Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1
- Under two pounds
- Good floor space
- Packs small
- Smallest vestibule area
- Tight front door
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1 rolls into a compact cylinder and was the quickest first setup. It’s most consequential drawback was its small vestibule area, which limits foul weather living space.
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1 is pretty generous on floor space, with 20 square feet (second best among the sub-two-pounders), but relatively tight on vestibule area, with 5 square feet, which is the second smallest in the test set. The front-facing door is harder to get into than tents with a side door, and the height-to-width ratio tends toward a narrow, longer body.
The Fly Creek performs well in this category coming in third for lightest trail weight at 1 lb 4 oz, just two ounces behind the MSR Carbon Reflex 1. It rolls into a small cylinder that won’t be a storage problem for most backpacks, although it runs wide to fit horizontally in the bottom of a narrow backpack. Big Agnes also seems to be the only tent manufacturer to see the importance of light, sturdy, and easy to use tent, pole, and stake sacks.
First time setup for our tester took 3:50, which is the second fastest among the tents in this test set. It has a single aluminum Y-style pole, which provides a high ridgeline and a basic amount of structure for the front door. It is mostly freestanding in the same sense as the Mountain Hardwear Ghost UL1 is mostly freestanding—it can set up without stakes, but only at a severe disadvantage in both floor space and weatherproofness.
The Y-style pole structure leaves this tent with a very high ridgeline, making it easy for moderate wind to topple the tent if it’s not staked down securely, even with gear in it. One area of concern is the small plastic clips that attach the body of the tent to the pole structure; during high winds a large amount of strain is put on these buckles, although much of the stress is absorbed by the fly and pole structure proper. We didn’t experience any buckle failure in our field test, but we did keep an eye on them while sleeping-bag-bound and experiencing some healthy wind.
In the spirit of lightweight backpacking, this tent doesn’t have many extraneous features. There are two large gear pouches on the interior of the body. It does come with the mtnGLO system, which features LED lights integrated into the interior of the body. This is a feature that most weight-conscious users will choose to forgo.
Additional Product Specifications
Minimum Trail Weight: 1 lb 4 oz
Max / Packaged Weight: 2 lbs 1 oz
Interior Floor Area: 20 sq ft
Vestibule Area: 5 sq ft
Peak Interior Height: 38 in
How We Tested It
The tents in this test were used throughout the spring of 2017, mostly on a multi-week mountaineering trip that began at Mount Shasta and ended on Mount Olympus and hit Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier in between. Testing also took place in the central Sierra Nevada. The length and intensity of the trip allowed a close look at the performance of each tent, with a strong appreciation of the consequences of that performance.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
About the Author
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