Big Agnes, one of Colorado’s best-known gear companies, has got a solid reputation – but how does this newest version of one of their most popular models fare when tested for over 1000 miles of hiking?
Keep reading our Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 review to find out!
Check the latest prices for the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 below:
Our Verdict on the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is a two-person tent that’s mostly aimed at backpackers and hikers who camp out regularly in the backcountry.
And it’s great.
It’s comfortable, really versatile, fantastically easy to set up, and more than capable of enduring numerous nights of three-season camping.
I can say this without hesitation, as though I’ve only slept in it for a couple of nights, the owner of this very tent has just used it for over sixty consecutive nights on the Pacific Crest Trail – and positively gushes praise over it.
And though the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is mainly aimed at regular backpackers, that’s not prohibitive to people who camp on a less regular basis. It’s very versatile, and it’s a supremely comfortable place to spend a night under the stars (which, on a cloudless night, you’re able to see clearly through the tent’s mesh) no matter how often you go out.
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is, however, reasonably expensive – and there are other, cheaper options out there if you are just looking for a two person tent that you’d only plan on using a couple of times a year. I’d recommend the Naturehike Cloud-Up if you’re in the US.
There are also more spacious two-person tents out there. The space isn’t prohibitive, but it is quite cosy – so if you’re looking for a two-person tent where you’ve got ample room for both you and your gear inside the tent, the Fly Creek HV UL2 probably isn’t for you.
- Lots of internal storage
- Quick and easy to set up
- Very light and easy to pack away
- Great as a spacious one person tent
- Very effective in most weather conditions
- Quite small for a two-person tent
- My test model not quite as durable as previous Big Agnes tents I’ve owned (see “Durability” section)
- Pricey option for irregular campers
- Front entrance makes accessing gear/entering and exiting the tent difficult
Who is the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 for?
✅ Solo campers who want extra room
✅ People who camp and hike regularly
❌ Quite small for a two-person tent
Our tent review criteria
My overall review ratings for the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 are as follows:
- Comfort: 7/10
- Weather Performance: 8/10
- Durability: 7/10
- Ease of Setup: 9/10
- Portability: 8/10
I’ve spent a couple of nights in the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2; once alone, and once with a friend (it is a two-person tent, after all).
As a solo shelter, it’s great. I’m 6 ft, and there was ample room for me to wiggle around, sit upright and, importantly, to put my gear inside if it rained.
As mentioned earlier, though, it does feel quite small for a two-person tent (especially in comparison to Big Agnes’s own slightly dearer Copper Spur UL2). Though it’s certainly possible to fit two people and all their gear inside the Fly Creek HV UL2, it would certainly be a tight squeeze.
[8/10] Weather performance
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV2 UL2 is incredibly versatile, and excels in whatever weather you throw at it.
I took my Fly Creek out for a couple of nights of wild camping in the south of England in September. Granted, you’re not likely to find any particularly wild weather here at that time of year – but nonetheless, the tent performed fantastically in the wet.
Thanks to its double-walled design, condensation was nonexistent (despite it raining throughout most of the night) and we both remained comfortable throughout the night.
Furthermore, on my own long-distance hikes in the US, I’ve encountered numerous people using the Fly Creek in drastically varying weather conditions – and none have had any major qualms with the tent.
This isn’t, however, to say that I’d actively recommend using the Fly Creek UL2 as a tent for winter camping – it’s only designed for three-season backpacking, and thus you should invest in a dedicated four-season shelter if you’re looking for something to take out regularly in the snow.
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is an ultralight tent made of silpoly and mesh, so it’s not going to be as durable as a canvas tent – but it’s definitely pretty strong for an ultralight backpacking tent that only weighs about 1 kg fully packed up.
As mentioned earlier, the owner of this tent has just used it for over sixty consecutive nights (specifically, on the Pacific Crest Trail) – and though it performed valiantly, there is a very small rip in the mesh next to where the door zips shut.
Let’s be honest, though – sixty nights is a lot, and wear and tear can happen to ultralight materials like this.
This needn’t be a problem, though. Big Agnes will repair small tears in their tents for $15 (if you’re from outside of the US, they’ll help with $10 worth of the return shipping costs).
If you need a faster solution, use two Tenacious Tape Mesh Patches (one on either side of the mesh) to quickly and effectively seal the rip.
[8/10] Ease of setup
Setting up the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV is very easy. The first time I went outside to set mine up, I put on a four minute song – and the tent was up by the time the fade-out came in. Very impressive.
The Fly Creek HV UL2 is a semi-freestanding tent, so technically it doesn’t need any stakes to work. You’ll probably want at least two stakes at the footbox end of the tent, however, as otherwise the material just sort of droops on the floor and, therefore, your feet.
If you do happen to have issues with condensation (this can happen if you’ve camped in rain or a cool, moist field), you could run into some problems if you’re using a down sleeping bag – as down loses most of its insulative properties when it gets wet.
This need to stake out the lower end of the Fly Creek HV UL2 does seem like something of a step backwards from previous Big Agnes tents. I own a 2014 Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 which I’ve used for over 2500 miles of hiking, and have never once had to stake down the tent itself – only the rain fly over the top when necessary.
Speaking of which, the Fly Creek HV UL2’s rain fly is very simple to put on when it does start raining. Two clips at the front and one at the back of the tent ensure it stays put whilst you stake the rest of the rain fly out.
I found that I only needed one stake in each corner of the rain fly (i.e. four) to make it feel stable – but you’ve got the option to stake out both sides of the tent as well if you feel the need to.
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is the lightest two-person tent that Big Agnes makes, and it shows. Both the rain fly and the main tent compartment itself pack away to about the size of a 1 litre Nalgene bottle each, so it’s pretty easy to slot them into your backpack along with the rest of your equipment.
Fully packed, the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 weighs a hair over 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz). This is actually comparable to other similarly-priced one-person tents like the Nemo Hornet Osmo 1P or the MSR Hubba NX 1P – meaning that you could get more space for you and your gear without having to worry about buying a bigger, and potentially heavier, shelter from another brand.
Big thumbs up for Big Agnes there. Good job.
The nature of a freestanding tent also means that it’s pretty easy to pick up and move about even after you’ve set it up (before it, or the rainfly, are staked down of course).
This is especially handy in terms of keeping your tent clean. Instead of having to painstakingly brush all kinds of dust and leaves you might’ve amassed in your tent after a couple of nights camping, simply open the door, pick it up, and shake it out. Problem solved!
Extra notable features
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 has lots of handy storage pockets. There’s pockets on each side of the tent next to the door
My favourite extra feature in the Big Agnes HV UL2 is the pocket on the top of the tent, right above where your head lies next to the door. Though this pocket actually exists with the goal of holding your phone (there’s a little hole in which you can slide a headphone cable in), I like using it to put my Nitecore NU25 UL head torch; then, when writing my nightly hiking journal, I can see what I’m doing!
Value for money
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is expensive. At the time of writing, REI have it hovering somewhere around the $400 mark.
If you’re going to be carrying a tent for a few weeks and sleeping in it every night, though, having a shelter that’s as easy to set up as the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is incredibly useful.
And, as mentioned earlier, you’ll get more space (without any significant differences in weight) by choosing the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 and using it as a solo shelter than if you went for a similarly-priced one-person tent made, for example, by MSR or Nemo.
Check the latest prices for the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 below:
Final thoughts on the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2
If you’re a solo backpacker looking for a lightweight tent where you can sleep comfortably and have space for all your gear, the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is a great choice.
If you can stretch to it, we’d recommend going for something larger as a dedicated two-person tent (like the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2) in order to store all your gear alongside you inside the shelter. If you’re happy sharing a small space with your companion, though, the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is a solid choice.