Another perfect day in Dolly Sods Wilderness

Another perfect day in Dolly Sods Wilderness
Taken just off the Red Creek Trail/Blackbird Knob Trail Junction

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL-1 initial review

Decided to try a tent for a change, so went to the local outdoor store, Pathfinder, WV and purchased a Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1.

Initial impression: Well made, well thought out, nicely put together; looks like it is actually made for a backpacker instead of a desk jockey.
Listed weight total as packaged is 2 pounds 3 oz, on my scale it is 2 pounds 5 3/4 ounces.
Took into the yard and set it up (instructions are sewn to the inside of the stuff sack).
Easy to set up, took me about 6 minutes for first set up; looks like I should be able to go from stuff sack to set up in about 2 or 3 minutes. Very intuitive set up.
Tent seamed very stable and roomy enough for one person (and perhaps a small dog) and Ultralite gear. All zippers work smoothly, enough head room (38") to set up with room to spare. Enough foot area height to avoid sleeping bag hitting the top. Length of tent is 86 inches, width at head end is 42 inches, width at foot end is 30 inches. The vestibule is small but roomy enough to put boots and wet clothes. There is a small mesh storage pocket at the head end, roomy enough for my glasses. There are 3 loops attached to the top of the tent to hook up a separately purchased gear hammock. I will probably use these for stringing a line to hang maybe wet socks and perhaps a light to read by. Taking the tent down was also very easy. Everything fit in the tent stuff sack (at last a stuff sack that is actually big enough to get the gear back in without cursing!). Tent is reported to not need seam sealing as all seams are factory taped; I will test this theory soon. I expect exiting the tent in rainy weather will result in a bit of water coming in as there is nothing to prevent this. I will need to practice setting tent up to minimize rain puddling in the tent floor during rainy weather set up.
An actual usage review will follow in the next couple of weeks.

Okay, I have had the opportunity to use this tent on an overnighter. I used it on my trip to Otter Creek Wilderness.

Set up was quick and easy. It took up very little space. I only used 9 stakes instead of the 11 stakes provided. I had plenty of room for my regular Neoair pad and Montbell sleeping bag. My boots and pack spent the night in the vestible (rather small, but adequate). The night was cool, (low 50's) and still. I zipped the vestibule up to hold in heat and to see how bad condensation was. Condensation was light to moderate, which is to be expected with a still night. I did not have any condensation drip onto my gear and the inner wall kept my sleeping bag and other gear from contacting the fly. I do like the little overhead gear pocket, it was the perfect place for my glasses. I also used one of the tabs that are to connect a gear loft to hang my head lamp. In the morning, the tent broke down and packed up just as easy as it set up. I have ditched the provided stuff sack in favor of a three-sack system: Tent in on small bag, fly in an other, this keep the tent body drier. The pole sack rides in the outer pocket of my Mariposa + along with the stakes.

I will post another "weather" review after I have used this tent in some less than nice weather.

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