Can you ever have enough tents? I think the answer, most definitely for me, is no! Recently, I was looking for a lighter, smaller packing 1-person tent. The Nordisk Lofoten answered all my requirements particularly on weight and pack size BUT a compromise was going to be made on comfort, living space and storage space.
A recent purchase of a Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 ‘Bikepack’ tent for 2-people has been a revelation – packs real small, has low weight and is just perfect when out on adventure providing incredible space and storage for one person, or a comfortable relaxed space for 2 with excellent vestibules for storage and individual entry for 2.
I was so impressed, the Tiger Wall urged me to look at the Big Agnes brand and low and behold I found the new for 2021, Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 1. Check out options on Big Agnes. A one person tent with lower weight and pack size but excellent living space has been on my wish list for a long time.
To clarify, I am not going bikepacking, BUT, bikepack tents use smaller poles, typically 12-inches, and trust me, once you have had the option to pack and fastpack with 12″ poles you will be completely sold on them. Ultimately, they were designed to fit across the handlebars of a bike, but equally, they will fit inside pretty much any run pack – a winner!
So, I was sold on smaller poles, but my other two criteria were ‘low weight’ and ‘good living space’ and by living space, I mean the option to sit up inside the tent.
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 1 arrived and first and foremost, the storage bag for the tent and poles are designed for going on a bike, therefore they are robust, a little heavy but well designed.
If like me you are fastpacking or going hiking/camping, you just don’t need these storage bags and you will immediately make a considerable weight saving by not using them.
The tent weighs just over 900g with all the bags but stripped down to a minimum, poles, light pegs, fly and inner, I got the weight to just over 800g which for me, is perfect. It is possible to go lighter with some other brands, the Nordisk an example, but you don’t get the features, storage, living space and proper 2-layer tent that the Fly Creek offers. It’s a winner!
The 12″ poles are impressive and there is just one that attaches to the tent inner at three key points, two at the front, one at the rear which is colour coded. The inner attaches to the poles with simple clip buckles and you have a *free-standing inner tent for hot conditions. When I say *free-standing, to maximise space at the foot end, you ideally need to peg out the two corners that increase space. Also, to ensure the tent does not blow away, it makes sense to also add pegs at the three pole attachment points. It is also possible to use the flysheet as a tarp covering with no inner providing ultimately flexibility and the option to travel extremely light based on your needs and weather conditions.
Pitching the tent takes minutes. Lay out the inner and peg the bottom two corners, this helps stop the inner blowing away (just in case) and allows for easier pitching. Attach the pole at three points and peg out tight, start at the rear. Peg out the two rear corners after pegging out the front corners. Throw the fly over the inner, remember to attach the inner Velcro fastenings to the poles and then ‘clip’ the outer to the inner, one at the rear, two at the front. The two rear corners are designed to utilise the two pegs that peg out the inner – handy on saving weight. Peg out the two cords at the front of the tent. In the middle of the sides there is a cord on either side, with these pegged out, you increase the internal volume of the tent. Make sure you look under the fly as there are two internal attachment points that link the fly to the inner that help increase internal space. On the fly itself, there are four additional ‘cord’ points, two at the front, two on the middle (one on either side) that offer more stability and security in bad weather.
The inner has one zippered access point at the front that has plenty of space to sit without being obstructed. Of course, if you are over 6-foot tall, some compromises will be made! With the outer fly zipped up, you have enough vestibule space for pack storage, shoes, and other items.
Inside the tent, it tapers quickly and there is an excellent storage space for clothes, I managed to fit a jacket, base layers, waterproof, hat, and gloves with no problem. On either side near the door entrance, there is a pocket for small items – phone, keys, glasses, headlamp, batteries etc….
There are several features specifically for cycling, for example, a helmet attachment point and on the outer, loops are attached so you can add items without losing them. This is perfect for attaching socks, t-shirt, shorts etc after a day on the trail and allowing them to air and dry out.
Worth pointing out that for 2021, Big Agnes have redesigned many tents, the Fly Creek being one of them and they are using solution-dyed fabric which ecologically reduces water and energy consumption.
The 12″poles are brilliant as I can pack them pretty much anywhere. They are DAC Green Poles, poles so very durable and strong.
The steep architecture of the tent allows for excellent space at the front which really does allow one to sit up.
Internal and external storage is superb with some really great features.
Pitching is fast, easy, and secure and importantly you have three options: 1. Full tent with inner and outer. 2. Inner only. 3. Outer only. The use of TipLok Tent Buckles makes things very easy especially with the secure pole tip catcher and pre-cut guy lines.
Weight will always be crucial for me and a sub 800g tent with so much space ticks all the boxes, especially with no compromise on durability and features.
The vestibule offers great storage, easy access and has a two-way zipper.
Lots of reflective additions to the tent which makes pitching in the dark easier.
The interior space in the tent does taper off quickly but it is a minor niggle as you obviously need all the space where your head will go, however, for some it may feel claustrophobic.
I am used to side-entrance doorways/ vestibules and having used the Fly Creek with a front door, my preference would be a side-door. I think you get more usable space and potentially a better, more protected area for cooking with a side option. BUT this normally would increase the footprint of the tent and then that would mean additional weight, SO, I am more than happy with the front-door here.
The buckles make attaching the fly to the inner super easy. But if one breaks… attaching the fly, particularly at the front would be a real problem. I have no reason to think that they would break, but the possibility always exists.
Internal height 38″ at the front.
Length 86″ with 24″ vestibule.
Width 38″ at the front entrance and 28″ at the rear. With the door closed, the front door width is 26″
Packed weight 980g
Stripped down weight 800g
Fly only weight 620g
As solo tents go, Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 1 is not the lightest out there but is still amazingly light! The features, internal space, resilience to weather conditions and small pack size make this a serious contender for any trip. The Nemo Hornet does come close as a comparison with a little more space, less features, additional weight (approx 200g) and I personally feel less protection in harsher weather. At the lighter end, the Nordisk Lofoten is lighter, smaller pack size, considerably less features and compromised living space and storage. Ultimately, when choosing, you need to decide what works for you. Having lived with the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 1 it will now be my ‘go-to’ tent for solo adventure. It just ticks all the boxes with little or no negatives. It really is a superb offering at a good price, 350 dollars / 350 pounds.
Ultimately, the tent has received a significant update over the previous one, it has new environmentally friendly fabrics, larger internal space, wider opening access and a range of tweaks and upgrades that make it ideal for 3-season use when travelling fast and light.
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