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Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platinum Review

   

Backpacking Tents

  • Currently 4.6/5
Overall avg rating 4.6 of 5 based on 4 reviews. Most recent review: September 13, 2013
Street Price:   Varies from $500 - $550 | Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  Extremely light, easy to set up, clips separate the inner and outer tents.
Cons:  Not strong, not durable, rear walls cave in during high winds, small vestibule, expensive, not adaptable.
Best Uses:  Lightweight three-season trips.
User Rating:     
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 (4.0 of 5) based on 3 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (2/2) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Big Agnes
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ January 11, 2013  
Overview
At 31 ounces without stakes the Fly Creek Platinum is the lightest dedicated pole double wall tent we've ever tested. We measured a 3.6 ounce difference between this tent and the standard version Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2. The Platinum shaves a bit of weight by using a lighter fly and floor fabric and by reducing the water and wind resistance of the inner tent walls. Despite the slight reduction in weather resistance, the Platinum is one of our highest rated backpacking tents.

Check out our full Backpacking Tent Review to see how this compares to standard version and to other top tents.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

The Fly Creek 2 Platinum is the lighter version of the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2, which weighs 3.6 ounces more. The Platinum uses a lighter floor and fly material and has all mesh walls instead of partial solid nylon walls.

Weight and Packed Size
The Platinum is the lightest tent included in our Backpacking Tent Review. It narrowly beats the Terra Nova Solar Photon 2, its closest competitor, by two ounces, excluding stakes. The Platinum is the second most compact tent, beaten only by the Terra Nova Solar Photon 2. The models in our Ultralight Tent Review are far lighter and more compact than either the Platinum or Solar Photon. If you're really after weight savings we recommend considering one of the shelters tested in that review.

Weather Resistance
The standard and platinum versions of the Fly Creek 2 offer excellent weather protection. Their slim design cuts through high winds well, especially when the rear end faces into the wind. Clips on both sides connect the inner tent to the outer tent, which helps to pull the inner tent walls out, increasing strength and interior space slightly. This is a common feature on tents with similar designs; the Mountain Hardwear SuperMega, Brooks Range Foray, and others do the same. Our testers primarily used the Fly Creek Platinum in the Sierra Nevada, enduring several large summer hail storms, and for a trip in Alaska's Brooks Range, where campsites often have little protection from high winds.

Click to enlarge
The Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platinum in the Brooks Range, Alaska. Note that the small vestibule barely covers one backpack.
Credit: OutdoorGearLab
Livability
Both versions of the Fly Creek use an excellent pole design that's surprisingly livable for its weight. Two of our six-foot-tall testers sleep comfortably inside. Two slim pockets store nighttime essentials and a tiny vestibule offers enough storage space to stash a pair of shoes and a wet rain jacket.

Durability
Like all ultralight double wall tents, the Fly Creek is not durable. It uses an ultralight ripstop nylon that's coated with silicone on the outside and polyurethane on the inside. Although the Platinum's material is high quality, fabrics coated with silicone on both sides are generally much stronger and more durable. This author can rip the Platinum's floor and fly fabric with his bare hands, something that's only possible with two of the 24 tents tested. The Platinum's material is weak compared to the silnyons and cuben fibers found on ultralight tents.

Click to enlarge
The Fly Creek Platinum uses an ultralight fabric that is among the weakest found on any of the tents we've tested.
Credit: OutdoorGearLab
Best Application
Lightweight bike touring and backpacking.

Value
The Platinum is a poor value (see our Price versus Value Chart). Spending $230 (more than the standard Fly Creek) to save 3.6 ounces is a very expensive way to save weight. Even though this is the lightest double wall tent we've tested we believe the standard Tarptent Double Rainbow and the Terra Nova Solar Photon 22 are better values. If your objective is ultralight backpacking consider an ultralight tent.

Other versions and accessories
The Fly Creek 1 Platinum, $450, is the one person version of this tent. The Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 retails for $330 and is the little brother of the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2, which we did a hands-on review, and the smallest of the four tents in this series. The UL2 got our Top Pick award because it is one of the lightest tents out there.

Chris McNamara and Max Neale

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: September 13, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.0)

100% of 2 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 33%  (1)
4 star: 67%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 3 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Sep 13, 2013 - 10:40pm
The material is very weak, but one point is missed: if you get the ground sheet, this can suddenly turn into a roomy 1.5 pound tarp tent, including poles.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Jan 23, 2013 - 10:46am
 
Max Neale · Other · Maine
Responding to the latter two points in simply_light's post:
  1. Front Entry Vestibule- I disagree. These are considerably better than single entrance tents with side doors because the tent shape catches less wind, which makes it better for storms, and because you can enter and exit without disturbing the other person too much. Single side entrance tents force you to climb over the other person in order to get out of the tent, which is uncomfortable at best.
  1. Not Truly Free Standing- No tent found in the Backpacking Tent Review is truly freestanding. Freestanding means that the tent stands up by itself without any external help. Large winter expeditions dome tents and lightweight single wall climbing tents are freestanding, but backpacking tents are not. Most are self-supporting- they stand up by themselves to a small degree and at least the vestibule(s) need to be guyed out. You're correct in that the rear corners of the Fly Creek 2 Platinum must be staked out, but this is common with ultralight double wall tents. I don't believe that it should be considered a drawback.

We discuss the pros and cons of different types of tents and specific features in the Backpacking Tent Buying Advice Article.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jan 22, 2013 - 10:32am
simply_light · Backpacker · Midwest, Indiana
Another great tent, truly getting into the ultralight category, especially for its size. It is very easy to set up, roomy for 1 (with 2 people, you better be very good friends).

The biggest pro for this tent is how light weight it is. When you are counting the ounces, this is important. It makes it easy to have a roomy tent for one person by using a 2-person tent that is as light as most 1-person tents.

Now the cons. Most of these ended up being deal breakers for me.
  1. Price tag - at $500 going price, it is more than twice as expensive as most 1-person lightweight tents and close to twice as expensive as most 2-person tents.
  1. Front Entry Vestibule - Never been a big fan of front entry tents. I find it harder to get into than side entry. Although this usually allows for a slightly deeper vestibule, not worth it in my mind.
  1. Not Truly Free Standing - Big Agnes uses a tent pole that y's at one end only. So, the front of the tent is free standing, but the back needs to be staked out to achieve maximum floor space. Most times, we all have tent stakes with us, but there are a few times were stakes were not needed or able to be used and adding an ounce or two to make the pole "y" at both ends would be an acceptable trade off for me.

Jared M. Baker
http://www.simplylightdesigns.com

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Big Agnes FlyCreek Platinum 2P
Credit: Big Agnes
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