The Big Agnes Tiger Wall 3 took home the Best in Class honors, with a strong trail performance dominated by its weight, simple construction, and easy setup. The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL3 is a lightweight backpacking tent with superior trail performance.
This tent maintains its edge as the lightest tent, great for long thru-hikes. Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of also having the smallest interior area. It also has a small vestibule and a low peak height. The asymmetric floor design creates a definite ‘head side’ and ‘feet side’. In our 6’6” test it got a “barely”.
The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL scored top marks in packability, mostly because of being the lightest tent in the test group. The Tiger Wall has a good, cylindrical stuff sack that’s well proportioned be strapped to the bottom of a backpack, but also for a very quick stuffing. When rolled, it’s a bit smaller than average. For the (light) weight, you get a comfortable, lightweight shelter.
The setup speed – 5 minutes, 50 seconds – is about average. The independent fly provides good protection when done, but during set-up, the tent is left unprotected from the rain. The pole structure is very simple – a single ‘Y’ pole, which holds the door wide, and runs to the back to keep the tent long. The two back corners must be staked out, meaning the tent is no completely free-standing – it can be set up without stakes, but it won’t fit three people inside without staking. This approach is good for weight and setup speed but lowers the weatherproofness. The poles connect to the corners with a pole-into-grommet approach, with clips running up the body to keep the interior wall high.
Not including the corners of the tent, which can also be staked down, this tent has six guylines that can keep the tent on the ground in high wind. You may not need all six at any one time, but the abundance of options comes in handy when you have an irregular tent pad, or just want to string out a line in the direction of the prevailing wind. The long side of this tent is a bit exposed to the wind, but it’s not a concern unless you’re expecting some very strong wind. Other than the one long side, the wind profile is slim and low, and the walls come down low enough to keep blowing rain out.
The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL features two doors. Two vents provide a good amount of air flow.
Scott Morris guides backpacking expeditions and hiking trips for Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides throughout the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. He is a writer, traveler, and runner. Scott tests backpacking equipment.