Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Tent Review

The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 is one of the lightest double-wall 2-door tents on the market. This makes it ultralight, convenient, and easy to pitch. It also has more headroom than much of the competition due to its long brow pole that pulls out the sidewalls. But is the Tiger Wall worth its spendy price tag? And will its thinner materials hold up to the rigors of the trail over time? We put the Tiger Wall UL2 to the test in rugged conditions to see how it would hold up compared to the leading tents in this popular category.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Heather Eldridge (CLEVERHIKER.COM)

Quick Specs

Stock photo of the Tiger Wall 2 with a white background

Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2

Best semi-freestanding tent

Price: $450

Weight: 2 lb. 8 oz.

Dimensions (LxWxH): 86 x 52/42 x 39 in.

Size: 1-Person, 2-Person, 3-Person

Pros

  • Ultralight
  • Very useful pocket layout
  • Quality construction/materials
  • Roomy for one
  • Two doors/vestibules (a perk for solo hikers)

Cons

  • A bit tight for two
  • Not as durable as some (floor material is thin)
  • No rainfly vents
PHOTO CREDIT: Heather Eldridge (CLEVERHIKER.COM)

Pros

VERY LIGHTWEIGHT

Your shelter will be one of the heaviest items you’ll carry while backpacking, so choosing an ultralight tent like the Tiger Wall UL2 will go a long way in reducing your overall pack weight. This tent weighs only 40 oz. (2 lbs. 8 oz.), which is exceptionally lightweight for a double-wall semi-freestanding tent.

The other leading tents in this category (2-person, 2 door, semi-freestanding) are the MSR FreeLite 2 (37 oz.) and the NEMO Hornet OSMO 2 (40 oz.). All three of these tents match up similarly on the scale, but the Tiger Wall has the most headroom by far.

COMPACT PACKED SIZE

The components of the Tiger Wall UL2 pack down small, so your tent won’t take up too much space in your backpack. The tent body and fly are very compact and easy to find a place for inside your pack, while the pole assembly folds into a narrow shape that’s easy to slide into an exterior pocket.

SEMI-FREESTANDING

The Tiger Wall is a semi-freestanding tent, meaning it’s supported by a simple pole structure, but requires a couple of stakes to complete the pitch. We normally stake out our tents anyway, so that’s not usually a big deal. The simple pole structure also makes setup/takedown easy, adds rigidity in foul weather, and makes it convenient to move the tent around camp or shake out debris from the interior.There are also some downsides associated with semi-freestanding tent designs, so we’ll cover those in the con section below.

You could save even more weight by going with a non-freestanding tent or tarp, but these shelters have some trade-offs, including a steeper learning curve, the need for trekking poles to set up, and usually more interior condensation management.

The Tiger Wall combines the best of both worlds for those who want a tent that’s easy to use as well as ultralight.

NEAR-VERTICAL WALLS

As mentioned before, the brow pole on top of the Tiger Wall disperses the peak height across the width of the tent. The sidewalls of the tent body are pulled nearly verticle and the tent has an open and spacious feel inside. The Tiger Wall has the same 39-inch peak height and similar floor dimensions to some of the leading competition (MSR FreeLite 2 and NEMO Hornet OSMO 2), but its interior feels roomier thanks to its wide brow pole.

MSR FreeLite 2 (left), BA Tiger Wall UL2 (middle) & NEMO Hornet 2 (right) – PHOTO CREDIT: Heather Eldridge (CLEVERHIKER.COM)
PHOTO CREDIT: Heather Eldridge (CLEVERHIKER.COM)

TWO DOORS & TWO VESTIBULES

The Tiger Wall has double doors and generous vestibules on each side. After testing dozens of tent designs over the years, we strongly prefer backpacking tents with two doors and two vestibules for easy access, gear storage, and views. These features are especially important to us when traveling as a pair, but even when we’re solo it’s nice to have options.

PHOTO CREDIT: Heather Eldridge (CLEVERHIKER.COM)

QUICK & EASY SETUP

The single-pole structure makes setting the Tiger Wall up a breeze. The pole ends and corresponding tent grommets are color-coded, so you can orient the components with a quick glance and have your tent set up in minutes. We appreciate that the brow pole is attached to the rest of the pole assembly as well, so there’s a much lower chance of misplacing this piece.

As mentioned before, the Tiger Wall is semi-freestanding, so you’ll need to secure at least two tent stakes to hold out the corners of the foot. This isn’t quite as convenient as a fully freestanding shelter, but we normally stake out our tents anyway, so this task doesn’t usually make much of a difference. At a minimum, you’ll need six stakes for a basic pitch of the Tiger Wall; four for the corners, and two for the rainfly vestibules.

Carrying eight stakes will give you a more complete pitch, securing both ends of the rainfly. And if you encounter harsh weather, you’ll want an additional three tent stakes (a total of 11) to utilize the additional tiedown points on the exterior of the rainfly. Nine high-quality Dirt Dagger stakes are included.

PHOTO CREDIT: Heather Eldridge (CLEVERHIKER.COM)

GOOD WEATHER PROTECTION

The Tiger Wall UL2 is a fully waterproof, double-wall shelter, with all seams taped for protection. Because the Tiger Wall is an ultralight tent made with fairly thin materials, we usually try to find campsites with limited wind exposure, but we pretty much do this with every tent.

PHOTO CREDIT: Heather Eldridge (CLEVERHIKER.COM)

EXCELLENT POCKETS

One of our favorite features of the Tiger Wall is the large interior pocket that keeps gear organized and off the floor. This ‘gear loft’ is at eye level and is in a perfect position to easily reach when you’re sitting up in the tent.

The gear loft pocket is even bigger on the current version of this tent than it was in previous models – so big that we can practically unload our entire pack into it when getting settled in camp. It’s excellent for storing clothing, electronics, stuff sacks, and much more.

Aside from the super handy loft pocket, the Tiger Wall also has small yet functional pockets on the sides and head of the tent.

PHOTO CREDIT: Heather Eldridge (CLEVERHIKER.COM)

EXCELLENT VALUE

Ultralight tents are made with high-tech materials and take a lot of engineering to design, so they tend to be pretty expensive. A 2-person backpacking tent in the 2-3 lb. weight range will generally cost somewhere between $400 and $600. The Tiger Wall currently retails for $450, which is competitive with the similarly equipped Nemo Hornet ($430) and MSR Freelite ($450). Given its quality construction and considering its upsides, we think the Tiger Wall is an excellent value in this category. Check out our list of the Best Backpacking Tents for a deeper dive into tent prices.

PHOTO CREDIT: Heather Eldridge (CLEVERHIKER.COM)

SPACIOUS FOR ONE

The Tiger Wall UL2 really shines as a spacious tent for a single hiker and their gear. It doesn’t weigh much more than some one-person tents (MSR Hubba Hubba 1 – 39 oz., Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1 – 38 oz.), but it has a much more luxurious interior. For two people, the Tiger Wall is a bit of a tighter fit, so we cover that in the con section below.

BA Tiger Wall UL2 – PHOTO CREDIT: Heather Eldridge (CLEVERHIKER.COM)

LIGHT & BRIGHT

The white rainfly on the Tiger Wall lets natural light in so you can see clearly inside the tent while you’re relaxing, reading, or looking at maps on long summer evenings. We prefer this soft, white light over a gloomy, dark tent interior with a red, blue, or green tint. The fly color generally wouldn’t make or break our tent buying decision, but it’s worth considering what kind of atmosphere you’ll enjoy most when you’re hanging out in your shelter.

It’s also worth noting that the Tiger Wall’s thin, light-colored fly might not be for everyone. It’s almost translucent in very bright conditions, which could be annoying if there’s a full moon or you like to sleep in. If your circadian rhythm is sensitive to light, you might want to consider a tent with a darker rainfly.

MSR FreeLite 2 – PHOTO CREDIT: Heather Eldridge (CLEVERHIKER.COM)

FAST FLY MODE

If you purchase the footprint that’s made for the Tiger Wall UL2, you can quickly set up the rainfly, get inside, then continue to pitch the tent body while under cover if it’s raining when you arrive at camp. This helps keep you and your gear dry and gives you the option to use the fly and footprint alone if you want to travel even lighter. This is a nice option to have, but we don’t use this feature very often, and would generally prefer to use a footprint that’s lighter than 6 oz.

PHOTO CREDIT: Heather Eldridge (CLEVERHIKER.COM)

UNIQUE DOOR TOGGLES

Another cool feature of the Tiger Wall is the door toggles, which are designed to allow you to roll back both sides of the vestibule for ventilation or wide views. The toggles are large and easy to slip into the keeper loops with one hand. We’ve also found that it’s easy to flap the rainfly back over the head or foot of this tent for partial shade and maximum ventilation. This kind of versatility is great for those that prefer using a tent with the fly off in clear weather but want to be ready if rain showers crop up.

SOLUTION-DYED FABRIC

The newest model of the Tiger Wall is made with solution-dyed fabric that’s highly resistant to fading with UV exposure and more eco-friendly to manufacture. Essentially, the color dye is added to the nylon fibers while they’re being produced, versus dip-dyeing the woven material. Solution-dyeing is said to save up to 60-90 percent in water usage and offers a significant reduction in CO2 emissions by eliminating repeated rinsing in large vats of hot water and machine drying.

PHOTO CREDIT: Heather Eldridge (CLEVERHIKER.COM)
BA Copper Spur HV UL1 (gray) vs. BA Tiger Wall UL2 (yellow) – PHOTO CREDIT: Heather Eldridge (CLEVERHIKER.COM)

Cons

NOT AS DURABLE AS SOME

One of the reasons the Tiger Wall is so light is because the floor and fly are both constructed with thin, 15-denier silnylon. If you tend to be rough on gear and prize durability, we would suggest looking elsewhere. That said, if you treat this tent with care it will hold up well. Also, it’s worth remembering that if small rips occur, they can always be fixed with a little Tenacious Tape. Additionally, you could pick up the Tiger Wall footprint or another lightweight footprint to increase tent floor durability.

TIGHT FOR TWO

Though the Tiger Wall was built to maximize interior space, it’s still a fairly tight-fitting tent for two average-sized people. To give you a better feel for the size, the Tiger Wall UL2 is 52 inches wide at the head and narrows to 42 inches at the foot. A regular sleeping pad is about 20 inches wide, so two pads will take up nearly the entire tent floor. If you and your partner prefer a bit more interior space or use wide sleeping pads (about 25 inches), we recommend bumping up to the UL3 (66/60 inches head/foot) for increased comfort.

RAINFLY SAG

The Tiger Wall’s rainfly provides ample protection in stormy conditions, but the thin, 15-denier fabric tends to sag when it gets wet and cold. For a taught pitch, you’ll want to re-tighten your guylines after setting up your tent and giving it 10-15 minutes to settle. You may have to re-tighten guylines when rainy weather blows in as well. This is pretty typical for backpacking tents, but the semi-freestanding design of the Tiger Wall makes re-tightening a bit more important.

NO VENTS IN FLY

The total packed weight of the Trailmade 2 is 5 pounds 7 ounces. This ranks it as one of the heaviest tents on our Best Backpacking Tents list. The included footprint weighs about 7 ounces, so if you leave that home you’ll be down to 5 pounds total – or 2.5 pounds per person when split between two hikers. That’s certainly a manageable shelter weight for backpacking trips, so the Trailmade passes that bar.

That said, the longer and more strenuous your backpacking trips tend to be, the more we would recommend spending extra for a lightweight tent that will help reduce stress on your body and increase your overall enjoyment on backcountry trips.

OK ZIPPERS

The zippers on the Tiger Wall are just okay in our opinion. They’re not our favorite, but not terrible either. On the main tent body, each door has two zippers, one that goes along the top and one along the bottom. The main body zippers function well and rarely snag in our experience. The zippers on the rainfly often require the use of two hands to prevent snags, especially when wet. We consider the tent fly zippers to be a bit of a downside, though we often find this drawback in other tents as well.

SEMI-FREESTANDING DESIGN

Semi-freestanding tents are generally lighter than fully freestanding tents, but they need to be staked down, which can be tough in some circumstances. In the rare situation that we’re camping on solid rock or sand that won’t hold tent stakes, we’ll get creative by using rocks as weights or tying guylines off to objects. We always stake out our tents though – freestanding or non-freestanding, so we’re used to this kind of problem solving. If you frequently camp in places with bedrock, loose ground, and high winds, you might be better off with a fully freestanding tent.

PHOTO CREDIT: Heather Eldridge (CLEVERHIKER.COM)

Bottom line

The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 offers an excellent balance for backpackers who want their shelter to be ultralight, but still convenient, livable, and easy to pitch. It’s one of the lightest double-wall 2-door tents on the market, and the longer brow pole on top provides more headroom than the competition.

We think the Tiger Wall UL2 is generally best for solo, ultralight backpackers looking for a roomy, convenient shelter. The UL2 can definitely fit two hikers, but it’s a fairly tight space to share. We recommend the Tiger Wall UL3 for pairs that want a more roomy interior.

Overall, we think the Tiger Wall is a well-rounded tent that most people will be very happy using on the trail. Big Agnes continues to do an excellent job of pushing the limits of ultralight backpacking tents while keeping comfort and user experience in mind.