The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL is an absolute featherweight. It’s an attractive option for those who need to justify every gram they carry, but it comes at a high cost.
Pros / Reasons to Buy
- Its very light weight
- Good environmental credentials for material used
- Manufacturer’s warranty and repair service
Cons / Reasons to Avoid
- It’s very expensive
- There are even lighter alternatives available
- Durability concerns with fabrics used
This tent is all about being lightweight and its figures are very impressive. Concessions have been made to achieve this, though – in terms of internal space, possible durability, and ease of setup – and of course, it all comes with a substantial price tag. That said, we think the concessions are acceptable and the tent doesn’t sacrifice too much to hit its impressive numbers. For hikers who are accounting for every gram of their kit, or for those planning long solo expeditions, this is an attractive option, but there are even lighter (and more expensive!) options out there.
Compare to Similar Products
Check out our overall review of the 25 Best Small 2 Person Backpacking Tents of 2023
- Nemo Hornet Elite OSMO Backpacking Tent
- Nemo Chogori Mountaineering Tent
- Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL Backpacking Tent
Analysis and Test Results
This is a phenomenally lightweight tent aimed squarely at those who are mindful of every last gram or fraction of an ounce they carry on the trail. Whilst the tent’s light weight and compact packed size are commendable, they come at a cost: first of all, there’s the actual cost – this tent certainly is not cheap – but then there’s the matter of space and durability, all of which, it can be argued, have been compromised to hit the exceptionally low weight. None the less, for some buyers, this tent’s weight alone will be all the reason they need to buy. Beyond this, Big Agnes are keen to stress the environmental credentials of this tent, stating it makes use of materials that minimise energy and water consumption during manufacture.
This tent’s reason for existing is to be lightweight and in order to achieve this, certain concessions have to be made in other areas. That means saving material where possible and this in turn does have an impact on the tent’s comfort. None the less, compared to the other Big Agnes tent we’ve assessed, the Copper Spur HV UL, the Tiger Wall UL2 is only a little smaller in every dimension – though it does have a more aggressively tapering roof profile that impacts the sense of internal volume. On top of this, it’s good to see that the Tiger Wall UL also keeps two entrances and thus two storage vestibules – both of which could easily have been sacrificed to save weight but which are also both valuable features in our opinion.
The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL’s light weight comes from the materials used in its construction and, as with any lightweight equipment, these can seem insubstantial at first inspection – especially if you are not used to ultra lightweight products. The Tiger Wall UL’s flysheet is a prime example here – it just seems so thin and light that it can’t possibly be waterproof… however, this is not the case and the material offers a good degree of protection from the elements and for even more evidence to its case, you don’t have to look far to find people posting images of the tent in use in deep snow. One thing to bear in mind, though, is that the tent’s hi tech material is very thin and anecdotal evidence online suggests that it can easily be torn by sharp rocks or foliage – it’s worth mentioning this as any nicks and tears will, of course, compromise weather resistance so this should be kept in mind when selecting a location to pitch this tent.
This tent’s key selling point is its exceptionally low weight: The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL weighs in at 1.13kg (2lb 8oz) complete, and Big Agnes claim this can be reduced to a trail weight of 992g (2lb 3oz) by omitting certain accessories. That’s seriously impressive – though we should add that the Nemo Hornet Elite OSMO, which we’ve also assessed, is lighter (and more expensive!) still. We could go on at great length about how this weight comes at the expense of internal space, comfort and possible long-term durability, but to do so misses, the point, we think. The fact is, this tent is aimed at people who are counting every last gram in their equipment – whether they are preparing for a long, self-supported expeditions, or are hikers who simply want to carry less stuff, the key priority for this demographic is lightness above all else. In this regard, the Tiger Wall UL hits the mark… although, as we mentioned, there is at least one other tent out there that’s even lighter!
The Tiger Wall UL packs down to 46x14cm (18×5.5in). That’s at the smaller scale of what we’ve assessed, but, it’s not the smallest either. Here’s where we think things get interesting: The Tiger Wall UL is all about light weight, and we think this will definitely be a priority for any prospective buyer. However, a prospective buyer won’t just be thinking about the weight of their tent, they’ll want to consider the total weight of their entire kit. A tent that’s heavier than the Tiger Wall UL, but which packs down into a smaller package might allow you to plan your hike around a smaller and lighter backpack. So, the decision making process here is more nuanced then simply the stats for the weight alone would suggest.
As was mentioned above in the section on Weather Resistance, the materials used in ultra-light equipment can often feel very insubstantial. Whilst lightweight, high tech materials have proven themselves in terms of weather resistance, unfortunately the same cannot be said for durability and the ultra-thin and light fabrics used in the Tiger Wall are definitely more delicate that those used in heavier tents. With this in mind, it’s important to select pitches for this tent that are clear of sharp rocks and plants which could tear or abrase the fabric. The use of a tent footprint is therefore an especially good idea with this tent – but this will, of course, add more weight. None the less, this tent still appears durable and provided adequate precautions are taken, then there’s no reason it shouldn’t give many long years of use. Big Agnes also provide repair guides on their site and offer a professional repair service for anything you might not be able to handle yourself.
Ease of Setup
The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL uses what’s called a semi freestanding structure – this will be familiar to anyone who’s pitched a recently made tent before, but with one key difference: the tent pole assembly only contact the ground at three points rather than four. This design is no doubt a major contributing factor to the low product weight Big Agnes have bene able to achieve, but it does come with on major limiting factor: the narrow end of the tent must be staked into the ground or otherwise anchored at the corners or else the tent won’t hold its shape. Most of the time, this isn’t going to be an issue, but there could be some scenarios – if you wanted to pitch the tent on a rock flat, for instance – where this could become problematic. Ultimately, we think it’s just another factor you need to bear in mind if you choose to buy this tent. Aside from this caveat, the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL makes use of colour-coded components to make the pitching process as easy as possible.
The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL delivers light weight, but, as you might expect, this comes at a high financial cost. At the time of writing, the tent retails for £519.95 in the UK and $449.95 in the US. That is not cheap at all, and the UK price is particularly high. However, if you want the high-tech materials and design expertise that go into producing such a light-weight product, the simple fact is that it won’t come cheap. We have also assessed the Nemo Ho that’s roughly 20% lighter than the Tiger Wall UL, but also over 20% more expensive.
Really, this tent is all about being lightweight and it seems there’s little point in framing any conversation about it in other terms. It’s very expensive, it compromises on space and there are some possible concerns about the long-term durability of the materials. But it is also very light and for some potential buyers, that’s all that really matters. We think that if you’re the kind of buyer this tent is aimed at, then you already know it – you do not need convincing! The question then is if the Tiger Wall is light enough or can you justify a lighter but even more expensive option like the Nemo Hornet Elite?
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