The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV 1 Carbon is a one-person, double-wall, three-season, semi-freestanding shelter. Weighing in at 21 oz (595 g), the Fly Creek HV 1 Carbon is lightweight, given that it is a double-wall shelter. Plus, the weight includes the hub-and-pole assembly, stakes, guylines, fly and stuff sack!
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV 1 Carbon minimizes its weight compared to similar shelters primarily through judicious use of fabric and premium material sourcing. The bathtub floor and the precisely cut fly are both manufactured from thin Dyneema Composite Fabric, while the canopy is made from lightweight ripstop nylon. The poles are constructed of 8.7 Easton carbon fiber. The interior space and vestibule area are minimal, bordering on cramped, something the shelter shares with its silnylon cousin, the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV 1 Platinum.
In short - this is cottage industry material applied to a well-known (if not universally loved) design. The question is, is it worth the $800.00 price tag?
Features and Specifications
- Single entry (front)
- Side entry vestibule
- Welded construction
- Solid interior canopy (as opposed to mesh)
- Storm flaps on vestibule zipper
- Hook and loop tabs to connect fly to pole structure
- Comes with pre-cut guylines and attached line tensioners
- Color-coded buckles and webbing for easy set-up
- Dome structure
- Single pole-and-hub architecture
- Reflective guylines and webbing
- Interior loops for optional gear storage (or Big Agnes storage accessories)
- Comes with self-adhesive repair patches
- Interior mesh pockets
- Large zipper pull for easy grip
- Oversize loop and tab closures (for gathering and holding up fly and canopy doors)
- Total Fly + Inner Weight (including stakes and poles): 21 oz (595 g) (claimed, and verified)
- Fly Weight (including stakes and poles): 13 oz (369 g)
- Inner tent canopy: ripstop nylon
- Fly: Dyneema Composite Fabrics (CTF-style)
- Poles: 8.7 mm (.3 in) Easton carbon fiber
- Pole hub: aluminum
- Packed Size: 5 in x 18 in (13 cm by 46 cm)
- Floor Area: 19 sq ft (1.8 sq m)
- Vestibule Area: 5 sq ft (.46 m)
- Apex Height: 39 in (99 cm)
- Stakes Needed (max): 11
- Stakes Included: 11
This test represents my first experience with the Big Agnes Fly Creek line of shelters.
For this review, I wanted to look at the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV 1 Carbon within the context of the traditional strengths and weaknesses of double-walled shelters.
- How did it perform under cold, wet, and condensation heavy conditions?
- How did it hold up in the wind?
- How did its weight and packability compare to other one-person double-walled shelters?
Due to an $800 price tag, a major priority for me testing this shelter was durability. It’s hard to imagine tossing down that kind of cash for a shelter that doesn’t hold up. I was on the lookout for any material or design flaws that would have rendered the tent unusable over time.Finally, I examined the Fly Creek HV 1 Carbon’s usability and livability:
- How easy was it to set up (in calm conditions, wind, or rain)?
- What kind of features does it possess, and what contributions do those features make?
- If I had to spend a day in the tent waiting out a particularly nasty storm, how comfortable (or not) would that day be?
On this hike, the Fly Creek HV 1 Carbon’s weight, ease of use, and packability were my prime concerns.
My second test was a five-night, off-trail, group hike in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. The testing conditions on this trip were cold, wet, and windy. Overnight temperatures were often in the thirties, occasionally dropping below freezing. These were ideal conditions to examine the Fly Creek HV 1 Carbon’s stability, and its performance in precipitation, condensation management, and durability.
Fall daylight hours and more time in camp made for a good chance to get a feel for the Fly Creek HV 1 Carbon’s livability and afforded me the time to examine each feature in detail.
Member's Only Content
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- Performance Assessment: Wind and Weather Resistance, Ease of Use, Condensation Management, Durability, Livability, Compressibility and Weight
- Product Strengths & Limitations
- Compared To: TarpTent Notch Li
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Review Rating: Above Average
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV 1 Carbon is a well-engineered shelter constructed of premium materials. As a DCF shelter mass-produced by a large, well-known gear manufacturer, it shouldn’t be ignored (if anything, maybe it will help drive down the cost of DCF shelters).
It performs well in moderate wind and other types of inclement weather (heavy rain and moderate snow) and weighs a scant 21 oz (595 g). Its most important feature is that it provides better protection from inclement weather (cold temperatures, wind, and precipitation) than most single-wall designs in this sub-1.5 lb weight range.
The material is durable for its weight and compresses down nicely into a small-volume pack system.
There are thoughtful touches here and there, like integrated line tighteners and extra-large zipper pulls, but I’d prefer more attention to interior organization and usable volume.
It isn’t easy to pitch in high wind (though I found it handled more than adequately in moderate wind). If it is precipitating on you during setup, the interior canopy will get wet before you can get everything covered with a fly. However, the solid fabric inner tent certainly provides more buffer for keeping the inside of the tent dry when pitching it in a storm than if the inner tent was made with mesh.
The Fly Creek HV 1 Carbon’s chief limitation, though, is its lack of versatility. It’s hard to imagine who, exactly, is this tent’s target audience. Compromised livability and a tendency to collect a little more condensation than mesh-canopied three-season double-walled shelters indicate that it might only be ideal for chilly shoulder-season trips in dry climates or fast-moving summer adventures where the weather allows lounging outside of the tent. In either case, it may appeal most to backpackers who probably don’t use trekking poles and have a fairly large pile of cash to throw around. There are certainly cheaper shelters on the market that perform just as well, if not better, though none of them share the Fly Creek HV1 Carbon’s unique combination of design elements.
If you are going to spend $800 on a backpacking shelter, I (personally) believe it should be more versatile and more comfortable than the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV1 Carbon. Some minor livability modifications in the interior and a larger vestibule would improve its usefulness, but it’s hard to see how the interior could feel less cramped without a total redesign, or an upgrade in weight, cost, and interior volume to the two-person version of this tent (which only adds a few ounces of weight).
Ultimately I think the cost will have to drop by a few hundred dollars (at least) to make this shelter a serious player in the DCF game. Until then, it will be interesting to look out for these shelters on the trail and see how they are being used - and by whom.
Bottom Line: The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV 1 Carbon will appeal to those who want the absolute lightest double-wall (with solid fabric inner) tent on the market that provides reasonable protection from cold, wind, and snow-loading, and is willing to recognize its chief limitations: lack of versatility in fair weather conditions and livability due to small interior volume and front-entry vestibule.
Where to Buy
- Buy Now: Big Agnes Fly Creek HV 1 Carbon at REI.
- Or for an additional 2-3 ounces, upgrade livability (and footprint) to the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV 2 Carbon.
- Last year our community speculated about the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV 1 Carbon’s possible pros and cons. Were they on track? Pretty much. I didn’t read the thread until after I wrote my review, and it was fascinating to see how the two lined up. You can read the thread here.
Product Review DisclosureUpdated October 18, 2019
- Product(s) discussed in this review were either acquired by the author from a retailer or otherwise provided by the manufacturer at a discount/donation with no obligation to provide media coverage or a product review.
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