|Rating:||8 / 10|
|Value for Money||1.8 / 2.5|
|Comfort||2.0 / 2.5|
|Weight||2.4 / 2.5|
|Durability||1.8 / 2.5|
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV2 Platinum Tent was a shelter I had been keen to try for a while and over the past three months I have been giving it a work out in a variety of conditions. This was another of those products I had preconceptions about, both good and bad. Having said that this tent surprised us in a number of ways.
First up before we talk about the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV2 Platinum Tent model lets talk about the Fly Creek range in general. In the standard Fly Creek range there are 1, 2, and 3 person options with the top of the line being the two person platinum version which is the subject of this review. The way Big Agnes differentiates this range is that the standard Fly Creek is sold as ‘ultralight’ and the Platinum version is sold as ‘crazylight’ which is a quirky way of saying that they’ve stripped more weight off the base model.
Now to the Fly Creek HV2 Platinum Tent and I’ll go through feature by feature.
Big Agnes produce a number of tents in a ‘Platinum’ version and these tents have common features including a lighter weight set of materials and an almost white translucent rainfly. This means that in many settings, this tent disappears into the background rather than screaming out ‘hear I am’ and if you are trying to stealth camp this is not a bad feature. The disadvantage with lighter weight materials is that you need a bit more care when handling them.
In many ways this tent range is a bit old fashioned in its construction being a front entry which is less commonly used these days with many hikers preferring side entry tents. This tent is sold as a two person version and with a single front entry but with two people using it there is no way you can get out of the tent at night without disturbing your partner. As a solo hiker getting out, it was easier to sit up and spin on my backside to face the right direction to put my shoes on and exit. The benefit of a front entry tent is that a single entry helps to reduce the weight which is part of the weight saving goal.
Size wise the dimensions of this tent will suit all but the tallest hikers. I’m around 185cm in height and find it to be comfortable at least as far as length goes. The width is where this tent is lacking. With two of us in the tent it’s very cosy. Like the rest of the Big Agnes range, this tent is wider at the head end than it is at the feet. As a restless sleeper who rotates from side to side and also sleeps on my back I ended up disturbing Gill who is a sleeper who doesn’t move much during the night. While this tent is sold as a two person tent realistically its best used as a one person tent unless you are very sound sleepers and very happy being very close to your sleeping partner.
The internal height of the tent is good. I found that I could sit up quite comfortably although as a front entry tent I found myself limited to the area close to the entry given the tent slopes steadily down towards the foot end. The vestibule at the front entry will fit a single pack depending on the size but that also impacts ease of entry and exit. If used as a single person tent your pack can live inside keeping the vestibule free of all but your footwear.
This tent is a double skin tent and that means there is a seperate outer fly and a mesh inner tent. The advantage of double layer tents is that they have less issue with condensation than single wall tents. The inner mesh of this tent is a vary fine weave of a yellow mesh. What surprised me was that it was almost invisible when inside and with the white fly it gave an impression of more space than you actually have. As a double skin tent there is a bit more versatility as you can use various combinations of footprint, fly and inner to get the shelter you want for a particular trip.
The fly is polyurethane coated and has a water rating of 1200 mm which is decent for such a lightweight tent. You are more likely to get water in this tent entering and exiting than coming through the fabric itself. I have read a number of US reviews and one criticism levelled at the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV2 Platinum Tent is its not suitable for the snow. Big Agnes sells this tent as a 3-season tent rather than a 4-season tent so if you are into snow camping then this isn’t the tent for you.
This tent range is sold as a free standing tent but in reality its semi-freestanding requiring two pegs at least to pin out the bottom corners. In all honesty this is not a problem because if you are setting up away from a constructed shelter or platform you are really going to be pegging your tent out anyway.
Inside the tent there are two largish mesh gear pockets at the sides of the tent as well as a smaller mesh pocket on the tent roof which is an ideal place for a headlamp. There is also an internal rood loop that in my larger tents I use for a light but in the case of this tent its too far down the slope to be much use.
Like the rest of the range Big Agnes colour codes its tent poles which while being helpful you end up with a 4 prong tent pole in this case where you end up with a ‘Y’ shaped pole so there is no confusion about which end is which regardless of the colour.
Eleven pegs are provided with this tent and like most tent manufacturers on the market the pegs are lightweight and not overly long so while they work well on stable soils they aren’t going to cut it in sandy or soft soils. For this reason I alway add in a couple of longer ‘grippier’ tent pegs such as the MSR Groundhogs particularly when camping in exposed windy areas. There are plenty of guy lines to secure this tent in the strongest of winds and if you are camping in windy areas you always want to present the smaller lower end of the tent to the wind if possible.
The first time we used this tent was in the Australian Alps in late December (summer) and we ended up with sub zero temperatures and ice on the gear outside. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that with the combination of the very fine inner mesh and smaller dimensions which I assumed would mean a colder sleep ended up instead being exceptionally warm. In fact this is one of the warmest tents I have used. I just wasn’t expecting the tent to be so toasty and warm!
Now for the biggest feature of this tent and that’s the weight. As a two person double skin pole tent it is exceptionally lightweight coming in at 907 grams (packed weight) which includes everything you need to get out bush. Big Agnes like other manufactures quote a packed weight and a trail weight but being realistic the packed weight is what you should use. You will struggle to find any other two person, double skin pole tent that comes close to this and for that matter even the dedicated single person tents just don’t compete. Sure there are lighter single skin tents that use trekking poles to set up but those require you to use tracking poles which not everyone does. If you are into bike packing (camping using a pushbike) or for that matter a motorbike or camping on a canoe trip then trekking pole tents aren’t going to help you. The standard Fly Creek will add an additional 98 grams in weight. If you purchase this tent with the footprint you can just use the fly without inner mesh (fast Fly set up) if you are into tarp camping which will dramatically reduce the weight even further.
Now for the big downside and that’s the price. This is one expensive tent at $799.95 but that’s what you pay for a tent that is extremely lightweight. Add on the optional footprint and you are approaching the $900 AUD price tag.
So who should buy this tent and is it worth the expense? The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV2 Platinum Tent is definitely for the solo enthusiast who want an ultralight tent option that doesn’t require trekking poles to set up and as such its not uncommon to see this tent aimed at bike packers. Even though I use trekking pole when I hike this tent is still a great option. You just need to decide whether the price is worth more than extremely minimal weight or whether you pay a 98 gram weight penalty and go for the standard Fly Creek tent which is priced at $572 – at around $200 cheaper its probably going to better suit the average hiker.
You can purchase the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV2 Platinum Tent from Wild Earth
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$967.95 AUD. Keep an eye out for sales
These options are usually easier to find and for a small weight penalty they are much more affordable than the Platinum version
Big Agnes Fly Creek Platinum
Fly Creek Tent in bag, it almost disappears into your pack
Big Agnes Fly Creek Platinum 2 front view of tent inner
Big Agnes Fly Creek Platinum 2 lower gear pocket. There is one on each side of the tent front and one on the roof
Big Agnes Fly Creek Platinum 2 roof gear pocket
Big Agnes Fly Creek Platinum 2 inner floor view
Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 door zips
Close up of rooftop gear loop
Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 door open without the fly
Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 pole clip
Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 coloured pole view. The rear pole is a green-yellow colour
Big Agnes Fly Creek tent pegs and pole repair
Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 rear view with fly on
Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 white coloured pole view at front corner
Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 close up of tent guy
Big Agnes Fly Creek Platinum 2 front view with fly closed
Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 close up of side tent guy
Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 close up of Tim inside the tent
Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 sitting inside
Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 close up of vestibule with front door open
This tent is relatively easy to set up
This review was done with product provided by the retailer for testing