I need help deciding between these 2 before the sale ends! It's especially hard since I will be making this purchase solely on reviews as I cannot find anywhere here in Singapore that sells them in order to physically view and compare in person. I might have found one store that carries the MSR but no where that sells the Big Agnes. I am mostly aware of the pros and cons for both. However, not entirely sure if i should prioritize the weight of the Big Agnes or the durability and allegedly better water proofing quality of the MSR in regards to the PCT. Any advice/insights from past/present/future PCT hikers would be greatly appreciated!
I have not hiked the PCT but I have backpacked in the Sierra some. According to this...
either will work although it looks like they have both had a refresh for this season and haven't had as much real world testing.
The CS generally it looks to be an improvement over the previous version. Mice can apparently be a problem in Washington and having the higher solid walls on the body is an advantage over lower mesh. The MSR HH already has that design.
Of those two I'd opt for a lighter tent but I'd probably go with my BA Tiger Wall with modified guy lines because it is lighter although the mesh comes lower. You will definitely want to use some kind of footprint with the BA tents where you might get away without on the MSR.
The reviews indicate that the MSR may need seam sealing which is somewhat surprising!
Unless you need it this year for other reasons I would probably wait and buy a tent later...maybe once you get here to save on shipping and import duty if that is a thing for you.
@pzero7 Thanks for reaching out!
As @OldGuyot mentioned, for a hike as long as you are looking to do, every ounce on the trail counts, which means that the (nearly) one pound savings on the Big Agnes tent will make a big difference. For as long a trip as the PCT you will definitely want a footprint for your tent as well so that is also a consideration.
Much of the success you will have with your tent is to think critically about what your style is like on the trail, particularly after long hard days. Are you the kind of person who is going to spend the time to make sure your tent site is clear of debris, roots, and rocks? Are you going to pack your tent carefully and strategically in your pack? Are you able to make repairs in the field or suffer through the consequences of not being able to do so (i.e. open bivys, or sleeping exposed for multiple nights until a permanent fix can be figured out)? Based on reviews and speaking with users who have these tents, the MSR seems to be built in a more durable fashion, the Big Agnes seems to be designed more with weight savings in mind.
One other consideration: are you paying close attention to the weight of your gear in all other aspects (sleeping bag/pad, backpack, cook set up, etc.)? If you are, then the weight savings of the Big Agnes tent might make a big difference. If you're not, then it may be less impactful. As an example, if your base kit is, say, 15 pounds, the difference between these tents represents an almost 7% increase in weight. If you are on the higher end and carrying 30 pounds, that increase drops closer to 3%.
In the end, both of these tents will work for you and your adventure. It is going to come down to what your style and preferences are as a hiker. Personally, I feel like the longer your journey, the more important that weight savings becomes.
Hopefully this helps!