I have used my Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL1 tent on 1,500 miles of backpacking, including my Appalachian Trail Thru-hike this year, so it is time for a review. In addition, I used the tent on the Mohawk Trail in CT, a Foothills Trail thru-hike, and my Fall thru-hike of the Superior Trail in Minnesota.
I chose the Tiger Wall UL tent primarily because I was tired of condensation. When I use my Dyneema shelters, the condensation is always irritating, no matter where I choose to set up. On more humid trails, the buildup of moisture inside the tent is always a PIA.
I wanted a tent with a smaller footprint that was at least semi-freestanding. Many hiking pole tents have large footprints, making them challenging to set up in tight areas or dense forests.
In this review, I’ll review the tent’s specifications and performance on the trails.
Table of contents
- Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL1 – Rating
- Specifications – Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL1 Tent
- My Tent Requirements
- Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL1 – First Glance
- Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL1 – Materials & Construction
- Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL1 – Performance
- Therm-a-Rest Neoair XTherm – Summary
- FAQs – BA Tiger Wall UL1 Tent
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL1 – Rating
- Footprint – I like the small footprint.
- Ease of Use – Easy to set up and take down.
- Comfort – Plenty of room for me and lots of pockets to store gear and clothes out of the way. I also like the loops for a small clothing line.
- Tent Fly – This tent held up well in hard rain and wind, but there were two instances where there was a little splash under the edges of the tent fly. These were severe storms.
- Semi-free standing – I do wish it was freestanding.
Specifications – Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL1 Tent
|Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL1
|Floor Dimensions - L x W head/foot
|84 x 38 x 28 in.
|17 x 5.5 in.
|Pump sack, stuff sack and repair kit
|Nylon, polyurethane, 30D Upper, 70D Bottom
My Tent Requirements
I used my Hexamid shelter from Zpacks when I hiked the Arizona Trail in March and April of 2022. Zpacks has discontinued the Hexamid, but it was perfect for my hike on the AZT.
It rained maybe once on the AZT, and condensation was never a big issue if I paid attention to where I set up the shelter. I tried to stay out of valleys and depressions and away from water sources and thick grassy vegetation.
Below are the features I like in my double-walled tents.
- Weight – I try to keep the weight around two pounds, so I usually use a one-person tent.
- Livability – Minimal condensation and good ventilation are ideal, especially in wet climates.
- Durability – My long hikes are usually hundreds, if not thousands, of miles, so I don’t want a fragile shelter. Tents are also expensive, so I want one that will last.
- Size – I prefer a tent that packs up minor and does not have a lot of extra parts like struts.
- Storage – I don’t use my vestibules to store gear because I’ve had too much clothing and equipment eaten by animals. This can be a problem when I’m in the middle of nowhere. Because of this, I like pockets inside the tent on the sides and overhead. This helps me stay organized, and it is easier to quickly access the gear I need, like my headlamp, phone, etc.
- Loops – I like inside loops that allow me to hang a small line to hang clothing at night.
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL1 – First Glance
The BA Tiger Wall UL1 includes a tent, tent poles, and six aluminum “Dirt Digger” stakes. The stakes, tent/fly, and tent poles have silicone stuff sacks.
I did not get a ground sheet or use one with the tent over 500 miles this year. I am taking the tent on the Appalachian Trail in 2023 and will take a small piece of Tyvek to protect the floor due to the length of time I’ll be using the tent.
The tent and the fly pack down small, and I find them easy to roll up and stuff into the sack. I usually put my inner tent in my stuff sack to keep it dry and stuff my tent fly next to it. This ensures I have a dry tent at night, especially if there are consecutive days of rain. The tent, fly, and poles easily fit in my pocket outside on my ULA Ohm backpack.
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL1 – Materials & Construction
The tent is yellow and white and uses solution-dyed fabric that Big Agnes claims reduces fading and requires fewer resources to manufacture. I wish BA offered more natural colors or camo, but they seem to like bright colors like orange and yellow.
The tent fly and floor are made from silicone-treated nylon with a 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating. I used the tent in heavy rain storms and directly on snow with no leaks or water seepage. The fly and floor material is thin, and although I did not use a footprint, I will take Tyvek with me on my AT-thru-hike this year.
The body of the tent is made from rip-stop nylon and mesh. I enjoy sleeping without the fly when the weather is good, and the light mesh allows for good views.
The seams on the tent and fly are covered with waterproof polyurethane tape, which I always prefer since seam-sealing can be messy and a pain in the butt.
The tent is semi-freestanding and has one door, so you must stake out the back corners, which does not prevent the low bathtub floors from sagging a little. Your gear will push the sides out, so it is not an issue for me. I call the bathtub floors low because the fly comes just to the top, and I did feel a little splash from the ground during severe thunderstorms.
The tent’s interior has plenty of storage with a large mezzanine, multiple pockets in front of the mezzanine, and a pocket on the side. This helps me stay organized without digging through many smaller gear in my pack. I also use small loops in the tent’s ceiling for a clothesline to hang my hiking clothes at night.
I found the tent’s dual zippers irritating. They continuously snag on the fabric, and I must be careful when zipping up the tent. However, they are easy to find with their large rubber attachment loops.
The tent fly fits over the poles snugly and attaches to clips at the corner of the tent with what Big Agnes calls a “TipLok Tent Buckle™.” This allows you to secure the pole-tip, attach the rainfly attachment, and tension the fly, stake-out, and stake-out loop. The fly is thin, and I’m careful when pulling it over the poles, but so far, I’ve had no issues. There are plenty of tie-outs pre-tied to the fly for lousy weather. I don’t use them often since the tent is acceptable in a steady rain.
I like the DAC Featherlite tent poles. They are color-coded and easy to set up. The only issue I have with them is the elastic cords inside the poles. Even when the tent was new, they did not retract as quickly as I would have liked, and I sometimes had to play with them to retract them. Time will tell how long these hold up, but the cords need stronger elastic.
I’ll add that they have not held up well and include more details below.
The Dirt Dagger UL Tent Stakes that come with the tent work fine. They are patent pending with an aluminum I-Beam, but I can’t tell the difference in performance between the Dirt Daggers and the MSR Hog Nose stakes I use from REI. I recently switched to the Hog Nose, which works better in loose, rocky soil.
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL1 – Performance
I used the tent primarily on the west and east coast and found it performed well in those climates. This included heavy rain, wind, and snow. The tent is weatherproof, has decent ventilation, and quickly sets up. I also like taking the tent down in the rain without getting wet.
In addition to the above, the tent also has plenty of storage and a good-sized vestibule, although the space in the vestibule is limited since the fly does not come down far enough.
One of the other positive attributes for me is the small footprint. I can set this tent up almost anywhere and tuck it into small spaces in bushes or around trees. This is a big plus for me and allows more camping opportunities.
The sticky zippers and conservative tent fly did not work well for me. The tent fly is not long enough to prevent some minor splash in heavy rain. I felt minor spray even when I set up on leaves or thick duff. The fly also pulls up high at the front of the vestibule, so you lose some protection from rain or snow if you put your gear near the front of the vestibule.
The most disappointing part of the tent was the hub. The section that you slide the pole into snapped in half, and I could not use the hub and poles. This was not due to rough handling but appeared to be a manufacturing defect.
Big Agnes offered to repair the hub and send it to me in two weeks or send me another hub with instructions on attaching it to the poles. Neither of these was helpful on a thru-hiker, so I used my Zpacks Solo Plex for the second half of the hike.
Below are comparable double-walled, freestanding, and semi-free-standing tents I have used and would use based on testing and research.
|Floor Dimensions - L x W head/foot
|Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1
|88 x 38/28 in
|MSR Hubba Hubba 1
|85 x 30 in
|Nemo Hornet 1P
|87 x 43/31 in
|Sea-to-Summit Alto TR1
|84.5 x 42 x 24 in
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1
This is my favorite tent in this group, and although it is slightly heavier than the Tiger Wall, this is the tent I would use if it did not have the awning (personal preference). The Copper Spur is a roomy one-person tent that is weather-resistant and easy to use. It is also freestanding and has a nice, small footprint. You can check out my review of this tent I used on my New England Trail thru-hike.
MSR Hubba Hubba 1
The MSR Hubba has made a good tent for years, and I had one year ago on my first AT hike. I especially like the rectangular floor, and the tent is great in bad weather conditions. The new tent has added interior pockets, which is a big positive, but I don’t like the solid sides. I have not used the tent, but some reviews indicate ventilation is problematic in warm climates.
NEMO Hornet 1P
I used the NEMO Hornet 1P on the first half of my New England Trail hike, similar to the Tiger Wall. The NEMO has advantages like a higher bathtub floor and is the best-priced tent in this group. There are a few things that I think make the Tiger Wall better. The NEMO sags more on the sides, even with attachments to the fly, the Fly Bar is a little irritating when packing the tent, and the Tiger Wall has more interior pockets for storage. The NEMO only has two. All that said, the NEMO is a good, popular ultralight tent.
Sea-to-Summit Ether Alto TR1
This is one of the lightest tents in this group at 33 ounces, and it is a tent I want to try. I’ve seen this tent once on the trail, and with its unique 5-sided shape and 42.5-inch high peak, it is made for tall people like me. It is definitely on the short testing list, but I wish it were freestanding and not semi-free.
Therm-a-Rest Neoair XTherm – Summary
The BA Tiger Wall UL1 tent is decent for three-season backpacking, but mine was not durable enough. It was adequate for me in 2022 in severe storms and snow, and I like that it has a small footprint that is easy to set up and take down.
Like the Copper Spur, I find this tent livable for a tall person. I’m over 5’11 and can sit up and move around without a problem. Condensation is not an issue; the mezzanine and pockets on the tent’s interior provide plenty of space to stay organized.
It would be nice to have a slightly longer fly and less sticky zippers, and based on the hub defect, it was frustrating. This tent suits shorter-section hikes, but I would not use it on a long-distance hike. Like many other ultralight tents made now, it is too fragile and not durable enough.
FAQs – BA Tiger Wall UL1 Tent
It is not freestanding. The Tiger Wall is semi-freestanding. It would be best if you staked down the back corners.
I have not used a groundsheet over the 500 miles I’ve used it so far, but I’m about to start using one because I can see the wear on the bottom of the tent. I would recommend a piece of Tyvek or polypro plastic.
I put my inner tent in its waterproof stuff sack and turn it upside down before placing it in the outer pocket of my pack. This prevents rain from getting in the stuff sack. I stuff the fly into the pocket next to the stuff sack so it won’t get the tent wet if the fly is wet.
I do not. You can use the vestibule to store gear, but I’ve had too many critters take and nibble my shoes, poles, socks, and other equipment. It now goes in the tent with me.