Editors' Choice 2010: Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Tent

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

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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