As you can see: my Fly Creek UL 2 from Big Agnes has no floor and is lighter than ever because of it. This modification brings the weight of a Fly Creek UL 2, one of the most revered backpacking tents of all time, down to an astonishing 1 lb. 3 oz.

By Luke Kantola

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Instead of a footprint or tent body to hold the pole structure together there is string running from the 3 terminating pole ends. There are only 2 strings below. The lengthwise string pulls the horizontal string into a triangle. This makes it really easy to get the right tension on the poles.

Fly Creek UL 2 Tent
Fly Creek UL 2 Tent
Quick Release Clips
Quick Release Clips

Big Agnes was happy to send some of the Quick Release clips my way for this project. Those clips both hold the tent poles in place and clip the tent fly on. Typically, these clips are at the corners of either the footprint, or the body of the tent as shown here:

Big Agnes Tent
Big Agnes Tent
knot
knot

This is a very simple way to cut weight from your tent. Hypothetically, with the right clips, I can't see why this couldn't work on any tent. I used simple fishing knots because I trust them and can tie them easily. Getting the lengths of the string right was easy. I just laid them out on top of the flat tent-body and adjusted accordingly. I did tie a sliding knot at the base of the length-wise string that allowed me to get the strings the right length.

Sliding knot
Sliding knot

The three clips and the string all weigh in at 1 ounce exactly. This is 4 oz. less than the footprint that Big Agnes advertises for the fast fly method.

As a footprint I will either be carrying my:

1.6 oz. Polycryo Footprint from Gossamer Gear

Or my Borah Gear Bivy

Both of these items are battle tested and provide a very light and easy way to cowboy camp under the stars when the clouds aren't threatening. (I tend to avoid setting up a shelter unless rain is clearly imminent. Even then I've been known to risk it...)

Fly Creek UL2
Fly Creek UL2

I plan on using this setup on my bike-tour down the Pacific Coast because it takes up less room in my bikepacking setup.

I think for backpacking trips I will stick to my 8'x10' Cuben Fiber Tarp because it only weighs 6 oz. and takes up much less space.

So there you have it. A largely free standing lightweight monster of a tent.

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