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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Tent Review on 12/15/2009 14:18:46 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Tent Review

Richard Sullivan
(richard.s) - MLife

Locale: Supernatural BC
Floor will leak on 12/15/2009 17:15:13 MST Print View

A great little tent for sure. One big weakness is the 1200mm waterproofness rating on the floor. Over the years we have seen tent floors drop from 3000+ down to 1800 and now a miserly 1200. I would not use this tent in wet conditions where drying out might be difficult. By comparison the MSR at 10000mm is going to be bone-dry even in the NW camped on sodden moss or meadow for days of rain at at time.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: Floor will leak on 12/15/2009 17:19:06 MST Print View

Silnylon has around the same hydrostatic head and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of tarp tents with sil floors out there which have no leakage problems.

I'm sure Roger has tons of experience and will come by to comment.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Floor will leak on 12/15/2009 17:40:17 MST Print View

I was section hiking the AT in Georgia around Labor Day when they got 7" of rain in 48 hours. I set up camp at Justis Creek Campsite which has tent pads cut into the hill. It is a new site along a relocated section of trail and the tent pads were muddy and packed hard. I set up my SpinnShelter/Alpinlite Gear Bug Tent 1.25 combo and went to sleep. Well it REALLY started to rain in the night and the tent pads pooled with water. My Bug Tent with silnylon floor was in the middle of a pool of water and didn't leak. I wouldn't want to do it again, but it was waterproof.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Tent Review on 12/15/2009 18:37:42 MST Print View

Just a comment on pricing. The Terra Nova (2009 version with dual doors) is $289 at Moontrail. It does not appear to be on sale but I cannot confirm that.

Regarding the waterproofness of the floor. I have not had leakage with silnylon if first camped in a dry spot prior to it raining. However, I have had it wet through very quickly if camping on wet grass. So I do think that if you are placing a silnylon floor on reasonably wet ground and putting a lot of pressure or weight on the floor you can get some wetting through. BA recommends a ground sheet with the Fly Creek anyway, increasing the HH to 2400mm.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Tent Review on 12/15/2009 18:38:15 MST Print View

Oh yea - nice review Ray!

Marc T
(industryarts) - F

Locale: So Cal
Fly Creek UL 2 - 4 Stakes Minimum on 12/15/2009 18:39:16 MST Print View

In some geographies I prefer to pitch on flat rock. Can you get away with no stakes? In comparison, the MSR Hubba Hubba (3lbs 14 oz - trail wt) pitches exceptionally well without stakes.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Re: on 12/15/2009 20:37:55 MST Print View

Yeah, the materials do keep getting lighter Richard. But we are the ones driving that, right? I do most of my hiking in California which normally sees little rain at night when the tents are up. That is why I try to get them used in Minnesota. The storm that it was in had water running under half the tent for about 20 hours. In the picture with the wind shoving the pole over the tents set up on the property line with the place next to me so the kids can see the tent outside their windows. There is a dip right at that line which is between the right side and the center stake. That became a creek. Not a bit of water came through. My Tarptents have seen some wild weather too with never a leak.

Thanks David. As far as the MSRP we go with what they say, not what retailers sell it for.

Marc, it can set up on rock the same as a Hubba. You would need to wrap line around rocks through the stake loops to pull the vestibule out the same as you would the MSR. My four stake comment is to use the vestibule normally. Something needs to hold one end to pull from the other.

My feeling is that a tent should be able to use all its features. A vestibule is pretty important to me, especially when sharing a tent. That is why I include the weight of as many stakes as it needs to do so. (I will make sure to clarify that.)

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Re: Floor will leak on 12/15/2009 21:17:07 MST Print View

Nice review. Definately a neat and tempting tent.

Regarding the lightest 2 person tent...one could argue that the MLD DuoMid + DuoMid mesh inner is the lightest double wall 2 person tent, but it depends whether you consider a trekking pole supported shelter to be a tent. This combo is 11.5oz (cuben DuoMid tarp) + 14.5oz (Inner Net) plus stakes (~1.5oz) for a total of 28oz (vs. 38oz for the FC UL2). Supposedly the Duo mesh inner isn't really suitable for two though. The upcoming SMD Haven tarp/net tent combo will likely be a more livable 2 person, double wall trekking pole supported shelter but it will probably weigh about the same as the Fly Creek UL2 until the cuben version is released later.

"Silnylon has around the same hydrostatic head and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of tarp tents with sil floors out there which have no leakage problems.

I'm sure Roger has tons of experience and will come by to comment."


Roger did comment in another thread a few months back that he has had the waterproofing of silnylon floors fail. I believe he attributed this to the silnylon wearing and becoming less waterproof....so I don't think he has had a new silnylon floor fail.

Edited by dandydan on 12/15/2009 21:19:41 MST.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Tent Review on 12/15/2009 21:37:52 MST Print View

"There is a dip right at that line which is between the right side and the center stake. That became a creek. Not a bit of water came through. My Tarptents have seen some wild weather too with never a leak."

Hi Ray - by your own admission you used the factory footprint. I suspect that would have helped with increasing waterproofness. Or did you not on this trip? Thanks,

Frank Baker
(Wildswolfe) - M
New Tent Mania on 12/15/2009 22:09:55 MST Print View

Ray, very thoughtful and complete review on what appears to be a real lightweight winner, but I gotta ask -how many tents do you own and how often do you buy a new one? I've purchased 3 new tents and a tarp/bivy in the past 7 years (plus I still had the two models from earlier years) and thought I was getting a little obsessive. Maybe I'm not doing enough backpacking to wear out my gear fast enough?

Benjamin Crowley
(benajah) - F

Locale: West, now
floors on 12/15/2009 22:51:17 MST Print View

For tents with really lightweight floors I found a trick a while back that works for really wet areas. Thing is I am not sure how much weight it adds to the tent, but the idea is to spray the light floor with silicone tent coating, giving it several coats both on the inside and out. The stuff is cheap, so you can recoat the outside (tent floor to ground) side after a long trip if needed.
It seems to work. I have a Mt Hardware Stiletto that I use in Oregon and Washington a lot and began to get some seepage into the floor one trip. I coated it when I got home, then a month later sat through a long winter rainstorm (7 days straight but did pack up and hike everyday) in Big Sur and didn't get any seepage at all.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Floor will leak on 12/15/2009 23:48:16 MST Print View

I think I agree with what everyone has said about the degradation of silnylon specifications. The problem is that a lot of it is made for 'zero-porosity parachutes' and animated advertising blow-up dolls, not as a waterproof outdoors fabric.

Yes, I have had silnylon floors withstand running water under them - but let me qualify that. I am always very careful to have either a CCF pad or an air mat between me and the floor, to spread the load and reduce the pressure. I am sure if I knelt directly on silnylon on hard rock some water would come through.

Yes, I had my tent floor start to leak in France, and recoated it with sealant from a hardware store. The recoated floor is still working fine.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Pitching the tent on 12/15/2009 23:52:37 MST Print View

Ray wrote:

> I do most of my hiking in California which normally sees little rain at night
> when the tents are up.

I think this comment should be noted with care. I am sure it is fine when pitched in dry weather, but there is no way I would ever buy a tent (or rely on a tent) which required that you pitch the inner first without the fly over it. We often have to pitch camp in heavy rain: this generic design would fill up with water while we were getting it up.

The vestibule problem is as Ray says - doesn't work in the rain.

Horses for courses.

Cheers

YAMABUSHI !
(THUNDERHORSE) - F
Big A on 12/16/2009 00:19:22 MST Print View

I had been using a Fly Creek UL1 as a light 2 person tent for a while. I found it quite cozy all be it a tight fit for anything more than just sleeping in. It was great!

While I have it no more, I do have a Seedhaus SL2 and find it much roomier although 50% heavier. Its nice for extended time out of the elements.



One thing I think the review left out (although Im sure most of you may know) is the "Fast Fly" config.


I'd venture to guess that the Fly Creek UL2 can be set up the same way.


I have used both the SL2 and UL1 in this manner and on the SL2 it drops the weight by 18oz!!

A great reduction.

SOMETHING IVE BEEN MEANING TO TINKER WITH:

sewing some Mosquito netting to the bottom of the fly thus eliminating the need for the tent body what-so-ever. Ive found the sides block wind and rain effectively and sit lowly enough to only need 2-3 inches of netting.


When I do ill be sure to post it in the MYOG thread or mods.

-T.Horz

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Tent Review on 12/16/2009 01:49:30 MST Print View

"sewing some Mosquito netting to the bottom of the fly thus eliminating the need for the tent body what-so-ever. "
I can't see how you would prevent insects getting in on the door side. Also if you get a bit of side rain your floor might get wet.
Franco

P. P.
(toesnorth) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: "Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Tent Review" on 12/16/2009 08:28:43 MST Print View

Nice review, Ray. Thanks.
I wish they would listen to reviewers and fix the fly over the door and add the vents. Until they do, I guess I'll pass.

Willem Jongman
(willem) - F - M
not for Norway on 12/16/2009 10:06:12 MST Print View

I am jealous of the weight. Unfortunately, what I am looking for is a tent for an upcoming trip to Norway. Clearly this is not the tent for that trip. Even if the Hilleberg and Helsport offerings are heavier, they are also much better adapted to bad conditions.
Willem

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Tent Review on 12/16/2009 10:29:44 MST Print View

I think it's important to note that the Fly Creek floor is polyurethane coated silnylon so comparing it to non-coated sil is pointless.

Ray - Thanks for a great review.

Did you find that the higher sides on the UL2 kept more heat in than the full mesh on your SL2? I have the Fly Creek UL1 and believe that it traps more heat than my Seedhouse 1 did with the full mesh inner. It might be that I'm just getting better wind protection or perhaps the smaller size of the FC makes a difference in trapped warmth.

I have also experienced some condensation on the silnylon floor which is something I've never experenced with the heavier floor in the Seedhouse 1. Did you notice this in your tests?

For me, I don't think I would pick the Fly Creek UL 2 over my Copper Spur UL2 because I really like the extra headroom and the dual vestibules in the Copper Spur but I'm using it mainly as a 2 man shelter. I might however, have picked the FC UL 2 over the FC UL1 if it had been available because it's only 4 ounces heavier than the one man Fly Creek but provides much more space.

Edited by skopeo on 12/16/2009 10:31:25 MST.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Tent Review on 12/16/2009 11:04:35 MST Print View

"I think it's important to note that the Fly Creek floor is polyurethane coated silnylon so comparing it to non-coated sil is pointless."

Really? The hydrostatic head is very similar so no, the discussion is far from pointless.