Approaching the 1 lb barrier for a 2-person tent! Big Agnes Tent Carbon with Dyneema for 2019

Big Agnes Tent - Flycreek Carbon With Dyneema

The new Big Agnes Fly Creek HV 2 Carbon with Dyneema tent pictured above weighs just 1 lb 2 oz for a two-person, freestanding, double-walled tent with a full pole set! No trekking poles required. The incredibly popular, roomy and livable Tiger Walls series drops to 1.5 pounds with the new Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2 Carbon with Dyneema! And finally, the Big Agnes Scout 2 Carbon with Dyneema Tent is less than ¾ pounds. These are just a few of the new and very light tents that Big Agnes announced for Spring of ’19 at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show this month.

What you need to know about Big Agnes Tent Models – new Carbon With Dyneema vs. Platinum vs. Classic UL

Big Agnes now has 3 versions for most of their lightest tents. In order of heaviest to lightest they are the Classic UL, Platinum and the new Carbon With Dyneema version. This post clearly explains the major differences Big Agnes’ three lines of tents Classic UL vs. Platinum vs. Carbon With Dyneema as well as discussing the the pros, cons and cautions for each of three versions. This should help buyers make an informed choice. In summary:

  • Classic UL uses 20d nylon fabric and aluminum poles. The least expensive and likely the most durable.
  • Platinum uses much lighter and more delicate 7d fabric for the fly and floor and the same aluminum poles. This saves ~¼ pound for a 2-person tent and has a modest price increase.
  • Carbon with Dyneema uses uber-tech Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF) lighter carbon fiber poles. This saves ~½ pound or 30% for a 2-person tent but has a substantial price increase! [note: fly fabric is 0.34 oz/yd2 DCF and the floor is 0.51 oz/yd2 DCF]
Big Agnes Tent - Tiger Wall 2 Carbon with Dyneema

30% weight reduction: For Spring ’19 the highly popular, roomy and livable Tiger Wall UL2 tent will come in a Carbon with Dyneema version reducing its weight by 1/2 pound vs. the “classic” model show in the photo.

Big Agnes Tent – Carbon with Dyneema Version

Big Agnes, known for making some of the lightest backpacking tents, shaved even more weight from their lightest models. For spring of 2019 their “Carbon Collection” includes:

  • 1 lb 14 oz (850g): Tiger Wall 2 Carbon with Dyneema Tent. That’s a 30% reduction in weight vs. the “classic” Tiger Wall  Tent. My guess is that this tent will be the big seller in this lineup for its more spacious interior and a door for each person.
  • 1 lb 2 oz (501g): Fly Creek HV 2 Carbon with Dyneema (lead photo for this post). This is an astonishing weight for a 2-person, double-walled, free-standing tent that does not rely on trekking poles! (Note that this shelter is snugger than the Tiger Wall and has a single door).
  • 11 oz (312g): Scout 2 Carbon with Dyneema. That’s under a pound for a 2-person shelter with 27 ft2 of floor area! (Albeit it requires use of trekking poles, and it is a single door, single walled shelter that is more prone to condensation than the double walled versions above.)

The obvious omission in the Carbon Collection lineup are the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL series tents, the former mainstay of Big Agnes’ Ultralight tents. This is almost certainly due to the immense popularity of the new Big Agnes Tiger Wall tents.

Note: Durability these lighter tents, Platinum and Carbon with Dyneema Tents may hinge on a suitable footprint / groundsheet. Read more on this important topic below, including an extremely light $9 footprint hack.

The Three Big Agnes Tent Models Exlpained

In summary, Big Agnes now has 3 levels of weight and price for the same tent. These are from heaviest to lightest: Classic UL, Platinum and new for Spring ‘16 Carbon with Dyneema. The major reasons for lower weight and higher cost are included below using the Tiger Wall 2-person tent as an example:

  • 2 lb 3 oz (992g) $400 for Classic UL version, theTiger Wall UL2 which uses 20d nylon fabric and aluminum poles
  • 1 lb 15 oz  (878g) $550 for the new Platinum version that uses a much lighter 7d for the fly and floor and aluminum poles
  • 1 lb 9 oz (709g) $1,000 for the Carbon with Dyneema version that uses uber-tech Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF) lighter carbon fiber poles. [fly fabric is 0.34 oz/yd2 DCF and the floor is 0.51 oz/yd2 DCF]

For 2019 the Fly Creek HV, Tiger Wall and Scout tents will be available in both Platinum and Carbon with Dyneema versions. In addition, the Copper Spur tents will be available in Platinum but not in Carbon with Dyneema.

Big Agnes Tent - Scout 2 with Dyneema

For 2109 the Big Agnes Scout 2 Carbon with Dyneema tent will come in at a scant 11 oz (312g). That’s under a well under pound for a 2-person shelter with 27 ft2 of floor area! [the tent pictured is the older silnylon model.]

Classic UL vs. Platinum vs. Carbon With Dyneema – Pros, Cons and Cautions

Classic UL – These tents are already among the lightest conventional, double-walled free-standing tents on the markets. While the lowest cost of the three lines they are still among some of pricier tents on the market due to their light weight. The 20d fabric used for the rainfly and wall/floor of the tent is likely the lightest fabric that will survive use by casual users (e.g. those people not experienced in the use and care of ultralight camping gear.) This fabric will likely remain waterproof and undamaged for a number of seasons of use, especially if you use a Big Agnes Footprint or a $9 Gossamer Gear Polycro Footprint under it.

Platinum – These tents use a much lighter 7d fabric used for the rainfly and wall/floor. This saves about 4 oz (¼ pound) and increases the price a few hundred dollars. And unless you are sleeping on nice soft grass, it almost requires you use a Big Agnes Footprint or a $9 Gossamer Gear Polycro Footprint under it. In addition, the lighter fabric requires that you use more care operating zippers, pitching and un-pitching the tent, etc to keep from damaging the fabric.

Carbon with Dyneema – These tents use uber-tech Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF) for the rainfly and wall/floor and carbon fiber (vs. aluminum) poles to save ~1/2 lb or 30% vs a UL Classic Tent. DCF incredibly strong and waterproof and light. In addition, it’s stiff and has very low stretch when wet making it ideal for use in shelters. That is, DCF does not sag when wet fabric and you don’t need to re-tension the the tent in the rain. Downsides for DCF is that it is insane expensive and has only OK abrasion and puncture resistance.

In summary, the Carbon with Dyneema has clear advantages over the Classic UL version for its lighter weight and stiffer lower stretch fabric. It will be up to individuals to determine if those advantages are worth the significant increase in price. The advantages of the Platinum version vs. the Classic UL version are less clear.

Big Agnes Tent - Onyx Tarp Carbon with Dyneema

The Onyx Tarp Carbon with Dyneema is only 6 oz (170g) when used with trekking poles and covers 72 square feet. That’s super roomy for two people!

 

 


Big Agnes Tent - footprint

Durability of Big Agnes Carbon with Dyneema and Platinum Tents may hinge on a suitable footprint

Success of these tents may well rely on what BA puts under the floor to protect the more delicate DCF fabric tent floor. As of this writing BA has not revealed the weight and type of footprints that will be available for Carbon Collection tents. A too heavy footprint could negate much of the weight savings (right now a Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Footprint weighs 6 oz and cost $70). On the other hand, not using a footprint could quickly damage your floor if you are not careful and/or experienced at campsite selection.

 

Use an off-the-shelf Polycro Footprint

The good news is you don’t need to wait for BA to solve this problem. To protect the floor of these very light tents, I would recommend putting a $9 Gossamer Gear Polycro Footprint under it. This multilayer, cross-linked polyolefin film weighs less than 4 oz and is much stronger and more durable than the typical painters plastic sheet you’d get at a hardware store. It’s also ~ 1/2 the weight and 12% the cost of a Big Agnes footprint. It should last for weeks of use. When it starts to wear it can easily be replaced by another $9 footprint.

Durability Verdict Not in for Big Agnes Carbon with Dyneema and Platinum Tents

Finally, neither the Big Agnes Platinum Tents (only a few models out last year), and the Big Agnes Carbon with Dyneema Tents (not due until Spring ’19) have had sufficient field testing to determine their long term durability and waterproofness. It will be interesting to hear the feedback from consummate backpackers & thru-hikers that use these shelters for weeks or months on end vs. the casual weekend backpacker.

DCF has been used for years by cottage manufactures for Tarps and Pyramid shelters, and even floors on Bivy Sacks. I own and love many of these shelters. They have been all over the world with me from Patagonia to Alaska. But none of these simple DCF shelters are tents with their complex of poles and multitude of panels and seams. By making complex tents with DCF, BA is entering uncharted territory. To give BA the benefit of the doubt, they have been one of the most successful manufactures of very light tents. As such, I wish them continued success with their new Carbon with Dyneema tents. I look forward to testing the Tiger Wall 2 Carbon with Dyneema as soon as it is available.

Disclaimer

This post contains affilate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on the these links, a portion of the sale helps support this site at no additional cost to you. I do not receive compensation from the companies whose products are listed. For product reviews: unless otherwise noted, products are purchased with my own funds. I am never under an obligation to write a review about any product. Finally, this post expresses my own independent opinion.

9 replies
  1. Caroline
    Caroline says:

    Alan,
    This is great news. Do you know when the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV 2 Carbon with Dyneema tent (1 pound 2 ounces) two-person will be available for retail?

    Thank you so much,
    Caroline

    Reply
    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Good Q Caroline. I would start looking around March of 2019 for these tents to hit the market. Wishing you a great season of trekking. Warmest, -alan

      Reply
      • Caroline
        Caroline says:

        Alan,
        I do have one more question about shelters… I am very close to deciding one an MLD Duomid with solo Innernet for me when I go solo…I believe this shelter would be the best for high winds and rain which we commonly get here in Newfoundland. I am trying to decide on sil-nylon or Dyneema, specifically with regards to DURABILITY. While I want the Dyneema for weight savings I don’t relish loosing out on durability. Could you please offer any advice?
        Thank you- your site has been a TREMENDOUS help to me. Did my first 3 night solo after using your lists to shed over 10lbs on base pack weight!! THANK YOU : )

        Reply
        • Alan Dixon
          Alan Dixon says:

          Hi Caroline, so glad you find the info. on my site useful. And good on you for dropping 10 pounds of pack weight! As to Dyneema vs. Silnylon for a MLD DuoMid: A pyramid shelter is an ideal Application for Dyneema (DCF). It is very strong in wind and it doesn’t stretch when wet. That is your shelter will remain taut, even in rain or heavy dew. In tent floors and packs the slightly lower abrasion resistance of DCF could (or could not) be an issue in abusive situations. That being said, this would not be an issue with your DuoMid where strength, stiffness and resistance to snagging are all more important properties. Just don’t pitch the shelter where it could rub endlessly on a bush overnight and you should be good. So if you have the $, I would go for the DCF (I think a surprising # of MLD shelters ARE DCF even tho the much higher cost).

          That being said, I have used many Silnylon ‘Mids in places like Alaska and they work fine. Yes they are a bit heavier and might need a bit of re-tensioning if damp. But they are also more compact and more economical.

          Oh, and just so you know, when you add the inner nest to a ‘Mid it starts to approach the weight of a light tent. Yes it’s still stronger and roomier than similar tents, but not the huge weight saver of a ‘Mid without the inner. (Alison and I rarely use ours, so it is a excellent lightweight solution for us.) In summary, if you think you will be using the inner nest often (most of the time) then you might want to look at a few light tents. Hope this hasn’t messed things up too much for you. Warmest, -alan & alison

          Reply
          • Caroline
            Caroline says:

            A&A,
            Super fast and helpful reply. I currently use the MSR Hubba NX, however, I am not ready to camp without a bug deflector inner! We have a lot of flies and sometimes I seek shelter to escape them. I was concerned about the solo internet being a bit clostophobic compared to the MSR which is so roomy due to the cross poles ovrhead. I am open to ideas to she’d weight…I have looked at Tarptent and was even entertaining the MLD duo innernet but this brings up the weight…it’s all food for thought.

            Thank you both so much.

          • Alan Dixon
            Alan Dixon says:

            Oh, and one quick thought Caroline, MLD does have an option to add a mosquito netting all along the perimeter of a ‘Mid. This would be a very light way to mostly bug-proof a MLD ‘Mid shelter. Best, -alan

          • Alan Dixon
            Alan Dixon says:

            Oh, and one quick thought Caroline, MLD does have an option to add a mosquito netting all along the perimeter of a ‘Mid. This would be a very light way to mostly bug-proof a MLD ‘Mid shelter. Best, -alan

  2. Grizzly Dave
    Grizzly Dave says:

    Thanks for the update, Alan. I’ve been using a Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 for my backpacking for about 2-1/2 years now. It being the slightly older classic model has held up well for me in both wind and rain at high elevation. My only issue is that the zipper on the rain fly jams almost every time I have to get up in the middle of the night when nature calls. No matter how careful I am with it, it seems to jam about 90% of the time on the outside zipper rain flap and won’t easily unjam. I informed BA about this and they had me send it in to them and they are supposedly fixing it – for free!. Haven’t got it back yet so I can’t testify to the fix. I like the fact that they seem to care for their customer’s experiences.

    Reply
    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Grizzly thanks for sharing your experience. And glad that BA is taking care of you! When you need to pee, you need to pee :-) And yes, smaller and lighter zippers can be an issue both on shelters and clothing. I’ve run into a few cantankerous ones myself. Guessing that BA will be looking long and hard at every component for the new Carbon with Dyneema tents. Wishing you a great year of trekking. Warmest, -alan

      Reply

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