Big Agnes gear reviews

A backpacker above Toxaway Lake, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

The Best Backpacking Gear of 2022

By Michael Lanza

The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park. The Wonderland Trail. The Teton Crest Trail. Yosemite. The Grand Canyon. Glacier National Park. The Ruby Crest Trail. The Pasayten Wilderness. Yellowstone. The Wind River Range. The North Cascades. Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. The High Uintas Wilderness. The Tour du Mont Blanc. These are just some of the numerous places where I’ve tested the backpacking gear and apparel reviewed at The Big Outside—so that I can give you honest and thorough, field-tested opinions that help you find the best gear for your adventures.

And that’s exactly how I came up with these picks for today’s best backpacking gear.

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A backpacker on the John Muir Trail overlooking the Cathedral Range in Yosemite National Park.

The Best Backpacking Gear for the John Muir Trail

By Michael Lanza

So you’re planning to thru-hike the John Muir Trail and making all of the necessary preparations, and now you’re wondering: What’s the best gear for a JMT hike? Having thru-hiked the JMT as well as taken numerous other backpacking trips all over the High Sierra—mostly between late August and late September, which I consider that the best time to walk the Sierra, to avoid snow and the voracious mosquitoes and blazing hot afternoons of mid-summer—I offer the following picks for the best lightweight backpacking gear and apparel for a JMT thru-hike.

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Backpackers watching sunset at a campsite in Titcomb Basin, Wind River Range, Wyoming.

The 10 (Very) Best Backpacking Tents of 2022

By Michael Lanza

A good backpacking tent not only makes your trips more comfortable by keeping you warm and dry in foul weather—it’s critical safety gear and one of the heaviest and most expensive items you’ll carry. You’ll want to find the right tent for your style of backpacking. But how do you choose from the many models out there, which come in a huge range of designs, weights, and prices? Whether you’re shopping for your first backpacking shelter or looking to replace an old one, this article will help make that choice easy for you.

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The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 in Utah's High Uintas Wilderness.

Review: Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Backpacking Tent

Ultralight Backpacking Tent
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2
$500, 2 lbs. 11 oz.
Sizes: men’s S-XL, women’s XS-XL
rei.com

As the wind gusted over 30 mph and at times 40 mph at our unprotected campsite in a big meadow beside the Snake River, on the Idaho side of Hells Canyon while backpacking in early June, I kept throwing nervous glances at our tents. But while three of them whipped and bent under the onslaught of air, the Copper Spur HV UL2 barely trembled—not what you’d necessarily expect from an ultralight backpacking tent. But that’s just one way this shelter defies expectations.

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The Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2 Platinum ultralight backpacking tent in the Grand Canyon.

Gear Review: Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2 Platinum Ultralight Tent

Ultralight Backpacking Tent
Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2 Platinum
$600, 1 lb. 15 oz.
moosejaw.com

The sub-two-pound, double-wall, freestanding tent has become like the two-hour marathon of the backpacking gear world: the holy grail that many have come close to achieving, without quite nailing it. Now Big Agnes has set the pace with the Tiger Wall 2 Platinum, a redesign of its Tiger Wall UL2 from 2018 that seizes the grail and—most importantly—avoids shortcomings endemic to other ultralight tents. Taking it out on a six-day, 74-mile spring hike through the Grand Canyon that—not surprisingly—tested the wind resistance of our shelters, I found much to recommend about the Tiger Wall 2 Platinum, and decided it ranks among the very best backpacking tents available today. Here’s why.

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