I need help deciding between these 2 before the sale ends! It's especially hard since I will be making this purchase solely on reviews as I cannot find anywhere here in Singapore that sells them in order to physically view and compare in person. I might have found one store that carries the MSR but no where that sells the Big Agnes. I am mostly aware of the pros and cons for both. However, not entirely sure if i should prioritize the weight of the Big Agnes or the durability and allegedly better water proofing quality of the MSR in regards to the PCT. Any advice/insights from past/present/future PCT hikers would be greatly appreciated!
I have not hiked the PCT but I have backpacked in the Sierra some. According to this...
either will work although it looks like they have both had a refresh for this season and haven't had as much real world testing.
The CS generally it looks to be an improvement over the previous version. Mice can apparently be a problem in Washington and having the higher solid walls on the body is an advantage over lower mesh. The MSR HH already has that design.
Of those two I'd opt for a lighter tent but I'd probably go with my BA Tiger Wall with modified guy lines because it is lighter although the mesh comes lower. You will definitely want to use some kind of footprint with the BA tents where you might get away without on the MSR.
The reviews indicate that the MSR may need seam sealing which is somewhat surprising!
Unless you need it this year for other reasons I would probably wait and buy a tent later...maybe once you get here to save on shipping and import duty if that is a thing for you.
Mice!? oh wow, glad you told me that. In all of my research so far, have yet to come across anyone having any issues with mice. Had no idea it's a potential issue until now. Glad to know and will be mindful of that for sure! Yea, there are sales going on on most outdoor gear stores now so I am trying to take advantage of that 😄 Thanks very much for your input. much appreciated!!!
@pzero7 Thanks for reaching out!
As @OldGuyot mentioned, for a hike as long as you are looking to do, every ounce on the trail counts, which means that the (nearly) one pound savings on the Big Agnes tent will make a big difference. For as long a trip as the PCT you will definitely want a footprint for your tent as well so that is also a consideration.
Much of the success you will have with your tent is to think critically about what your style is like on the trail, particularly after long hard days. Are you the kind of person who is going to spend the time to make sure your tent site is clear of debris, roots, and rocks? Are you going to pack your tent carefully and strategically in your pack? Are you able to make repairs in the field or suffer through the consequences of not being able to do so (i.e. open bivys, or sleeping exposed for multiple nights until a permanent fix can be figured out)? Based on reviews and speaking with users who have these tents, the MSR seems to be built in a more durable fashion, the Big Agnes seems to be designed more with weight savings in mind.
One other consideration: are you paying close attention to the weight of your gear in all other aspects (sleeping bag/pad, backpack, cook set up, etc.)? If you are, then the weight savings of the Big Agnes tent might make a big difference. If you're not, then it may be less impactful. As an example, if your base kit is, say, 15 pounds, the difference between these tents represents an almost 7% increase in weight. If you are on the higher end and carrying 30 pounds, that increase drops closer to 3%.
In the end, both of these tents will work for you and your adventure. It is going to come down to what your style and preferences are as a hiker. Personally, I feel like the longer your journey, the more important that weight savings becomes.
Hopefully this helps!
@REI-JohnJ yup! definitely getting a footprint for whichever one I end up getting. Still a very tough pick between the 2. I feel like I need the weight savings of the BA and also the durability of the MSR and supposedly a warmer interior and also better water-proofing qualities. Additionally the 3 years warranty (MSR) versus the lifetime warranty (Big Agnes). can't have it all unfortunately. haha. Thanks so much for your input!!
@pzero7 tough choice for sure! One thing to double check, if it's a big factor is your decision making, is the reference you made to the warranties. At quick glance, both the Big Agnes and MSR warranties similarly cover defects in workmanship and manufacturing but not wear and tear or damage due to accidents; we also didn't see a reference to a lifetime warranty from Big Agnes. We just wanted to make sure you were really clear on what those warranties do/don't cover if that's an important factor in your decision!
Twice I had issues with an older Copper Spur and dealt with Big Agnes warranty department and they were incredible. Keep in mind that the tent was almost 10 years old. The first issue was splitting at the end of two of the the poles and I expected them to charge me about $20-50 to fix this. They charged me about $5 (I don't even think it was that much) and it cost me more to ship the pole set to them than for the repair. The second issue was that my fly ripped at the stitching for the tie down. Again, I expected to pay a fee to have it repaired. When I sent it to BA they said that the fly had delaminated and that because they no longer made the Copper Spur in the older dimensions they would replace my entire tent as long as I sent the old one back!! Forever a BA fan because of this.
Andy, following the string, if its basically boiling down to weight, there are lighter weight tents by cottage companies from the U.S. such as Zpacks that may work out better for you in the long run.https://www.cleverhiker.com/best-ultralight-tarps-and-tents
@Gary2 however if you look at Halfwayanywhere's annual PCT Survey of what PCT'ers actually use and like you will find a slightly different story...this from 2019...unfortunately I don't think there was enough data to characterize 2020...