The Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2 is a two person backpacking tent that weighs 2 pounds 4 ounces, making it an excellent choice for backpackers who want to reduce the weight of their gear but still prefer a double-walled tent. Just a few ounces heavier than the one person Fly Creek UL 1, the two person Fly Creek UL 2 is more spacious for a single person, while still providing the ability to bring along a friend (person or dog) to share your tent with.
Here’s a detailed weight breakdown of the minimal components needed to pitch the Fly Creek UL 2 on a backpacking trip, totaling 35.8 ounces. This doesn’t include any stuff sacks, since people frequently discard manufacturer tent sacks and replace them with ones lighter weight or differently shaped to make them easier to pack.
- Inner Tent, including guy lines (13.5 ounces)
- Hubbed DAC pole (7.5 ounces)
- Rain Fly, including guy lines (11.5 ounces)
- Minimum of 8 stakes required (3.3 ounces)
Like all lightweight tents, Big Agnes had to make a few compromises on interior space when designing the Fly Creek UL 2 tent in order to get the weight so low, so it’s important that you understand the strength and weaknesses of this shelter before you buy it based on weight alone.
The Fly Creek UL 2 comes with a single, three-armed hubbed tent pole making it very fast to pitch. Once extended, the inner tent connects to the pole using plastic hooks, while the pole ends slot into grommets in the front corners and rear end of the tent.
The design of the Fly Creek UL 2 assumes that you’ll sleep with your head behind the front door below the mesh cupola at the head end of the tent, and your feet at the low-end of the tent, in front of the triangular mesh panel at the tent’s rear, which has less head room. The rest of the inner tent is covered with a solid fabric, which prevents wind from blowing through the tent and helps keep it warmer in cooler weather.
The Fly Creek UL 2 rain fly drapes over the hubbed pole, locking into color-coded Jakes feet connectors at the front and rear of the tent above the pole grommets. The webbing on the rain fly is reflective at night making it easy to find your tent in the dark if you’re wearing a headlamp.
The front of the rain fly forms a shallow vestibule which can be used to store gear or to keep it out of the rain. While it’s large enough to store two backpacks, you’ll have to move one of them out of the way when you exit the front door. The door opening, which is formed with two side wings, requires two stakes to secure open. A solid door, with a two-way zipper, shuts out the elements, while providing additional airflow if unzipped part way.
The rain fly also connect to the sides of the inner tent using two small plastic glove hooks, about halfway down each side. When the fly is staked out, these hooks help expand the volume in the inner tent creating more vertical interior walls and more head room inside the tent.
If two people are sharing the tent, they will touch the inner fly when they sit up, even if the rain fly has been staked out along the sides. If the tent only has one occupant, positioning your sleeping pad in the middle of the floor (lengthwise) provides the most interior space to maneuver and get dressed.
Pitching the Fly Creek UL 2 in the Rain
One of the downsides of using a double-walled tent is that you can’t pitch them in the pouring rain without getting the inner tent wet, since the inner must be pitched before you can cover it with the rain fly. However if you prepare in advance, it is possible to pitch the Fly Creek UL 2 with the inner tent and rain fly pre-attached, using the Jakes connectors and glove hooks.
The advantage of doing this is that the rain fly covers the mesh of the inner tent, keeping it dry, when you take them out of your pack and stake them out. After that, you need to insert the pole between the fly and the inner, hook the inner tents hooks around the poles, and stake out the side of the rain fly. This is easy to get down after a few tries, but it’s much more difficult to keep the inner tent dry when you pack it up in the morning, if the rain fly has been soaked overnight by rain.
If you’re looking for a lightweight tent that’s easy to pitch, fully seam taped and waterproof, the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2 is an excellent choice, particularly if you’re looking for a three season tent than can be used by one or two people. Weighing just under 2 pounds 4 ounces, the Fly Creek UL 2 provides a nice balance of features so you can go light without sacrificing on ease of use or convenience. Though somewhat snug for two people, the Fly Creek UL 2 provides ample room for a single occupant to spread out in comfort while still enjoying the benefits that a double-walled shelter provides.
- Fully seam taped and waterproof
- Gear loft and mesh side pockets for personal items
- Very fast to set up
- Front tent vestibule is on the small side
- Front zipper must be treated with care to prevent snagging
- Small for two people; more like a 1+ for interior space.
- Not truly freestanding. Must be staked out.
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