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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.
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Price:  $350 List | $337.92 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
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


RANKED
#17 of 17
  • 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.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Very lightweight, small packed size, guy lines already attachedExcellent balance between weight and features, many storage pockets, large vestibulesTwo large double doors, good headroom, excellent balance of space and weightLightweight, good lateral headroom, large side doors, large overhead pocketGenerous dimensions, large vestibules, good balance between weight and durability
Cons Delicate materials, difficult to set up, collapses in high windsTapered foot, pockets are high upDelicate fabrics require special treatment, expensivesmall vestibules, tapered footprint reduces interior spaceSmall doors, expensive, zippers don't always open smoothly
Bottom Line A great choice for lightweight backpacking trip where you'd rather save on weight than have lots of space in your tent.A superior tent that balances light weight with excellent features.Our favorite tent for all your backpacking needs.A comfortable, lightweight tent great for a weekend or a week.A high-quality tent that strikes a solid balance between weight and comfort features.
Rating Categories Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 NEMO Dragonfly 2 Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 NEMO Dagger 2
Comfort (25%)
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Weight (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
6
Weather Resistance (20%)
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Ease Of Set Up (10%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Durability (10%)
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
Packed Size (10%)
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
6
Specs Big Agnes Fly... NEMO Dragonfly 2 Big Agnes Copper... Big Agnes Copper... NEMO Dagger 2
Packaged Weight 2.36 lbs 3.16 lbs 3.06 lbs 3.81 lbs 3.76 lbs
Floor Area 28 sq ft 29 sq ft 29 sq ft 41 sq ft 31 sq ft
Packed Size 19 x 4 in 19.5 x 4.5 in 19.5 x 4 in 20 x 4.5 in 19.5 x 6.5 in
Dimensions 86" x 52" x 39" 88" x 50" x 41" 88" x 52" x 42 in 90" x 70" x 43" 90" x 50" x 42"
Vestibule Area (Total) 8 sq. ft 20 sq ft 18 sq ft 18 sq ft 22.8 sq ft
Peak Height 39 in 41 in 42 in 43 in 42 in
Number of Doors 1 2 2 2 2
Number of Poles 1 3 2 3 2
Pole Diameter 8.7 mm 8.7 mm 8.7 mm 8.7mm 8.5/9/9.6 millimeters
Number of Pockets 3 3 2 5 2
Gear Loft No No Sold separately Sold separately Sold separately
Pole Material DAC Featherlite NFL DAC Featherlite NFL DAC Featherlite NFL and NSL Aluminum DAC featherlight NSL
Guy Points 11 5 9 6 10
Rain Fly Material 15D 1200mm Silicone Nylon RipStop 20D Nylon Ripstop Silicone-treated patterned double ripstop nylon with waterproof polyurethane coating proprietary patterned random rip-stop nylon with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating 15D Sil / PU Nylon Ripstop (1200mm)
Inner Tent Material [Body] 10D Polyester mesh
[Floor] 20D Nylon RipStop
15D Nylon Ripstop [Body] Patterned double ripstop nylon/polyester mesh
[Floor] Silicone-treated patterned double ripstop nylon with waterproof polyurethane coating
proprietary patterned random rip-stop nylon with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating [Body] 15D Nylon Ripstop / No see um mesh
[Floor] 30D PU Nylon Ripstop (3000mm)
Type Front Door Two Door freestanding Two Door Two Door Two Door freestanding

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 a great choice for two people who like to snuggle, or a single hiker.

Performance Comparison


Its comfort and weather resistance keep this tent from shining as a lightweight wonder.

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 extra foot room in the new HV model of the Fly Creek which accommodates tall people better than the old version.
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.

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

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 Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is a more comfortable, two-door tent that is a great lightweight choice for two people, along with the NEMO Dagger 2, and the ultimate contender for comfort, scoring the only 10 out of 10 in the review, the REI Half Dome 2 Plus.

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

Ease of Set Up


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.
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.

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 prefer the set up of the REI Half Dome 2 Plus, NEMO Hornet Elite, and Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2.

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.
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.

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 would not recommend taking this tent out in high winds. Seen here below Mount Brewer in the High Sierra.
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.

The NEMO Hornet Elite and Big Agnes Tiger Wall have a semi-freestanding design as well but has 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 tree line, or where you will not experience windy conditions. We think that the Hilleberg Anjan 2 GT, is the most weather resistant in the bunch.


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. If you've got your sights set on a durable tent that still manages to keep its weight down, we'd recommend the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 or NEMO Dragonfly 2.

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. Following closely behind was the Tarptent Double Rainbow, which weighed 2 pounds, 15 ounces.

Best Application


The Fly Creek UL 2 is a great choice as a light, roomy solo shelter, or a very cozy ultralight shelter for two for any backpacking adventure.

Value


The Fly Creek HV costs a full $100 less than the roomier Editors' Choice-winning Copper Spur HV. 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. We think the Fly Creek is a good value for the price. If you want a stronger, roomier tent that is still on the lighter end of the spectrum, consider the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2.

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.

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.

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

You can't get much lighter than the Fly Creek UL2 in a double-walled tent. If you are looking for something more durable and even lighter, check out our Ultralight Shelters Review.


Ben Applebaum-Bauch