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Big Agnes C-Bar 2 Tent Review

The Big Agnes C-Bar Two Person Tent is a surprisingly affordable backpacking tent with a trail weight of 3 lbs 9 oz. Fully-featured, this double-wall tent is easy to set up and made with heavier and more durable materials than Big Agnes’ ultralight backpacking tents. If you’re looking for a tent that you can set up quickly in the dark or durable enough to let your kids borrow for a scout trip, the C-Bar 2 is a great choice. The C-Bar is a bit cramped though for a two person tent, so I’d caution against buying this tent if you’re big and tall or you’re looking for a roomier interior.

Specs at a Glance

  • Big Agnes C-bar Two Person Tent
  • People: 2
  • Weight (minus stakes, stuff sacks): 3 lbs 9 oz (3 lbs 12 oz – actual weight)
    • Weight: 3 lbs 9 oz
      • Poles (1): 15.8 oz
      • Inner Tent: 21.7 oz
      • Rain Fly: 22.6 oz
  • Doors: 1
  • Vestibules: 1
  • Minimum # of stakes to pitch: 9
  • Materials: 68 denier nylon ripstop body and fly
  • Inner tent dimensions: 78″ x 40″ x 41″ (length x width x height)

The C-Bar is well made and easy to set up with one multi-segmented pole and color-coded corners. While the inner tent is freestanding, it has one door and one front vestibule, which makes it less convenient for couples to use because you’re probably going to wake up your partner when you get in and out at night. There’s even less usable door clearance if the two of you use the vestibule to store your backpacks.  That’s one of the reasons the C-bar is much less expensive than Big Agnes’s other two-person tents which have dual vestibules.

The C-Bar 2 has a peak height of 41 but slopes down over your feet to 15"
The C-Bar 2 has a peak height of 41″ but slopes down over your feet to 15″

Inner Tent

The C-bar is a double-wall tent meaning that it has a separate inner tent and rain fly. To set it up, you just need to spread out the inner tent, stake out the corners, and insert the pole into the color coded grommets. The inner tent is then “hung” from the pole using plastic clips. The process is very fast and it’s also easy for one person to do if you want to use the tent by yourself, or with your dog.

The inner tent is somewhat cramped, especially width-wise, with only 40″ of space. If there are two occupants, that means you’re going to be limited to using 20″ wide sleeping pads, which will touch one another with no space on the sides. Length-wise, the C-bar 2 is 78″ long, which will make it a tight fit for anyone close to 6′ in height. The head room is good though, with a peak height of 41″ so you’ll have room to sit up, sloping down to a height of 15″ above your feet, which is still fairly roomy.

The horizontal cross-pole helps make the side walls more vertical
The horizontal cross-pole helps make the side walls more vertical

The pole structure include a cross pole that helps increase the angle of the tent’s side walls. While they aren’t vertical, they do provide more clearance over your sleeping bags/quilts and help limit any internal condensation transfer. The upper half if the inner tent is all mesh providing good ventilation and an easy exit path for moisture to prevent internal condensation from collecting on the walls.

The inner tent includes a gear loft above the front door and individual mesh side pockets for holding odds and ends. Hang loops are also provided on the ceiling for suspending lights or other items.

Rain Fly

The rain fly is made with same burly 68d polyester as the inner tent. It drapes over the exoskeleton created by the poles, providing a wide air gap between the inner tent and rain fly for better air flow. The fly connects to clips on the corner webbing straps, eliminating the need for extra tent stakes on the corners, although you’ll want to use 5 more to stake out the front door, the rear vent, and to pull out the tent sides.  Those clips have tensioning clips so you can take out any slack in the pitch. If it’s windy, there are velcro loops on the underside of the rain fly that you can connect to the tent poles, and additional guy lines that you can stake out for more stability.

The rain fly provides a front vestibule for added gear storage
The rain fly provides a front vestibule for added gear storage,

The rain fly forms a front vestibule over the front door, with side walls that are good for blocking wind and driving rain. The front door has bi-directional zippers so you can unzip it from top to bottom to create a transom of sorts, which is good for providing more air flow, without reducing privacy. Side tie-outs on the fly let you pull out the tent walls to create additional air flow, but are really only effective if there is a breeze blowing.

Comparable 2 Person Budget Backpacking Tents

Likes

  • Color-coded tent poles and plastic clips make set up easy
  • Thick 68d floor eliminates need for a footprint
  • Front vestibule provides good cross-breeze protection
  • Dual zippers on vestibule door provide privacy and airflow

Dislikes

  • Interior is cramped for two adults
  • Multi-segment pole is bulky to pack

Recommendation

The Big Agnes C-Bar 2 is a good quality, affordable tent that’s great for camping, but also lightweight enough for backpacking. The thing I like the best about this tent is that it’s made with thicker and more durable fabrics than most of Big Agnes’ other tent models, making it a good option for people who use their gear frequently and want one that will stand up to some punishment. It is on the small side however and more suitable for small adults and scouts than people who prefer a larger tent. If you’re thinking about buying the C-Bar 2, it’s also important to understand the comfort and convenience tradeoffs between a two person tent with a single door and one with two doors. If you’re looking for a lighter weight version of the same tent, I’d recommend taking a look at the Big Agnes Seedhouse 2 which nearly identical in design, but considerably more expensive.

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Last updated: 2018-08-10 10:37:49

Disclosure: The author purchased this tent.

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