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Backpacker Magazine – 2010 Editors' Choice/Gear Guide

Editors' Choice 2010: Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Tent

Attention, ultralighters who want a legit two-person tent: This is it.

by: BACKPACKER Editors

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 (Steve Howe)
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 (Steve Howe)

At barely more than two pounds, the Fly Creek stomps on bivy-sack turf when it comes to weight and bulk. Yet what’s remarkable is its livability-per-ounce. With 28 square feet of floor space and a 38-inch peak height, it’s merely compact, not coffin tight: Testers (under six feet) could change clothes, play Yahtzee, and sleep without overlapping pads (it’s 52 inches wide at the head and 86 inches long). “And when packed, it’s so tiny and light I kept thinking I forgot a tent,” says one tester.

Ultralight materials, like silnylon fabrics and DAC’s TH72M aluminum poles, help shave grams, but it’s the single Y-shaped hubbed pole that really eliminates weight. It lets designers align poles with ridgelines; with three rather than four ridges, Big Agnes can drop a seam and pole section (the heaviest component per inch). Result: Less weight, good stability, and a fast, easy pitch. It’s technically freestanding, but you should stake it out to ensure maximum internal volume. In the Alps and in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, the Fly Creek proved totally weatherproof, repelling hard rain and wind.

Even more impressive, the double-wall construction, with mesh ceiling panels, kept even a hint of condensation from accumulating. Testers deemed the single door plenty big, but cautioned that for chronic wet weather, most hikers will want two doors and more vestibule space—gear for two is a squeeze in the seven-square-foot vestibule. $350; 2 lbs. 2 oz.; bigagnes.com

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Art
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I purchased my Big Agnes Fly Creek II from HumbleOutdoors for about $270, it came with a free BA footprint.

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A McNeel
Apr 05, 2011

Own it and am pleased. As with any product, design goal drives features. Goal is UL. So things like a geo-dome are off the table and place it anywhere set-up is not an option. Packed, including foot print and the shaft splice tube - nice touch BA!!- is right at 3 lbs. Not roomy, but for the weight, incredible space, especially if you take the time to fully guy it out. Can't imagine two men in this thing, but one man is livable. If you're much over 6'2", though, this is likely not going to work well. And, as reviewed, not a single drop of condensate after sleeping - that has never happened for me, including camping in desert. Very plsd w tent and can see why it's an EC Award winner.

Chris2
Jan 21, 2011

Even though I already have two great mid-weight tents that will last for years, I got this tent for those times when I'll be packing light and small. This is a small tent and has the drawbacks associated with a small tent, but it's amazing for what it can do, considering it doesn't quite weigh three pounds, stakes, stuff sacks, squashed mosquitoes, dirt and all. It's not a bombproof winter tent or a palace, or anything else, but it keeps the rain off well, and the bugs out, and helps keep the trip a fun walk in the mountains instead of a heads-down freight run. I have all the great bombproof (heavy) gear, but it's getting to be a lot of work and my hips and knees have forced me to go ultralight. This tent is definitely part of my gear now. I still can't believe how light and small it packs!

jeffrey
Jan 16, 2011

i got this tent recently after a few non-starter buys...this was another non-starter. the fly took up too much room to pitch anywhere. it could not be pitched in any direction in regards to limited space. and,tents need to be mnfctrd to be able to sleep in any direction once it is pitched. geodesic domes, anyone? also tents need to be able to be pitched without a vestibule and still stay dry. rei geo dome anyone? this tent is overpriced for a 3 season tent and too cold for one!!

Chris
Oct 06, 2010

If you're 6 foot+ nothing but a warmlite will give you more space & performance for the ounce than a Golite Shangri-la 3 will. I'm 6'5 and it's a 59 sqare foot palace at 46oz. (with floor, Ti stakes, lose the pole). It's 4-season, it's a tent, it's a tarp, it's perfect! Perfect for us "mostly ultralighter's whom don't full-on tarp".

Bruce
Sep 22, 2010

I got the one-person version. Great tent! No issues with leakage, and no issues with condensation as long as you use the side guy-outs properly. For me, the vestibule is big enough to hold my pack and boots out of the rain, and the tent can be set up in the rain with the fly already on. Two suggestions: use bungees on the vestibule stakeouts to keep the vestibule taut during temperature change, and make an item to hold open the top of the vestibule opening with an overlap to provide better ventilation during rain.

Tommy
May 14, 2010

Looked at this one just recently, but opted for the Sierra Designs Vapor Light 2 XL due to my height (6'3) The VPXL is a sweet little tent, but is also about twice the weight, at @ 4lbs. packed - have a good buddy who's looking at this one though - and it is NICE!

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