High Gear: ‘A quiver of one’ with the Big Agnes String Ridge 2 tent (video)
Big Agnes String Ridge 2
Season: Four-season, backpacking and mountaineering
Weight: 5 pounds, 11 ounces
Floor dimensions: 90x57 inches
Packed size: 8x20 inches
Poles: Two-hub pole assembly, plus crossover and vestibule
Rainfly: Yes, coated ripstop nylon
The String Ridge 2 is no longer available through the Big Agnes website but still sold by online and brick-and-mortar retailers, including Sierra Trading Post, Backcountry.com and Amazon. For more info on the 2016-17 Big Agnes line, see www.bigagnes.com.
Editor’s note: Want to go lighter than a two-person tent? Check out the Hennessy Hammock Expedition Asym Zip backpacking hammock, with included rainfly for three-season hunting and trekking.
This tent is a quiver of one.
I’ve been using the Big Agnes String Ridge 2 tent now for three years and it has stood up to the test. I believe the Steamboat Springs manufacturer categorizes it as a three-and-a-half season tent — the Shield 2 is their four-season, single-walled mountaineering model — but that half season involved a lot of winter camping for me. However, the venting is great, and that makes it perfect for those trips to Fruita for biking. I use this tent year-round, no matter what corner of Colorado I’m in.
The tent is easy to figure out. We were able to set it all up in the dark the first time, without the instructions (yeah, I know, not the best planning there). The design stands up to the wind better than most four-season tent, and the fly does its job well. I’ve been tent-bound in rain, snow and sleet for 14 hours, and I still stayed dry and comfy.
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Room for all
There is plenty of room in the Ridge 2 for two grownups. Both sides have multiple pockets for items you want to keep close at hand, and there’s also a pocket right over the single door to stash a headlamp, keys or a phone. Another nice addition: lash points on the interior roof for weaving a clothesline to dry out gear.
Rainfly and more
The fly snugs nice and tight to keep water off the main shelter, but be sure to make it taught. There is venting built into the fly’s rear tie-down, which works well with the mesh on the back of the tent. There is also pole venting on the roof, and the front entry of the fly has venting as well that can be controlled from inside.
One of the biggest perks is the roomy vestibule created by the fly. It leaves plenty of room to store packs and gear, or to cook if you happen to get caught in a big storm and can’t get outside. Just be careful if you do this — it would suck to melt your house.
I highly recommend The String Ridge 2 to anyone searching for a good year-round model. It’s a little heavier than a full-on mountaineering tent, but those tents aren’t very comfortable when the conditions are milder. This tent has stood up to fairly harsh winter conditions in Colorado, including a two-foot, mid-winter dump, along with wind and Arctic winter in Iceland. It also does great camping at the lake with the kids in the summer.
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