Big Agnes Royal Flush
- Easy to set up
- Good storage
- Good ventilation
- Zipper on the front door broke during testing
- Rear vestibule is a bit small
The Big Agnes Royal Flush tent proved stable, secure and easy to set up. Within a few days on the mountain, a couple of Royal Flush’s zippers became difficult to use but otherwise it performed admirably. The Royal Flush provides good storage, good ventilation and plenty of room for up to 3 persons.
Ease Of Set-Up
I was able to put this tent together easily; it required no prior set-up knowledge and I did not need to constantly check the instructions. The pieces fit together naturally and intuitively making things very easy. I also liked the way the fly just clipped into the tent and with Big Agnes color coordinating the webbing on the fly and tent, making it kindergarten simple.
Weatherproofing & Ventilation
The Royal Flush repelled rain well and the inside stayed dry. The storm flaps over the vestibule zippers worked well and the tent kept a taut pitch and stayed stable and secure even during periods of high winds. Overall, I found the tent to perform well in a variety of weather conditions from a light rain in the more humid rain forest, to the very dry and windy alpine desert, to the cold and blustery polar weather at the high camp.
The tent has numerous vents, composed of four top fly vents and two lower floor vents, which provided good air flow and prevented almost all condensation and ice build-up inside the tent. These vents worked well in colder conditions at high altitude, where breathing can easily create heavy condensation. Even with two people in the tent, I found very little condensation build-up and most mornings found no condensation at all when all vents were kept open.
Living Space & Vestibule
The Royal Flush provided plenty of room and excellent storage options. I was able to easily move around inside the tent, sit up, change clothes and store belongings in the numerous storage pockets. This tent provided even more storage options with the optional gear loft. Although most of my testing was with only one other person (not two), I based living space for this three-person tent on the excess space available in context of the other factors evaluated in this category. 8/10
The Royal Flush contains two vestibules, one each in the front and back, with the front vestibule a little larger than that in the back. The front vestibule provides enough room for multiple backpacks or duffle bags and I easily stored a large duffle bag and medium sized backpack on one side of the front vestibule, while my partner stored her gear on the other side of the front vestibule. There was still enough room for us to enter and exit via the front vestibule, even with our duffle bags and backpacks stacked on both sides of the front vestibule. The rear vestibule while smaller was still useful for smaller items.
Weight To Space And Function
The Royal Flush weights 8 pounds, five ounces, which for a 3 person mountaineering tent is pretty good. Considering that the Royal Flush has plenty of room, good storage options throughout the tent and is very stable and secure in a variety of weather conditions, the Royal Flush stacks up pretty well against most other tents I have used in functionality and weight.
Within a few days on the mountain, a couple of the zippers on the tent became difficult to use. The zipper on the front vestibule began to snag and eventually would not function by Day 6 on the mountain. After cleaning some minor dust and debris from the zipper and working wax from a small candle into the zipper, I was able to get it working again. There was another zipper that suffered a similar fate, but did not require as much work to get it to function. Dust and debris is typical of camp and mountain conditions and should not impair the functionality of zippers so I was not happy with the amount of work it took to work the zippers. Nonetheless, the rest of the tent handled the elements, use and abuse very well. 6/10
How We Tested It
I tested this tent in Tanzania, Africa, while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. The temperatures on this trip ranged from 5 to 90 degrees F and weather that included rain, sleet, light snow and wind gusts of 35 to 40 mph at the higher elevations.
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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