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Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 Alternatives

Fly Creek HV UL2 alternatives

When it first came out in 2009, the Big Agnes Fly Creek was the lightest double-wall two-person backpacking tent on the market. Over a decade later, it is still one of the lightest semi-freestanding tents available.  However, the tent is far from perfect.  The Fly Creek is notoriously cramped, has sagging walls, and only has just one entry door.  Now, there are plenty of alternatives to the Fly Creek tent which are still lightweight yet without these faults.

The Fly Creek UL2 is ultralight but it’s also cramped!

Here are some of the best Fly Creek HV UL2 tent alternatives, including top picks for comfort, durability, and budget.

 

Quick Picks

 

Comparison

TentPacked WeightFloor AreaHead HeightDoorsPacked SizeFloorFreestanding
Fly Creek HV UL22lb 5oz28sq ft40”14x19”20DSemi
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL22lbs 8oz28sq. ft.39”25.5x18”15DSemi
Nemo Hornet 2P2lbs 5oz28sq. ft.40”25x19”20DSemi
Nemo Dragonfly 23lbs 1oz29sq. ft.40”24.5x19.5”20DYes
REI Quarter Dome 22lbs 8oz28.7sq ft38”27x20”15DSemi
NatureHike CloudUp 23lbs 6.4oz28sq. ft.39”16x17.3”20DSemi
Nemo Dagger 23lbs 14oz31.3sq. ft.42”26.5x19.5”30DYes
Mountain Hardwear Aspect 23lbs 5oz29.3sq. ft.41”26x20.5”20DYes

 

Best Fly Creek HV UL2 Alternatives

All of the alternatives to the Fly Creek here are also 2-person, double-wall, freestanding or semi-freestanding, and lightweight. Most are in the same price range as the Fly Creek HV UL2 but there is a budget pick too.

*Tip: You can often find great deals on last season’s UL tents at REI’s Outlet.

1. Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2: Best Overall

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2

Specs:

  • Packed Weight: 2lbs 8oz
  • Minimum Weight: 1lb 11oz
  • Floor Area: 28sq. ft.
  • Head Height: 39”
  • Doors: 2
  • Vestibules: 2x8sq. ft.
  • Packed size: 5.5×18”
  • Floor: 15D
  • Freestanding: Semi
  • Buy at: REI, EMS, or Amazon

Review

big agnes tiger wall UL2 fly only pitch

big agnes tiger wall UL2 mesh inner tent

The Tiger Wall is Big Agnes’s upgrade of the Fly Creek tent. It’s been made so that it is even more lightweight than the Fly Creek yet fixes the livability issues.

Unlike the single front entry door with the Fly Creek, the Tiger Wall 2 has two side door for easy entry.  The two vestibules aren’t just good for storing gear but mean that the fly wall is set further away from the inner tent than with the Fly Creek.  Thus, you are less likely to have issues with the fly and inner tent coming in contact and creating condensation issues.  The vestibules aren’t giant: just 8 sq. feet each, but it’s enough to store your gear. There is a center ridgepole overhead which extends the vestibule space and keeps the inner tent from sagging.

The Tiger Wall is still pretty cramped for two people, but the inner living space is incredibly improved over the Fly Creek so you won’t feel as claustrophobic.

As for weight, the Tiger Wall 2 is only 3oz heavier than the Fly Creek HV UL2.  If you are really obsessed with cutting every ounce, there are two lighter versions of the Tiger Wall available: the Platinum and Carbon.  Not surprisingly, these are much pricier.

The main downside of the Big Agnes Tiger Wall is the 15D floor and fragile material. You’ve got to be used to taking good care of your gear or can accidentally rip the tent. It’s also not a truly freestanding tent as one side must be staked out, which isn’t ideal for camping in canyons or on rock surfaces.

Check price at REI, EMS, and Amazon


 

2. Nemo Hornet 2P: Best Ultralight

Nemo Hornet 2P tent

Specs:

  • Packed Weight: 2lbs 6oz
  • Minimum Weight: 1lb 15oz
  • Floor Area: 27.5sq ft
  • Head Height: 40”
  • Doors: 2
  • Vestibules: 2×7.1sq ft
  • Packed size: 19×5”
  • Floor: 20D
  • Freestanding: Semi
  • Buy at: REI, Amazon

Review

nemo hornet 2p inner mesh tent

The Nemo Hornet 2P tent is almost exactly the same as the Fly Creek HV UL2 and their specs are nearly the same too.  However, there is one very important different: the Hornet has dual entry at the sides and two vestibules.

Compared to the new Big Agnes Tiger Wall, the Nemo Hornet is more affordable and wins for weight.  However, its center ridgepole isn’t quite as long.  The vestibules are slightly smaller and the overall tent seems more cramped.   It’s still a great tent but you might want to spend the extra money for the Tiger Wall or get a slightly heavier Nemo tent, such as the Dragonfly listed below.

Unfortunately, the Nemo Hornet isn’t in production anymore and hard to find.

Check price at REI and Amazon


 

3. Nemo Dragonfly 2: Best for Balance between Weight and Space

Nemo Dragonly 2P tent

Specs:

  • Packed Weight: 3lbs 1oz
  • Minimum Weight: 2lbs 9oz
  • Floor Area: 29sq. ft.
  • Head Height: 40”
  • Doors: 2
  • Packed size: 4.5×19.5”
  • Floor: 20D
  • Freestanding: Yes
  • Buy At: REI, Amazon

Review

nemo dragonfly inner mesh tent 2P

The Nemo Dragonfly 2 has mostly replaced the Hornet 2 tent.  At first glance, it seems almost identical to the Hornet (and thus almost identical to the Big Agnes Fly Creek). However, if you look at how the inner tent is sewn, you’ll see it has a different slope.  This gives you more livable space inside for things like sitting up and changing your clothes.

The vestibules are also much larger than with the Fly Creek and Hornet, so you can fit more gear there.  The two side doors are unusually large; it’s useful if you want to leave one door closed as a wind block and the other door open for ventilation.

While the Dragonfly might be more comfortable than the Fly Creek, it’s still not the largest or roomiest backpacking tent.  However, it is a good balance between size and weight.

Check price at REI and Amazon


 

4. REI Quarter Dome SL2: Best for Comfort

rei quarter dome 2

Specs:

  • Packed Weight: 2lbs 8oz
  • Minimum Weight: 2lbs
  • Floor Area: 28.7sq ft
  • Head Height: 38”
  • Doors: 2
  • Packed size: 7×20”
  • Floor: 20D
  • Freestanding: Semi
  • Buy At: REI

Review

rei quarter dome 2P

The REI Quarter Dome SL2 tent only weighs 2oz more than the Fly Creek HV UL2, but has much more to love.

The biggest difference is that the Quarter Dome has a bit of extra fabric and two extra clips.  This creates a more domed shape tent (as opposed to the tapering design of the Fly Creek). There is also a small pole at the top that extends to the sides so the tent sides don’t sag inwards.

The result is a much roomier, more comfortable tent – despite the fact that there’s actually 2 inches less headroom. The Quarter Dome SL2 also has two doors and vestibules, so it is better suited for camping with two people.

Unfortunately, the quality of the REI Quarter Dome doesn’t seem to be quite as good as with the Big Agnes Fly Creek.  Lots of people report issues using it in the wind (though the Fly Creek also doesn’t do great in wind) and the hydrostatic head isn’t the highest. Also note that the footprint is sold separately and adds to the weight.  You will need to use the footprint as the floor is not the most durable.

Check price at REI 


 

5. NatureHike CloudUp: Best Budget Pick

Cloud Up 2 tent

Specs:

  • Packed Weight: 3lbs 12oz
  • Minimum Weight: NA
  • Floor Area: 28sq ft.
  • Head Height: 39”
  • Doors: 1
  • Packed size: 3”
  • Floor: 20D
  • Freestanding: Semi
  • Buy At: Amazon

Review

ultralight tent naturehike cloudup 2 review

NatureHike’s CloudUp 2 tent is almost a direct clone of the Fly Creek tent.  While it might not be ethical for them to copy Big Agnes’s intellectual property, it’s hard to argue with the price: the CloudUp 2 costs a fraction of the Fly Creek.

Other than the price, the biggest difference between the two tents is the weight.  The CloudUp doesn’t use as high-tech materials as the Fly Creek, so it weighs more than a pound more.   Note that the CloudUp weight does include the groundsheet.

There are a few other minor differences between the CloudUp and Fly Creek, like in the number of clips used and that the Fly Creek has two extra pockets inside.  However, these are minor differences and you are basically getting the same slightly-heavier tent for significantly cheaper.   I’ve used the CloudUp 2 in hail storms and heavy winds and, despite being so cheap, it has held up impressively well.

*Read my full review of the NatureHike CloudUp 2 here.

Check price on Amazon


 

6. Nemo Dagger 2: Best for Durability and Livability

Nemo Dagger 2P ultralight tent

Specs:

  • Packed Weight: 3lb 14oz
  • Minimum Weight: 3lbs 5oz
  • Floor Area: 31.3sq. ft.
  • Head Height: 42
  • Doors: 2
  • Vestibules: 2×11.4sq. ft.
  • Packed size: 5×19.5”
  • Floor: 30D
  • Freestanding: Yes
  • Buy At: REI, Amazon

Review

Nemo Dagger 2P ultralight tent

Nemo Dagger 2P ultralight tent

If you want an ultralight two-person tent which actually can fit two people, the Nemo Dagger 2 is one of the best bets.  It is still pretty lightweight at just 3lb 14oz.  While this is quite heavier than the Fly Creek HV UL2, the Dagger has a lot more space.

The Dagger is truly freestanding. Staking it down is recommended but entirely optional. The tent is constructed so the sides don’t sag down on you like with the Fly Creek.  The head height is 42 inches and keeps that height for most of the interior- the side walls are almost vertical.  There are two doors and, best of all, two MASSIVE vestibules of 11.4 sq. ft. each.   The interior floor space is approximately 90×50 inches (31.3sq. ft.), so you’ll still be side-to-side with your backpacking partner.  However, at least you’ll be able to keep all your gear outside in the vestibules.

Another key difference about the Dagger tent is that it has a 30D floor which is much more durable than the 20D floors in most ultralight tents. You can use it without a groundsheet if you are careful when pitching.

Some people complain that the Nemo Dagger isn’t waterproof and leaks.  Upon closer inspection, this problem is actually because the fly and interior tent touch near the bottom, which can cause condensation and make it seem like water is leaking inside. Make sure you stake out your tent well!  The real main downside is that the tent is fairly pricy.

Check price on REI and Amazon


 

7. Mountain Hardwear Aspect 2 Tent: Best Comfortable Freestanding Tent

Mountain Hardwear Aspect 2 lightweight tent

Specs:

  • Packed Weight: 3lbs 5oz
  • Minimum Weight: 2lbs 14.7oz
  • Floor Area: 29.3sq. ft.
  • Head Height: 41”
  • Doors: 2
  • Packed size: 6×20.5”
  • Floor: 20D
  • Freestanding: Yes
  • Buy At: REI

Review

Mountain Hardwear Aspect 2 tent

The Mountain Hardwear Aspect 2 is a gorgeous backpacking tent which is even designed to allow star gazing.  It is lightweight at 3lbs 5oz but holds up against wind and bad weather better than most other lightweight tents.  It’s also a completely freestanding tent and can be pitched without any guylines or staking down (though you’ll obviously still want to do this in bad weather).

There are two main poles for the tent plus a pre-bent pole for over the door area.  This gives the tent almost vertical side walls and allows for much more interior living space.  The Aspect 2 is easy to set up, but there is one big downside compared to the Fly Creek HV UL2: you can’t use a fast-pitch with it: the groundsheet doesn’t have grommets so you must use the inner tent.  It’s also impossible to setup/take down the inner tent with the fly still in place, so your inner tent will get wet if pitching or taking down in bad weather.

Compared to the Fly Creek though, the Aspect 2 is certainly more comfortable and durable while still being very lightweight.  It’s not as popular though, probably because it is pricier.

Check price at REI

 

If your main concern is cutting weight, then also check out these best trekking pole tents


Image credits:
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2” (CC BY 2.0) by Matt-Zimmerman,
Camped in Hope” (CC BY 2.0) by ErikHalfacre
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About the author /


Diane Vukovic grew up camping and backpacking in upstate New York. Now, she takes her own daughters on wilderness adventures so they can connect with nature and learn resiliency. With dozens of trips under her belt, Diane is an expert in minimalist camping, going lightweight, planning, and keeping her kids entertained without screens.

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