The Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Tent is an extremely light but durable tent. In the three years that I owned the Fly Creek, it survived six months on the Appalachian Trail, an eight week cross-country motorcycle trip and many short camping trips in between! If the tent had not been stolen on our most recent trip to the Smoky Mountains, it would be going along on our upcoming five-week road adventure through national parks.
At 2.05 lbs, the Fly Creek UL2 is the lightest doubled-wall tent on the market and probably its biggest attraction. The tent is also known for its ability to pack down into tiny spaces. On the Appalachian Trail, I often carried the tent poles on the outside of my pack and stuffed the tent into the gaps in between my sleeping bag and air pad.
One of the under-rated features of the tent, is its ability resist water. The rain fly and the floor of the tent are made of silicone-treated nylon and the rain fly has a full seamed zipper, all of which helps the tent withstand heavy rains. The bath tub-shaped bottom comes up from the floor which also provides additional protection from the rain. During one particularly intense rainstorm, my tent happened to be set up at the bottom of a small incline and right next to a log. The tent was practically floating on water that night but none of it ever penetrated into the tent. Additionally, the solid fabric of the tent throughout much of the tent except the top and rear bottom which is mesh, blocks the wind and helps the tent trap warmth inside during cold weather. The double-zipped rain fly also helps keep rain and cold weather out but can be partially opened for airflow on hot days.
Although some users have found the single pole more difficult to set up, I found the single, three-armed hub pole a snap to set up. I often found it took me less time to set up and take apart the tent than complete any other camp task! Plastic hooks connects the tent to the poles and pole ends easily fit into the grimmest at the front and back of the tent. The rain fly drapes over the pole and jakes feet connectors attach the fly and the inner tent together. For all the ease of set up, this is not a truly free-standing tent. The tent has to be staked down to get the best protection against the wind and for the side walls not to sag. The front vestibule is particularly hard to stake down. Although I’ve never had any issues with the tent during heavy winds, many online reviews indicate the tent collapses during high winds.
To make this tent ultra light, Big Agnes sacrificed some of the comfort features, mainly the space inside. The tent has small and tapered interior. It’s designed to have more space by the door (for your head) and less by the feet. By staking the tent, you will get a little more space. However, it is an extremely tight fit for two people, even when I’ve shared the space with another small person like myself. I’ve found alternating head and feet is the most comfortable way to navigate the tent when sharing it with another person. The single front door vestibule (with a zipper that can snag easily) also makes it a challenge to get in and out of the tent, especially when sharing the tent with another person. The Fly Creek is very roomy for a single person. I routinely slept with my backpack inside the tent either to elevate my knees or use it as a pillow.
The front vestibule forms enough space for two small packs. The interior of the tent has three easy to reach mesh pockets, one on each side and the top of the tent. Often, I stored my electronics on the side and my headlamp on the top, which was a great way to illuminate the tent at night.
The light weight material while keeping the weight down and making it easy to pack can be delicate. If you take care, the tent is durable. In the three years that I put the tent through the grind on many different kinds of terrain and types of trips, there were only a few tiny holes on the mesh part of the tent. Big Agnes also offers a great gear repair service which you can use to take care of routine wear and tear.
Despite the drawbacks, the Fly Creek is an excellent tent for a singe person. If ultra light is your main priority, you can’t go wrong with this tent. However, if other qualities are important especially comfort and space, consider a different option including the many other options from Big Agnes!