Big Agnes Carbon Tent

Summer OR 2018: Tents & Shelters

There were a bunch of new bivy bags, tents and tarps to check out at OR Show this summer. A sic new line of ultralight Dyneema/Carbon Fiber based shelters from Big Agnes, new additions in the BD and MSR line-ups, a redesign of Mountain Hardware’s entire alpine/mountaineering line and an overhaul to OR’s bivy line. So in no particular order lets take a look.

Big Agnes Carbon Collection:

Big Agnes Carbon Tent

Move over Hyperlight, Big Agnes is getting into the high-end, super-light Dyneema shelter market in a big way with their new Carbon Collection. This line of shelters includes 3 different tents, a tarp and a bivy bag. And while the the Dyneema fabric that makes up the shelters may resemble saran wrap don’t be deceived, it’s extremely strong. Of course it’s also very lightweight, rainproof and can be welded so doesn’t require stitched seams. A great fabric for a lot of applications including tent construction. The big downside of course is the cost. This stuff is definitely not cheap.

Here’s a brief breakdown of each of the different shelters in the Big Agnes’s new Carbon Collection:

Fly Creek HV Carbon with Dyneema: As the name suggests this tent is a marriage of the Fly Creek architecture with carbon fiber poles and Dyneema fabric for the floor and fly. The tent body is made of a rip-stop nylon. It comes in 1 and 2 person models, has a single door with a vestibule, an over-sized ceiling pocket and media pockets. The 1-person version weighs in at 454g while the 2-person weighs a minuscule 510g. Less than half of the weight of many other lightweight 3-season tents! MSRP: $800/$850 USD for 1-person & 2-person models respectively.

Big Agnes Carbon TentBig Agnes Carbon Tent

Tiger Wall Carbon with Dyneema: Basically the same idea as the above tent just with the larger single-pole Tiger Wall architecture. The tent comes in 2 and 3 person models, features two doors and two vestibules with storm flaps, 3 interior pockets, a vent and is rated 3-season. The 2-person version weighs 709g while the 3-person version weighs 850g. MSRP: $1000/$1200 USD for 2-person & 3-person models respectively.

Big Agnes Carbon TentScout 2 Carbon with Dyneema: This 3-season, 2-person single wall trekking pole tent is made completely from Dyneema. As a trekking pole tent it needs a set of poles to set-up, not included with the tent, but saves on weight as a result. Features include a single door and a vent. This tent weighs in at a ridiculous 312g not including the trekking poles. That’s less than a can of beer or about 3.5 Cliff Bars! MSRP: $700 USD.

Onyx Tarp Carbon with Dyneema: A basic 102” x 102″ (260cm x 260cm) Dyneema tarp with a small carbon fiber pole. The package includes a stuff sac with a sleeve for the pole, guylines to tie it down and some aluminum stakes. The tarp weighs 170g but with the pole, etc. the package weighs 227g. Talk about fast and light! MSRP: $500 USD.

Big Agnes Carbon Tent

Flower Wall Bivy Carbon with Dyneema: A basic bivy bag that’s made entirely of Dyneema with the exception of the polyester mesh vents. The zipper closure system does not extend down the sides of the bag. Weighing in at 170g this bivy is about the size of a can of pop. The MSRP has not yet been decided.

Big Agnes Carbon Tent

Needless to say I’m super excited to test out one of these shelters!


Outdoor Research Bivy’s:

Outdoor Research Bivy

OR has redesigned their entire line of bivy bags for 2019 with the objective of reducing weight and improving functionality. The new line consists of 5 different bivy bags with different features and weights. Each is summarized below from the heaviest to the lightest:

Alpine Bivy: The most durable and waterproof option in the line the Alpine Bivy has been redesigned to drop some weight while maintaining functionality. Utilizing Gore-Tex Respiration Positive fabric it’s quite breathable while still being waterproof. It has a clamshell design for easy access and uses a Delrin pole for structure. Weighing in at 610g it’s not light. If the weather looked bad enough to need this this bivy I’d be thinking about a tent, or even better, a hut. Anyway, the MSRP is $250 USD.

Outdoor Research BivyOutdoor Research Bivy

Interstellar Bivy: The innovative design of this bivy bag allows it to be worn… kind of. The top can function as a hat while numerous zipper pulls and a U-shaped opening allow for arm holes make it possible to cook, etc. without getting out of bed. I’m not exactly sure when this type of a design would be really useful though, possibly in a very buggy area. The Intersteller’s made from OR’s proprietary 3-layer AscentShell fabric and uses a Delrin rod for structure. Weighing in at 565g this bivy will retail for $275 USD.

Stargazer Bivy: This bivy bag utilizes much the same materials and design as the Intersteller just without the wearable option. It has the same large U-shaped zipper opening for easy access, is also made of AscentShell fabric and uses a Delrin rod for structure. It’s slightly lighter at 525g and less expensive with an MSRP of $259 USD.

Helium Bivy: The revised Helium features a clam shell design, is made from a lightweight 2.5 layer Pertex Shield fabric and keeps the same Delrin rod for structure. It weighs 475g and will retail for $179 USD.

Helium Emergency Bivy: Weighing in at 270g this bivy is much more my style. A functional, just-in-case unit that packs down to the size of a beer can. It’s made from lightweight 2.5 layer Pertex Shield fabric and doesn’t have any frills or gimmicks. MSRP: $129 USD.

Outdoor Research BivyOutdoor Research Bivy


MSR Hubba Tent Update:

MSR had a lot of new and updated tents and shelters to check out at the OR show. The updated Hubba NX series was of particular interest though. This line of lightweight 3-season tents have been very popular with back-country enthusiasts for years and due an update.

Available in 1 to 4 person sizes the updated Hubba NX tents have a pack weight of 1120g, 1600g, 1950g and 2910g respectively. They all utilize the virtually indestructible Easton Syclone™ poles and feature MSR’s new Xtreme Shield waterproof coating. This new proprietary coating is supposed to last 3x longer than more conventional options. The Gear Shed is still available (sold separately) for anyone that wants even more vestibule space. The MSRP ranges from $380 – $700 USD depending on the size.

MSR also updated the E-Bivy with the new Extreme Shield coating on the floor. Weighing in at 180g this emergency shelter is super compact.


Black Diamond Tents:

Black Diamond has some new and updated alpine tents for 2019 though unfortunately they weren’t all set-up in the booth for photos. I did snap a pic of the new Distance Tent though (above) . You’ll just have to use your imagination for the others.

Distance Tent: This compact 2-person, 3-season single wall shelter is designed for the fast-and-light crowd. The tent structure is created using two BD Distance Carbon AR Z-poles and a small DAC cross pole that actually fits into the grip of the poles (with an adapter). The single wall structure also has vents at the peak and foot and a headlamp pocket in the peak for illumination. It packs down into a Nalgene sized bag but no word yet on the weight. Sold with the Z-Poles for $400 and $250 without. A tidy little package at 650g not including the trekking poles.

FirstLight Tent: The 2-person FirstLight tent gets updated for 2019 and a 3-person version is added to the line-up. Redesigned to shed weight and improve airflow this tent is ideal for minimalist alpine adventures. It features a cool new Flow Manifold which promotes interior air convection and exterior airflow to draw moisture from the tent. The seams are already taped so you don’t have to and it has an optional vestibule. It also has a ceiling rope exit for anchoring the tent in case you’re precariously perched on the side of a mountain. Dyneema core guy lines are also include for less stretch in the wind. MSRP is $370 USD for the 2-person which weighs 1445g and $400 for the 3-person which weighs 1844g.

Hilight Tent: The single wall HiLight has been updated for 2019 in much the same manner as the FirstLight. It now comes in a larger, 3-person version as well as the 2-person. BD’s new Flow Manifold venting system has been added to the top. It also has the factory treated seams and Dyneema core guy lines. Other features include an extra half-pole strut for improved stability and a ceiling rope exit for anchoring on steep pitches. Of course it still has the large side doors and optional vestibule. MSRP is $400 USD for the 2-person which weighs 1420g and $440 for the 3-person at 2030g.


Mountain Hardware Tents:

Mountain Hardware Trango TentMountain Hardware decided to redesign its entire equipment line for 2019 and the tents are no exception. I’ve been working out what’s actually changed by comparing the existing tent line against next year’s as info is a bit limited at this time. So if I make a mistake somewhere you’ll just have to forgive me. I also didn’t get a chance to see the tents at OR as they weren’t at the booth so photos from the workbook will have to do.

The Trango line of tents have had the vestibule pole moved from the outside to an internal sleeve for improved wind resistance. It will make it a bit slower to erect or take down though.

Mountain Hardware Outpost TentA new 2-person tent called the Outpost 2 is being introduced. It’s smaller and lighter than the burly Trango 2, has dual doors and vestibules and mesh roof vents. Weighing in at 2200g it’s definitely not feather light but it’s burley. MSRP will be $600 USD.

A line of single wall tents is being introduced which includes the ACI 3 and AC 2.

Mountain Hardware ACI TentThe ACI 3 is basically a single-wall version of the Trango 3. It has the new sleeved pole structure that the Trango received. Other features include a Tension Arch design that utilizes some non-stretch fabric to reinforce the pole structure and an improved ventilation system. It weighs 3368g and will have an MSRP of $900 USD.

Mountain Hardware AC TentThe AC 2 is 2-person, 2-pole single wall alpine tent that has external sleeves for the poles. It features the same Tension Arch system as the ACI 3 for additional stability in the wind. Other features include 2 zippered vents on the roof and a full door screen. The vestibule is sold separately. It weighs 1658g and will have an MSRP of $650 USD.

Well that’s all I’ve got for tents and shelters. Check back in a bit for climbing and approach shoes.