Gear Review: Big Agnes String Ridge 2 Tent

A wedge-style, double-walled tent that packs super small.

[light and compact]

When our staff was divvying up group gear for the journey up the Folgefonna Glacier in Norway, everyone scrambled for this wedge-style, double-walled tent because it was a fraction of the size (seven by 20 inches when packed) and weight of our other winter tents. Floor space (31.5 square feet) and headroom (42 inches, but tapering down on both ends) are accordingly on the small side, but that’s a standard compromise for this kind of weight savings.

“This tent is ideal for two average-size hikers who camp primarily below treeline in winter,” says one tester. Why the conditions caveat? He pitched it atop Mt. Washington, with gusts that topped out at 59 mph, and experienced a ripped grommet and broken pole. (The tent fared fine in Norway with 20-mph winds.)The vestibule measures 11 square feet, but the fly is so steeply angled that the space is not suitable for cooking (it’s fine for packs) and testers had to wriggle out on their bellies to close the zipper. We wish that zipper had a snap to keep the fly closed in strong, sustained wind. Two ceiling vestibule vents are moderately effective; we did experience some condensation in cold (down to 12°F), dry weather.

Verdict: Easy weight savings for winter campers who avoid the worst alpine weather. $500; 5 lbs.; bigagnes.com