My old tent cost just around $50 and served me and my daughter well on our many backpacking trips. But that tent was a whopping 7.7lbs (3.5kg). Since I’m the one who ends up carrying everything, I decided to buy us an ultralight tent. After a lot of research, I got the Naturehike Cloud Up 2 tent.
What is Naturehike?
Naturehike is a brand that makes clones of high-end backpacking gear. In this case, their Cloud Up 2 is a clone of the Big Agnes Flycreek HV UL2. There are several differences between the tents – most notably that the Cloud Up 2 is 1lb heavier but $200+ cheaper.
Are there ethical issues about buying knockoff backpacking gear? Undoubtedly. Big Agnes invests a lot of time in coming up with their tent designs. Then Naturehike just copies them.
But both brands are made China anyway. My friend joked that the tents are probably made in the same factory: the day shift makes them with the Big Agnes brand name and the night shift under the Naturehike brand. This is a joke. But you can see the point.
If brands are already making their gear in China and selling the gear at high prices, the Chinese area just going to cut out the middleman and sell the gear under their own brand name.
Can You Trust a Chinese Knockoff Brand?
Normally, I’d say no. I’ve had bad experiences with cheap gear made under generic brand names. But I heard good things about Naturehike.
They seem to be one of the few Chinese knockoff brands of backpacking gear which is really investing in making a quality product. I only have the Cloud Up 2 tent by them, but their other gear gets good reviews too.
So, now on to the review of the Cloud Up 2.
What I Like about the Cloud Up 2 Tent:
1. Easy to Set Up:
The Cloud Up 2 has 3 poles, all of which are connected. So, you could even consider it to be just one pole.
I was able to set up the tent by myself (while my lazy daughter ate trail mix) in about 5 minutes. You just need to:
- Put down the ground sheet (included)
- Position the inner mesh tent.
- Put the poles in position.
- Clip the inner tent to the poles.
- Put the rain fly over and peg it down.
I particularly love that the tent uses clips instead of sleeves. It’s a heck of a lot easier to get clips on the poles than shove poles through sleeves. Clips aren’t as sturdy sleeves because they create pressure points. But, unless you are camping in the snow (which you won’t be with this tent), then these pressure points don’t really matter.
The video below shows you how to set up the tent.
The Cloud Up 2 only weighs 3.4lbs (that’s 1.56kg). This weight includes everything: the tent, rain fly, pegs, rope, and ground sheet. I tested it on my scale when it arrived. The weight clocked in at 1.61kg, so it’s on point.
Considering how lightweight the tent is, the materials seem very sturdy.
Note that this weight is for the GRAY/RED version of the tent. There are other versions of the tent made from a different material. They are Orange or Green in color and weigh 4lbs (1.82kg).
3. The Price
I’m a firm believer that backpacking doesn’t have to be expensive. As I mentioned before, my previous tent only cost about $50 and it performed well in rugged situations. But ultralight gear is almost always expensive.
In many cases, it makes sense to pay this extra cost since it can make your trip so much better. Trust me – shaving 3lbs from your pack will make that uphill trek much more enjoyable!!!
However, I really don’t want to have a very expensive tent. Often, we wild camp in populated places (like near villages). If someone steals our tent, I’d rather it was a cheap one.
When I first started looking for a cheap ultralight tent, I tried finding a used Big Agnes Flycreek UL2. I was amazed at how expensive they were, even used. Sellers were only cutting the cost by around 20%. Since I’ve had some bad experience with used tents (poles that suddenly break), I gave up on finding a used UL tent.
The Naturehike Cloud Up 2 only costs about 1/3 of the price of the Big Agnes tent. There really aren’t any other ultralight tents that come close to this low price and still are high-quality. You can buy it here on Amazon.
4. Handles Bad Weather Well
Bear in mind that any tent will only handle a beating if you set it up right. You will need to completely peg down the tent to make sure it doesn’t fly away in wind. You’ll also need to make sure the tent is oriented towards the wind so the wind doesn’t hit the sides.
There was a decent amount of rain the night I tried out the Cloud Up 2 tent. It didn’t flood, the walls didn’t drip, and everything stayed dry inside. It probably wouldn’t handle serious bad weather well, and definitely isn’t for winter camping. But it performs as well as you’d expect this type of ultralight tent to perform.
The video below shows the Naturehike Cloud Up 2 in really high winds.
5. Other Features I Like
The Cloud Up 2 has some other nice features, like:
- Taped seams
- Bathtub floor
- Really good stakes that glide right into the ground without bending
- D-shaped door that doesn’t sag
- Breathable mesh inner that prevents condensation
- Lantern hook at top of tent
- Vestibule: Seriously, every tent should have a vestibule for storing things like your stove.
What I Don’t Like:
As a general rule:
2-person tents are for 1 person.
3-person tents are for 2 people.
This goes with virtually all tents. So, you shouldn’t complain about your 2-person tent being too cramped for two people. Just get a size up.
Even if the tent seems roomy enough, consider the gear that you will be keeping in the tent. Luckily, my daughter is still very short. So, I was able to keep our packs at her feet. If she was full-height, there’d be no room for our gear in the tent.
2. Drooping Walls
The way that the tent is designed means that the walls droop a lot. The first time I set it up, I had to re-peg the sides to get it more taut. This made it droop less, but the walls still caved in a bit. If you are trying to get 2 people into the 2-person tent, then the walls will hit your heads.
Want a lightweight tent which doesn’t droop?
The Big Agnes Copper Spur has a different construction (plus 2 side doors) so you get much more interior space. It’s even pricier than the FlyCreek HV UL2 though.
But guess what? Naturehike makes a knockoff of that tent too 🙂 It’s the Star River tent. The 2-person version weighs 4.36lbs with all of the poles, stakes, and mat.
3. You’re Supposed to Sleep with Your Head Towards the Door
The tent design means that it tapers towards the back, so this is where you are supposed to keep your feet.
This simply does not work for me. I like to have my feet towards the door so I can easily get my boots on/off at the vestibule entrance.
My daughter and I ended up sleeping with our heads towards the back. My backpack was in the front, partially blocking the tent entrance. Since we are so small, it was okay.
4. Not Good for Tall People
I’m only 5’1” so fit in the tent fine. If I were 6 feet though, I’d need to sleep diagonally in the tent to fit. That wouldn’t be possible when sharing the tent.
5. Flimsy Materials
As you’d expect with an ultralight tent, the Cloud Up 2 material is really thin. The single pole design also makes it less-stable. You must stake down all sides, which means you really need all pegs. Otherwise the tent will wobble in high winds.
What concerned me more was the thin material of the floor. I know that this is normal with ultralight tents, but I was used to the super-thick (and super heavy) floor of my other tent.
It did rain in the night when we first tried the tent. There was no leakage anywhere. But I’d definitely be careful about choosing a good campsite in pouring rain. The bathtub floor only goes up about 2 inches, so don’t put this tent anywhere you think it might flood!
6. No Side Pockets
I was surprised how much this annoyed me. My daughter and I generally stay at the same campsite for several days, so it is nice to organize gear. Generally, we put toilet paper into one mesh pocket. Another pocket gets gear which we need at night – like our toothbrushes and my glasses case.
The Cloud Up 2 does have one interior pocket, but it’s over the door. It’s hard to get things out of it from outside the tent. So, I had to keep our gear in the my backpacking and dig through it to get it — which I found very annoying. After a few more trips, I’ll probably get better at staying organized though.
Overall, I’m pleased with the Naturehike Cloud Up 2 tent. It’s definitely not the best tent and I prefer sleeping in my heavier 3-person tent. But I do NOT prefer the weight of that tent! So, this is the tent I will be taking with me on backpacking trips with my daughter for now on. You really can’t beat the price for the weight of it.
You can see other picks for cheap ultralight tents here.
Cloud Up 2 or 3?
Remember what I said about 2-person tents really only being able to fit 1 person? If you are planning on camping out with 2 full-size people, then you’ll need the Cloud Up 3. Especially if your gear is coming inside the tent.
However, my situation is a bit different because I’m small and my 8-year old daughter is even smaller.
I debated for a long time whether to get the Cloud Up 2 or 3. The Cloud Up 3 weighs 4.8lbs (2.2kg). A difference of 1.4lbs might not seem like much, but remember that I’m carrying almost everything for my daughter and me.
Since my current 3-person tent weights 7.7lbs, it didn’t seem like big enough of a weight savings to justify. I decided that I’d go with the 2-person tent. It would be cramped (it was) but my daughter and I are small anyway. For trips with my toddler and husband, we could bring both tents. My husband would be in the Cloud Up 2 alone and I’d get the larger tent with the girls.
Cloud Up 2 vs. FlyCreek HV UL2
The CloudUp 2 is a clone of the FlyCreek HV UL2 tent by Big Agnes. I personally have never slept in the FlyCreek HV UL2. However, other people (like in this forum) have tried out both of these tents and say that they are comparable in terms of quality and construction.
When comparing the weights of these two tents, you’ve got to consider that the FlyCreek UL2 doesn’t come with a ground sheet (which you will need to use because of the thin floor).
The FlyCreek UL2 claims to weigh just 1lb 15oz, but this is without the stakes and a ground sheet. The stakes are an extra 2.7oz. The ground sheet (aka footprint) that they recommend costs nearly as much as the Naturehike CloudUp 2 and weighs 4oz. That brings the total weight of the FlyCreek UL2 to 37.7oz.
- CloudUp 2: 4lbs
- FlyCreek UL2: 36lbs
Materials and Construction:
The materials used to make the FlyCreek tent are definitely of a better quality than those of the CloudUp 2. However, according to what people are saying online, the difference is really negligible (again, I personally haven’t tried out the FlyCreek).
There are some other differences, like that the CloudUp 2 uses seven clips instead of six, doesn’t have guylines attached to the tent body, and has 14 stakes instead of 11.
The FlyCreek does have 3 interior mesh pockets. And, while I really wish the CloudUp tent had side pockets, I’m not willing to pay an extra $200+ for these.
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