Big Agnes Titan 6 mtnGLO Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Big Agnes Titan 6 mtnGLO is interesting. It's built to serve a more specific need than many of the other tents we tested. The unique and innovative features that Big Agnes seems to always bring to the table will impress some and disappoint others. The Titan 6 can be reasonably compared with the North Face Wawona 6, but not entirely. The tents are a similar shape/look and size. The big difference is that the Titan can't stand alone as a tent without the fly. The tradeoff is that the Titan does have the ability to act independently, without the tent, as a capable sun/rain shade. For some, this is a great feature, others will be annoyed that they can't get a little more light, wind, or starry night views. It's also worth noting that the large vestibule that enhances the performance of the Wawona is an extra add-on with the Titan 6 (as in, bump up that price another $180).
With a floor space of 84 square feet, the Titan 6 feels plenty spacious, but we still wouldn't recommend a full six-person capacity. It could be done, sure, but you're going to be packed in and the art of getting in and out while crawling over and around multiple campmates could get old quickly. Groups of three to four, or families with smaller children, will fill out the Titan 6 just fine.
Two, large, double-zippered doors give you a wide berth to get your queen-sized blow-up air mattress in and out of the tent without having to do any of the inflating or deflating in the tent. Each door also has a moderate window that can be zipped down to help with airflow, or to keep an eye on your kids' and pets' outdoor pursuits. Storage inside consists of two good-sized pockets in each corner, one down low and one up high.
Finally, Big Agnes' signature, integrated mtnGLO lighting is a great idea. We wish there was more of it. The initial setup gives you one strand that runs left to right across the top of the tent, and that's it. Sure, it gives off light, but if you're looking to read a book, or possibly even play cards without squinting too much, you're going to need more. Don't worry though, you can always get more mtnGLO light strands, for a price. You can move the mtnGLO lights to suit your needs, which is nice. Again, we love the lights, it'd just be nice if the Titan 6 came with say, three strands instead of one.
The fly. Where do we begin? First off, the standard Titan 6 mtnGLO only comes with the basic fly. It covers the sides nearly to the dirt and gives you just a small sun shade over each door. If you want a spacious vestibule, very similar in shape and size to the one that comes standard on The North Face Wawona 6, you'll be out another $180, and that vestibule is nice. Just like the Wawona, it extends out horizontally from the tent and needs to be staked, but once it's up you can keep bikes and camp furniture out of the elements, or just set up a couple chairs and a small table and enjoy your afternoon cocktail out of whatever the weather may throw at you.
Moving back to the main fly that comes standard with the tent, the folks at Big Agnes have made the Titan 6 a bit of a hybrid. It's a tent that can also double as an open-ended sun/rain shade. Great idea. We can already see brilliant applications at music festivals and other larger group get-togethers where it's nice to have an open hangout spot that keeps everyone cool and dry. The problem is that the sun/rain shade uses the same pole system as the tent. What that means is that, to have the tent up, you have to have the fly up. There's no way to remove the fly to increase the airflow or get a killer view of the night sky as you doze off on a clear night. Sure there's a reasonable amount of space between the top of the tent and the fly, but it still doesn't give you that breezy feel you get in a tent that's fly-less.
The Big Agnes Titan 6 mtnGLO is a bit of a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde in this category. As it comes standard, the fly only covers the sides effectively. The polyester on the front is waterproof, but with minimal fly coverage, we still worry. The zippers are certainly not waterproof.
Before we get too down on things though, unless you find yourself in a significant and sustained downpour, the Titan 6 should battle the weather just fine. The duality of the Titan 6 is also worth noting as far as weather is concerned. Without the tent up, the remaining sun/rain shade does open up room for people to wait out a passing storm or get some respite from an angry sun.
Ease of Setup
Setting up the Titan 6 is pretty straightforward. The poles are all color coded, with a six-pronged, double-hub pole that takes care of the top and sides of the tent, while two smaller poles come front to back (or door to door) to extend the other aspect. We had no problem figuring out the setup, and can't imagine even the most novice of campers struggling with it.
The one issue we found was that there is an absolute labyrinth of clips and the ones that cover the peak height of the tent are somewhat challenging to reach. We're used to getting the poles set in all the corners and then going back and attaching the clips. This approach got interesting when we got to the middle of the tent as we were straining over the rest of the tent and the tallest among us (at roughly 6') was up on his tippy toes to get those highest clips attached. Perhaps we just needed a different approach.
So we dropped the tent and tried attaching the middle clips before putting the poles into their corners (thus flexing them and creating the height of the tent). That worked, mostly. It didn't seem like the intended way to set up the Titan 6. It took some extra stretching and finagling to make it work. Shorter campers are going to struggle to set this tent up. The Titan can be set up by one person, but they'd better have a little length, energy, and ingenuity to spare. Two people can get it done relatively quickly in five to seven minutes, again, provided they can navigate the height issue.
This is one area that Big Agnes has a good handle on, pun wholly intended. The Titan mtnGLO 6 has a double-sided bag that splits in the middle like a travel bag for an expensive suit.
Each side is spacious enough to house either the tent or the fly, and elastic edges help to keep everything where it belongs. Between the two storage sides is a smaller slip bag for the poles. It's super simple but super effective. No need to get fancy when simple works. In the end, the two sides fold and buckle together and can be cinched down. The overall packed size isn't going to blow your mind, but it's a massive six-person tent, so to some extent, you have to expect a little bulk. What we appreciated as much as anything is that it's big enough to make fitting everything in the bag super easy, no frustrated cramming and stuffing, and yet it still won't take up more space than say the average small suitcase.
As with all Big Agnes tents we've tested, the quality of the product is never in question. The Titan doesn't play around with shoddy materials, thin, flimsy fabric, or weak poles that will get bent in a light breeze. The DAC DA17 poles are thick, strong, and surprisingly lightweight. The ripstop polyester that makes up the majority of the tent (the floor is taffeta, a little thicker and more durable for doing battle with those pesky small rocks and tree roots) is strong and should hold up over time. Finally, Big Agnes has a reputable warranty and repair division that will help you with any unforeseen issues.
This one may sting a little. The Big Agnes Titan mtnGLO 6 is already one of the most expensive tents we tested. When you sport it out with the added vestibule and or any extra gear lofts or mtnGLO strips, you're looking at a major price increase, easily the most expensive tent in our test. It's a high-quality tent, and the duality is certainly worth some extra scratch, but only if you're truly enamored by both potential functions of the Titan 6.
The Big Agnes Titan mtnGLO 6 is an interesting tent, with some truly unique features, but some very specific applications and definite drawbacks.
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