Ever since I was a kid, we went camping in heavy, large tents with my family. No matter where we went on a road trip, the 8-person, 40-pound dome was tucked away in the trunk among the camping gear.
But as I grew older, simply sitting around the campfire wasn’t cutting it anymore. I wanted to hit the trail and experience nature as much as I could.
Yet, how was I supposed to lug a massive shelter into the woods without breaking my back? That always confused me.
Then one day, I came across ultralight tents.
Over the last few decades, camping technology has drastically improved. Lighter tents are now just as capable, if not more capable, than some of their heavier counterparts.
One of the best lightweight tents for car camping and backpacking is the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2.
Let me show you why.
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 Person Tent
If you want just one sleeping bag for year-round use, you’re probably looking at a 3-season bag.
But – finding something that will keep you warm during cool nights, but won’t be too hot in the height of summer, might be trickier than you think.
If you want to experience the ease and portability of a 2¼ lb. shelter and ample protection from the elements, then the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 may be the perfect tent for your next outdoor adventure.
The semi-freestanding, 3-season Fly Creek HV UL 2 has a multitude of features, but some of them could use a remodel in the future.
The floor area isn’t as large as some of the other 2-person tents on the market and it may feel slightly cramped.
Also, the ‘Y-Shape’ construction can be another issue in harsh winds, but as long as you pitch it correctly, you should be warm and dry inside the shelter.
Big Agnes is constantly improving their products, so you should know that you’ll get a high-quality design with every one of their products.
Also, for all you fellow eco-friendly campers, they tend to construct their products out of recycled materials, saving the environment one Fly Creek HV UL 2 at a time.
Size: Saving Weight by Sacrificing Space
The high volume (HV) in the Fly Creek HV UL 2 is a little misleading.
In order to get down to the weight of a feather, Big Agnes had to compromise some features of the tent, and one of them was overall space.
The length of the floor is 86” while the width tapers down from 52” to about 42”.
The floor area itself is typical for most lightweight shelters and can be tight for taller people.
What makes it feel smaller are the low-hanging 40” max-height ceiling and non-vertical sidewalls.
Anyways, if you plan on spending hours upon hours of non-sleep time in your tent, then you might want to look into a larger tent with similar features like the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2.
Yet, if you are only using your tent to retire at the end of a long day in the wilderness, then you should be comfortable in the Fly Creek HV UL 2.
Season: Excellent In Wet Conditions
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 is marketed as a three-season tent and it performs to every bit of those standards.
The rain fly and bathtub floor, both coated in 1200 mm polyurethane, work in tandem to prevent any outside water from entering your shelter while the double-walled structure will keep you warm in the harshest of rains.
At first glance, it’s hard to believe that the fly will can keep you dry since there seems to be a several-inch gap around the bottom of the tent where water could possibly seep in.
But a water resistant canopy and a PU tape seam-sealed bathtub floor will most likely keep you dry.
To keep the underside of the tent dry, the Fly Creek HV UL 2 has plenty of breathable mesh and air vents, which allow the air to flow through the shelter, making it harder for condensation to form.
Although, if that gentle cooling breeze turns into a rapid gust, this tent may collapse if not properly reinforced due it’s Y-shaped construction.
Setup: Easier Over Time
he Fly Creek HV UL 2 is not a difficult setup, but you may struggle at first.
Since it’s technically a semi-freestanding tent, you’ll have to get used to properly staking or tying off the guylines so that it doesn’t topple over.
Still, one great feature is that Big Agnes claims that their product should be “ready to pitch” right out of the box.
To actually pitch the tent, you’ll want to lay out the canopy and the single hubbed pole structure.
Then, place the end of the structure in the grommets and proceed to snap on the ultralight plastic clips to the pole, which will give you the overall tapered-shape.
If you aren’t expecting any rain or wind in the forecast, then you can probably sleep under just the canopy, using it as a bug net as you gaze into the night sky.
I would suggest adding on the fly, even though it may be a frustrating job.
You’ll need to drape the fly over top of the structure and secure it to the poles using Velcro tabs.
Then, using the precut guylines, stake out the sides of the fly and the vestibule (comes with 11 ultralight aluminum J-stakes).
Don’t get discouraged if the tent is not taut on your first try. Simply walk around the shelter, going one by one as you reposition the stakes for a stable structure.
Security: Durable Yet Thin Materials
Big Agnes always comes through with their quality of materials, and the Fly Creek HV UL 2 is no different.
The fly and floor of the tent are constructed of lightweight, 15D ripstop nylon that has been infused with silicone materials for durability and waterproofing capabilities.
The canopy is constructed of strong polyester material as well.
The only issue is that these materials feel paper thin even to the point of making a crackling sound over time.
While they may not tear right away, you should take proactive steps to mitigate the risk, like purchasing the Fly Creek HV UL 2 footprint to increase the tent’s lifespan.
When it comes to the rigid pole structure, Big Agnes was able to cut down tons of weight while maintaining high-strength with “DAC Featherlite NFL pole system.”
Storage: Good Sized Vestibule
For backpacking tents, it’s pivotal that they contain a decent-size vestibule to store all of your muddy, sweaty gear, and the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 is comes equipped with just that.
At 8 sq. ft., you’ll have plenty of room to store your clothes, backpack, and whatever else you carried into the woods.
That way, you’ll free up the limited interior space so you can snuggle up to your partner.
Although, unlike other lightweight tents, the Fly Creek offers a special design to its vestibule – a makeshift mudroom. This way you won’t track in any water if your entering the large, full-walled, rear-entry door.
On top of the vestibule, Big Agnes has added a decent amount of interior storage options, including three interior mesh pockets and several gear loops – which I like to use a paracord to rig-up a mini-clothesline if it’s too wet outside.
If you need more storage space, there is also a triangle gear loft available, although it’s sold separately.
Don’t panic! Yes, the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 will run you a pretty penny, but it has so much to offer with its great price-to-performance ratio.
Personally, I feel like the price is 100% justifiable with the multitude of features – the quality of materials, the dry vestibule, the weather protection, the packability – 4” x 19”, and most importantly, the weight.
Sure, you may feel like the Fly Creek HV UL 2 will put a burden on your bank account, but the near-two-pound weight will also help ease the burden off your back.
Wrapping It Up…
Whether you want to car camp or journey out on the trail, the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 may be your best tent option.
The extremely lightweight shelter provides excellent weather protection for all of your future outdoor adventures.
You’ll have to get used to the semi-freestanding set up and it may be a hit on your bank account initially, but over time, the long lasting, quality materials will have you wondering why you didn’t switch to a lightweight shelter years ago.