Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 3
We took this tent on a variety of trips in the Cascades and recently also on a three-week long thru-hike of the John Muir trail. During these adventures we encountered large variety of conditions – heavy rain, hail, lightning storms, gusty winds, hot and humid nights.
If staked correctly the Fly Creek handles foul conditions very well. It is important to make the final adjustments and tighten the strings once the tent is set up, especially if you anticipate precipitation. Otherwise the fly will get too close to the tent wall and could possibly dampen the inside of the tent. Between proper set up and using footprint we did not have any water related issues, even after several hours of continuous heavy rain, and on days when the weather did not allow us to completely dry the fly before pitching the next evening.
Proper set up (butt into the wind) and staking also got us through some windy nights. The tent felt steady, the poles held strong without bending.
On the downside, this is not a true 3 person tent. It provides just the perfect amount of space for 2 people. You can place 2 pads next to each other and still have some space on the sides for extra layer or gear you wish to store inside. There is not enough space to fit 3 standard size pads in without significant overlap.
The vestibule has enough space for two backpacks placed one on the top of each other and two set of boots in the opposite corner. With this set up you can still easily enter and exit the tent. I suspect trying to place 3 backpacks and boots in it would make it little too crammed and it would take crawling over gear while getting in or out.
The walls of the vestibule go all the way down and we did not experience any backsplashing during the rainy periods of our trip. The vestibule can easily be zipped and unzipped from either inside or outside of the tent; however due to its length you have to stretch a bit to reach the very bottom of the zipper while closing the vestibule from the inside.
The one real let down was the durability of the fabric. We purchased this tent with multi week trips on mind. It had the best space to weight ratio of all the shelters we considered. Aware of the fact the light weight was achieved by slightly lighter (but supposedly very strong) fabric, we always exercised caution when pitching or packing the tent. Yet after only a week and half of our first extended trip, the mesh started separating from its seam at the upper area of the tent, and soon afterwards we found several small rips in the fly. The stuff sack also got ripped, even though we never put the tent in with force and always carried the stakes separately.
In summary the tent performed to our satisfaction and we were especially pleased with its performance and functionality during rain when it kept us dry and very comfortable weathering storms for extended hours. If weight is your main consideration and you are willing to sacrifice some on durability, the Fly Creek is a worthwhile tent to look into.