Last time the Active Junky team did a full-blown comparative backpacking tent review, Big Agnes’ Copper Spur UL2 was our top pick based on its perfect balance between liveability and packability. The Tiger Wall UL2 boasts significant weight-savings over the previous winner, although this does come at a tiny cost to liveability. Unlike the Copper Spur UL2, the Tiger Wall UL2 has a more directional single-pole design—rather than having the pole have six attachment points, there are only five. By architecting the Tiger Wall to have a more angular and defined foot of the tent, Big Agnes shaved weight while still maintaining comfortable liveability in the more open head of the tent. It’s also lighter than the MSR Free Lite 2, our previous favorite tent in the ultralight category. The lightweight Tiger Wall 2 is almost negligible when packed—it has a packed weight of 2 lb 8 oz, a trail weight of 2lb 3 oz, and a 1lb 11 oz fast fly weight—but its still comfortable for two backpackers, and as such earned our team’s vote as the “Best 2-person Backpacking Tent” for 2018.
Setup is a breeze—even in windy weather. The single-piece pole connects in seconds, and it’s easy to figure out where the pole tips match up to the tent body since one side of the pole has two prongs and the other only has one. On clear, moonless nights in the Utah backcountry, testers loved setting up the Tiger Wall UL2 without a rainfly—the top mesh is see-through and you can scope the constellations from the comfort of your sleeping bag. Should weather roll in, the silicone-treated nylon rip-stop fly is easy to set up and the 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating is reliable in downpours. Best of all, the fly provides two generous, well-protected vestibules for gear, pack, and boot storage.
Also, rather than relying on a single curved zipper to sweep (and snag) all the way around the door, Big Agnes equipped the Tiger Wall UL2 with dual zippers: one operates on the straight x-axis, the other on the curved y-axis, which makes for stress-free pitch-black trips to a pee tree. The mesh tent body is breathable, while the floor is made of the same durable material as the fly—even without a footprint, testers didn’t note wear and tear after weeks of use.
At 39-inches high, the headspace is decent at the top half of the tent, but the bottom is tighter as it juts down at a diagonal angle. Folks over 6’2” can expect to have brush-ins with the lower mesh—not a problem in good weather, but definitely a bummer if there’s condensation or moisture on the rain fly. Also, the gap between tent and rain fly could be larger. Lastly, Big Agnes added headphone-compatible pockets to the interior of the tent: we’re not usually bumping beats in the backcountry, so this seemed overkill, and we’d have rather seen larger pockets for storage, especially since when you use the tent with two full-grown adults, space can be cramped.
Favorite Feature: The dual-zip tent doors. They open smoothly and can be operated one-handed.
Tester Comments: “Big Agnes continues backpacking tent dominance with the Tiger Wall UL2. There are weight weenies who will prefer a piece of tinfoil tied to a tree with a string, but for your everyday backpacker who wants the best lightweight freestanding tent available, the Tiger Wall UL2’s weight, large vestibules, easy setup, and inclement weather performance make it an ideal option.”
Key Attribute: Weight
Bottom Line: A lightweight backpacking tent that balances an unbelievable weight with decent liveability.
- Minimalist pole structure makes this our lightest two door backpacking tent
- Features two doors and two vestibules with storm flaps on the vestibule zippers
- DAC poles create a strong structure that is light and spacious
- Single pole architecture makes set up and take down simple and efficient
- Dual zipper door with discrete seams allows for easy entry and smooth closure while creating a clean, modern aesthetic
- Structured foot-end corners create more usable space between your feet and tent wall
- Quick Stash on tent body door makes stowing unzipped door quick and easy
- Over-sized ceiling pocket provides great storage space
- Media pockets located above sleeping area enable clean ear bud cord routing from phones or other devices
- Double zipper on the vestibule allows for venting from the top or bottom
- Velcro tabs connect fly to pole structure providing perfect pitch and extra stability
- Ready to pitch; with pre-cut guy lines and tensioners attached to fly
- Reflective guylines and webbing on tent corners
- Easy grip zipper pulls
- Fly and floor are silicone treated nylon rip-stop with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating
- Tent body is breathable nylon rip-stop and polyester mesh
- All seams taped with waterproof, solvent-free polyurethane tape
- DAC Featherlite NFL pole system
- Ultralight plastic clips attach tent body to pole frame
- Hub pole design
- 2 Interior mesh pockets, 1 oversized mesh pocket with two cord routing portals I superlight aluminum J stakes
- Gear loft loops included
- Footprint - sold separately
- Fast Fly setup available
- Small Wall and Triangle gear loft - sold separately