Ultralight and sustainable? Big Agnes might have nailed the next iteration of must-have camp gear with its solution-dyed Tiger Wall UL tent.
The lightest-weight tent in Big Agnes’ new-for-2021 lineup, the solution-dyed Tiger Wall UL2 was designed with backpackers, bikepackers, thru-hikers, and the environment in mind.
How? Big Agnes took its popular original ultralight Tiger Wall model and redesigned multiple features, most of all, the fabrics and manufacturing process.
Specifically, the standout component of this new Big Agnes tent is its solution-dyed fabrics. By using this process, which uses pigments in place of chemicals, Big Agnes says it reduced the water and energy in manufacturing by more than 50% (more on this below.) That change also makes this tent’s footprint (literally and figuratively) more sustainable.
We tested the Tiger Wall UL2 for over a month across northern and southern Colorado, between temps of 35-75 degrees, including for a full week thru-hiking on the Appalachian Trail.
In short: If packability and light weight is what you’re searching for, be it for lightweight backpacking, bikepacking, or pack-paddleboarding, this tent has it in spades. We even put its new and more sustainable solution-dyed fabrics to the test in wind, sleet, sun, and rain — and it performed brilliantly.
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2 Review
This tent is ultralight. It’s meant to be as small and light as possible, and yes, that means this tent is more fragile, too. If you are looking for a small tent to chuck in your trunk on spur-of-the-moment camping trips, this might not be the one.
But if you need a tent that can pack small, won’t weigh you down, and offers quality shelter, this tent should be on your list.
The Tiger Wall UL (we tested the 2, but it comes in a solo and three-person as well) has 28 square feet of tent space, two doors, two vestibules, door tie-offs, gear stashes, interior side pockets, and 39 inches of headroom (plenty spacious for two people sitting up). But it isn’t just about the numbers.
This tent’s design, fabrics, and weight impressed us all equally — meaning it comes together into an awesome lightweight, intuitive, and versatile package.
Major Features: What We Liked
This tent is the lightest tent I’ve ever used, and uber packable to boot. I was able to fit it and my entire sleeping kit (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and baselayers) into a 30L drybag on a pack-paddleboarding trip last month. I’ve also taken it on several backpacking trips and one thru-hike.
In a nutshell, the light weight and packability are great, but there are lots of ultralight tents out there.
For this review, I also wanted to consider what else you get with this tent. For me, that was: great performance in all weather, a comfortable interior design, and incorporated sustainable features.
- Design: Freestanding* (see below), single pole system, two doors, two vestibules
- Waterproofing: Water-repellent floor and fly, waterproofed seams
- Components: DAC Featherlite poles, ripstop nylon and polyester mesh body, rainfly, Dirt Dagger UL stakes
- Sustainable components: Solution-dyed fabric (all fabrics), PVC-free taped seams
- Use: Three-season
- Trail Weight: 2 lbs. 3 oz.
- Price: $399
This tent is freestanding, but with a caveat. The pole system is a single pole, meaning the frame attaches to the tent at three places (two corners, and then the base of the tent). You’ll need to stake the remaining two corners out to fully set it up.
We liked the pole design, and we didn’t have any issues with any components like clips or pole segments. However, it took us two tries to get the tension in the corners just right. (We recommend tying a slip knot in the guy line at the stakes for easy adjusting once you’ve got it staked out.)
Once standing, this tent proved sturdy — really sturdy. We discovered that 40mph winds won’t knock it down. In testing, it did a nice job staving off lighter winds and rains too.
Inside, the mesh and gear stash pockets are in all the right places, and there’s ample room for two people, sitting or sleeping.
Solution-Dyed Tiger Wall UL2: Small Tent, Big Sustainability
This year, Big Agnes updated how it manufactures its nine most popular tents — specifically, how it dyes them. Solution-dying, a method in which raw materials are dyed before processing (as opposed to finished fabrics), tends to use fewer chemicals, less water, and less energy. And it produces fewer emissions compared to final-fabric-dyed counterparts.
The new solution-dying process for Big Agnes not only uses fewer chemicals, but it also cuts water usage by 50% and reduces the overall energy required by 80%. That’s a massive shift. Big Agnes said that because of this, the process also significantly reduces its carbon emissions.
Even if you don’t care about this tent’s eco-footprint, solution dying also has benefits for your gear itself: namely, solution-dyed fabrics are less prone to fading over time. This is because the color pigment is incorporated into each thread of the fabric.
I was both unlucky and lucky that I encountered pretty bad weather over the course of testing this tent. On one weekend, wind and cold, and on a week-long thru-hike, five straight days of rain.
In both instances, the Tiger Wall UL2 held up great. The rainfly has the ability to vent (bless), and the tent floor never got too wet or soaked through.
So far, I’m super happy with the usable space — two vestibules — and packability. I’ll definitely keep this tent in my back pocket for more light and fast backpacking and pack-paddleboarding trips throughout this summer and fall. After all, this is a three-season tent!.
My only con was that this tent doesn’t come with a footprint. For an ultralight tent like this one, you really do want one for durability in the long run.
Or if you like to camp with a footprint/fly combo, you’ll have to buy one separately. A footprint will add a bit more to the price tag, or you can DIY your own if footprint weight doesn’t matter much.