Big Agnes Wyoming Trails SL2 Tent Review

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Gregarious, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. Gregarious

    Gregarious Been here awhile

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    Summary: An incredibly functional feature set for motorcycle camping.

    Pros: copious amounts of covered, dry, private storage space.
    Cons: Cost, extra weight and bulk – although not that much. Less sleeping space for 2.

    I've been using a Sierra Designs Meter Light CD 3-person tent for the past 17 years of camping. The basic layout and structure isn't much different than current typical backpacking, dome style, freestanding tents: the vestibules are designed to direct water away from the tent and provide some, albeit minimal, storage - sufficient for a small backpack or hiking boots, but not much else. In an effort to add more rain coverage and storage I added a Kelty Noah Tarp to my rig last year. I took it on one trip and felt it was just too much additional hassle and only used it once. So this year I decided to replace my old tent and considered the popular and well-reviewed REI Half Dome 2Plus, MSR Hubba Hubba, and these two new Wyoming Trail tents.

    The SL2 is my ideal solo motorcycle camping. This is especially true for scenarios where I'm camped in the same spot for a few days. I can leave a bunch of gear and panniers stored inside the vestibule and out of site. It also offers a large, covered area where I can mostly stand up and easily change - in complete privacy, or sit in my Kermit chair and sip coffee in the rain or don my riding boots. I can also organize and pack all my gear, completely sheltered from the rain. As a rider in western Washington where you learn to ride and camp in the rain, this makes a world of difference. All of this at much less weight, bulk, and a far easier setup than my old tent/tarp combination.

    The Wyoming Trails series are not cheap: the larger "Trail 2 Camp" version is $349 and the lighter and smaller "Trail SL2" jumps to a whopping $499. Compared to the popular and well received REI Half-Dome 2Plus at $219 this is quite an increase. However compared to the MSR Hubba Hubba ($330), plus the MSR Gear Shed ($160), the price is the same as the SL2 and the MSR doesn't offer the option of standing up (or nearly standing up).

    For backpackers these tents might not make much sense, but for motorcyclists or possibly bicyclists these formats are wonderful. I've used the tent on two weekend trips now and I'm completely convinced it was worth the extra expense. If I were more of an ultra-light, off-road, camper in a dry climate, I'd probably stick to the lighter and smaller dome tents.

    Packed weight/size

    The SL2 version is actually lighter than my 15 year-old backpacking tent and is only 13 oz. heavier than the REI Half Dome 2Plus. Adding the Kelty Tarp to the REI setup is another 3-ish pounds of material, poles, and setup hassle, and it still wouldn't match the functionality of the SL2. Note: The "SL" designation = Super Light across the Big Agnes product lines.

    The heavier 2 Camp version is almost 3 lbs. heavier than the SL2, but more importantly it is quite a bit bulkier which was the deal killer for me. The SL2, including poles and foot print, fits entirely into my Ortlieb 24 liter waterproof duffle and the 2 Camp would not. The Camp 2 is taller and does have an added small vestibule and door in the back.

    Sleeping space

    The Wyoming Trails tents are listed as 2 person, but it would be a tight fit. My wife, I, and our German Shepherd, can all fit in a 3 person (or REI 2+) dome tent, but not in the SL2. Even my wife and I would be squished for space. I'm 6'2", my wife 5'4".

    I'd definitely encourage motorcyclists to consider the Wyoming Trail series of tents and I hope Big Agnes remains committed to the line. I'd hate to see them fade due to low interest from the back packing or car camping crowds.

    The pics:

    Marketing Pic
    [​IMG]

    Old 3 person Sierra Designs tent.
    [​IMG]
    Contemplating putting on my boots. Thank goodness it wasn't raining.

    Old tent + tarp attempt:
    [​IMG]
    Some extra rain/sun coverage, but no privacy.

    Testing - wife, me, sorry dog:
    [​IMG]

    6'2" standing.
    [​IMG]

    Packed: SL2 vs. larger sibling 2 Camp :
    [​IMG]

    Setup this past weekend:
    [​IMG]
    Everything fits into this Ortlieb 24l Duffel

    [​IMG]

    Kermit Chair for size reference:
    [​IMG]
    Note: the mesh tent portion can be setup (or taken down) under cover of the rain fly - which I did in a rain storm the first time I set it up. I set up the tent first just for this picture reference.

    I roll up the foot print in the vestibule area to protect it
    [​IMG]

    Sitting in the Kermit Chair (with leg extensions even)
    [​IMG]

    Crappy iPhone pic from the sleeping area into the vestibule
    [​IMG]
    I hadn't had my coffee yet.

    Packed on the seat of the bike
    [​IMG]

    More Details/Related:
    Other related ADV threads:
    Tents with "livable" vestibules, for Kermit chairs e.t.c. Any ideas?
    New Big Agnes Tent HUGE Vestibule !

    Links:
    https://www.bigagnes.com/Products/ProductFinder/Tent/filters/162
    http://www.rei.com/product/845481/rei-half-dome-2-plus-tent
    http://cascadedesigns.com/msr/tents/experience-series/hubba-hubba/product
    http://cascadedesigns.com/msr/tents/experience-series/hubba-gear-shed/product

    More pics
    #1
  2. blues

    blues Been here awhile

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    Nice write up, I've been curious about these.
    #2
  3. XB12R

    XB12R Long timer

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    Thanks very much for thorough review. I am XB12R's wife. We have a Marmot Limelight 3, and even though I'm quite short, that tent must be for 3 hobbits.
    This past weekend at the Oregon BMW rally in John Day, we had a chance to see the Redverz up close. We were both amazed at all the room, including the head room. We looked at the Wyoming line but noticed sleeping area seems to be too small. Any ideas? We really need an extra area for the gear, sitting, dressing, reading, etc. Diane
    #3
  4. Dan Alexander

    Dan Alexander Ride Far - Ride Fast

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    I've got the same tent but only had it set up in the spare bedroom this winter.

    So far I think it's a great tent, tired of crawling in and out of a one man :deal and still not crazy heavy like a lot of others.

    Like Gregarious says, it fits one person in the sleeping area really well, two if you're newly wed :evil

    Lots of room to sit in my Alite chair and stretch out and read or make a nice cuppa.

    I think I've finally found the answer I've looked for for way too many years :clap
    #4
  5. Gregarious

    Gregarious Been here awhile

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    If you two are riding separate bikes I wouldn't hesitate to go for the Redverz. Those really are the Taj Mahal of motorcycle tents and if only one rider is carrying a tent, might as well make it the Redverz. A friend of mine and his girlfriend just spent a year on two motorcycles (http://www.overlandnow.com/) and he loved the Redverz, but did mention early on that it was a challenge to pack down.

    According to the online specs the Redverz is nearly twice the weight of the Wyoming Trails SL2, but packs down almost as small. HOWEVER, I've seen the Redverz packed down in a local shop and it seems quite a bit larger than the SL2.

    I'd say the larger Camp 2 version might be an option, but the sleeping space is identical to the SL2 according to their diagrams - 52"x86". The saving grace might be the Camp 2's back door and small vestibule might reduce the claustrophic sense when sleeping 2 people.

    I'm not sure why Big Agnes went so small on the sleeping quarters - especially in the Camp 2. They could've expanded the sleeping area, and reduced the vestibule, by 3" or 4" without adding much weight at all and still maintain an amazingly functional design.
    #5
  6. Offcamber

    Offcamber Long timer

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    I can't speak to the Big Anges tent but the Redverz tent is incredible. I live being able to stand up inside the tent and the vestibule....its big, its heavy but its worth it...
    #6
  7. Gregarious

    Gregarious Been here awhile

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    A friend just picked this tent up at CampSaver.com.

    They're having a 20% off sale so the Wyoming Trails SL2 goes from $499 to almost $399. No affiliation with either Big Agnes or CampSaver.com. Just a happy camper.

    Also adding: I've been out in this tent 4 different times now and each time I'm thrilled by the design. Held up to a huge downpour and 3/4" hail stones last weekend. Definitely love the tent. It's the mini-Redverz. Speaking of RedVerz I was blown away at how many were showing up at the Touratech Rally - even amongst the solo campers.
    #7
  8. CaptD

    CaptD Been here awhile

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    Thank you Greg for your time, review and pics on this BA tent. I was looking at the camp 2 but this deal for the tent and footprint for $400 is to good to pass up. What model is your top box on the GS? Capt D.
    #8
  9. Gregarious

    Gregarious Been here awhile

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    Why that would be a GSB1 (GregariouS Beta 1). A.K.A. some used Haliburton Zero knock-off aluminum travel/camera case from ebay bolted to my top rack, a couple of drawer pulls acting as tie downs, and drawer liner to keep the aluminum rub-off down. I should do a write up on that as well.
    #9
  10. hayshaker

    hayshaker Been here awhile

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    I had my eye on your tent at the Chumstick and heard a couple of other riders comment on the large sitting area. Of course this was during the hail storm in the morning. It is a good looking tent and thanks for the review Greg.

    TONY
    #10
  11. kramsetac

    kramsetac The Dude Abides

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    Like Tony, I was lusting after that tent while holed up in my little taco 1 man during that Chumstick storm. Hail that size was a good test.
    #11
  12. Dan Alexander

    Dan Alexander Ride Far - Ride Fast

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    Looks like I'm not going to get out camping any time this year so I'm thinking of selling mine.:cry

    It's brand new, only set up in my spare bedroom to get familiar with it.

    Anybody interested?
    #12
  13. ilyaon

    ilyaon Adventurer

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    Great review Gregarious,
    A lot of details.

    I have Wyoming trail 2 version. I like it better than SL since I can back up my bike into vestibule for overnight. There is enough space there. Plus there are two doors vs 1 on SL. So, when the bike is inside, I still can enter/exit the tent without climbing through the bike.

    I have WR250R, it fits inside. And here are the pictures from beantop. He managed to park R1200G inside :clap (almost).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, Thank you for review.
    #13
  14. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    Thanks for sharing and the others for chiming in with similar tents....
    #14
  15. Gregarious

    Gregarious Been here awhile

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    #15
  16. Dan Alexander

    Dan Alexander Ride Far - Ride Fast

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    FYI , the Grand Daddy of this style, the MSR Velo is selling used on Ebay for near $1,000 .... $280 is cheap for basically the same tent :deal
    #16
  17. ubaath

    ubaath Adventurer

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    Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but could someone with the "camp" version of the Wyoming SL2 post the pole length?

    It's not listed in the "packed pole length" thread, and various other sites give differing info as to the packed size of the Wyoming Trail 2 Camp :(
    #17
  18. Gregarious

    Gregarious Been here awhile

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    I'd PM user ilyaon directly. He has the Camp version.

    I can tell you my poles (SL2 version) measured 22" folded. According to BA specs the packed length of the entire tent is 24".

    You might also try contacting BA directly. They responded to one of my queries this summer.
    #18
  19. lilolita

    lilolita fahr mit mir

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    I'll measure mine when I get home tonight and post up for you.
    #19
  20. lilolita

    lilolita fahr mit mir

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    ubaath, as requested, here are the pole lengths of the poles for the Wyoming Trail 2 Camp Tent [note: this is NOT the SL2 version; this is the heavier, cheaper tent].

    Smaller, secondary pole: measure 22" (when I flattened my tape)
    [​IMG]

    Main pole ... note the crazy spider thing. My boyfriend and I haven't figured out the best way to fold this up: measure 25" (when I flattened my tape)
    [​IMG]

    I have some opinions about this tent, so feel free to PM me if you have questions.
    #20