Jamie, here's the updated review with the duration added in. I've put in some more time with the tent and added that requirement you asked for. Cheers!
Big Agnes Slide Mountain SL3 (w/ Footprint)
By Ngoh Seh Suan
April 02, 2010
NAME: Ngoh Seh Suan
EMAIL: sehsuan AT yahoo DOT com
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 135 lb (61.00 kg)
I 'm from Singapore - a small island - and have been mountain biking, and "graduated" to touring in late 2009 - converting my regular cross-country mountain bike into a tourer. I enjoy fine-tweaking my outdoor gear, but not modifying them since I don't have the tools nor skills to do so. I like the outdoors, and am encouraging friends to join me bike camping - both to have company, as well as introducing them to the idea of bike camping. My reviews would more likely to be based on bike camping, rather than backpacking - but I'm not eliminating the possibilty of the latter.
Take note that Singapore is a very small island, so there aren't too many places to pitch up camp, hiking style. To do that properly, the closest place I can do that is in Malaysia.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Sunrise, 3rd April 2010" IMAGE CAPTION = "Sunrise, 3rd April 2010 at Pekan Rambah, Pontian (Malaysia)">>
Manufacturer: Big Agnes
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: <a href="http://www.bigagnes.com"
MSRP: US$599.95 (Tent) + US$60.00 (Footprint) = US$659.95
Listed Weight: 7 lb (3.1751 kg)
Measured Weight: Didn't measure yet
Other details: I purchased the tent for US$334.93 and the optional footprint at US$29.93 from REI's online closeout (March 2010).
Duration of use: At least for 9 nights over various events - bicycle camping, and hiking
This product was listed as newly introduced in <a href="http://www.bigagnes.com/resources/documents/BigAgnesCatalog2009.pdf"
>Big Agnes' 2009 PDF catalog</a>, but is missing from the <a href="http://www.bigagnes.com/resources/documents/BigAgnesCatalog2010.pdf"
>2010 PDF catalog</a>. I'm not sure if it has been discontinued.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 5" IMAGE CAPTION = "Before sunrise">>
FIELD USE (2 April 2010)
Camp at <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&q=1.429067,+103.411650&ie=UTF8&geocode=FUvOFQAdwu8pBg&split=0"
>Pekan Rambah</a>, Pontian (Johor state, Malaysia)
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 2" IMAGE CAPTION = "Just after pitching our tents">>
Location was along a river that leads out to sea, campsite was about 10 meters from high tide waterline, about 2 meters above high tide level. Tent was pitched on hardpacked earth. Temperature was roughly mid 20 degrees Celsius, no rainfall. Only very slight breeze was observed outside the tent. Surrounding vegetation was mangroves of low height - estimated 4 ft tall - growing on lower ground about 1 to 2 ft lower than our campsite, . There was no shade available from the surroundings.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 3" IMAGE CAPTION = "An overview of our campsite">>
I did one test pitch a week before this camping trip and found the DAC tentpole system to be fairly intuitive, although I missed the original purpose of the black plastic "ring" that protrudes from the crossbars - I put it in between the two mounts, on the inboard instead of into either of the two clips. Small mistake that has no implications unless I encountered heavy winds - imagine a self-shifting crossbar! This black plastic ring is meant to be clipped into the middle of the Swivel clips it attaches to, so as to anchor it structurally.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 6" IMAGE CAPTION = "The other side of the river">>
I did a one night camp with 3 other friends - two of them in their own tent, and I shared my Slide Mountain with a lanky 6" tall friend. With his tossing around (since he didn't have a dry sleeping mat because he didn't waterproof it), the tent looks like it's good for two such sleepers. Note that both of us were not using sleeping bags at all - I was sleeping barechested as I'm the type to who has a problem sleeping in heat and humidity although I'm born and staying right at the equator!
I was glad I bought a compact mallet to drive in the stakes - we were camping on an area with hardpack earth beside the sea (Straits of Malacca). There was only a very slight breeze - I'd have to stay still to be able to feel it at all. Could hardly feel any effects of breeze inside the tent although both vestibule doors were rolled up.
I didn't know that I was supposed to close off the vestibules during sleep, so I ended up with condensation under the rainfly by the next morning. My chamois cloth for swimming was very helpful in absorbing the condensation and dew in preparation for packing.
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Ryan Stuart did an <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIzF0qtYg4g"
>online Youtube video review for the smaller version, the Slide Mountain SL2</a> where he mentions that the BOA reels tightens the tent, so he's not alone with incorrect usage of the tent. If I weren't the fastidious type to check through documentation before I even received the package, I'd probably be sending the tent for repair before my first camping trip by misuse. VERY IMPORTANT!
Setting up with two other friends, it was quite fast. However due to the fact that this is a novel tent to them, one of them thought the BOA loop was the stake-point. Luckily I caught the mistake before damage could be done. This feature could become the fatal point for the tent, since I guess that if the BOA lace snapped from misuse, the four base corners of the rainfly will not be able to be staked out unless one carries 4 extra tent stakes as backup.
The four mesh pockets were handy to store my SOG multitool, as well as my watch. However be careful - I accidentally found out that plastic clothespegs were not meant to be used to clip anything to the BOA lace loft when I saw that it yanked some of the mesh, but didn't rip them. Lucky me!
<b>Consideration points for purchase between Slide Mountain SL3 and Copper Spur UL3</b>
- Same floor area (44 sq ft - 90" x 70")
- Same floor material (lightweight silicone treated nylon rip-stop with a 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating)
- Headroom - the SL3 has plenty for 4 persons sitting inside, the UL3 probably has less (dual vs single crossbar design)
- Fast Fly capability - SL3 (No), UL3 (Yes). Might be important if you're pitching up in rain
- Fly - both are silicone treated nylon rip-stop with a 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating but only difference is SL3 (lightweight) vs UL3 (ultralight)
- Vestibule area SL3 (15 sq ft ) vs UL3 (18 sq ft)
- Max headroom height specification in SL3 is 2 inches shorter (42") than UL3 (44")
- Wall loft for SL3 should be significantly bigger since walls are larger than UL3
- Ability to have two wall lofts (Large size for SL3, one regular size loft for UL3)
- MSRP SL3 (US$599.95 + US$60.00) vs UL3 (US$499.95 + US$60.00)
- Both crossbars are mounted at two points for SL3 - not sure about UL3 though
- Rated weight 7 lb (SL3 + footprint) vs 5 lb 2 oz (UL3 + footprint)
- Rated packing size for SL3 (8" x 22") and UL3 (7" x 22") are nearly identical
- Packed size fits snugly into Ortlieb Rack Pack Medium (rated 21.3" width)
- Ease of setting up also means ease of cleaning once back home - relatively short time required
- Possible to pack up to 7" x 22" by one person but it takes some time to do so, might be hard to do on uneven ground. I packed it into 7" x 22" after cleaning up the tent at home by myself. Compression straps will be handy!
This tent was purchased because of some lucky breaks
- I just did my first bike camping trip with a cheap tent a few weeks ago (mid March 2010) and desired better ventilation
- REI had a closeout on them, selling for US$334.95 for the tent, and US$29.93
My personal take on this tent is that if the price wasn't that high, I will certainly get it since I'd like to be able to have guests in my tent. The Slide Mountain SL3 is practically identical to the the <a href="http://bigagnes.com/Products/Detail/Tent/GorePass3"
>Gore Pass 3</a> except the following on paper:
- BOA lacing SL3 (Yes) vs GP3 (No)
- Rated packed size - SL3 (8" x 22") vs GP3 (8" x 20")
- Rated weight SL3 + footprint (7 lb) vs GP3 (7 lb 14.5 oz)
- MSRP - SL3 + footprint (US$659.95) vs GP3 + footprint (US$384.95)
- Floor rating SL3 (1200mm) vs GP3 1(500mm)
For this product segregation between the two, honesly I'd choose the Gore Pass 3 instead. However because REI had it on closeout, it made more sense to spend roughly the same amount (actually US$20 lesser!), and carry nearly 1 lb lesser in weight. Furthermore, the Gore Pass 3's shorter 20" packed length is shorter than the width of my Ortlieb Rack Pack Medium, which is reassuring because I'm not busting the limits of the bag.
If you're lucky, these links would still work (April 2010)
- <a href="http://www.rei.com/product/798598"
>Slide Mountain SL2 Closeout</a> & <a href="http://www.rei.com/product/798599"
- <a href="http://www.rei.com/product/798600"
>Slide Mountain SL3 Closeout</a> & <a href="http://www.rei.com/product/798601"
THINGS I LIKE
- Two opposing doors
- Lots of headroom, nearly extending to all four corners of tent
- Four closeable vents in rainfly - yet to test it in rain though
- Very nice build quality (it had better, since it cost a pretty penny!)
- Reflective guylines and loops
- Extra guyout points on the vestible doors (but no extra guyout lines included)
- Lots of vestibule area (though I didn't close them during my first camp)
- Corner mesh pockets are at nice accessible heights while either lying down or sitting
- Double crossbars give me some assurance that stresses are better spread out structurally - also note that each crossbar is mounted at two points
- Quality tent poles - <a href="http://www.dacpole.com/"
>DAC (Dongah Aluminum Corporation)</a>. Featherlite NSL
- All items came in their own stuff sack - stakes, poles and footprint. Rainfly and tent body are lumped together in the main stuff sack.
- With only two persons using the tent, plenty of floor area to lay out damp clothing articles to dry out and keep out from dew
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 4" IMAGE CAPTION = "The four of us in the SL3, looking at starcharts">>
Great for having while group camping
- mini conference & planning
- stargazing in a group
- bug shelter (albeit expensive!)
- playing board games (large floor area!)
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
- No wall loft included - it should be included free since the tent cost so much
- No extra length of reflective guylines given and stakes for top four corners of rainfly - for the intended price-point
- BOA laces looks like thicker versions of dental floss, not sure about durability. I sure hope it lasts!
- BOA loops for rainfly tend to get entangled while tent is kept/unpacked unless I remember to release the BOA reels, and pull in ALL the slack in the lines into the tent centre before packing
- Messy looking slack BOA laces in roof loft
- Individual stuff sacks were dark green - possible to misplace once "out there"
- Dropdown door panels - nothing wrong with it, but I'd prefer a hanging door
- The "terra-cotta" fabric areas might somewhat distract one during stargazing as it limits view
- Somewhat ugly 2 piece floor - why is there a seam across the floor in the first place?
- Inability to set up in a Fast Fly configuration - though I am very unlikely to use it, it would be helpful pitching the tent in rain
- Almost a must to have a mallet to drive in the pegs - small contact area while pressing in pegs is impossible with hardpack earth
- Instructions were not concise for total beginners like myself - I had to guess what it meant by H clips, Ball Caps etc - although physical pitching was totally easy
- The four Ball Caps that are attached to the crossbars, are sewn to elastic fabric - I am concerned about the elastic component stretching out over time and requiring repair
- Wonder how hard it'd be (or impossible) to replace the BOA laces if it gets cut
- The toggle to hold up the stake-out vestibule tends to hold the vestible limp at the ends - visually ugly
>Sportsshooter.com member page</a>
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
--- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "chcoa" <jdeben@...> wrote:
> Welcome to BGT Ngoh,
> Before I can accept your Owner Review you will need to clarify the number of days and/or nights you have used this product in the field. Please add an estimate of how many times you have used it to your report and then repost the REVISED version to the yahoo group.
> I will take a look and if it meets our requirements I'll add the report to our edit queue and you will be on your way to getting an official edit.
> Thank you,
> Jamie DeBenedetto
> Edit Admin Manager