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UOG Review of Big Agnes Scout Plus UL2

Big Agnes's Scout Plus UL2 is a large single skin tent that pitches with trekking poles suitable for two people. It is completely bug proof and weighs in at just 876grams. There are other tents on the market that weigh less, even some two skin, two person tents that weigh less than this, but the big advantage you get with the Scout Plus is space.

All the weight is in the tent itself so Big Agnes have created a large tent geared towards comfort. People can be wary of single skin tents because of the condensation issue, and its true that condensation can be a minor problem, in my experience though its only a problem on some nights, not others. I've used single skin tents on many trips, including the Pyrenean High Route, and have never experienced condensation 'every night' - some nights are better than others and often there's no condensation at all. When there has been a problem its easily dealt with using a cloth.

Another potential issue with single skin is that you can't separate a dry inner tent from a wet outer - on multiday trips you may have to pack the tent away completely wet - if there isn't an opportunity to dry it out during the day it will be wet when you pitch it again the following night. Again, in my experience there's rarely a day when you can't dry your tent out at all, and at a pinch you can pitch a wet tent and take most of the moisture away with your trusty cloth.

So, for a review of a single skin tent I'm throwing up a lot of problems (!), but why do I love them? Basically the space to weight ratio is worth a couple of less than perfect experiences - if I was off to an environment where I expected heavy rain everyday I'd probably take another tent - but for most occasions in most environments single skin works for me.

You need trekking poles or something else to pitch the Scout Plus, trekking poles are strong and makes for a good stable structure, you can get other lightweight poles but they won't be as strong and they will add weight. So if you don't already use trekking poles then this tent may not be for you. Assuming you do use them they need to be set to the right length to pitch the Scout - so fixed length trekking poles would not be suitable.

I used the Scout Plus as a solo tent and for that there's a massive amount of space. Its easy to pitch, even for one person, and there is a section of the side walls that's vertical which means that the usable space is 100% of the footprint of the tent. Being able to sit up and get dressed in the morning is great - there are two awesome pockets sewn across the front corners - rather than being flat they have structure - they hold loads of kit.

It rained when I used it though there was little wind. It kept the rain and midges out, the condensation was minimal in the morning and I was able to get it dry quite easily the following day. I love tents like this.

Mark R