Big Agnes claims to be the Mother of Comfort, but a tool is only as good as its user. Follow these tips when camping, for tent maintenance, and storage, and get the most out of your Big Agnes tents.
Don’t Skip the Guy Lines
Like tent stakes and tent poles, guy lines help stabilize your tent and provide structural integrity, especially in adverse conditions.
If possible, stake them directly into the wind. They will be most effective in this manner. Also, remember, you can attach more than one guy line to a single stake.
Stake Down (And Do It Right)
Stakes should be driven all the way into the ground, ideally at a 45-degree angle, away from the tent. Driving them fully down minimizes the chance they’ll get pulled up in the night. Start slow, driving the stake in by hand if possible. Once you’ve driven it as far as you can by hand, use a rock or a heavy stick if you don’t have a tent stake mallet. Small taps directly on top of the stake’s head are best to avoid bending your stakes.
The Fast Fly
Fast-flying is setting up a fly using a footprint and stakes, without using the inner mesh tent and is a feature found on several of the most popular Big Agnes tents like the Copper Spur and Tiger Wall series. It’s great for taking quick shelter from the rain or if you want to take a quick break mid-day without needing to set up the whole tent.
To use the fast-fly mode clip your fly and poleset directly to your staked-out footprint and then secure your fly with guy lines.
Staying comfortable – and dry – in a Big Agnes tent comes down to how well you ventilate the tent. Even when it’s dry outside, condensation from your breath can make the interior of your tent a soupy mess.
Fortunately, there are things you can do about it. Keep the windows and door open, as long as the weather allows. Try to keep some distance between the fly and the tent, too.
Whenever you’re not in the tent and it’s pitched, leave all the doors and windows open, as long as the weather permits.
Protecting Against Sunlight
UV light will destroy the fabric of your Big Agnes tent, making UV-treating one of the most important things you can do.
Big Agnes itself recommends Nikwax Tent and Gear Solarwash and Solarproof. Frequency of application will depend on the frequency of use, elevation, exposure, and other factors, but a good rule of thumb is to UV-treat a tent at minimum once per year.
Taking Care of the Zippers
Keeping your zippers clean and clear will have them working for longer. Running them with dirt trapped in them will hasten damage. Clean them as needed with a mild soapy water mix and a toothbrush, or use a specially formulated zipper cleaner like McNett’s ZipCare.
DIY Tent Light
Don’t have a dedicated tent light? Improvise one by wrapping a headlight around a filled (clear) water bottle, with the light facing in towards the bottle. This will provide a gentle glow that (depending on the headlight) should be bright enough to light most tent interiors.
Bring a Shoe Box
Before storing your Big Agnes tent (see below) you should ensure it is completely clean and dry.
Getting dirt out of a tent is a lot harder than bringing it in, and more often than not, your boots are the culprit. Take them off before you enter the tent (in the vestibule, if there is one) and keep a dedicated shoe/boot box in the tent for all occupants to use.
Storing Your Big Agnes Tent
Always store your Big Agnes tent completely clean and dry. Clean it out with a whisk or car vacuum and lay it out to dry in a warm, dry location (not in direct sunlight if possible) before rolling and storing it.
When you’re not using it, keep it somewhere cool, dry, and climate-controlled. Fluctuations in humidity and temperature will damage your tent and should be avoided. Every 3 to 4 months, remove the tent from storage and lay it out or drape it over a balcony or railing to help discourage the growth of mold and mildew.
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