The Best Big Agnes Tents on the Market!

(Last Updated On: August 29, 2018)

When it comes to backpacking, camping, or just an extended hiking adventure, the proper gear is not only important, but critical to safety, survival, and comfort. On the top of that gear-list, understandably, is where you’ll be sleeping, a tent.

Which tent do you buy? Do you want small and compact, or large and comfy? What weather conditions will you be expecting? Are you traveling alone, with friends, or as a family? All of these questions may seem daunting, like they’re coming from the overprotective mother, but they’re genuine concerns when it comes to finding the perfect tent.

Big Agnes has always manufactured some of the best products available, especially pertaining to their extensive collection of tents, and we’re here to help you choose the perfect one for your next adventure. Here are the best Big Agnes tents to try in 2018.

Backpacking

Choosing the best tent can already be a challenging task but to the backpacking community, where weight is the ultimate enemy, this decision takes time and research. Ask any avid backpacker how heavy a pack can get after days on the trail and one might understand their dilemma. Big Agnes understands and, with these great options, they also deliver.

CBAR 2

The first product on our list is the CBAR 2-person tent, a more than suitable and cost-friendly choice for both new and experienced backpackers. This model is designed to be both spacious and technical, and doesn’t sacrifice strength and durability to do so. The single front entry door is more than enough to get in and out comfortably and, speaking of the entry, comes with an attached vestibule for gear storage. The vestibule offers ample space but the ceiling pocket is nicely over-sized for even more storage options. Fill it with snacks, fishing gear, toys for the kids, the sky’s the limit.

Weight and Specs

The CBAR design weighs in at an impressive 3 pounds, 9 ounces, an acceptable weight in any backpacker community. Maybe more impressive than its weight are its dimensions when fully packed down, just 6” x 19” overall. It’s not the smallest or lightest on the market by any means, but it is small and light on the wallet, all while offering dependable durability and a roomy interior.

Intended use Backpacking 
Number of seasons 3 
Vestibule area 7 sq ft 
Number of doors 1 
Weight 3lb 9oz 
Packed Weight 4lb 
Fast fly weight  2lb 12oz 
Floor area 28 sq ft 
Head height 41” 
Packed size 6” x 19” 

Pros

  • Ready to Pitch; tensioners and pre-cut guy lines attached to fly
  • Multiple gear loops for increased gear storage and/or accessories
  • Storm flaps on vestibule cover
  • Simple set-up and take-down with single-pole architecture
  • Over-sized ceiling pocket
  • Fly is connected to pole structure with strong Velcro tabs, ensuring stability
  • Corners come equipped with reflective guy lines and webbing
  • Waterproof polyurethane seams
  • 8 aluminum hook stakes

Cons

  • Narrow
  • High mesh placement makes it hard to let a breeze in
  • Can get humid in the summer months

Copper Hotel HV UL2

Designed for easy back-country living, the Copper Hotel HV may be just what the ultimate backpacker is looking for. The large entrance-way comes equipped with a large vestibule, providing suitable shade and protection from most elements. The high volume hub maximizes strength and increases space without adding weight, thus making it more than large enough for two or three people, although the roomy interior and light weight may attract even lone backpackers.

Weight and Specs

The Copper Hotel isn’t the lightest on our list but it still weighs in at under 3.5 pounds, another impressive weight to both experienced and inexperienced backpackers alike. The dimensions, much like its weight, make this design easy to carry, set-up, and relax. Like the first tent on our list, it packs down to just 6” x 19”. You’ll be cooking hot-dogs and gazing at the stars with plenty of room to spare.

Intended use Backpacking 
Number of seasons 3 
Vestibule area 27 sq ft 
Number of doors 2 
Weight 3lb 7oz 
Packed Weight 3lb 13 oz 
Fast fly weight  2lb 14oz 
Floor area 29 sq ft 
Head height 41” 
Packed size 5” x 19.5” 

Pros

  • Over-sized door with an attached, pole-supported vestibule
  • High volume pole architecture provides steep walls without adding weight
  • Large dual zipper design allows for easy entry
  • Mesh is two-tone, allowing for privacy and astonishing star gazing
  • Large ceiling pocket for ample storage
  • Easy grip zipper pulls
  • 10 ultralight aluminum J stakes
  • Patterned with rip-stop nylon breathable and polyester mesh
  • Waterproof seams
  • DAC Featherlite pole system

Cons

  • Canopy netting can sometimes let wind, water, and grit in
  • Zippers can be stiff

Fly Creek HV1

For the extreme backpacker where minimal weight is not only optimum but mandatory, look no further than the Fly Creek HV1, the lightest tent on our list. This tent and its award-winning design offer the comfort of steep walls and sufficient headspace while offering a product that weighs less than 2 pounds when packed. This, in essence, is the true spirit of backpacking gear. Enough space to get cozy under the stars and a reduced weight that won’t leave your back in shambles.

Weight and Specs

The Fly Creek weighs just 1.13 pounds when packed and an astonishing 1.7 pounds on the trail, not to leave out the small packed size of 4” x 15”. The floor area of 20 square feet and 39 inches of head height might have you scratching your heads as to why it’s so light. This, like most backpacking tents, is a 3 season tent.

Intended use Backpacking 
Number of seasons 3 
Vestibule area 5 sq ft 
Number of doors 1 
Weight 1lb 7oz 
Packed Weight 1lb 13oz 
Fast fly weight  15 oz 
Floor area 20 sq ft 
Head height 39” 
Packed size 4” x 15” 

Pros

  • Lightest Big Agnes double wall tent
  • Single door with vestibule
  • 3 interior mesh pockets
  • Velcro tabs connect fly to pole for increased stability
  • 11 ultralight aluminum J stakes
  • Dry front entry with Zipper Side vestibule access
  • Silicone-treated and waterproof fly and floor
  • Waterproof seams

Cons

  • Material may be too thin for comfort
  • Polyurethane coating only sprayed on one side
  • Minimal fly-overlap allows rain to fall through mesh
  • Doesn’t sleep tall people well

Backpacking Tents Comparison

Model Floor Area Head Height Packed Size Number of seasons Price 
C Bart 2 28 sq ft 41 inches 6 x 19 inches 3 $199.95 (Check out the latest rates here!)
Copper Hotel 29 sq ft 41 inches 5 x 19.5 inches 3 $549.95 (Check out the latest rates here!)
Fly Creek HV1 20 sq ft 38 inches 4 x 19 inches 3 $329.95 (Check out the latest rates here!) 

Car and BaseCamping

While some people just can’t get over the freedom of the open trail, like the persistent backpacker, others dread it, or at least prefer more comfort. These kinds of people are the ones that can be found camping around their cars or, in general, in over-sized tents.

There’s nothing wrong with this kind of camping. In fact, a lot of people prefer it, but try getting comfortable in a small, ultra-light tent for more than a couple days. You’ll soon realize you should have bought a tent more suitable for such a situation, like the ones below.

Battle Mountain 2

The Battle Mountain 2-person tent is a 4 season design with plenty of interior room for all your gear storing needs and, of course, a lot of room to stretch after a day of adventuring. It is lightweight but durable, flexible yet strong, and offers protection from even the most brutal back-country conditions.

Weight and Specs

As expected with greater comfort and space, along with much more storage outlets, the Battle Mountain and other similar tents weigh much more than smaller options. This one weighs in at just over 7 pounds but, surprisingly, still packs tight, 16” x 20” to be exact. The floor boasts an impressively large area of 30.5 square feet and a head height of 42 inches.

Intended use Basecamping 
Number of seasons 4 
Vestibule area 3.5 sq ft 
Number of doors 2 
Weight 6lb 13oz 
Packed Weight 7lb 
Fast fly weight  4lb 7oz 
Floor area 30.5 sq ft 
Head height 42” 
Packed size 6” x 20” 

Pros

  • Two doors with two vestibules
  • Two fly vents
  • Storm flaps on vestibules
  • 8 storage pockets
  • High/low guy loops for increased stability in high winds
  • Gear loft loops included
  • Waterproof fly, floor, and seams
  • Pre-cut guy lines and tensioners make it ready to pitch
  • 15 lightweight Mega X stakes

Cons

  • Lack of color-coding can make set-up confusing
  • DAC clips could be larger
  • Hub and Pole systems too bulky when packed
  • Half-screens on doors make it more humid in summer months

Big House 4

The Big House line of tents is known for its robust size and space, making it one of the largest on our list. Although some models come in even greater sizes, the Big House 4 might be just enough extra space without too much added weight. The Big House line is intended for 3-season use.

Weight and Specs

The weight of the Big House 4 is high, at around 8.4 pounds, but that’s not so terrible when one accounts for its massive floor area of 56 square feet and a 60 inch head height. You could, theoretically, river dance in this thing. It’s that big. Perfect for families, athletes, and those adventure-seekers who just don’t like feeling too cramped.

Intended use Basecamping 
Number of Seasons 3 
Number of doors 2 
Weight 8lb 4oz 
Packed weight 8lb 14oz 
Floor area 56 sq ft 
Head height 60” 
Packed size 7” x 23.5” 

Pros

  • Two large doors with windows
  • Windows equipped with two close options, mesh only for a nice mosquito net or full closure when it gets wet
  • Webbing and buckles color-coded for easy set-up
  • Door zippers equipped with storm flaps
  • Walls lined with 10 mesh pockets
  • Polyester fly and floor with waterproof coating
  • Multiple interior loops
  • Tent stuff-sack included

Cons

  • Weather resistance could be better designed
  • Thin floor
  • Low mesh on sides lets a draft in
  • Aluminum pole isn’t very strong
  • Stakes are short; High wind may be a problem

Big House 6 Deluxe

If the Big House 4 isn’t quite large enough for your taste, or your needs, then perhaps the Big House 6 Deluxe would better suit you. Compared to the 4, the 6 Deluxe is a monster, and the biggest tent on our list. It isn’t just big but practical, loaded with all kinds of useful features that can only add to the fun and excitement people crave.

Weight and Specs

First things first, this tent isn’t light. At all. That doesn’t, however, mean it’s hard to lug around. The opposite, actually, because this 13.11 pound tent comes with a briefcase-style carrying bag with shoulder straps to help with some of the weight. It’s massive floor area of 75 square feet and 78 inches of head height make it feel more like a studio apartment with a breeze than a tent. And all rent free.

Intended use Basecamping 
Number of seasons 3 
Vestibule area N/A 
Number of doors 2 
Weight 12lb 8oz 
Packed weight 13lb 11oz 
Footprint weight 1lb 3oz 
Floor area 75 sq ft 
Head height 78” 
Packed size 8” x 12.5” x 24 

Pros

  • Two large doors with windows
  • Windows equipped with two close options, mesh only or full closure
  • Welcome mat on front door
  • Gear loft loops included
  • Carrying bag comes with organizational pockets
  • Stowable bin pockets act as bed-side tables
  • Floor, fly, and seams are waterproof
  • Reflective webbing and guy-lines
  • Pole system is lightweight aluminum with press fit connectors
  • Ready to pitch
  • Walls lined with mesh storage pockets
  • Door zippers have storm flaps
  • Footprint included

Cons

  • Zipper can get stuck
  • Vestibule sold separately
  • Expensive
  • Gets cool at night
  • Entry can be complicated after setting up sleeping bags/pads

Basecamping Tents Comparison

Model Floor area Head height Packed size Number of seasons Price 
Battle Mountain 2 30.5 sq ft 42 inches 6 x 20 inches 4 $699.95 (Check out the latest rates here!)
Big House 4 56 sq ft 60 inches 7 x 23.5 inches 3 $299.95 (Check out the latest rates here!)
Big House 6 Deluxe 75 sq ft 78 inches 8 x 12.5 x 24 inches 3 $399.95 (Check out the latest rates here!)

Mountaineering

Backpacking and base-camping are great options for any adventure-seeker but to extreme thrill-seekers, like the brave mountaineer, some tents just won’t cut it. A 3-season tent, for example, might spell disaster if a mountain junkie was to bring it along for shelter. Unless their mountain adventures involve small peaks, a 4-season set-up is crucial. See the options below for more details.

Shield 2

The Shield 2, first on our mountaineering tent list, is strong, durable, and designed to withstand forces from all 4 seasons. Built using lightweight yet dependable material, this tent is made for all occasions, from an exhausting trip up a tall mountain to a relaxing day-hike along a windy river.

Weight and Specs

While not as light as backpacking packs the Shield 2 still packs a punch and does so with a weight of under 4.5 pounds. For an all-purpose, 4-season tent, that’s practically like carrying a feather, a feather that will shield you from almost every element known to man.

Intended use Mountaineering 
Number of seasons 4 
Vestibule area N/A 
Number of doors 1 
Weight 3lb 12oz 
Packed Weight 4lb 5oz 
Fast fly weight  N/A 
Floor area 28 sq ft 
Head height 40” 
Packed size 5” x 17.5” 

Pros

  • Door has two windows, one for weather-viewing and the other with two closing options, mesh only and full closure
  • Zippered fly vents allow ultimate ventilation or complete protection from the elements
  • 4 interior mesh pockets
  • Gear loft loops included
  • 8 lightweight Mega X stakes which can be used as dead-man anchors
  • Storm flap on door zipper
  • Electrosun microfibers in tent membrane offer supreme water protection
  • All seams waterproof
  • Ready to pitch

Cons

  • Heavier than similar models
  • Exterior Pole design not great for inclement weather; Needs additional stakes
  • Vestibule sold separately
  • Expensive

Three-Wire Bivy

Some people just love the great outdoors, stopping at nothing at seeing all there is to see and explore, even if some of them have to go it alone. No worries, Big Agnes offers a great 1-person tent, the Three-Wire Bivy. It is highly durable, offers protection for all 4 seasons, and doesn’t hurt the wallet as much as other similar systems.

Weight and Specs

The Three-wire Bivy, although small and compact, only comes in second as far as weight goes. Not by much, though. Weighing in at a packed weight of 1.14 pounds, it’s still surprisingly lightweight, especially for a 4-season tent. The floor area of 17 square feet offers enough room for sleep and a bit of space for your gear but, unfortunately, not much else. This is, after all, meant to sleep 1 person.

Intended use Mountaineering 
Number of seasons 4 
Vestibule area N/A 
Number of doors 1 
Weight 1lb 9oz 
Packed Weight 1lb 14oz 
Fast fly weight  N/A 
Floor area 17 sq ft 
Head height 20” 
Packed size 4.5” x 18.5” 

Pros

  • Close mesh layer for ventilation
  • Long zipper for easy entry
  • 6 ultralight aluminum J stakes
  • Reinforced stake out loops for use in skiing, ice climbing, etc.
  • Durable rip-stop bottom fabric
  • Plastic clips and sleeves attach tent body to pole frame
  • Electrosun microfibers in tent membrane offer supreme water protection

Cons

  • Not a lot of space
  • Window is small

Mountaineering Tents Comparison

Model Floor area Head height Packed size Number of seasons Price 
Shield 2 28 sq ft 40 inches 5 x 17.5 inches 4 $649.95 (Check out the latest rates here!) 
Three-wire Bivy 17 sq ft 20 inches 4.5 x 18.5  4 $329.95 (Check out the latest rates here!) 

Overview

As you can see, a tent purchase shouldn’t be taken lightly, as there is a whole galaxy of options to choose from. From backpacking and mountaineering, where you’ll need the strongest materials and support tents can offer, to general family and basecamping where bigger is always better, you can see the spectrum and uses vary widely. But, with enough research and dedication, one can buy the ultimate gear they need to conquer even the toughest trails and peaks, or lounge about and enjoy the great outdoors.

About the Author Sam Hardy

Sam Hardy is an outdoor enthusiast with a penchant for survival prepping. He writes about the great outdoors and his favorite equipment here.

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