Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 Review
Cons: Delicate materials, difficult to set up, collapses in high winds
Manufacturer: Big Agnes
Our Analysis and Test Results
With an ultralight product comes less durability, and the Fly Creek is quite delicate. It pitches with a single integrated hub pole and has top quality features such as partially solid nylon walls that block spindrift and help to insulate. This tent is quite small but is an excellent choice for two people who like to snuggle or a single hiker. Its comfort and weather resistance keep this tent from shining as a lightweight wonder.
This lightweight tent is also the least comfortable. The Fly Creek HV UL2 has a small, tapered interior with a single front door and vestibule.
Big Agnes attempts to make the sidewalls of the tents less saggy by attaching them to the guy points of the outer fly, but we still find that the walls sag in a bit, and the floor is lifted off the ground when the tent is taut, making the interior smaller. If two people are sharing this tent, they should be prepared to get cozy. The Fly Creek has a few small pockets that are adequate for stashing your things.
Ease of Set Up
The Fly Creek HV UL2 is a semi-freestanding tent. It has a single hub pole design that creates the front entrance, the back ridge pole comes down in the middle, and the back corners need to be staked out. It is not as easy to set up as a traditional two-pole free-standing tent, and it is difficult to get all sides taut with no sagging. The front door vestibule is particularly tricky to tension.
The Fly Creek HV UL2 does a good job at keeping you dry in heavy rains, although we noticed that this model has mesh along the sides of the tent, and the bathtub floor only comes up a few inches from the ground, which could result in more splashback getting into your tent in heavy rains. The major problem with the design of this tent is the single hub. With the back pole just going straight into the ground, it is only reinforced by the staked out corners and guy lines.
Other backpacking tent models have two side doors instead of one front, which acts to guy out the sides better. Several testers experienced the Fly Creek HV UL2 collapsing or deforming in a crosswind because the rear pole is unreinforced. We also had difficulty guying out the tent satisfactorily and experienced a lot of flapping because many of the guy points and stake loops share stakes. If you anticipate high winds, bring your earplugs or choose another tent. We would recommend this tent for camping below treeline, or where you will not experience windy conditions.
The Fly Creek HV UL2 is the least durable tent that we tested. Its high-quality materials will stand the test of time…if you care for them. However, they are also thin. With all ultralight products, being gentle with your gear is the price you pay for low weight.
Weight & Packed Size
We'll repeat — this tent is light. Weighing 2 pounds, 5.6 ounces, it is a pleasure to carry around. Its super thin materials make it very packable, and it fits into a tiny stuff sack, or you can shove it into the extra space in your backpack. It was the lightest contender in our review and could also pack down the smallest.
Although it may feel like a single-use product to some people, because of its high-quality construction and materials, this is a high-end product. Our testers indicate that this is an excellent value for the price.
The Fly Creek's main limitations are its delicate materials and its lack of strength in high winds. It is very easily abraded, so make sure your tent is properly staked down and won't roll around on the ground when left unattended. You can't get much lighter in a double-walled tent than the Fly Creek UL2 series. If you are looking for something more durable and even lighter, check out our Ultralight Shelters Review.
— Ben Applebaum-Bauch