Last year I headed out on the motorbike across north Wales with the intention of camping in the wild, or at least a so-called ‘wild camp site’. I loaded up the bike with my tried and tested Tatonka Narvik 2 and Exped Downmat and hit the road.
The set up has worked really well for me for a long time – it’s done a run to Russia, a journey across Morocco and parts of Australia, and more laterly an off road run from the Med’ to the Atlantic across the Pyrenees.
However, it seems turning 40 has had an impact on my ability to put my pants on whilst being lying on the floor! The last trip left me distinctly uncomfortable and so I started to look for a tent where I could at least sit up, and who knows – perhaps even stand.
The tent market has come on a lot in the last 15 years and there are several options for tents that you can stand up in and pack up / are light enough for good moto travel. The most popular (if bike rallies are anything to go by) is the Lone Rider MotoTent. So much so with BMW GS riders that I was starting to wonder if they came as standard issue with new bikes.
It’s a great design, tried and tested over the years and offers a super generous sleeping space with room to park your bike.
I first looked at something like this at a Horizons Unlimited meet back in 2011 but at that point didn’t appreciate that standing up inside a tent was a useful feature. I also couldn’t square the pack size and weight for what the tent gave you.
Little has changed in the last 12 years and I decided to go looking for something more modern, lighter, and with a smaller pack size.
I turned to cycle touring companies and discovered the great range of tents offered by Big Agnes and was even more delighted to find that they had a tent that offered a place to ‘park your bike’. I’ve never understood why people want to park their bikes in their tent – but I do understand why people want to stand up. I’m not sure why the manufactures don’t advertise that rather than the ‘parking’ feature.
The Big Agnes Wyoming Trail 2 is designed for cyclists rather than bikers but it offers a super lightweight and small pack size that is not that much bigger than my previous tent. I’ve had to move from a 60 litre tail pack to an 80 litre to accommodate that and a new Helinox bed, but that small pack and weight increase had an enormous impact on comfort on the road.
Big Agnes claim this is a three season tent, but I would say it is two season with a third if there are no strong winds. On a recent trip to Salisbury Plain the winds were up and I couldn’t erect the tent. I tried facing it into the wind, away from the wind, alongside the wind – all to no avail. In the end the front of the tent collapsed and bent two of the rear poles and snapped one of the front poles.
This actually highlights three big positives for Big Agnes.
1 – The poles are small and super light.
2 – The customer service when things go wrong is exceptional.
3 – Everything is repairable.
When I got home from the failed trip in Salisbury I contacted Big Agnes who shipped out replacement poles (for a very small fee) from the US without any issue. Initially they shipped the wrong poles… but they fixed it ASAP.
I love that the design of this tent is to be repairable. Everything can be repaired or replaced. It’s a testament to the quality of the materials and design that despite bending poles and snapping one I was able to repair them with the provided sleeve and some tape and continue to use the tent on several trips before the replacement poles arrived.
The tent goes up very straightforwardly and I can do it on my own in about 5 minutes. It takes me 15 mins to get my new set up sorted, including the new cot, seat and table – all of which pack in to the tail pack.
The sleeping space is definitely for one person. There is no way two adults can sleep in the inner without being incredibly friendly. However, the porch size is enormous.
I have never been what you may call a tidy camper…
… I tend to spread out. So the ability to have a porch that contains this has really helped me keep my things in one place! It also gives me a place to be when it is raining and this has extended the times of year I can go away. The cot, mat, and sleeping bag also keep me toasty.
This tent has allowed me to continue camping – in a good deal of comfort – well into my middle age and has extended my ability to camp throughout the year. I’ve had a blast with it over the last year and I’m looking forward to more exciting adventures with it again next year.
- Small pack size
- Huge porch area (more than high enough to stand in)
- Comfortable sleeping area with rear exit for night time toilet trips
- Great customer support
- Repairable / easy to source replacement parts
- Easy to erect on your own
- Not great in strong winds
- Poles will bend fairly easily
- Not a two person tent
- A struggle to call it a three season tent
I’ve had to work quite hard to come up with the cons list, you get what you pay for so I’m comfortable with the price. I’m not 20 and wanting to camp whatever the weather these days so the high winds element is neither here nor there. I’m not sure I’d be willing to trade off the weight / size for stronger poles and I camp on my own (or with my son who sleeps in the porch) for the most part.
As ever YMMV, but for my money this is a great moto touring tent that is ideal for those of us looking for a little more comfort, but still wanting to keep the pack size and weight to a minimum.