Shortly after moving to Colorado in 2012, I began looking for an ultralight tent to help ease my load when exploring the state's numerous remote alpine basins. I did some online research on the best lightweight backpacking tents on the market and one brand continued to rise to the top; Big Agnes. So needless to say, I was stoked to find a Seedhouse SL2 at a used gear shop back in 2012. I got a great deal due to a small tear in fly that I knew would be a simple patch job.
After a quick and simple repair job with a TearAid patch the Seedhouse was ready to return to duty. I instantly became enamored with the tent while preparing for our first journey together on a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park as I realized how dramatically the weight of my pack had decreased while its storage capacity increased due to the tent’s compact design hovering around 3 pounds.
The Seedhouse became my go-to for adventuring across the mountain west for the next five years. Scrambling through the Gore Range, gem hunting in the Tarryall Mountains, sliding through slot canyons in Moab, and backpacking the infamous 4 Pass Loop in the Elk Mountains, the Seedhouse was always up to the challenge.
After a long day of hiking, there was something innately comforting about pulling that tent out of the pack. Whether stargazing with the fly off, weathering a windy storm, or just hiding from the mosquitoes; the Seedhouse was my home away from home. A trusty trail companion that served as a passport to the backcountry.
But the constant weekend exploration, high altitude UV exposure, and my haphazard packing techniques began to take its toll on the minimalist materials. The rainfly had inherited several more patches and the fine bug mesh had begun to deteriorate. It was time for the Seedhouse to return home; I mailed it to Big Agnes HQ in Steamboat for repair.
A few weeks later it was shipped back to my doorstep in Denver, renewed and ready for more! It was great to be reunited with my beloved Seedhouse and I was amazed by the intricate sewing work to patch in new pieces of mesh along with a fresh coat of sealant on the seams!
I promptly put the tent back into service and took it on a myriad of adventures over the next 5 years. From snow camping for spring ski mountaineering in the Indian Peaks to bikepacking the entirety of the Colorado Trail to trad climbing deep in the Wind River Range; the Seedhouse withstood it all.
But 10 years after I picked it up secondhand, a handful of bent stakes, and an estimated 1,000 miles of trail; this old tent was finally coming to the end of its usable life. The elastic cord connecting the poles had lost its rebound with age, the sections of previously unrepaired mesh began to deteriorate, and one of the zippers was off track.
I decided to take the tent out for one last trip, like retiring an old flag, it just seemed to be the right thing to do. So, I set off on a three-day trip through the heart of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado with my wife Charlotte. It was one of the most stunning trips to date and there seemed to be no better way to say goodbye to the Seedhouse than seeing it illuminated by headlamp under a jagged ridgeline one last time.