Big Agnes HV UL2 Review- A Lightweight Backpacking Shelter For Two
Big Agnes has created a resilient, lightweight shelter that sets the standard for what an ultralight two-person shelter should provide. Weighing around two pounds, and offering plenty of space for an average sized couple, this tent is just at home at a music festival as it is on a thru-hike. The waterproof rainfly and durable construction makes this tent every bit as functional as it is easy to carry.
Big Agnes HV UL2 Review Summary
The Big Agnes HV UL2 is one of the best lightweight tents on the market. At 2 pounds it's one of the lightest tents that can comfortably fit 2 people. Big Agnes is known for their quality products and the HV UL2 is no exception; backed by the Big Agnes lifetime warranty.
The only downside is that there's 1 door on the tent which can be a little cramped if you have 2 people in the tent. Other than that minor inconvenience, the HV UL2 is a spectacular choice for a 1 or 2 person backpacking tent and you will not regret buying it.
This model of tent takes the lightweight design of the Big Agnes UL1 and makes it roomier without sacrificing much in terms of weight. Nearly freestanding, it’s perfect for campers who want an easy to setup shelter that will withstand any weather in the backcountry.
Perfect for thru-hikers who simply want to sleep at the end of the day, its small stature makes it a good choice for couples and those who like a bit more elbow room in a solo tent. The Big Agnes warranty it outstanding and even if this product takes a beating, getting it repaired is a painless process.
No Frills Simplicity
The design of the tent immediately shows off the functional rainfly. It stretches completely to the ground, even creating a small vestibule in the front of the tent. While small, the storage area is measured at 8 square feet, it is just large enough for two backpacks, stacked vertically.
The single pole design of the main tent pole is an ergonomic design that reduces weight substantially. Connected with a three way hub, it minimizes materials needed for support. It clicks together quickly and makes the backbone of the tent nearly freestanding. Only a couple of stakes are needed to pull the body taught but you never have to worry about it falling over.
The rainfly is made of 1200mm polyurethane Nylon, making it lightweight and waterproof. During the heaviest deluges, water will mist through the material but I have never experienced any measurable condensation because of it. The stakes are made from aluminum and are strong enough to handle rocky terrain while being stable enough to keep the tent erect in sandy soil. The single pole, made from DAC aluminum, is resilient to the winds and will bend before it breaks. This is an important feature – I have tested this tent in 60+mph winds, having it flatten completely but spring back to shape almost as instantly.
Fast Setup and Teardown
The three piece pole makes setup fast and easy. Spread out the body of the tent and slide the rear pole into the anchor point. Bend the two front poles into their respective places and the aluminum will stay upright, stretching out the base of the tent. After that, clip the interior to the poles, this whole process takes about 1 minute.
Affixing the rainfly is almost as fast. Throw it over the body of the tent and clip the buckles into the corresponding corners. This snap together design is gratifying, especially when setting up during inclement weather. Pull the rainfly taught with anchor lines on either side and clip the interior to the outside. Nylon will stretch in the rain and you might have to adjust the guidelines in wet conditions to keep the tent tight.
Taking apart the tent is as easy as pulling out the stakes and disassembling the clips connecting the body to the pole. It can be done with one person and takes less than 5 minutes total. There is a stuff sack included but you can leave it at home and keep the tent rolled tight with a simple nylon string- included.
Interior of the HV UL2
There are three gear pockets inside the tent providing ample storage while saving precious floor space. Two are located on either side and one is at the top - perfect for hanging wet socks. When sleeping two people, an average sized couple will fit just fine. The tent is both wide and long enough for a good night’s sleep, without feeling cramped.
The height of the tent is extremely tapered at the foot end- done to save weight. On wet nights, it takes a bit of a learning curve to keep your sleeping bag from touching the tent walls and getting wet.
Sawyer Mini vs Sawyer Squeeze Specifications
Trail Weight (excludes stakes)
1 lb 15 oz
2 lb 5 oz
Interior Max Height
Width of tent at entrance
Width of tent at foot area
4 x 19 inches
Rainfly and Floor Material
Nylon treated with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane
DAC Featherlie Aluminum
Big Agnes Lifetime Warranty
Big Agnes HV UL2 Wrap Up
For couple backpackers looking to shave weight and embark on lengthy expeditions, this could be the perfect tent. Nearly freestanding, it is easy to setup with one person and can withstand the harshest elements thrown at it.
The materials are lightweight and are backed by the famous Big Agnes Warranty. The tent is no luxury shelter, the vestibule is tiny and for larger people over 6 ft, it can feel tight, especially with another person inside.
Big Agnes has set the bar high for other gear manufacturers to follow. I have tested this tent is extreme weather conditions from snowstorms to thunderstorms and I still happily carry it with me when I need a trustworthy shelter. Lightweight and large enough for two, this is a worthy investment for serious backpackers.