The Tigerwall UL2 aims to combine a spacious interior, two doors, and two vestibules, into a packed weight of just 2 lbs 8 oz. Can it be done? My review.
The Tigerwall UL2 is designed around a three pole frame. Two DAC Featherlight aluminum poles meet at a centralized hub positioned at the head of the tent. Here, a third pole connects and stretches to the foot of the tent, forming the main ridge. A cross-pole, or brow pole, is permanently connected at the center of the tent, which pulls the walls of the tent outward, adding interior volume. Two volumizing stake points, one at each corner of the foot of the tent, pull out these corners and also finish off the structure of the tent, replacing poles to shave weight.
The tent body itself is made of lightweight 15ish denier breathable nylon, see through mesh, and silicone coated ripstop nylon for the floor. The fly is basically the same material, and attaches via a combination of clips to the tent body, and string loops to the ground. There are two large “D” shaped doors, two 8 square foot vestibules, and three internal storage pockets, with a few small attachment loops for accessories, like lights or additional storage pockets. The tent stands at 39″ tall at the peak, is 52″ inches wide at the head, 42″ wide at the foot, and weighs 2 lbs 8 oz, including the 8 include tent stakes. It costs $399.95, and also comes in a larger 3 man variant.
What I liked
Despite the light weight, this shelter provides a good amount of internal volume. The floor plan can accommodate two full length 20″ wide sleeping pads, with about 2″ of extra space on each side. Thanks to the brow pole and the mostly vertical walls, the tent provides enough room for one person to sit up comfortably, without rubbing the walls, or for two people to both side up side by side, but with minor rubbing of elbows and the mesh. Two can sit up facing each other, one near the foot and one at the head, and this allows for each to more freely move about, excellent for a game of cards or other activities. The floor plan allows for just a little extra room at the head and foot, so sleeping bags or clothing can be pushed out of the way when not needed. It’s not cavernous on the inside, but it doesn’t feel terribly restrictive either. If the tent is used primarily for sleeping and riding out the occasional rain storm, there is just enough room inside to move around, get things done, and even have a little fun, making this a wonderfully livable shelter for two. Extra wide pads, however, are a no go.
At 2 lbs 8 oz, the Tigerwall is exceptionally lightweight and packable, especially for a two person design. If split up, two backpackers only need to carry just over a pound each. Alternatively, it can easily be carried by a single trekker, without being drug down by the weight. It also doesn’t hurt that it stuffs down to about the size of a gallon of water, with the poles stashed vertically inside the backpack. This allows it to fit comfortably in even the smallest of packs. Considering many one person tents actually weigh more than the Tigerwall, it slots comfortably into the “one or two person” tent category, as it makes a very comfortable, borderline luxurious, solo option.
Gear storage and organization are both quite good. This is Thanks largely to the full sized vestibules located above each door. I’ve found that all of my gear can be stacked under one half of a vestibule, leaving my entryway unobstructed, while still keeping everything dry and fairly well organized. Inside, a small pocket sits conveniently located by the head of each sleeper, large enough for phones, a headlamp and a small camera. Above, the larger mesh pocket easily house a light, snacks, and a few other goodies. The pockets are somewhat minimalist, but I never found myself needing anything more. The tent also accepts accessory pockets, which can be attached along the various loops throughout the tent for those who crave organization.
Setting up the Tigerwall is quite easy. Simply stake out the four corners, pop in the three pole tips (they are corded together into one single hubbed piece), then lift the clips of the tent body up to attach them to the poles. From there, the rainfly clips on at three corners, with two loops securing the corners at the foot. Two more stakes make out the vestibule, while three tensioners pull the fly tight. The poles are color coded with their corresponding attachment positions to eliminate any guess work, and the only thing you really need to watch out for is to make sure the brow pole sits underneath the main frame. If not, you’ll have to flip the whole pole-set over to correct it. It pitches taut effortlessly, assuming no rocks are located directly under the stake points, and it breaks down just as fast as it goes up. It’s even easy to pitch solo in high wind, which is a huge plus.
Wind stability is pretty good. Assuming a full and proper pitch, which includes attaching the brow pole’s tips into small pockets on the rain fly, attaching the Velcro loops on the underside of the fly to the poles, and guying it out. When set up properly, the tent holds steady in moderate wind and rain with no flapping or caving. The dual poles at the head, combined with well positioned guy points provide excellent resistance to gusts, and the foot of the shelter sits low, allowing most of the wind to cut right over it. In strong wind there can be a little buffeting near the foot in section lacking poles, but so far it hasn’t been a problem, aside from maybe feeling the tent push in against my foot.
Ventilation is overall is pretty good. The body is completely constructed from breathable mesh and nylon. The mesh above does a nice job of allowing hot air to escape when the top is off, while the less translucent nylon sections block wind currents from directly penetrating the shelter from under the vestibules on chilly nights, and provides some nice privacy when the vestibule is open as well. The rainfly doesn’t have any top vents, but the vestibules do have double zippers, allowing the fly to be opened up from the top to act as a vent on each side when it’s not too rainy. On hotter nights, above say 70 degrees, it can get a little warm inside if the doors have to stay sealed up though. Condensation hasn’t been an issue, as even a mild air current can move under the fly and over the tent body to minimize build up. On especially humid nights, when condensation is unavoidable with any shelter, the mesh body does a great job of protecting anything inside from getting damp as droplets may accumulate on the fly.
Durability and build quality is good. As with all ultralight tents, you’ll need to take care to not pitch it on sharp rocks or sticks, and careful and proper pitching will ultimately decide how well it performs. But, for its weight, it’s impressively stout. The DAC Featherlite poles provide an impressive strength to weight ratio, easily holding up and bouncing back into shape after hard winds hammer it from the sides. The stitching is absolutely top notch, and the entire tent is seam sealed from the factory, providing extra reinforcement. The tent stakes are excellent DAC J-stakes, and even the guy lines hold up to getting wet and tensioned without too much drooping over time. Overall, it’s built well, and with the proper care, it will last a long time.
Getting in and out of the tent is easy enough. The “D” doors allowed me to sit, mostly, direct into the tent while the brow pole kept the vestibule out of the way of my head. I found that I could lace up my boots with my legs hanging out of the door, and more or less push forward sit up and get out, no crawling needed.
What I didn’t like
The tent doesn’t come with enough stakes to actually guy itself out. These were likely left out to artificially reduce the packed weight (which includes tent stakes), which has become increasingly common in the industry. I recommend adding three extra stakes to the kit to achieve a full, proper pitch, adding about 1.2 ounces to the pack weight if you use the same DAC stakes that come with the tent. Thankfully, guy lines and tensioners are included and already attached, so it is only a few stakes that is missing. Normally, you can get away with attaching the guy lines to other stakes that are already holding the tent to the ground, but with this design it just doesn’t suffice as the angles are too steep.
Without the extra three stakes, the tent loses a considerable amount of stability in heavy wind. Using the three pole system and having no functional guy lines connected leaves a large amount of unsupported surface area to catch wind and bow in, resulting in some buffeting when the wind really picks up. For normal conditions, light wind and rain, this isn’t a problem. But, if you like to camp above tree cover, these extra stakes and lines should be considered essential, as they will add a huge amount of stability.
While ventilation is adequate, I would still love to see an added top vent. On stagnant, hot evenings, the heat can still build up inside. The dual zips on the doors help to alleviate the issue, but they don’t quite reach the peak of the tent, which creates a little heat pocket, and they largely rely on air current to work. So if there isn’t any wind, they’re not doing much. During heavy downpours, these zippers will need to be kept closed, preventing them from being used at all. So, on hot days it can be a little stuffy, but not intolerable.
During times of extremely high humidity and wind, rainfly at the foot of the tent can push in against the mesh, transferring a small amount of moisture against a sleeping bag or clothing if placed in the corners. It’s minor and hasn’t cause me a problem yet, but worth mentioning.
When it comes to backpacking tents, everything is a trade off. Features bring weight, weight savings require removing material, and less material generally means less space or reduced durability. With the Tigerwall UL2, however, this rule is circumnavigated by smart material and design choices. It’s a tent that’s light enough for one, livable enough for two, yet still manages to provide excellent protection from the elements. Despite a couple of minor complaints, Big Agnes has still managed to create one of the most impressively livable sub 3 lb tents I’ve ever tested. It’s feather light, easy to setup, and makes long backcountry escapes that much enjoyable. It’s likely securing a permanent position in my pack when weight is a concern, and for this I cannot recommend it enough.
The highest of recommendations
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