Last month, Big Agnes announced its new mtnGLO line of tents, which will feature LED lights built directly into the tent to provide ambient lighting at the flick of a switch.
Available in early 2015, the tents’ details are scant at this point, though early product images (see below) show a line of LED lights that follow some of the roof seams of the tent. To power them, the tent will feature a small, lightweight, and rechargeable power pack developed by Joey Energy, which can also be used to recharge tablets, phones, and other portable devices.
The company has yet to release full product specs—including the additional weight of this technology—though it has announced that the lighting technology will be featured in a range of styles, including both backpacking and car camping tents. (More details will be forthcoming soon, I’m sure, given that the tents will be prominently featured at the summer Outdoor Retailer show later this week.)
While it’s easy to see the potential utility of this technology in large, car-camping tents, it’s somewhat surprising to see its inclusion in the lightweight backpacking end of the spectrum. This is especially notable given Big Agnes’ well-deserved reputation for shaving every possible ounce from many of its designs to create some of the best, ultralight tents out there. All of which would seem to indicate that the added weight of the LEDs is likely not that significant (though the battery pack will almost certainly weigh several ounces.)
Regardless, however, there’s no question that this technology is a (likely expensive) frill and not an essential, especially for backpacking. You’re still going to need to carry a headlamp or flashlight, so no matter what the additional weight, it’s still going to be extra ounces you won’t need.