Issue #018 Review

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Bikepack tent long-term review

Wow, they’re short! As we unpacked it, we were immediately struck with the extremely short poles and the cleverly designed, bikepacking specific storage bag of the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2. But how does the tent fare as an everyday companion on gravel adventures and can it really accommodate two people?

Tester Philipp | Testduration 1 month | Price € 475 | Weight 1,310 g | Manufacturer’s website | Intended use bikepacking

Big Agnes are enjoying steadily growing popularity outside the US. While the small Colorado-based company wasn’t very well known outside of North America until a few years ago, we’ve started seeing their tents and camping equipment more and more frequently in Europe when meeting like-minded people on bikepacking trips. We were very excited to test the tent. After all, it was the first time that we would be able to try out a bikepacking specific tent. Can it keep its promise and position itself as the ideal companion on gravel bike tours?

Compact, practical, good
The poles of the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Bikepack fold up very compactly, allowing the entire tent to be mounted on the bike as a handlebar roll.

The storage bag of the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Bikepack tent

One of the standout features of the Bikepack version of the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 tent is the bikepacking specific storage bag. It is super robust and big enough to house the tent, rain fly and pegs. The poles get stored in a separate bag of the same length that gets attached to the bottom of the tent bag. Thanks to the three straps on the outside of the bag, you can lash it directly to a gravel bike with a drop bar or a mountain bike with flat bars without any additional accessories like a harness. The straps could have been a bit longer as the fit was a bit tight, especially on a bike with drops. In addition to the three straps, there are loops on the front topside of the bag to which you can attach small items. Smart! In practice, the bag and the tent stayed securely attached to the handlebar and didn’t move around while on the trail. If you fold the tent up correctly after taking it down, it’s easy to get the Tiger Wall UL2 back into the bag. Definitely our first highlight of the Big Agnes tent!

Details make the difference
There is a pocket for your smartphone in the inner tent, which has a small opening on the left and right for your headphones.

Tent, poles and pegs of the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Bikepack tent

Once you’ve unpacked everything at camp, you have to pitch the tent which doesn’t take long at all. At only 30 cm long, the so-called ShortStik poles are another highlight of the Big Agnes Bikepack tent, being short enough to fit between the drops of any drop handlebar or in your frame or saddle bag. It doesn’t get any more convenient! The DAC Featherlite NFL poles are high-quality and a short repair splint is included for emergencies. As soon as the poles have been set up, the tent body simply gets clipped to them. The tent can then still be moved around before it is fixed in place with the enclosed Dirt Dagger UL pegs, which we were able to stake into various forest floors without any problems. Although it’s free-standing and doesn’t require the pegs, there is too little tension on the front corners of the floor where you’ve only got a single pole, which means you’ll lose some space if you’re not using them.

Ball joint
The ends of the poles are held in a socket like a ball joint – here of course made of plastic – and thus tension the inner tent. Tearing out fabric pole pockets is thus a thing of the past.

The two-way zippers on each side work well and proved to be extremely convenient in everyday life. Each person has their own entrance and vestibule, giving you more than enough space for your typical bikepacking luggage. The inner tent doors can either be kept open via a toggle or the Door Keeper, into which you can simply stuff the door. Another feature of the Big Agnes Bikepack tent is a helmet holder on the exterior of both sides of the tent body, so that you don’t have to leave your sweaty gear on the floor inside the tent. Inside, the Tiger Wall UL2 offers a lot of head room when sitting down, allowing Tobi, who is 1.84 m tall, to move around freely. In terms of width, we wouldn’t say that it’s made for two people, as is so often the case with 2-person tents in the ultralight segment. Theoretically, two narrow sleeping mats will fit inside the tent and those who don’t mind cuddling will be able to live with the space available. However, if two tall people want to spend the night in the tent without touching, it will be a tight squeeze and you won’t be moving around. You get a really large 3D mesh pocket at the foot end into which you can fit a lot of equipment. In addition to two side pockets, there is also a pocket in the roof with two cable outlets, which is the perfect place for a smartphone, headlamp and similar items. Several loops can be used to hang up a light for when you stay up past sunset and there is even an optional Big Agnes mtnGLO lighting system available. We love this tent – as long as you’re using it alone! However, we would recommend investing in an optional footprint to protect the floor from dirt and damage, as ultralight tent floors tend to be quite delicate, or to minimise condensation on wet surfaces. Cost: € 94.95.

Not made for giants
Tobi is 1.84 m tall and finds enough room in the tent even when fully stretched out. From 1.90 m, however, it starts to get a bit cramped.

The rain fly of the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 bikepack tent

Let’s come to the part of the tent that we use least often on warm and clear summer nights: the rain fly. The colour is neutral and inconspicuous, which is always a nice thing when camping in the wild. Attaching it only takes a few seconds using the colour-coded quick fasteners, staking it out with the pegs and then tensioning it. The bottom edges of the fly stay quite high up on the tent, improving ventilation inside. Another highlight of this bikepacking-specific tent are the daisy chains on the exterior of the fly which you can use to hang up your sweaty or freshly washed clothes. These work brilliantly in windy weather! The fly remains high enough not to touch the main tent body, thereby preventing condensation from forming inside. However, they’re quite close and could end up touching after some time in heavy rain, even when the fly has been properly tensioned. We’re looking forward to our first stormy night in the tent, which will shed some more light on this. Until now, we’ve almost always been lucky enough with the weather to spend the night outdoors without the rain fly, giving us a clear view of the stars. Excessive condensation inside the tent or broken poles due to gale force winds? None to report. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

Only for lovers
It is supposed to be a tent for two people. But it only works if you like each other very much and don’t have a problem with physical contact – because that happens very quickly if you’re not lying perfectly straight.

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Bikepack tent conclusion

It can be pitched within seconds and we became big fans of the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Bikepack tent after just a few nights. The special bikepacking features are very handy when travelling by bike, two highlights of which are the super-short poles and the storage bag that you can attach directly to the handlebar. Sure, there are lighter tents in the ultralight segment, but these typically also cost more. Is it big enough for two people? Only if you really love each other!

Tops

  • very short poles
  • quick and easy to pitch and take down
  • convenient storage bag
  • daisy chains on the rain fly
  • large storage compartments inside the tent
  • stealth look

Flops

  • only partially suitable for two people
  • narrow gap between main body and the fly

For more information on the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Bikepack Tent visit bigagnes.com


Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of GRAN FONDO, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality cycling journalism. Click here to learn more.

Words & Photos: Philipp Schwab