Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 backpacking tent review: packs down to a tiny size but is surprisingly rugged too

The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is a multi-award-winning ultralight shelter that’s popular for a host of reasons

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2
(Image: © Craig Taylor)

Advnture Verdict

Ultralight, versatile and incredibly comfortable, the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is a great option for almost any three-season adventure in the backcountry.

Pros

  • +

    Ultralight

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    Tiny pack size

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    Freestanding design

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    Comfortable and roomy

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    Multiple pitching options

Cons

  • -

    Pricey for casual user

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    Susceptible to wind

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Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2: first impressions 

The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 comes from a Colorado-based brand that has been making gear to help you sleep better in the backcountry for over two decades (such as the Q-Core SLX Petite women’s sleeping pad and the Sidewinder women’s sleeping bag). Big Agnes is known for improving on tried and tested approaches, and for making gear that’s light, durable and reliable in the wild. And that’s precisely how I’d describe this backpacking tent – even if the ultralight materials might not convince you of this right away. 

Specifications

• List price: $399 (US) / £374.99 (UK)
• Style: Dome
• Weight: 1kg / 2lb 4oz
• Waterproofing: 1200mm
• Rooms: One bedroom, one porch
• Pack size: 15x50cm / 6 x 19.5in
• Compatibility: Sleeps one comfortably or two at a push on good-weather backpacking and bikepacking adventures

The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is small, simple to set up and – with a maximum packed weight of 2 lbs 4oz (1kg) – is classified as “ultralight”. The fly is made of “solution-dyed, water-repellent silicone-treated nylon”, which in layman’s terms translates to ultra-thin and unbelievably light. So thin and light, in fact, that you might think this tent will barely last a season. 

But first impressions don’t count for everything. The Fly Creek UL can put up with a surprising amount of abuse on the trail, as long as you treat it with a reasonable amount of care.

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2

The inside of the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2 is easily big enough for one person and ample gear (Image credit: Craig Taylor)

The tent is also quite roomy, with one door and a fair-sized vestibule (comprising around five square feet). As with practically any other two-person tent on the market, it’s a tight fit for two, however, and I personally wouldn’t want to double up in this shelter. That being said, it provides more than enough space for one person and gear, and the roomy vestibule allows you to keep muddy boots and other bits of kit well out of the elements. You can also fully sit up in the tent and move around freely, which is a welcome feature for tents of this pack size and weight.

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2

Inside the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2. There's even room for a dog (Image credit: Craig Taylor)

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2: in the field

One of my favorite things about this tent is the pack size. It’s tiny. If you stow the poles separately to the tent, it packs down to the size of a grapefruit and can be easily stuffed anywhere in your pack. This makes it a great option for a variety of activities, be that long-distance backpacking, thru-hiking, bikepacking or fastpacking. In fact, I’ve used it on all of the aforementioned activities over the years and have spent multiple weeks in it on campsites. I’ve used it in all seasons (though this is by no means a four-season tent) and in a host of different conditions (including light snow). 

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2

The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 in use during a chilly winter’s night in Wales (alongside a Roben’s Starlight 1) (Image credit: Craig Taylor)

The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is also a doddle to erect and disassemble. It comes with one “featherlite” pole that’s color coded so you know which end goes where, and the pegs that come as standard with the Fly Creek are lightweight, robust and great for a huge variety of terrains (except perhaps sand and snow). 

If you get the additional footprint (which, at $55 is well worth it in my opinion), you’ve also got the option to reduce the weight further. Known as the “Fast Fly” setup, you can mount the pole over the groundsheet and leave out the inner altogether. The result is a bivy-like shelter that will keep you out of the elements while only weighing an impressive 1lb 9oz (700 grams).

Growing up just south of the glorious Brecon Beacons National Park, Craig spent his childhood walking uphill. As he got older, the hills got bigger, and his passion for spending quality time in the great outdoors only grew - falling in love with wild camping, long-distance hiking, bikepacking and fastpacking. Having recently returned to the UK after almost a decade in Germany, he now focuses on regular micro-adventures in nearby Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons, as well as frequent trips to the Alps and beyond. You can follow his adventures over on komoot (opens in new tab), or visit www.craigtaylor.co (opens in new tab) for more info.