The Big Agnes Scout Platinum 1 is a single-wall trekking pole tent that’s made with conventional tent fabrics but still only weighs 13 oz. Admittedly, that is a very attractive weight and price point for any ultralight tent, although it comes at a cost in terms of reduced livability, weather worthiness, and durability. While I could see using the Scout Platinum 1 for extreme adventure racing where every ounce counts, it doesn’t cut the mustard for general purpose backpacking. I think it’d be worth your while to choose a tent that has more interior space and better weather resistance, even if it weighs or costs a bit more.
Specs at a Glance
- Trail weight: 13 oz (actual)
- Type: Single-wall, Trekking Pole Tent
- Length: 84″ (spec), 81″ (actual)
- Floor Width: 32″ at the head end, tapering to 22″ at the feet
- Height: 41″ at the head end, dropping to 16″ at the feet
- Poles: 2 trekking poles that can be adjusted to 45″ / 114 cm; 1 rear carbon fiber pole (included)
- Material: 7d silicone treated nylon ripstop with 1200 mm waterproof polyurethane coating
- Minimum number of stakes to pitch: 7, but you’ll want more.
The Scout Platinum 1 is a trekking pole tent that requires two poles that can be sized between 110 and 115 cm to set up. Big Agnes Recommends a height of 114 cm, but anything in that range will work. The tent ships with a third carbon fiber pole that is 16 and 1/4″ long which is used at the foot end of the tent to increase the ceiling height. (It’s strange that this carbon fiber pole is not mentioned anywhere in the tent’s documentation or marketing materials.)
The Scout 1 has a single front door with a screened transom for airflow. It is protected by a short awning to prevent windblown rain from entering the transom in wet weather but doesn’t provide extra gear storage or prevent rain from blowing into through the door when open. The foot end of the tent also has a small screen window and awning for rain protection.
The top of the tent is flat and not peaked like the Scout Platinum 2 (review) we reviewed last autumn. While this provides a flat ceiling that gives the occupant more uniform headroom inside, it reduces the tent’s ability to shed wind and rain. When staking the tent out it’s important to tension the roof so it doesn’t sag when it gets wet and pool water. There are ample guy out points for this along the exterior tent walls, but you need to add the additional guylines yourself.
When the wind does blow, it’s very obvious when you’re inside the tent, which flutters and bows inward. This is not a tent I’d want to use in anything except a well-protected tent site sheltered by tree cover because it has the aerodynamic profile of a boxcar.
The sidewalls are angled slightly and connected to the floor with insect mesh to promote airflow. This is limited by the solid front door, however, which I’ll describe in a moment. The mesh vents double as gear organization pockets but they have limited utility because they’re so narrow. For example, you can’t stick your trail runners in them to get them out of the way without completely blocking the airflow. Overall, interior gear storage space is pretty scarce and mostly located below the feet which makes it difficult to access without brushing up against the ceiling or sidewalls.
The front door is made with solid fabric (without an interior screen), which limits airflow and makes it impossible to see outside the tent. The door is opened with two zippers: one along one side and one along the bottom and makes entering and exiting the tent awkward because you can’t roll the entire door up and secure it out of the way. The entryway would be a whole lot better in terms of rain protection and wind resistance and if there was a vestibule in front.
The Scout 1 requires a minimum of 7 stakes to set up, although I’d recommend bringing a few extra to secure additional guylines. The pitching process is very straightforward:
- Stake out the four corners
- Insert your pole handles into reinforce handle-sized sleeve beside the door
- Stake out the poles
- Optional: stake out the side walls – to pull open the vents and add more wind resistance.
- Optional: tie on more guylines to add more wind resistance.
Your trekking poles handles slot into pockets alongside the top of the door. The pole pocket interiors are reinforced so you can orient your poles in either direction, tips up or handles up, which is handy if you have non-standard trekking pole handles. If you don’t use trekking poles, Big Agnes sells tent poles that are compatible with the tent.
The tent corners have short struts preinstalled in them, to give the bathtub floor some depth. They’re not removable, but you’d be shooting yourself in the foot anyway if you did.
The tent comes outfitted with pre-attached guylines. Three of these (the pole guylines) have line loc tensioners pre-installed, but they’re not set up properly for use, so you’ll need to reconfigure them.
The Scout Platinum 1 is a bivy-style tent meant only for sleeping. The front door is awkward because you have to crawl in and out of it, there’s very little space for any gear storage inside, and the walls and ceiling move around you when the wind blows. Getting dressed and undressed inside the tent is a challenge because there’s so little elbow room while internal condensation transfer is always an issue since it’s impossible to prevent your sleeping bag or quilt from coming in contact with the walls.
The white-colored tent walls are translucent so they provide limited privacy and the white color is low on stealth if you like to camp out of sight of other people. I’m quite light-sensitive and find it difficult to sleep with sun or moonlight shining through the fabric. But the biggest problem with translucent white tent walls in my experience is temperature-related: it really feels like you’re in a microwave on a warm day because so much light filters through the fabric and heats up the interior.
That said, the Scout Platinum 1 is a marked improvement on other bivy style tents that we’ve reviewed including the NEMO GoGo Elite, the Sierra Designs High Side 1, and the Eureka Solitaire AL because it so much lighter weight and comparatively spacious, even if it is far less weather-worthy than those other alternatives.
Comparable Ultralight Tents and Shelters
|Make / Model||Weight||Price|
|Big Agnes Scout Platinum 1||13 oz||$349|
|Big Agnes Scout Platinum 2||17 oz||$450|
|Big Agnes Scout Carbon 2||11 oz||$700|
|Zpacks Plexamid||15.2 oz||$549|
|Zpacks Duplex||19.4 oz||$599|
|REI Flash Air 1 Tent||20 oz||$249|
|Yama Mountain Gear 1P Cirriform SW||20.8 oz||$649|
|Tarptent Protrail||26 oz||$229|
|Tarptent Aeon Li||15.8 oz||$535|
The Big Agnes Scout Platinum 1 wouldn’t be my first choice for general-purpose backpacking. While it is incredibly lightweight and relatively inexpensive when compared to Dyneema trekking pole tents, you’d be far better off upgrading to the Big Agnes Scout Platinum 2 in terms of livability and weather worthiness, even though it weighs 4 ounces more. Regardless, I’d recommend using a footprint with both Scouts if you have to camp on abrasive pre-existing campsites because their 7d fabric is so thin and fragile.
If the price is less of a concern, then your best alternative is to upgrade to a Dyneema Trekking Pole Tent like the Zpacks Plexamid or Zpacks Duplex which have side entrances, mesh doors, better waterproofing, and much better ventilation than either of the Big Agnes Scouts. They’re also better in adverse weather and durable enough to use without an additional tent footprint, with careful campsite selection.
Disclosure: The author purchased this tent.
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