The Salt Creek SL3 continues Big Agnes’ streak of making livable, lovable, lightweight shelters that get Active Junky testers stoked. A feature-rich, reasonably weighted tent, the Salt Creek sports three doors and a tester-favorite shelf-like pocket.
Hardcore backpackers might grumble at the weight of an extra zipper, but real estate agents would say that the Salt Creek’s third door allows you to make the most of “indoor, outdoor living.” The two side-entry doors can be opened like any run-of-the-mill two-door tent, but the third door at the head of the tent unzips into an awning that’s propped up by trekking poles or tied to trees. It can also be rolled up, too, if extra shade isn’t warranted. But the third door doesn’t simply allow campers to soak in the views or hide from the sun—it also gives the middle sleeper the chance to exit the tent without steamrolling one of their tent mates.
The pole design is straightforward, which testers determined after setting up the Salt Creek SL3 sans instructions at the onset of a rainstorm. A second pole snaps intuitively onto the main four-way DAC skeleton, giving the Salt Creek near-vertical walls that maximize roominess.
Testers’ favorite aspect of the Salt Creek, however, was hands-down the shelf-like mesh pocket that juts over the feet, taking up space that’s wasted or inefficiently used in other tent designs. Upon entering the tent for the first time, testers gleefully packed the shelf with puffies and headlamps and wondered, “Why isn’t every tent manufacturer doing exactly this?”
For car-camping, weight and packed size don’t matter, and the Salt Creek’s floorspace is perfect for two adults and a dog and/or child. For three adults, it’s an unnecessarily tight squeeze, and we’d recommend you step up to a four-person tent.
However, for backpacking, the SL3 works decently for two or three adults, although it is on the heavy side at 5 lbs. 2 oz. If one person is lugging the tent, it’s a bear. In a scenario where two people are carrying the weight, it isn’t bad. Split between three packs, though, it’s downright dreamy.
“The Salt Creek SL3 felt a bit like a spaceship the first time we got into it, thanks to the unique door setup and the tapered design. But just like a capsule from Space X, the brainiacs at Big Agnes thought of everything. Also, this shelf design is downright amazing.”
Cash Back Amount$19.24