Gear Review: Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2
A combination of low weight, decent interior space, and a fast pitch holds the Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 as one of the most popular backpacking tents for thru-hikers (in the semi-freestanding category). This two-person shelter has one front entrance and a proportional vestibule. It pitches with eight stakes. The package comes with the tent body, fly, DAC Angle SF Hub pole system, six-inch repair splint, stakes, and stuff sack.
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 At-a-Glance
Weight: 2 pounds, 5 ounces packed; 1 pound, 15 ounces trail weight (claimed)
Peak Height: 40 inches
Interior Space: 28 square feet; vestibule (1): 8 square feet
Packed Dimensions: 4 x 19 inches
Fly Creek Materials and Features
The tent’s floor tub is made of a waterproof silicone-treated ripstop nylon, featuring polyurethane solvent-free taped seams—which means no more seam sealing or pre-treatment required like the old days.
The Fly Creek has a water-resistant ripstop nylon privacy panel that helps with insulation and privacy as long as no one is standing above or at the opposite end of the tent. The polyester mesh high walls and roof allow for ample ventilation, while keeping out little pests.
The full-cover weatherproof silicone treated seam taped ripstop nylon rainfly can be used on its own with the available Fast Fly setup or in conjunction with the footprint sold separately. The Y-shaped DAC aluminum Featherlite NFL poles feature DAC’s Angle SF Hub that delivers the high volume steep walls, which as the HV in the tent’s name implies increases the usable interior space without increasing weight or pack size.
The materials, while extremely light, feel robust. The shock cord holding the poles together and aiding in quick assembly is thinner than on other tents, but it doesn’t concern me with regards to durability. A six-inch pole splint is included in the event a pole snaps under use.
The Fly Creek has two small mesh pockets at the front corners and one on the roof of the tent. It also has loops for additional accessories sold separately such as the Big Agnes gear loft.
The single-door vestibule features Velcro-secured storm flaps protecting the zipper. The tension of the ultra-lightweight ripstop nylon makes for some finickiness at the zipper curves. One must be patient here so as not to bind the material in the zipper and risk a tear. Both doors easily roll open and can be held in place with a simple loop and toggle.
Setup and Pitch
Setting up the tent without the included rain fly takes about two minutes, which is a welcome realization after a full day of hiking. This semi-freestanding tent requires staking out the corners to maximize the footprint and interior space. Ultralight plastic clips attach the tent fabric to the spine. An odd plastic pivot clip, which actually failed on my previous version of the Fly Creek, is the only anomaly in the relatively straightforward clip hardware. Despite it being made of ultralight materials, the clips, straps, and other hardware employed in the tent’s construction are durable and fit for purpose.
Color-coded and reflective tensioning strap tabs clip in at each of the pole-fastening positions, while lightweight hook clips fasten to reinforced loops sewn into the tent body. Reflective narrow-gauge guylines stretch out from the footprint and the rainfly to each of the eight stakes to maximize interior space.
A couple of the guylines have funny plastic tabs for those hikers who can’t tie a taut-line hitch or find it too fiddly with the extremely narrow gauge of the ultralight cordage. At first, I had the notion of snipping them off to save even more weight, but they were very convenient and easy to use, so they survived my scrutiny.
86 inches long
52 inches wide at the door
42 inches wide at the feet
39 inch peak height
28 square foot interior space
The Big Agnes “Stay Dry” entryway features a near-vertical door together with an awning style overhang allowing for entry and egress from the tent devoid of any dripping or direct rain.
Once erected, you can see the spacious interior with its steeper wall angles and higher interior volume. The Fly Creek HV UL 2 can just about accommodate two standard-width inflatable mattresses, but will not fit more than one of the wide mattresses now available on the market.
Sold as a two-person tent, the Fly Creek can just about fit two people lying side by side. The vestibule is very small and it only has one entrance. It felt like I was being born when I tried to exit the tent when sharing the tent with my teenage son and storing both of our packs in the vestibule.
To save weight and materials, the roof is sloped toward the back. The floor also tapers ten full inches from the width at the door. As someone who normally sleeps with my head away from the entrance, it was disconcerting at first. This is actually a very good one-person tent. Using it as such, I was very comfortable and had ample room to stretch out, change my clothes, and pack inside.
Fly Creek 2 Final Thoughts
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 is a solid three season tent. At a price of around $350, it is competitively priced for an ultralight durable backpacking or thru-hiking tent.
The construction and materials are impressive and proven in the field. I had issue with the material used on the stuff sack, which is the same as the rainfly and tub floor. As I carried the tent on the outside of my pack, every time I caught a branch or thorn, I thought I had irreparably damaged the tent.
My biggest gripe is the infected snot green color with which they have decided to replace the stunning and jolly canary yellow of the previous version. It is not a pleasant color scheme and made me feel rather morose to climb at the end of a dreary day.
Beyond these minor critiques, I wholly recommend this tent as a tent for any backpacking trip you are planning.
Weight: 2 pounds, 12 ounces
Livable Space: 29 square feet (two entrances)
Our Review here
Weight: 2 pounds, 8 ounces
Livable Space: 28 square feet (two entrances)
Our Review here
Weight: 3 pounds, 12 ounces
Livable Space: 28.7 square feet (two entrances)
This product was donated for purpose of review.
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