Big Agnes Battle Mountain 2
$700, 7 lbs.
On a four-day, April climb of the Mountaineers Route on California’s Mount Whitney, strong winds raked our campsites—especially for two nights at our high camp at 12,000 feet, below Whitney’s dramatic East Face. But my teenage son and I hardly noticed the wind, sleeping like babies. On a trip where we needed a sturdy tent, but didn’t want to haul something heavy and bulky, the Battle Mountain 2 gave us a very livable shelter that’s significantly lighter and more compact than many competitors.
Unlike some mountaineering tents, which strengthen the pole structure and increase vestibule space through the use of a pole in the rainfly—typically inserted through a sleeve in the fly, which can be a tedious process—the Battle Mountain 2 connects its lightweight but strong, DAC NSL hubbed pole plus two more poles to the tent canopy, an easier and faster procedure. The poles create a solid structure that stands up to strong winds in exposed campsites and snow loads. Nice details: The canopy attaches to the poles with hooks, and oversized, quick-release plastic buckles attach the rainfly to the tent, both easy and fast even when wearing warm gloves; and the rainfly webbing and poles are color-coded—both of which you really appreciate in cold wind and temperatures.
The pole structure creates excellent headroom and a 42-inch peak height, making the interior feel even roomier than its 31.5 square feet. Doors and vestibules at each end let you exit and enter on the lee side to keep snow out even when the wind shifts direction. And with 13.5 square feet of space, the vestibules easily store boots and provide cooking space, plus you can stack packs in one vestibule if you plan to enter and exit only through the other door (depending on prevailing winds). Six interior pockets keep small items like headlamps and hats from getting buried under bags and clothes.
Even on calm, cold nights, we got no condensation inside, thanks to rainfly vents that align with large wall vents that zip shut, plus doors with half-moon-shaped, solid nylon panels that unzip to mesh panels to increase air flow (as well as the enhanced air flow due to doors at both ends). Materials are lightweight but not flimsy: a Cordura ripstop nylon rainfly and floor, both with a 1200mm waterproof polyurethane (PU) coating and solvent-free, waterproof PU tape. The 13 Mega X stakes can be pounded into earth or firm snow or buried like deadmen, and stakeout loops are large enough to use skis and ice axes to secure your tent. A nine-ounce footprint sold separately lets you pare this shelter down to 4.5 pounds, leaving the interior tent at home.
Want a bigger mountaineering shelter? The Battle Mountain 3 ($850) adds almost 13 square feet of interior space at a weight cost of just six ounces.
The Battle Mountain 2 and 3 tents are good choices when you want a lightweight and compact mountaineering tent without compromising protection from wind and snow loads or sacrificing much in terms of livability.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking either of these links to purchase a Big Agnes Battle Mountain 2 tent at moosejaw.com, or a Big Agnes Battle Mountain 3 tent at moosejaw.com.
See also my stories:
“Review: Gear For Climbing Mount Whitney”
“12 Pro Tips For Staying Warm Outdoors in Winter”
“The Simple Equation of Ultralight Backpacking: Less Weight = More Fun”
“5 Tips For Spending Less on Hiking and Backpacking Gear”
NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See categorized menus of all of my gear reviews at The Big Outside.
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