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Backpacker Magazine – 2010 Editors' Choice/Gear Guide

Gear Review: Big Agnes Hager House Tent

This three-person tent can be pitched in a variety of ways, depending on your trip.

by: Kelly Bastone

Big Agnes Hager House (Courtesy Photos)
Big Agnes Hager House (Courtesy Photos)

Most Versatile
“The Transformers tent.” That’s what one tester dubbed this three-season dome, which does triple duty as a traditional backpacking tent, a car- or tree-supported tarp, and an ultralight “fastpitch” tent. The trick is a design (with zip-off vestibules) that makes the most of the Hager House’s “fastpitch” function, which allows the fly to stand independently. In bug-free conditions, pack the fly alone for a cavernous four-pound shelter. Want a tarp instead? Just unclip and stow the tent’s inner canopy, remove the vestibules, and tilt the fly (with poles) into place against a car or tree.

Voilà, you have a huge sunshade or rain shelter: Four testers dragged camp chairs underneath and enjoyed much better views than they would have huddling inside a tent. They also used it to rig shade for their dog while they went biking. “We used this shelter even when we weren’t sleeping—or even in camp—which makes it a great value,” says one tester. In tent mode, weather protection proved solid: Testers stayed dry and unruffled during a gusty hailstorm in Utah's La Sal Mountains.

And space and features are adequate for three, with 43 square feet of floor space, ample headroom with a 44-inch peak height, four organizing pockets, and two doors with 10-square-foot vestibules each. But tall guys found the 86-inch length constricting, and vestibule space is skimpy for three. $300; 5 lbs. 12 oz.

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