Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO
- Built in lights!
- Excellent feature set
- Good weight and packability
- Could be roomier
What a difference a light makes! Big Agnes’ Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO would be a great backpacking tent on its own—light, packable, easy to set up—but add a string of built in LEDs to the canopy, and it becomes a killer tent.
The Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO has average area and elbow room for its weight class, at 52” wide, 88” long (27 square feet), and 40” high at the head. The two 9’ vestibules provide ample outside storage.
This tent is just over 2 lb. (with the ability to strip it lighter), making it a legitimately lightweight backpacking tent. The 24 lights and battery pack add just a few ounces and very little volume. The whole tent packs down to a 18” by 6” sausage.
The tent’s simple, color coded pole and clip system make set up fast and easy.
With an almost all mesh body, this is a warm weather tent. However in testing, the tent held up well in wet and windy conditions. Its full length fly kept steady rain and solid winds at bay and the A-frame style helped shed water away from the tent body.
Lights! This is the first backpacking caliber tent with a built in lighting system. Powered by three AAA batteries, the system has three settings—the maximum setting is just enough to read by—and on full brightness, the 24 LEDs last 96 hours. The system also has a USB connection, allowing you to ditch the battery pack and charge up with alternative (and hopefully lighter) power sources. Other than that, the tent includes all other desirable features: two roomy vestibules, two good sized doors, pockets, and venting.
Even without the lights, this tent would be a descent value. But with the addition of the lighting system this tent is a great value, especially since it is one of a kind.
How We Tested It
The tents is this test were used in a variety of conditions, from the Vancouver Island rainforest to uninhabited islands in Baja. In total, more than 50 nights were logged in the five tents. At home we set them up in the yard, timing how long it took, sprayed them relentlessly with hoses, and left them set up during a 60 mile per hour wind and rain storm.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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