Big Agnes Shield 2 tent - 1st impression

Dustin Gent

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Jun 22, 2015
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So i just received my BA Shield 2 tent in the mail today. I had been looking at what tent to get for the last year. Yes, sometimes it takes me a "while" to make up my mind on what to get.

I finally decided on a 4 season tent, rather than getting my second choice (MSR Hubba NX 2) simply because I am moving to Utah and will be in more adverse conditions than up here in the PNW. It would be overkill, and may still be overkill - that is to be seen.

There really are no reviews on this tent, since it is still new. So here is my quick overview of this tent. Mind you I only set it up in doors. Might be heading to Rainier next week - so will have more to add to this.

Set up of this tent is probably as quick as a fly creek. There are two poles that cross at the middle, and another "support" that attaches above the door. The lack of a rainfly I will need to get used to. The tent is fully seam tapped - the inside looks a lot like a Gore-tex Pro jacket. Build quality seems super high. There are two inside pockets, on each side of the single door.

I also like the placement of the door - right in front. There is no dedicated "screen door", as this is a winter tent -however there is flap you can open up to vent. This tent I suspect will be warm - so I will need to get another tent down the road for late spring type adventures down south (GSE, Moab, etc etc) as it would be uncomfortable if the low temps were higher than 55.

The interior space is pleasant. Enough for my wife and I. I wouldn't want to shack up with a buddy, but it is doable - sure it is no different than any other 2 person tent. The tent stakes are okay, but I am going to get some heavier duty sand/snow stakes before i really use this.

Here are a few shots. More will be added
interior.jpg
tent.jpg
 

klank

one step at a time
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Jul 29, 2013
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love to hear thoughts of front entry after use. I love my Seedhouse SL1, but entry/exit through front can be a pain.
 

Nick

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Aug 9, 2007
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That thing looks bomber! Not sure there are many situations you'll really need a 4-season out here though. Unless you're out camping in a blizzard I guess. :)
 

Dustin Gent

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Jun 22, 2015
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well I figure that it can get cold and I want to do some winter camping as well, why not? :) Should handle wind well I suppose - we shall see
 

Nick

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My biggest concern would be the lack of ventilation combined with being single wall. I see it has some vents, but in my experience condensation can be a big problem with a single wall, even with a lot more mesh than that. Heat/stuffiness too. But maybe that fancy fabric they're using will make that a non-issue. Let us know how it does. It'll definitely be better than something with a lot of mesh in a sand storm.
 

Dustin Gent

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Jun 22, 2015
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yeah I am eager to get out and test it. I figure I will be doing more stuff in the fall/winter/spring than in the summer (which would be the opposite of what I do up here!). And there is only one video of this for reviews - and it is Big Agnes...
 

Vegan.Hiker

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Jul 5, 2014
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pretty light. A little over 4 lbs.

Not bad for a winter tent. I wouldn't mind something like this for winters in the northeast. Looks like it would hold up well to winter winds and is sturdy enough to support the weight of a few inches of snow accumulation. I've been thinking of getting a winter tent mainly because I don't want to ruin my 3 season tent, so I'll definitely be looking into this one.

My biggest concern would be the lack of ventilation combined with being single wall. I see it has some vents, but in my experience condensation can be a big problem with a single wall, even with a lot more mesh than that. Heat/stuffiness too. But maybe that fancy fabric they're using will make that a non-issue. Let us know how it does. It'll definitely be better than something with a lot of mesh in a sand storm.

I know you are talking about the desert Nick but in really cold weather like we have up north where it easily drops below zero overnight in the winter, I think a lack of ventilation is desirable, because if you can trap in some body heat, that's a good thing.
 

Dustin Gent

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Jun 22, 2015
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first thing I thought of when I got this tent was that it would be great in super cold weather in the escalante and such! I hope i didn't make a bad decision haha. If so, I will pick up an MSR Hubba NX2 :)
 

IntrepidXJ

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first thing I thought of when I got this tent was that it would be great in super cold weather in the escalante and such!

How cold do you think it gets in Escalante in the winter? Unless there's a really strong cold front, a 3-season tent usually works well with a warm bag.
 

Nick

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How cold do you think it gets in Escalante in the winter? Unless there's a really strong cold front, a 3-season tent usually works well with a warm bag.

x2. Winters are pretty mild down there in my experience, at least between storms. I've done plenty of trips out there (like this) where it got down to just above zero and I've been totally comfortable. Hell, most of the time I don't even use a tent in the winter in the desert. A tarp or sleeping in the open back of my truck with a zero degree bag and a warm pad has been great.

But while I don't mind camping in the winter, I'm not really a fan of doing it in the mountains where it's nothing but snow as far as the eye can see. Or even in the desert if it's actively snowing. For those situations, I'd probably like a beefy 4-season tent like this.
 

Dustin Gent

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Jun 22, 2015
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I thought it got pretty cold down there, especially with the wind? I guess I will find out :)
 

Dustin Gent

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Jun 22, 2015
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I just remedied my "tent overkill" problem. Just picked up a new Marmot Force 2P tent. I will be giving that a review in the next few weeks after we move on Monday.
 

John Goering

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Sep 30, 2014
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Another one very curious about the condensation potential in a single wall, 3-4 season tent actually used in cold conditions. My wife and I have had some major condensation problems in what appear to be well designed 2-3 season tents with a lot of mesh in normal Northern Rockies summer weather.

The best ventilation system in a consumer version of a 3-4 season tent I've used is REI's Arete ALS3. Both it and the 2 person model are really lot of tent for the money and function very well in real cold with a completely configurable ventilation system-all accessible from INSIDE the tent. Not to mention the ALS2 is $360 versus the BA at $600-and it's only a half pound more weight-a lot of extra features (including a fly) for that 1/2 pound.

Personally, I don't have a problem with front entry tents if the vestibule and tent door are well designed-which they are on the Arete's.
 
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