Headlamps are great when you’re moving through the woods or cooking dinner after you’ve exhausted all the sunlight that the day had to offer, but inside a tent they can be harsh, blinding, and a bit inconvenient. The mtnGLO accessory kit is presented as the solution to this problem.
Alongside the mtnGLO tent collection, with lights sewn right into the fabric of the tent, Big Agnes released the Accessory kit that essentially retrofits the same technology into an older or alternative tent. It’s a long strand of soft glowing LED lights, with a simple on, off, and dim button tied into a USB battery pack (3 AAA). Included is a soft carrying case, and slide-able clips along the light strand to connect it to your tent. The strand is a full 100″ long and retails for $39.95. The entire kit, with lithium-ion batteries weighs 4.1 oz.
What I liked
The mtnGLO kit does produce a much nicer glow than any headlamp or light kit that I’ve tested. It provides an even, well distributed glow that doesn’t hurt your eyes to look directly into, and provides enough light for most activities, including reading. The light produced is comforting, calming, and isn’t distracting, nor does it act like a blazing beacon in the dark night landscape.
The light kit is very easy to use. Just pop in the batteries, connect the strand of lights via USB, clip it to any loops along the inside of your tent, and you’re ready. The battery pack is operable from inside the travel case, with a nice green power symbol to show you where the button is located on the inside. This helps to keep everything together so you don’t lose any pieces. You can also get creative outside of your tent if you want some soft illumination around camp.
It’s light weight, and it packs away quite small. Lighter than most other lighting systems I’ve tried.
Generally, the build quality is pretty good. The light strands seem sturdy and well-constructed, with a rigid battery case and nice “clicky” button.
It also works great on other brands of tents.
What I didn’t like
The build quality of the carry pack is poor. Within about 5 minutes of tinkering with the light kit, I managed to rip one of the clips that hold the case closed right out of the neoprene. The design here seems poor, and cheaply built. I wouldn’t buy it for the travel case. I’ve had no other issues.
While the brightness is sufficient for most tasks, I would like to see it with one more brightness setting for those long restless nights. It’s advertised as bright enough to read by, but I don’t quite consider this to be true. Perhaps with excellent vision, but the average reader will want more light.
$40 bucks is a little steep for lighting.
The Big Agnes mtnGLO kit is a brilliant way to enhance long nights, or to simply avoid the glaring bright spot lights produced from headlamps. It’s light enough to carry on nearly any trip, has good battery life, and is, for the most part, pretty well built. It’s not the brightest setup out there, but it offers a soft glow that’s hard to not like. If you don’t mind spending the money, this is a decent option for adding a little character to your tent at night. Just don’t rely on it as your only source of light.