Choosing the right tent for your adventure is not easy. In fact with so many different offerings available, it can become downright overwhelming.
One popular option with both backpackers, hikers and backpackers alike, are Ultralight tents. As the name suggests, these are tents fashioned from cutting edge light materials making them easier to carry. Of course, the flip-side is Ultralight materials are less hardy than heavier tents and Ultralight models do tend to come with a hefty price tag.
In this review we will take a look at the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 – a 2 person Ultralight tent. By the end of this review, you should know whether this is the ideal tent for your next adventure.
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Overview
Packaged weight: 2 lbs. 5 oz. (2P)
Floor area: 28 sq. ft.
Capacities: 2P (Big Agnes also do 1, 3 and 4P options)
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL HV 2 – Weight and Packed Size
Coming in at just over 3 lbs, the Fly Creek UL 2 really is seriously light. In fact, when I first picked it up I was kinda stunned by just how light it felt. This makes it ideal tent for hiking up mountains or strapping to your bike and hitting the roads.
But how does it compare to other Ultralight tents?
Well the popular Nemo Dagger 2P and MSR Hubba Hubba NX both weigh in at 3 lbs. 14 oz. which feels notably heavier. However the Fly Creek UL2 isn’t as quite impressive as ultra-ultralight designs like Nemo’s Hornet (2 lbs. 6 oz.) and Big Agnes’ own and Tiger Wall UL2 (2 lbs. 8 oz.).
However, in case you are thinking of clicking away or searching for one of these lighter models – don’t go just yet! These tents are lighter, but this is because they compromise in other areas.
Now let’s look at packed size (we shall deal with pitched size and liveability later). Packing down and rolling up to 6 x 19.5 inches, the UL2 can easily be gripped in one hand and still fits nicely into its stuff sack. We’ve had no issues squeezing it into our backpacking packs and it could also attach nicely to a bike frame.
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL HV 2 – Pitched Size and Interior Space
Once pitched, the tent covers an area of 29 sq. ft. What does that mean for you? Well I have stretched out into bigger 2 person tents and I have also struggled into smaller 2 person tents. However unless you are planning to put 2 giants (or obese people) togerther for the night, the tent will probably be roomy enough for them to sleep comfortably.
What about “standing room” though?
Well the freestanding construction means the tent body stays tight even when camping on difficult surfaces like rock where you can’t sink pegs. Furthermore, tents boosted interior space with pre-bent pole sections at each corner.
Once you get inside the tent, it does feel open and generously spacious. Shapewise, the tent feels more or less rectangular inside owing to near vertical sidewalls and a flat roof. The aforementioned flat roof is reasonably tall peaking 40 inches. Summed up, 2 people should be able to sit inside the tent pretty happily – however, you won’t really want to spend too long inside it.
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL HV 2 – Durability and Waterproofing
Ultralight tents are not the hardest wearing of models on the market. As the name suggests, Ultralight tents are made from thinner, lighter materials which cannot take quite the same pounding as heftier tents. Poles tend to break a bit easier, and the canvas’ can be more prone to tearing on jagged rocks and branches.
Bearing that in mind, the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL HV2 seems as sturdy as can be expected and so far, we have not had any issues with it whatsoever. Big Agnes are a serious outdoor brand and make highly regarded products. Furthermore, the tent does come with a Limited Lifetime Guarantee so if anything goes wrong that is not your fault, they should step in and either fix or replace the tent.
You may therefore be wondering whether it is worth shelling out such a pretty penny for a tent that probably won’t last the ages. That is however, the nature of Ultralight tents. If you want something stronger, remember it will be a lot heavier.
You can take some steps to protect the tent such as investing in a footprint (a piece of canvas that sits under the tent and protects the bottom from tears) and by taking care when pitching and collapsing the tent.
How about weather and water proofing? Remember that this is a 3 season tent and as such, is simply not designed for snow blizzards or cyclones.
Still it will hold up pretty well in a typical rain storm as the tent comes with a full-coverage rainfly and quality seam sealing – which isn’t all that typical in the ultralight market. Additionally, there are raised sections of the floor towards the head end of the tent that increase protection from blowing dust and splashes from heavy rainfall.
However, in order to fully rain proof the tent you will need to do some additional work yourself. If you are expecting heavy rainy conditions it is a good idea to to fully and properly “guy out” the Fly Creek, because otherwise the fly has a tendency to sag and press up against the sides of the tent.
In summary though, this tent quite literally kept us out of hypothermic conditions a few times. It’s not difficult to keep the interior of this tent dry during setup even if you’re being pummeled by the elements. While the Fly Creek UL1 held up perfectly in 50-mile winds, other hikers on our trip using other tents experienced tent-shredding and torn guy lines. I’ve never been more pleased with a tent’s performance.
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL HV 2 – Breathability
How well ventilated is this tent?
As a double walled tent, the Big Agnes Fly Creek could quite easily become overtly hot and sticky. Still, the rainfly on the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 is easily detachable, which makes it a great tent for star-gazing. It’s essentially as well-ventilated as it could be before compromising on protection.
Ideally, it would be great if the tent featured an built-in roof vent to further promote airflow, but the Fly Creek nevertheless is well ventilated considering its ultralight build.
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL HV 2 – Storage
Now, this is a two person tent which presumably means that 2 people will be travelling with 2 sets of gear. So where does it all go? As an Ultralight tent, space is at a premium so Big Agnes have designed the tent so that luggage sits outside the front entrance of the tent, fully protected by the front vestibule.
This isn’t ideal as blocking the entrance with bags can make quickly accessing the tent very difficult if you need a sneaky midnight pee. However, its the price that has to be paid for an Ultralight tent.
There is some internal storage including pockets for headlights, phones, water bottles and snacks.
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL HV 2 – Pitching and Collapsing
How easy is the Fly Creek UL HV 2 to put up and take down?
The set-up process is fairly simple as the tent uses only one single hubbed pole. Do remember that the Fly Creek is only semi-freestanding and will not support itself and stand up on its own. Instead, it will need the corners staking.
We pitched this tent up on nice, soft, grassy ground and found it pretty simple. I have pitched easier tents, but not in the Ultra-light space.
Note that the freestanding Nemo Dagger is a bit easier to pitch but can be a lot harder to secure.
Taking the tent in the morning was pretty standard and took up no more than 10 minutes.
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL HV 2 – The Price
Quick Answer – $370
The Fly Creek UL HV 2 does not come cheap. At nearly $400, it is in the mid-range market for Ultralight tents. There are cheaper models available but these are generally a bit heavier. The more expensive options that we are are aware of, are perhaps a bit more hard wearing.
Good quality backpacking and outdoor gear does not cheap. If you are serious about getting decent gear, then you should not balk at paying $370 for this tent. Remember the old adage, “Buy cheap, buy twice”.
Pro’s and Con’s of the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL HV 2
- Very light tent
- Strikes balance between warmth and ventilation.
- Easy to pitch
- Comes with a full-coverage rainfly and seam sealing.
- The luggage storage is in front of the entrance
- Cramped for two campers.
- You’ll need to buy a footprint to keep the floor safe
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL HV 2 – Competitors
Let’s take a quick look at how the Big Agnes Fly Creek compares to some other 2 person tents.
Nemo Hornet 2P
- PRICE > $370
- WEIGHT > 2 lbs. 6 oz.
- AREA > 27.5 sq. ft.
- HEIGHT > 39 in.
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2
- PRICE > $400
- WEIGHT > 2 lbs. 8 oz.
- AREA > 2 lbs. 8 oz. 28 sq. ft.
- HEIGHT > 39 in.
REI Co-op Flash Air 2
- PRICE > $299
- WEIGHT > 2 lbs. 8 oz.
- AREA > 28.7 sq. ft.
- HEIGHT > 42 in.
About Two Person Tents
Choosing the right sized tent for your needs is very important. Generally, you can rely on the manufacturer to advise how many people the tent accommodates – a 1 person (1p) tent generally accommodates 1 person and so forth.
Beyond that, many seasoned campers will tell you that good rule of thumb is 20 square feet for each person who’ll be sleeping in the tent. However, it’s smart to take that suggestion as the absolute minimum size when shopping. You also need to factor in how much stuff you will be carrying with you as your luggage will also need to go inside the tent too.
How to make sure you pick the right size tent
The Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 is a good size for me and my partner (we’re 5.7 and 5.9’) It allows us to sit up comfortably enough at the tent’s tallest height, without compromising tent space. However, if we spend prolonged periods in the tent, it does start to feel a bit small as there isn’t much space for 2 people to move.
Final Thoughts on the Fly Creek UL 2
Well, by now you should know whether the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL HV 2 is the tent for you. I hope you found our review helpful and hope you have a great trip with whichever tent you go for.
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