Written by Dana Brown. Posted in Gear
Big Agnes Blacktail Hotel 2 Bikepack Tent – A Big Tent in a Small Package
Earlier this summer, outdoors recreation manufacturer Big Agnes re-released their Blacktail Hotel 2 and 3 tents for 2021 with several upgrades over the previous models. Big Agnes took a unique step forward with the Blacktail models by offering their new Bikepack option with 12-inch shock-corded poles and a compression sack that makes the tent perfect for storage in panniers, saddle bags, and even on mountain bike handlebars. Coming in at a packed weight of a little more than six pounds, the Blacktail 2 is perfect for backcountry travel as well as adventures close to home.
I was surprised at its compact size. The Blacktail Hotel 2’s compression sack is made of the same polyester as the rain fly, along with a number of synch straps and an independent pole bag. Everything straps together nicely into a complete package and fits perfectly into a Wolfman Luggage Large Rolle Bag as well as a Mosko Moto Scout Pannier Bag.
The tent is pretty much the same as the previous Blacktail models, with a pair of dual-zipper doors. The Blacktail 2 has a floor area of 33 square feet and offers plenty of headroom due to pre-bent poles and additional storage options such as a large ceiling pocket. If more storage is desired, you can purchase a gear loft separately. The floor and the fly of the Blacktail models are polyester with a waterproof polyurethane coating to keep you and your gear nice and dry. Big Agnes has made the Blacktail Hotel models compatible with a smaller rain fly which eliminates the vestibule capability; however, this hasn’t yet been released.
What really sets the Blacktail series apart from its competitors is the large vestibule, which provides a floor area of 28 square feet, perfect for storing panniers and soft bags along with riding gear. Another great use for the vestibule is as a porch for cooking, or relaxing during inclement weather in a folding camp chair such as the Big Agnes Skyline or an REI Flexlite.
Set-up and tear down has become much easier and quicker; however, the vestibule can be a little tricky to put on due to its size. One thing to note about the Blacktail 2 Hotel is its large size with the vestibule attached. The tent has a small footprint but the vestibule almost doubles it, which can be an issue in smaller campsites. I spent a few warm nights in the Blacktail 2 Hotel and the additional roof vents in the vestibule along with the tent itself allow for adequate air flow, but I would recommend bringing a small, battery-powered fan if you’re camping in hot weather.
I was able to store my Wolfman Luggage and riding gear with plenty of room left to get in and out of the tent. Compared to tents I’ve used in the past I was quite impressed. The quality of materials and stitching is very good, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from Big Agnes, not to mention the pre-bent aluminum poles are very durable.
Big Agnes certainly nailed it with the Blacktail 2. In terms of a lightweight tent for moto camping, the Blacktail 2 fits the bill and it’s perfect as a small base camp tent or on multi-day trips. Big Agnes’ reputation for building high-quality products is second to none and, with the Bikepack option, it’s easy to see that the company is pushing for some of its products to be used more for two-wheeled service.
Where to Buy:
- 12-inch poles make it very compact and perfect for moto camping
- Vestibule provides plenty of storage to keep gear dry and secure
- Great price point for a solid Big Agnes product
- Directions for putting the vestibule on are poorly displayed or labeled on the tent’s bag
- Size; with the vestibule attached the tent does have a large footprint, which may be a hindrance in small, back country camping spots
- Fast fly and footprint options won’t fit into tent bag