Outbound Tested: Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2

The ultimate lightweight tent that every backpacker should consider adding to their gear kit!

I've been hiking all my life, but didn't really get into camping and backpacking until I was in college. With the budget of a college student, you can imagine where my first stop was to purchase a tent...Walmart. With a meager bartender's paycheck, I went in buying the cheapest thing that could cover my head at night. A tent that often felt like it weighed as much as I did. Material and pounds weren't important when you had student loans looming over your head. I was living the dream exploring, while carrying basically a dead body in my backpack. Yea it was fun for awhile, but then I finally got my first corporate job out of college. Time to upgrade! The next tent put in quality nights for me, but also was still a bit on the heavy side. I spent many of nights with multiple hot hands in my sleeping bag because of my two season tent. I didn't really think a 3 season tent would have that much more effect than a two season. I tried justifying why I shouldn't spend the extra money on a one season difference. When the opportunity came up, I was excited to have finally gotten the chance for another upgrade, the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2. I didn't even have time to open and set up the tent for practice before packing it, as I flew out the day it arrived in the mail for my PNW backpacking trip. 

To start with, I was shocked how light this tent felt. I had to peek inside the compartment bag to make sure there was even tent poles in the bag before packing it! Weighing in at an impressive 1lb and 15 oz for trail weight, this bad boy was by far the lightest gear I've ever owned. I'm exceptionally happy for this weight, as I am usually tent camping solo and have to carry all gear, food, and water by myself. It adds up quick and has been one of the downsides of backpacking for me. It can be tough sometimes to enjoy the scenery and the moment if your bag is weighing you down and killing your energy doing high elevation and miles. You won't have this problem with the Fly Creek HV UL2.

I just got back from spending 6 nights in California and Oregon with this tent as well as 7 nights at Italy's Dolomites and Slovenia's Julian Alps. With the various degrees of weather and climate, I was interested to see how my first three season tent would hold up on both trips. The first thing my friends said when we all were putting up our tents was, "Are you sure this thing won't rip? The material seems so thin!" I noticed that too, when I compared this tent to my previous ones. The material on this tent feels so light. As the product info will tell you, the fly and floor are silicone treated nylon rip-stop material. This means even when pulling them tight for setup, the material is strong but flexible. My friend tripped over my fly rope line multiple times during the night to use the restroom. I kept expecting to hear a rip of material, as I had to setup my lines tight with the intense winds we had. The material withstanding a grown man falling over it numerous times from that one night alone should win an award for not ripping. 

Between the snowy cold winds in the Dolomites to the warm and humid nights in the Redwoods National Park, this tent kept a consistent temperature that was perfect for me. With the tent body being nylon breathable and polyester mesh, I never woke up to condensation on the tent roof that I usually wake up to. I also had no issues with the pounding rain from a couple thunderstorms we had in Italy. It really lived up to its waterproof status!

One last praise for this tent would be the overall design of tent. Setup and break down have been a breeze--especially for people camping solo! With color coordinated clips and lips, it made setup so much easier than having to spend time figuring out if your fly was upside down or turned around. A quick check to the color of each corner of the fly let me know where that corner was supposed to go on the tent. Not that I'm illiterate when it comes to engineering and directions, but it sure comes in handy when it's pitch black outside and you're trying to set up quickly and get inside the tent to warm up fast. 

I'm pretty happy that this tent lived up to its product description and reviews I had already read. One less thing to worry about on my next cold trip to Alaska this year and many more trips to come! 

Published: June 18, 2018

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Katie YarboroughExplorer

Nashville

Photographer, Backpacker, Coffee Addict, Nature Lover