Big Agnes Scout UL2
Source: bought it new
I'm loving the tent and have had several friends that I camp with already decide that it is one they would like to purchase. I plan to use this one for a long time. So go for it, and leave me a comment if you have other questions or found this review helpful.
- Some condensation
As I had a hard time finding many reviews of the Scout before I purchased mine, I thought maybe I should write one now. To read my review with photos, google "arielslife big agnes scout UL2 review." I can't post the photos or link on here.
To give you a bit of background, I live in Jackson, WY, and spend most of my free time in the summer hiking and backpacking. (50-ish days and almost 500 miles last summer.) For years now I've used and loved Sierra Designs Lightyear. I have both the one and two person versions and it's a solid, simple, and inexpensive tent. I've had it out in high winds, sand, hail, you name it. I would highly recommend it. But, as I've worked to reduce my pack's base weight, I started looking for a lighter option.
I didn't like using a tarp due to water splashing when it rains, the ability to accidentally knock gear out from under the tarp, having to find good tie offs at all the perfect angles, and the lack of bug-proofing. Mosquitos can be really annoying and I have an irrational fear of spiders. But when I saw the Scout which is much like a tarp but self contained and bug proof, I thought I'd give it a try.
I have used the Scout for an overnight in Yellowstone, an overnight in the Tetons, and a six-day Wind River Range trip. It's now been in the wind, multiple rain storms, and two hail storms. And I like the tent a lot.
It is indeed lightweight and simple to pitch with trekking poles, tying it off to branches or trees, or with home made poles. I've done all of those. I replaced the fairly light stakes sent with it with Vargo Titanium stakes saving myself 2.5 oz. Then, since I don't hike with trekking poles, I made two carbon fiber poles, making the rear pole longer so I could run it along the back wall and not have it planted so much in the way of the living space. The weight for both poles is only 3 oz. so with the stake switch, I only added a 1/2 an oz. and don't need to look for branches or trees to tie it off to or carry trekking poles. I am using the ground cloth as the fabric is so lightweight and thin.
The zipper does catch easily on the zipper rain guards as you zip and unzip it. I may end up tearing the zipper out and replacing it with some kind of magnet method of closure, but if you pay attention and are careful, the zipper catching should not be a big issue.
It is spacious! I've never seen a two-man tent, especially this light, that had anywhere close to the amount of space inside. Since we got rained on for 6 out of 6 days on our last trip, this was handy. Two people can easily sit upright in Crazy Creeks, not touch the walls or top, and have tons of space left for gear. I really think we could have had four people sitting up in there at once and not felt very crowded. It also feels very long. I'm 5'8" and have long arms. When laying down with my arms stretched out as far as possible above my head, the tips of my fingers and toes barely touch the ends of the tent. When I sleep, there is plenty of room for my full sized 72' pad and having a stack of gear between my pad and the door.
Being a single wall tent, it does get some condensation when I pitched it in damp areas or when there is no breeze to draw air through the side vents. It helps to pitch the side guys with them stretched out as long as possible which raises the angle slightly and allows more air to flow through. The condensation was still minimal, and with all the space in there, it's pretty easy to move around and not touch the top at all. My friend usually carries a small square of some absorbent shammy cloth and it was easy to wipe the moisture off the inside when we woke up, wring the cloth out, and be ready to go. I do live in a fairly dry climate however, so if you are somewhere with a lot more moisture, this could be a much bigger issue for you.
Packing the tent up is quite easy as well. It fits very nicely back into the stuff sack it comes with and is actually smaller than my under 2 pound down sleeping bag when my bag is in a compression sack.
I think condensation would be the only drawback, and as I said, with a way to wipe the inside, all the interior space, and at least with our climate here in the mountain west, it's really not a big issue. And very worth the trade off for much more space and much less weight compared to double wall tents.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $280
A work in progress, but hopefully with some minor modifications, this could be a winner. Finicky front door zipper, poor placement of internal pole and lack of ventilation are problems for this tent.
- Light weight
- Poor zipper design on front door
- Poor location for interior pole placement
- Lack of front door mesh
I purchased this tent because of amazing reviews: ridiculously lightweight for a 2-person tent. I was planning to use it during my trip to Wind River Range. I ordered the tent from Backcountry edge. It arrived promptly. I then tried it out in my front yard.
The set up is easy—it is intuitive, you don't even need to read the instructions.
Now for the bad part. The front zipper is impossible to open either from the inside or outside without getting snags. Even my wife, who is not a camper, noticed this and immediately said to send it back.
More bad: the interior second pole position separates the tent effectively into two halves. If it was positioned against the back wall, the entire tent would be open and spacious, good for two people, fantastic for one.
More bad: the front door is solid. There is no inner mesh lining. Ventilation is poor.
So, I sent the tent back.
My recommendation is to go with velcro to seal the front door. I would also add a mesh screen inside the front door to vastly improve ventilation.
If Big Agnes follows my advice, I think they will have a tent for the ages and I will be the first to purchase it.
Where to Buy
Here's what other sites are saying:
The Scout tent from Big Agnes is your ultra light backcountry solution. Setup consists of 2 trekking poles (not included) and multiple guylines (with a reflective material so you don't get tangled up.) The silicone waterproof coating keeps you dry while the eaves keep the rain-water away from the floor of your tent. One vent under each eave keeps the air fresh.
The ultralight Scout UL2 is a 3-season, single-wall backpacking tent that uses 2 trekking poles (sold separately) to set up the tent. Carry less than a pound per person for a fully waterproof shelter. Scout features 1 large, easy-entry front door and no vestibule. Set up the tent with 1 trekking pole on the inside at the back end and 1 on the outside at the door. Single wall design has front and rear vents to keep air circulating inside the tent; vents are lined with polyester mesh to keep the bugs out. Reflective guyline and webbing at tent corners, and at suggested anchor points, enhance nighttime visibility. Silicone treated ripstop nylon with waterproof polyurethane coating is durable and lightweight. All seams are taped with waterproof, solvent-free polyurethane tape (no PVC or VOCs); waterproof door keeps tent dry. Big Agnes Scout UL2 tent feaures 2 built-in, bin-shaped storage shelves and gear loft loops (gear loft not included). Includes stuff sacks and 12 superlight aluminum J-stakes.
The Big Agnes Scout 2-Person 3-Season Tent puts your trekking poles on double duty to cut your weight by removing the need to pack tent poles. The ultra-light design reduces your weight carried per step which can add up to a massive amount of energy saved when you're taking on long-distance through hikes like the Appalachian Trail of the Pacific Crest.
Single wall tent with full eve and rear vent system to keep air circulating. Single door and no vestibule. Two storage bins built in at head of tent. Reflective guyline and webbing at tent corners and suggested anchor points. Tent body is silicone treated nylon rip-stop with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating. Vents are polyester mesh. All seams taped with waterproof, solvent-free polyurethane tape (No PVC or VOC's) Tent requires 2 trekking poles (Trekking poles not included) 12 superlight aluminum J stakes. Gear loft loops included: Fits Big Agnes WALL gear loft - sold separately Note: We list several weights for our tents to aid your product research. Trail weight refers to poles, fly and tent body. Packed weight includes poles, fly, tent body, stakes, guy lines, stuff sacks, instructions, and packaging. Fast Fly weight refers to the poles, tent fly and accessory Fast Fly footprint - not available for this tent Scout UL2 Trail Weight 1lb 9oz Packed Weight 2lb Footprint Weight 5oz Fast Fly Weight Packed Size 6" x 12.5" Floor Area 34sq ft Vestibule Area sq ft Head Height 43"
- Mountains Plus