User Review: Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2
Price Paid: $350
I've been interested in this tent for a while. I was drawn to its light weight, double wall for rain, purported room for two, and various good reviews.
I have long used a single wall Black Diamond Lighthouse, which was roomy, light, and fast to set up. But while the single, full-side Lighthouse door affords a great view and ventilation in good weather, I admit I don't like doors that fall to the floor when open (and thus the door is too easily dragged out and into dirt/weather). Plus, although it has fared OK in light rain, I was always unsure of how it would do in really nasty rain. Put a side-zipper on the Lighthouse, construct it with a rainfly, keep the weight about the same as the UL2, etc., and I'd be interested.
Unfortunately, after test driving the UL2 on a solo cross-country trip in the Olympic Mtns, it just didn't fit the bill.
Good things: low weight, compact packed size, and construction details.
Not so good: contrary to the advertizing, it is not freestanding. It requires about 10 stakes on all sides to get the pitch correct and taut. That's OK if you camp in big spaces with soft ground. Interior volume isn't very good and height is low. I'm only 5'9" and shoulder room when sitting upright, is too tight especially compared to the steep walled high volume Lighthouse.
So, I concluded the UL2 won't work for me, since I often find myself in less than ideal high alpine camps (hard ground, rocky, etc), and need a bit more interior volume, especially for two.
I will continue to seek a truly freestanding tent... sturdy, double wall, one front or two side swing doors, with a footprint and weight that come close to the UL2. Not sure they're out there, but I keep hoping...