Oct 27, 2013 at 7:09 pm #1309190
I picked up the Fly Creek UL1 Platinum and was surprised that my experience was so different from what I expected from reading reviews.
I have experience with very few tents, so maybe there are other forum members out there who, like me, are aggressively searching for reviews and making a purchase based off them, rather than personal experience. I have about 8 nights in the tent, two in rain and one near freezing.
I am 6'2", and I use a 6'6" sleeping bag. I can lay completely flat in the tent and not touch the netting on either my head or my feet. If I shake my feet around in the foot of my sleeping bag, the bag can touch the netting, but it wasn't an issue. I was very comfortable from side to side. I also had enough room on either side of me for my camera, my jackets, and my extra clothing. My pack went under my legs and overall, all my gear was in the tent and didn't inhibit sleep.
I can sit up in the tent, but it's an awkward hunch when I'm sitting on my NeoAir. Often, my head touches the netting while sitting up. I can, however, maneuver into a position where I'm not uncomfortable, so I wouldn't mind being stuck in the tent for a rainy morning. I don't think I could work (type) in the tent, but I can definitely read.
Obviously I can't speak to long term durability. However, the tent feels very stable. I was surprised when I set it up; it actually looks like the pictures in Backpacker Magazine. The fabric is not wispy like spinnaker cloth, and the footprint feels substantial without being heavy.
The included stakes were surprisingly nice. At one point, I'll tie rope pulls on them. The way I'm using them, I have a loop tied into the end of each of the guylines and I just loop that on the notch in each stake.
The guy-lines on either side of the door didn't look very useful to me, so I took them off. I didn't have to cut them, and I can always re-tie them. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to use the included tensioners, but I haven't found them necessary; I just stick my stakes out far enough that the line is taut. I usually use the two guylines at the base of the fly on either side of the tent, and I left the middle-of-the-fly guylines on for bad weather.
I expected a tent that was much harder to set up than a fully free-standing tent. I also expected the longest middle pole to be relatively insecure. However, the middle pole was completely secure and didn't flop around or wiggle at all. I can get by with 6 stakes, but I don't particularly like it; 9 stakes is preferable because I can stabilize all 3 poles plus the 2 stake-outs near my feet, the vestibule, and most importantly, the sides of the fly. Without two stakes on either side of the fly, the fly rests very close to the bug netting and condensation is produced. If you guy the sides out tight, condensation isn't produced.
It sounds like a lot of stakes, but in practice, I found that putting in 3 more stakes than a "normal" tent has wasn't that big a time-sink, and the end result was a tent that felt more like a tarp than a movable shelter. It has performed just fine in the rain, with no obvious fail points.
I hope this is helpful in the sea of other Fly Creek reviews. I know the platinum is newer, so maybe my reflections on the fly material are useful to veteran tenters.
Now go! Camp!Oct 27, 2013 at 7:50 pm #2038498
@jdegraafLocale: Bay Area
No pics? ;) you know what we want.
Nice write up though too btw.
-JamesOct 27, 2013 at 8:48 pm #2038512
They're all in my backyard. Wait about… 20 days. I've got a plane ticket to Colorado for Nov. 2nd and after that, I'll be swimming in tent pics.
I'll just update this thread.Oct 27, 2013 at 9:46 pm #2038523
I am 6'2" and also use a 6'6" bag. I really like my fly creek for summer camping but have issues with condensation in colder weather. The foot box of my sleeping bag does touch the mesh and wets out. I love it's compact footprint which allows me to set it up in very limited spaces. What is the difference between platinum and regular versions?
A pic of mine will have to suffice for now!Oct 27, 2013 at 9:52 pm #2038530
A few ounces. I don't remember exactly how many.
I will see how touching the mesh goes this winter. My experience with winter camping is that I do not mind a drafty tent in the slightest. Last winter, I used a hammock the entire time (right down to -15ºF in the Northeast). The hammock has a bugnet and an open top; I just threw a neo-air in it and huddled up for warmth, and had little condensation.
So far, I had condensation one night when I didn't guy out the sides. After I did that, condensation ceased, and it's been colder recently. If that is all it takes to keep the bug net dry, touching it with my sleeping bag shouldn't be too big a deal. Testing will tell. Worst case scenario, a bivy and a tarp will become my winter camping setup, or I'll use the fast-fly method.
Why'd I stop hammocking? I don't find the ground uncomfortable and fiddling with knots got old. I was always tying my fly slightly too far in one direction or another, and I was always fixing rat's nests in my guy-out lines. I would sometimes hang the hammock too high, or too low. Getting in and out almost always meant a sleeping bag touching the ground. These little annoyances made a bivy (lie down, zip up) and a tent (poles, fly, done) very appealing.Oct 27, 2013 at 11:01 pm #2038547
@feetfirstLocale: Northern Sierra Nevada
@ Brian M
"A pic of mine will have to suffice for now!"
West shore Lake Aloha, Desolation Wilderness, Eldorado NF?Oct 28, 2013 at 7:46 am #2038588
Max…regarding your hammock issues. Im assuming you are up on the latest and greatest 'dutch' hardware and hammockforums.net? I switch between hammocks and a BA copper spur ul1 all the time, but not for any of the reasons you gave. Havnt tied a knot on hammocks in years and line locs attached to ridge line of tarp make centering a non issue.Oct 28, 2013 at 7:49 am #2038591
I could have done more. I'm up on those forums, but I found that hammockforums dwellers often sacrificed weight to the point that they might as well have brought a tent.
My hammock setup, in its prime, was less than 11oz. I could add weight to that with a ridgeline, dutch clips, O-rings, etc. but I ended up opting to go with a tent for the Southwest anyways. Maybe a few weeks from now I'll be so tired of the ground, I'll return to the air.Oct 28, 2013 at 9:19 am #2038626
@bookLocale: Northern California
Max: yeah this tent needs to be completely guyed out to stop condensation. Also, in condensation prone sites or situations, I'll unzip a bit of the top of my fly for venting. (I may have mentioned this already…)
For a 5'9'' person like me this tent is pretty sweet.Oct 28, 2013 at 9:36 am #2038633
I am amazed you fit. With a FF Swift in Long (and 6'1" tall), both ends of my bag were pushed against each end of the FC1. I was on a Prolite 4.
Pictures are a must, unless the Platinum version has different dimensions.
Or maybe I am taller than I think.Oct 28, 2013 at 10:39 am #2038660
@alex Wallace, North shore just before mosquito pass, but I'm guessing that's what you meant.
@DaveU, My sentiments as well. I sleep on a Exped UL7 and to keep my head out of the door screen, my feet must press on the foot end screen. I don't sleep in the fetal position so maybe that plays into the situation. In the past I have put a 2×2 piece of tyvek over my feet to keep them from touching the tent with mixed results.Oct 28, 2013 at 11:09 am #2038674
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
From looking at the Fly Creek at my local REI I feel the floor is not well protected from rain and snow by the fly when the door is opened. Like many wedge tents this is a design failure.
This is my only complaint but it's such a big problem that I'd never consider one.Oct 28, 2013 at 11:13 am #2038676
The answer to your query is yes, with a caveat.
Is the floor protected when the door is open? Absolutely not. However, I can open the door, tie it off with the little plastic toggle, and then zip it from the top down until only the bottom 14-16 inches of rain fly is open. Great ventilation, and like this, I don't get wet at all in a non-windy rain.Dec 2, 2013 at 11:27 am #2049997
It's been thirty something days, any new thoughts or insight?Dec 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm #2050009
I'm completely smitten. Since purchasing it in October, I think I have at least 45 nights in it. I rarely sleep indoors anymore.
I now store the tent in a tiny compression sack. The total volume is akin to a grapefruit, plus the poles/stakes.
Some things I've learned:
1. I find it best to put my sit pad outside the door as a "doormat." It's very difficult to put on shoes while still inside the tent, so if it's raining or whatever, this sit pad makes that process much easier because I don't have to step on wet ground or try to balance on one foot to get my shoes on quickly.
2. I still have plenty of room and I still have no issues with condensation. It was pouring rain, just over 30º, and foggy as all hell last night and I slept like a baby and nothing got wet and I didn't have to fiddle with the tent at all.
3. For best ventilation, I secure the door of the rain fly with the toggle and then zip the tent closed as far as it goes, which is almost exactly halfway. This keeps rain out of the inner tent if the wind isn't blowing, and it leaves like 2 square feet of open tent for ventilation. Works great. Shoes still stay dry in the vestibule.
All in all, I'm extremely satisfied and I sleep on my back, stomach, and side all night with no issues whatsoever. Great tent!Dec 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm #2050024
From the Big Agnes website there is a Fly Creek 1 Platinum and a Fly Creek UL1, but no Fly Creek UL1 Platinum. Which tent do you have?Dec 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm #2050068
Fly Creek 1 PlatinumDec 2, 2013 at 4:07 pm #2050096
Max, I'm glad you've had good success with your tent. I have the BA Fly Creek Platinum UL2 and I wouldn't buy it again. It's a very expensive tent and I found that it needs to be guyed out almost perfectly to not have some of the mesh showing below the edge of the fly. There is very little room for error. I haven't had issues with condensation but I do have a pin hole in the floor from a night on the rocky shore of a lake. I think the extreme use of UL materials, including for the floor, and the trimmed fabric to the point of lack of coverage, make this tent a no-go for me in the future. I bought the 2 man, which for BA tents is really a 1 man.Dec 2, 2013 at 6:04 pm #2050144
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
So you don't mind drafty tents in the winter. Well that's not my cup of tea, but drafty with spin-drift snow coming from high winds is another matter entirely.
A true 4 season tent has a ripstop inner with mesh at the top for venting. That has always managed to keep out the spin-drift snow for me. A tiny bit may make it through the door zipper in bad storms but it's not enough to be a problem.
So I'd recommend not using a full mesh inner if you expect a storm with cold temps and high winds. Otherwise you may have to dig out your tent from the INSIDE!Dec 2, 2013 at 7:40 pm #2050171
@m-lLocale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
I've found the fly creek super storm worthy, I've had it in crazy storms and hail and I was always confident in it.Dec 3, 2013 at 8:21 am #2050303
Agree that the Fly Creek is very storm worthy. The Platinum version's fly, however, is cut smaller and doesn't provide the same kind of coverage as the normal Fly Creek versions.Dec 3, 2013 at 9:09 am #2050317
@bookLocale: Northern California
I've also found the Fly Creel ul1 to be very storm worthy. I haven't used the Platinum. As far as mesh showing beneath the fly…the ul1 has fabric, not mesh, about half way up on the inner; then it transitions to mesh. I really like this. The fabric is no heavier than mesh, but it's better at blocking wind, is probably slightly warmer than mesh, and certainly blocks any splash better than mesh. But I've had issues with splash with this tent. The fly pitches close to the ground.
This tent performs well in wind too.Dec 3, 2013 at 9:19 am #2050321
I don't own a 4-season tent, so I try to camp in sheltered areas in midwinter, and I wouldn't open the door in snowy, windy weather.
I have yet to put this thing through a storm, and nobody is more upset about that than me. We just haven't got any yet, but you bet I'll be outside when one hits.Dec 3, 2013 at 9:31 am #2050327
Max, I'm pleased you're pleased; mind if I ask what sort of surfaces you've been pitching on? I loved my FC2P for the weight, but I found that on packed ground in the Cascades even a 10-minute shower of any seriousness would result in massive splashback under the fly, to where the mesh would be soaked 4" up in the interior wall and on one occasion items inside the tent getting wet.
I love BA's tents, but it seems like there's always some compromise involved: you can have the stealthy color of the Seedhouse, but you don't get the half-height nylon inner of the Fly Creek. You can get a full-coverage inner of the Slater, but you have to live with the fly color. You can get the sturdier fabrics of the Jack Rabbit series vs Copper Spur, but you only get nylon inner on 3 sides.
In a dream world you'd be able to, for a small surcharge, be able to select the platform (FC/CS/SH), specify fabric weights, all mesh, half-height or full-coverage inner, and pick a fly color.Dec 3, 2013 at 9:38 am #2050329
I agree, the choice between materials would definitely be a plus. I am looking at about a 3" height on the tent's inner nylon sidewalls, and then it turns to mesh. Looks like enough, but my experience is limited in the rain, since it's only rained when I'm on dense moss or grass.
In Colorado, I pitched on flat, dry, packed ground, but it never rained. Bummer.
I'll come back to this when I get the opportunity to pitch in some rain. I'll try pitching in my driveway with some rocks to secure the fly next time a big rain/sleet event hits home.
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