Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1 – A Hiking Photographers’ Review
Welcome to my Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1 tent review. I’ve had this tent for a few years now, during which it has become my trusty companion of my late spring/early autumn hiking and photography excursions. So this will also be more of a long-term review of how it performed. Spoiler: I love this tent for its weight, packability, and performance.
Let’s jump in.
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1 tours the Lofoten.
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Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1 Review
First off, why did I even buy this tent? Very simple, it was the lightest one-person three seasons tent I could find for my budget at that time. Since I hike with quite a lot of photographic equipment, reducing the weight on my shoulder was my main priority. It was the deciding factor during my search for a lightweight tent.
Intended Use – Who is the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1 for?
This tent is specifically designed for backpackers, thru-hikers, bikepackers, and anyone spending time outdoors s who prioritize weight reduction without compromising protection. Its ultralight nature and compact size make it perfect for multi-day excursions, allowing you to traverse long distances without feeling its weight.
My Big Agnes Fly Creek Ul HV 1 tent
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 1 is a semi-freestanding tent. Its three poles structure makes it impossible for the tent to stand up on its own so it needs to be pitched – at least the base and some of the guy lines.
The then has a front entrance which can be fully opened and attached to the side for max ventilation.
If you stake it out fully including the sides, you can expand the interior space a bit – which is why this tent is called HV – high volume. The inner has a double door, a normal one, and a mesh one, which is standard for most tents.
Inside the tent, you have two side pockets which are quite spacious. Also, a tethering point at the top to attach a small light, for example.
Lastly, the tent has a bathtub floor that helps you stay dry during rainy nights.
Outer Dimensions, Weight & Fooprint
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 1 offers a compact and lightweight design. So it is easy to see why this is one on the shortlist of most backpackers and hikers. With a trail weight of just 1 pound 11 ounces (753 grams), its weight is almost negligible. Its packed dimensions of 4 x 18.5 inches (10 x 47 cm) ensure it easily fits in your backpack without consuming much space. Even less if you take out the poles and compress the sack, which is what I usually do.
However, this does not include the footprint, which I’d recommend buying (I did). It weighs only and its size is just a little bigger than a standard envelope (4oz or 113g, for 7.5″ x 5″ x 1″, or 19 x 13 x 3cm).
On summer trips, if you want to save even more weight, you can just actually leave the inner part of the tent at home and set it up with just the footprint and the fly (the outer part of the tent).
While the tent’s lightweight design prioritizes packability, the interior space is optimized to accommodate one person comfortably. The floor dimensions measure approximately 86 x 38 inches (218 x 97 cm), offering enough room to sleep comfortably and to store some gear. I can fit a 58Lt backpack above my head, my Osprey Exos 58. It’s going to be a little cramped but doable.
Ryten, Lofoten Islands.
Well, not much of it. This is not the tent you’d want if you are planning to spend some time in it.
However, taller individuals may find the height slightly restrictive. I’m 182 cm tall and I fit just fine, with some headroom to spare when lying down. I use that space to store my backpack if it is raining outside.
I can also sit upright on the floor but that’s it. So this is not a tent you’d ideally want to spend a lot of time in.
Of course, this tent does not have a very livable vestibule area either, but that should not be expected in an ultra-lightweight one-person tent. Still, there is more than enough space to store gear. I can fit both my 58 liters backpack and my boots in that area, with a little room to spare.
So if the weather is nice, the backpack stays in the vestibule area and I have a little more room inside.
My Osprey Exos 58 in the Vestibule area
Crafted with high-quality materials, the Fly Creek HV UL 1 tent strikes a balance between durability and weight. The rainfly and floor are constructed from silicone-treated ripstop nylon, providing excellent waterproofing capabilities and preventing tears and punctures.
The tent body comprises lightweight mesh, promoting breathability and reducing condensation buildup. In my experience, this tent can stand rainy weather with no problem. I did not have to seam seal so far and I’ve had no leakage inside.
The aluminum poles feel very light and resistant at the same time. Their three-pole design helps to keep the weight down.
Performance in the Field, Including Bad Weather
The Fly Creek HV UL 1 tent shines in various weather conditions, showcasing its versatility. The high-volume pole architecture enhances stability, and the tent’s aerodynamic design enables it to withstand moderate winds. Make sure you pitch it with the rear side facing the wind to minimize the surface area exposed to the wind.
It’s waterproof rainfly and bathtub-style floor offer reliable protection against rain, ensuring you stay dry during unexpected downpours. As mentioned earlier, I’ve personally had no issues with the rain and the tent ensured I stayed dry.
However, while this tent can withstand heavy rain pours with no problem, it may not be the tent you want to bring with you if you are expecting a lot of bad or cold weather. It is a three seasons tent after all. This does not mean you can’t use it in colder weather, you can up to a certain point, with the proper sleeping bag and mat. I’ve used it down to 5C (40F) and while it was not toasty warm inside, it was doable.
High on the Alps on a late spring tour.
The Fly Creek HV UL 1 tent is great at managing condensation. This is especially true when fully staked out. The air can circulate easily, taking the moisture away. I have slept on very damp grounds in late spring during the spring thaw on the also and I’ve only got a little condensation at the top of the tent. a quick one to dry.
This tent excels in scenarios where weight is a crucial factor, such as long-distance backpacking, thru-hiking, and ultralight adventures. Its quick and easy setup, durability, and weather resistance make it a popular choice for those seeking efficient solo shelters. For this reason, as a Hiking Photographer, this tent shines. The compact dimensions and weight are hard to beat and serve well to get some sleep between sunset and sunrise.
Annoying Things About the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1
While the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 1 tent boasts numerous strengths, a couple of minor drawbacks are worth mentioning. As mentioned earlier, taller individuals may find the tent’s height a bit constricting. Additionally, the single, front door design isn’t exactly my favorite. It isn’t the easiest way to get in and out of the tent.
Also, if you are storing gear in the vestibule area, you will need to move it out of the way each time you need to get out or back in. More than a minor inconvenience rather than a huge issue, but if a side door is a must for you you may want to look at the Copper Spur instead.
Conclusion – Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1 Review
In conclusion, the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 1 tent excels in its intended purpose as a lightweight and weather-resistant shelter for solo adventurers. With its compact dimensions, ultralight construction, and commendable performance in various weather conditions, this tent offers reliable protection while minimizing the burden on your backpack. It’s hard to beat as a lightweight tent.