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Maia
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platinum Tent Review on 10/16/2012 19:05:02 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platinum Tent Review

Jim Arzigian
(Renais) - M
Front guy lines on 10/17/2012 00:54:48 MDT Print View

I am curious about the two guy lines on either side of the vestibule, and pretty high up on the tent. I've used a regular Fly Creek 2 for quite a while, and not ever used these two lines. I see they are not used in any pictures of the set up tent. Any idea of when they might be of use, or are these useless lines?

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
guy lines on 10/17/2012 08:27:44 MDT Print View

They are for use in high winds. The shape of these tents presents a wind-catching face and the guy-lines come in handy then.

Nice review. Did you see any weather Brad?

John McAlpine
(HairlessApe) - M

Locale: PNW
Even still Lighter...... on 10/17/2012 11:11:26 MDT Print View

Great review! You can reduce the weight by approximately 5 ounces or so by having a set of carbon fiber tent poles made by Josh at Ruta Locura. I had Josh make me a set for my Fly Creek 2. They are sweet! He mails you back the original poles and it's amazing to feel the difference. I have no afilliation with Josh and his company....I'm simply passing on info.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Usable Size on 10/17/2012 12:12:59 MDT Print View

Nicely written review, although it did seem a bit overly charitable without mention of what I believe are two pretty big short comings:

1) Vertical rain/snow falls straight in the door.

2) Not enough headroom for two adults to sit up at the same time without hitting the mesh. A lot of reviews don't agree there is an "excellent amount of available room" and that it's a "realistic 2-person tent".

Other smaller cons would be:
- lack of a top vent
- difficulty of two people managing with one door/vestibule.
- high stake requirements (6 minimum, but 8 required to keep fly off the inner)
- needing to sleep with your head at the door end limits camp site options

Edited by dandydan on 10/17/2012 12:15:22 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Usable Size on 10/17/2012 12:19:00 MDT Print View

"1) Vertical rain/snow falls straight in the door."

You know, this has never been an issue with me and these designs. The rain rarely falls at the very tip of the footprint. Instead, it falls on my back or person.

"lack of a top vent"

Completely overrated unless there is wind and if there is wind, the bottom ventilation will take away the condensation.

"- high stake requirements (6 minimum, but 8 required to keep fly off the inner)"

More than a two person tarp?

"- needing to sleep with your head at the door end limits camp site options"

This has never been an issue with any shelter / tarp I have used.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Great writeup. on 10/17/2012 12:29:42 MDT Print View

Great writeup. The Fly Creek UL2 is my primary tent. I don't have the platinum version, but I love the tent.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F - M

Locale: British Columbia
Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platinum Tent Review on 10/17/2012 15:57:00 MDT Print View

"1) Vertical rain/snow falls straight in the door."

I agree that this is a non-issue. I've been using this tent design for years (Seedhouse and Fly Creek). A simple solution is to zip up the top of the door so that it creates the required overhang. I can still get in and out with the door partially zipped (and I'm 6 ft 200 lbs.)

I've also never worried about bumping into the mesh when sitting up... not sure why this is perceived as a problem? Even if the fly is covered in condensation, I have never gotten wet from bumping into the mesh... it's a lot better than bumping into a single wall with no mesh inner IMO.

Edited by skopeo on 10/17/2012 15:58:31 MDT.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platinum Tent Review on 10/17/2012 17:16:27 MDT Print View

Hi all-

I'd say you've already answered the questions. Vertical precip in the door could be easily reduced by not unzipping all the way, but I find that I take in more rain on my clothing than what little makes it in between my body and the vestibule opening. I don't think of a sub-2-pound UL backpacking tent as a party tent... if this is one of the tents you're considering, weight is clearly a significant consideration, and you're probably not expecting a ballroom. I'm not sure why two people would need to sit upright and side-by-side, but if they are, that's a different segment of the market. Compared to some other tents with this square footage, there's a lot more internal volume here. The tent I referenced in the article as being about a foot narrower, though it's spec'd as being bigger, is a MSR Hubba Hubba. Two people could, indeed, sit upright in the tent, if that is highly important to you, but the tent also weighs nearly double the FC2P and has significantly less floor area.

Sure, I saw some good weather with the tent. Some days of extended rain, strong winds. The tent did well, kept me dry, stayed upright and in good shape. As I noted in the review, there can be a tendency for some snaking of the ridgepole, but good site selection and staking proved to be more than adequate for me. I mentioned a storm in the Foray review in which a mature maple tree was topped... the FC2P also sat pretty through the storm with nary a scratch. The tent would prefer not to be full-on sideways to the wind, but then, most tents are that way.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
FC UL2 on 10/17/2012 17:52:34 MDT Print View

"[the door letting rain in] has never been an issue with me and these designs. The rain rarely falls at the very tip of the footprint. Instead, it falls on my back or person. "

Rain falling into the tent is more of a downside when your sharing the tent with someone else. Sure the individual using the door is likely either already wet or about to get wet, but if there's another sleeper then extra consideration is required to avoid water falling on them. Big deal? No, but it's an easy fix (ie. Brooks-Range Foray) so when you're half asleep and running out for a pee, you don't have to remember not to undo that last foot of zipper.


"More [stakes required] than a two person tarp?"
No. High stake requirements are also a downside of most tarps.

In this case, the design doesn't keep the fly off the inner when pitched with 6 stakes, so 8 pretty much mandatory unless you can count on no condensation or don't mind the fly stuck to the inner in large areas of the sides. Again, this is minor but all these small easy areas for improvement add up. I'd just like to see a v2.

Edited by dandydan on 10/17/2012 17:58:12 MDT.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platinum Tent Review on 10/17/2012 19:41:46 MDT Print View

So, what is the rain fly made out of? What about the bug net? I assume most of the weight savings came from a lighter zipper, lighter bug net and lighter rain fly. If the bug net and rain fly are proprietary (or Big Agnes is keeping them a secret) then so be it. Otherwise, folks would like to know (especially since many people on this site build their own and would love to hear about materials out in the field). If Big Agnes likes it, chances are it has been tested thoroughly.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: FC UL2 on 10/17/2012 21:13:56 MDT Print View

The problem with the Foray is that it is too low at the foot end as per the review. This is a bigger issue to me.

"In this case, the design doesn't keep the fly off the inner when pitched with 6 stakes, so 8 pretty much mandatory unless you can count on no condensation or don't mind the fly stuck to the inner in large areas of the sides. Again, this is minor but all these small easy areas for improvement add up. I'd just like to see a v2."

Stuck to the sides? I reread the article and Brad mentions almost too much space between the fly and the inner. One has to peg the fly out anyway. For me, absolutely not an issue. I am stunned by the weight to space ratio of this tent given it doesn't use trekking poles.

May I ask what 2 person tent you use?

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
tents in storm on 10/18/2012 06:49:21 MDT Print View

"I mentioned a storm in the Foray review in which a mature maple tree was topped... the FC2P also sat pretty through the storm with nary a scratch."

Ha, I have never thought of testing tents two (or more for that matter) at a time. Need a bigger backpack I guess... ;-)

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
How tall an occupant fits w/o riding the ends? on 10/18/2012 09:09:28 MDT Print View

I found the review interesting but, not being an Oompa Loompa, I wonder how the tent works for persons of normal height, say 6'5" and up. So many of the lighter tents save weight by becoming shorter, too. My Copper Spur UL2 is just barely long enough for normal people...

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
BA FC UL2 on 10/18/2012 11:54:58 MDT Print View

FC UL2a

"Stuck to the sides? I reread the article and Brad mentions almost too much space between the fly and the inner."

The unnecessarily large inner/fly gap Brad mentions is along the ridgeline in the back half of the tent (shown above). Big Agnes should redesign the poleset/fly as Brad describes, which would cut weight and improve this tents resilience in side winds. Alternatively, they could modify the inner with a few extra clips and additional no-see-um netting to take advantage of this space and add volume in the back half of the tent for virtually no weight.

Where the fly gets stuck to the inner is along the sides of the tent at the bottom (shown below). You need to stake it out here, or the sides of the fly contact the inner and end up sticking to it once condensation has formed. Not doing so is problematic, because the wet fly is stuck to the inner right along the bottom where your sleeping bag is likely to be touching the sides. So 8 stakes is really the minimum and if you were expecting harsh weather and wanted to guy this tent out, you'd be at 12.

I'm not sure if this is also present in the Fly Creek UL2, but the design of UL3 is very similar in that you also need to stake out the sides of the fly to keep it off the inner. After several days of use in wet conditions, the UL3 fly material sags/stretches so much that even staking it out isn't enough, and it will still stick the inner part way up the tent over a fairly significant expanse (about where the UL2 guyouts are). This ends up being unavoidable in multi-day wet trips, and is one of the reasons why the UL3 (and perhaps UL2) isn't that fun to live out of for 2 wet weeks on Vancouver Island, despite its awesome volume:weight ratio. At least the UL2 has guyouts here, so if it is an issue after a few days of rain then presumably you could go to 10 stakes.

FC UL2b


May I ask what 2 person tent you use?"
Currently my wife and I are using a TarpTent StratoSpire2. It's 40.3 oz all in (tent, guylines, stakes, sack), whereas this UL2 Platinum is 30.4oz presumably plus 8+ stakes, guylines, sack etc, so likely 34-35oz apples to apples.

The SS2 is a bit fiddly to set up on undulating ground, which is the biggest con. Once pitched, the SS2 is far nicer in the rain with the non-exposed inner setup, dual protected overhang doors, large vestibules and fly that doesn't stick to the inner. Living space is also much more generous, particularly the headroom. 6 stakes or 8 if you want it sturdy (which I usually do).

Edited by dandydan on 10/18/2012 12:00:58 MDT.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platinum Tent Review on 10/18/2012 14:58:16 MDT Print View

spam...marking this thread in case it becomes another invisible thread

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: BA FC UL2 on 10/18/2012 19:31:26 MDT Print View

Dan, you are going to stake out the sides of the fly anyway. Don't see the issue. You would do this with the SS2 as well.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Shouldn't have to on 10/19/2012 00:04:06 MDT Print View

stake out the fly. Freestanding tents should be designed so the fly is supported by the poles and not need to be staked just to keep the fly off the inner. I've seen and used many times a design that does not have this problem and it was purchased just over thirty years ago. Don't really need any stakes for this tent but a couple are good if it gets windy. -The FCUL2 Plat. being labeled a two man tent is also a bit of a stretch (typical of the industry). That's why I have the FCUL3. This is what a two-person tent should be like. But again I'm not thrilled with the need for so many stakes on a freestanding tent though.

edited for clarity

Edited by WarrenGreer on 10/19/2012 00:05:15 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Shouldn't have to on 10/19/2012 07:43:25 MDT Print View

Why shouldn't you have to stake out the fly? You want the tent to blow away.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Staking UL2 on 10/19/2012 09:02:06 MDT Print View

"Dan, you are going to stake out the sides of the fly anyway."
In normal conditions, the only reason to stake out the sides of the fly is to keep it off the inner. You aren't going to be doing this anyways. Normally you would stake out the 6 corners of the tent (4 body, 2 vestibule), and then add guylines if you're expecting high winds. These stake outs along the sides may help a little in high winds, but not nearly as much as guylines and they're certainly not fulfilling any purpose beyond keeping the baggy fly off the inner in normal conditions.

"You would do this with the SS2 as well."
No. The SS2 only requires perimeter stakes at the 6 corners (4 body corners + 2 vestibule corners) and then there's optional guylines higher up on the canopy if you want additional wind-worthy-ness. Additional perimeter stakes between the corners to control a flapping fly are unnecessary.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
I'm a fan of apples on 10/19/2012 16:35:46 MDT Print View

"Currently my wife and I are using a TarpTent StratoSpire2. It's 40.3 oz all in (tent, guylines, stakes, sack), whereas this UL2 Platinum is 30.4oz presumably plus 8+ stakes, guylines, sack etc, so likely 34-35oz apples to apples."

Tough to compare apples to apples since one uses trek poles & the other Al poles, but I get your overall point.

Ryan

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
re: on 10/19/2012 19:36:23 MDT Print View

Hi Warren,

"That's why I have the FCUL3. This is what a two-person tent should be like."

And that is what 2P tents used to be like before people like me and you wanted lighter weights...

I have long used a 2P tent as a solo and have no problem with that. But I am big enough to need the extra room and don't like being cramped anyway. I would use the FC 2 Platinum as a solo and be happy with it.

Tents are sold these days with the minimum stakes needed to set them up. (Although I am pretty sure BA does send extras.) In a perfect setting that will be fine. In a perfect setting you won't see the fly touch the inner. When things aren't perfect you need more stakes. Use them. I (like Ryan J) carry a stake kit with 12 stakes, in my case 8 MSR Carbon Cores and 4 Ti hook stakes. When conditions warrant it I pull out the extras.

As far as the complaints about the extra space between the inner and the fly, think about what the change would do to the structure (in the case of changing the pole configuration) or the shape of the inner (just yanking it up to the spine pole would actually lose you interior space). Ask Roger, tent design is complicated.

Edited by rayestrella on 10/19/2012 21:46:27 MDT.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Where are the BPL weights? on 10/19/2012 19:46:21 MDT Print View

By the way, where are the "BPL weights"?

I thought we always listed actual weights. What is the actual total weight as packed?

As the tent may be set up with only a footprint and fly it is nice to know the weights of the individual pieces too. Knowing pole weights allows readers to know what they would save if they opt for aftermarket CF poles. Those are things that can't be found at the manufacturer's website, and are of value to us.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Where are the BPL weights? on 10/20/2012 05:50:22 MDT Print View

Agreed. The same goes if seemingly stronger and heavier poles are to be used. I'd want to know how much weight I'm adding. A lighter footprint may be made as well.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
PRICE!!! on 10/20/2012 20:15:18 MDT Print View

Brad,
When you stated that the new version was a $130 upcharge from the base price, why didn't you mention that the base price was...

Fly Creek UL2 = $369.95
WWWOOOWWWW!!!

That seems like a big oversight in the review. The actual price of this Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platnum tent is $499.95. Holy smokes!!! How do you justify that???

Can someone explain that to me?

Edited by TomClark on 10/20/2012 20:16:09 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: PRICE!!! on 10/20/2012 21:54:38 MDT Print View

Daryl, it is a,steal compared to this:

http://www.sierradesigns.com/p-559-mojo-ufo.aspx

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
poles on 10/22/2012 10:29:51 MDT Print View

“The poles are somewhat larger in diameter than one might expect, with joints that seem plenty stout. It’s a light set of poles, I’m not sure if there is any other difference from a standard Fly Creek 2 poleset.”

You could weigh them and tell. The standard Fly Creek’s 9 mm DAC poles weigh 10.2 oz (289 g)

John Ancelet
(jancelet)
Re: Even still Lighter...... on 10/31/2012 20:21:57 MDT Print View

What was the cost to have carbon fiber tent poles made for this tent and how long did that take?

Edited by jancelet on 10/31/2012 20:39:11 MDT.

Adam Klagsbrun
(klags) - MLife

Locale: Northeast US
looks different than the first UL2... on 11/05/2012 14:22:33 MST Print View

Looking at the photo of the tent without the fly, it appears that this tent is a bit shorter than the original UL2 version in the orangy tan color. Mine doesn't have such a crazy high arc like that, it seems to be shorter and so the arc is higher. I have more room inside my tent top to bottom between the thermarest and the edge of the tent. It does look like maybe there is a wider floor in this newer version too. I wonder if they ever so slightly tweaked the angles or the seam locations to stretch the inner space and make the tent sit differently without changing much... has anyone set them up next to eachother yet and really looked at it? I wish this review had actually done that.

Steve Meier
(smeier) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Very nice tent on 11/29/2012 11:27:55 MST Print View

I just bought this tent and it is quite an amazing little thing. Very impressive how BA was able to bring down the weight by tweaking the design. I have the Fly Creek UL3 for when I hike with a partner and bought this for solo hiking but it will easily fit me and my wife or me and one of my younger kids no problem. Two adult men would be a problem unless you're quite 'friendly' with each other. I also bought it for $375 online since I couldn't justify the normal $500 price tag. I couldn't really justify the sale price either but then again I wouldn't have half of my gear if I had to rationalize my purchases!