Open main menu

Big Agnes Replaces Tent Zippers with Magnets


Tent zippers can snag, wake your tentmate during a midnight nature call, and be a major warranty issue for manufacturers. So how about a tent without zippers? Big Agnes wanted to give it a shot.

The Fishhook SL is a zipperless tent that closes with little magnets along its door frame (see below). It's designed to be quieter, while still withstanding the elements and pesky bugs, thanks to a flap along the edges.

Big Agnes calls the Fishhook a minimalist backpacking tent. It will be available in one- and two-person models for spring 2013: the Fishhook SL 1 ($349.95) and Fishhook SL 2 (3 lb 10 oz, $399.95).

A zipperless tent may sound crazy, but so did sleeping bags without insulation on the bottom, and Big Agnes has been selling those for years.


ummmm neat idea, especially since zippers wear out real quick, but then again with a zipper, i can feel assured that no creepy crawlies are gunna come sleep with me. this magnet thing looks too easy for things to crawl in.

A cool idea. My current tent uses the zippers to convert the door  and fly into part of the tent's structure - when closed, the tent is fully stretched on the frame. This design seems to assume the door is just a loose hanging flap.

But it sure would be nice not to be fumbling in the dark for a zipper when you have to get up in the middle of the night!

I honestly can't wait to see this concept in person. I'm sure the whole creepy crawlies in your tent thing was one of their top considerations. 

Electronics don't like magnets. Keep your phones, ipads and laptops away from the magnets.

I don't think those magnets are stronger than snakes.

Looks like they need even more fabric to hold the magnets and create an overlap to keep the bugs out. More fabric = more weight. NOT!

How much does the SL1 weigh? I see a listed weight for the SL2.

I highly doubt that a little bit of extra fabric would add a substantial amount of weight to the shelter.

Personally, I think people get too consumed by this whole UL thing. Some even take it to the point that it is not only borderline ridiculous but also teeters on dangerous.

Then there is the hit one takes in the wallet. Take for instance the price tag on some of the Cuben Fiber tents that were highlighted at the show...

$2000 for a tent? Uh... yeah.

I could here the convo with a retailer now.

$2000? Really? Yeah dude, it weighs under 2lbs... (shakes head.)

What's next? Are we going to have poles that have encapsulated hydrogen in them?

I hope I get to choose,,,,, zippers for me

It'll be interesting to see how they hold in the wind and if any issues lining mating surfaces together and securely.   At least with a zipper, you know edges are mated properly.


Since I believe zippers are the bane of mankind (or at least the bane of outdoors people), I like this idea (of the magnets) a lot.  However I would not go for it as illustrated, with magnets apparently spaced out over the length of the closure.  

I'd be more in favor of a magnet as a "strip" that spans the entire closure.  Otherwise there will be gaps between the magnets where crawling (or slithering) critters could enter. 

If you can't actually seal the tent closed, you might as well save the extra weight and use a tarp.

Aside from the lack of full closure, from what limited views we have of it, I like the looks of the Fishhook SL 1.  I like that the ends & sides are fairly vertical, for lots of room inside, and I like that there's more fabric (as opposed to netting) to reduce drafts,  particularly in cool weather. Since they are billing this as "minimalist", as opposed to "ultra light" (like the Copper Spur) I wonder what it will weigh.  I am looking forward to seeing more about it when it's released.

This post has been locked and is not accepting new comments