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Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 Review

A great choice for lightweight backpacking trip where you'd rather save on weight than have lots of space in your tent
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2
Photo: Big Agnes
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Price:  $350 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Pros:  Very lightweight, small packed size, guy lines already attached
Cons:  Delicate materials, difficult to set up, collapses in high winds
Manufacturer:   Big Agnes
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 2, 2019
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57
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 25% 4
  • Weight - 25% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 4
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 5
  • Durability - 10% 4
  • Packed Size - 10% 10

Our Verdict

The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 tent is a lightweight performance double-wall tent that weighs in at a scant 37 ounces, including stakes. It performs well in a wide variety of conditions, but its weak point is that its pole structure doesn't hold up well in high crosswinds. It has some small feeling dimensions, so it's not for those who need to spread out when they get to camp. Because it's for moving fast and light, its weather resistance could stand to be more substantial as well.

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.

Performance Comparison


The HV version's door side wall is steeper, allowing for more head...
The HV version's door side wall is steeper, allowing for more head room. It is still a tight squeeze for two people.
Photo: Jessica Haist

Comfort


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.

Although one of the smallest tents in this review, we noticed the...
Although one of the smallest tents in this review, we noticed the extra foot room in the new HV model of the Fly Creek which accommodates tall people better than the old version.
Photo: Jessica Haist

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.

The Fly Creek HV UL2 is a great choice for one person who wants to...
The Fly Creek HV UL2 is a great choice for one person who wants to spread out their stuff.
Photo: Jessica Haist

Ease of Set Up


We find the Flycreek challenging to guy out so that the fly is...
We find the Flycreek challenging to guy out so that the fly is completely taut, although we appreciate that all the guy line comes already attached.
Photo: Jerry Glascock

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.

We find the Fly Creek somewhat finicky to set up, especially on hard...
We find the Fly Creek somewhat finicky to set up, especially on hard surfaces like granite where you can't use stakes. It is difficult to completely tension the fly.
Photo: Jessica Haist

Weather Resistance


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.

The Fly Creek is a pretty stealthy color in the high alpine. We...
The Fly Creek is a pretty stealthy color in the high alpine. We would not recommend taking this tent out in high winds. Seen here below Mount Brewer in the High Sierra.
Photo: Jessica Haist

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.

Durability


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.

Value


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.

McKenzie Long sets up the Fly Creek HV UL2 in soft duff for the night.
McKenzie Long sets up the Fly Creek HV UL2 in soft duff for the night.
Photo: Jessica Haist

Conclusion


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.

The HV version of the Fly Creek has added head and foot room, but is...
The HV version of the Fly Creek has added head and foot room, but is very similar to the original model.
Photo: Jessica Haist

Ben Applebaum-Bauch