the tents I shopped for, it does not come with a footprint. Please buy or build a footprint. I cannot image that anyone could actually use this tent and maintain its pristine bathtub floor without a little added protection.
- One last note: The Tiger Wall has a fast fly option (fly, footprint, poles & stakes).
The pole attaches to the underside of the rain fly. You stake it down and you’re looking at 2 lbs 2 oz. Of course the 2-person version is lighter. If you are in “Fast Fly Mode” you probably don’t need the footprint, which subtracts more ounces.
Man, I love this tent! It is my favorite purchase this season. I cannot wait to use it again. If you ever get to use this tent, I can’t imagine you would be anything less than impressed.
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