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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2013

Gear Review: Big Agnes Slater UL2+ Tent

A 96-inch-long, two-person tents suits every height.

by: Kelly Bastone

Big Agnes Slater UL2+ (Ben Fullerton)
Big Agnes Slater UL2+ (Ben Fullerton)

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[long and light]
Tall campers usually face an unhappy compromise when it comes to shelter: either fold like origami in ultralight tents, or pay a weight penalty for XXL comfort. Happily, the 96-inch-long Slater offers a no-settle option. A colossal front door allowed our lanky testers to enter without jackknifing, the 40-inch peak height let our 6’3” guinea pig sit fully upright, and the 37-square-foot floor offered sufficient room for two hikers and their 40-pound canine companion. Yet this freestanding, double-wall dome weighs just two and a half pounds, thanks to a pole-trimming geometry and snug dimensions at the foot end, where the 26-inch ceiling doesn’t feel confining.

Its taut pitch proved unflappable on California’s Tahoe Rim Trail, where a thunderstorm hammered it with 30-mph winds. Minimal mesh makes it ideal for chilly shoulder seasons or higher elevations year-round (a fabric panel can seal off the mesh door to boost warmth). But ventilation is still good—testers had no condensation problems—thanks to mesh panels strategically placed at the head and foot ends. The 8-square-foot vestibule proved big enough for cooking or gear (though it blocks exits). Bonus: Exceptionally compressible fabrics (using a unique fiber construction that Big Agnes claims is lighter and stronger than comparable 20-denier material) enable the tent to pack down smaller than you might expect, to about the size of a large baguette. $390; 2 lbs. 9 oz.;

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