Fly Creek Platinum vs Hubba NX Solo

Here are two interesting tents with very different approaches to the challenge of building a viable solo shelter. The overriding ethic of Big Agnes' Fly Creek Platinum 1 is "make it light!" MSR's Hubba NX Solo, on the other hand, comes at the problem more from the angle of "make it right!"

Solo tents are inherently inefficient when it comes to weight. They need all the same parts as a two man tent, and shrinking them down to fit only one person consequently doesn't save much weight. For this reason, its not at all unreasonable to simply use an ultralight two-man tent, such as Black Diamond's Firstlight or Mountain Hardware's Direkt2, as a solo shelter.

Why scrimp on space if it doesn't save much weight?

Comparing the Hubba NX Solo and the Fly Creek, there's no question the NX Solo is the more robust and versatile of the two. A cross-pole awning gives you better ventilation options, a reasonably high ceiling gives you sit-up interior space, and beefy construction makes the NX reassuringly durable. Of course, those traits come with consequences—at 2lbs 8oz (minimum), the Hubba NX Solo is only five ounces lighter than Black Diamond's Firstlight.

Big Agnes says we can do better—and they did. In its 2014 version, the Fly Creek Platinum weighs a stunning 1lb 7.4oz (minimum), dropping a full pound on the Hubba NX, albeit at the clear cost of durability and functional convenience. Which approach is better? I tilt toward the Fly Creek. I love tents, but I hate weight, and I'm not enthusiastic about carrying a solo shelter (the NX) that's practically dead even with my two-man Direkt2 (even if it is vastly more practical).

That doesn't mean the Fly Creek Platinum is a slam dunk. Carry it for bug protection or when storms are a possibility but not likely. And be prepared to contend with its relative fragility. When rough weather is certain, or if you just don't want to constantly baby your tent, you'll be much happier with the Hubba NX—or an ultralight 2-man model.

reviews: MSR Hubba NX Solo | Big Agnes Fly Creek Platinum 1

Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents

brad brown October 29, 2014 at 10:18 am

What's your thoughts on carrying a bivie type tent vs the flyweight single on a "day hike" that could go wrong and become an overnighter? I'm carrying a "space blanket"(sleeping bag style) for emergencies but am wondering if a little extra weight would be worth it? I'm thinking more 3 seasons for my uses but the whole topic of ultra light vs ultra right is of interest.

Andy October 29, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Under normal circumstances, I would be much more focused on clothing. I try to (almost) always carry a shell, an insulation layer, and a wool hat, matching the pieces to what I think I'd need to stay alive overnight given the temps.

From there, I'd pick a bivy sack, and then a sleeping bag, and if I was carrying all that purely as insurance for a solo trip, I'd probably be doing something very foolish... :)

Brad Brown October 30, 2014 at 3:58 am

Definitely prefer heavy on the clothing side. like I always told the kids: you dress as if the chair lift will break the windiest, coldest spot on the hill where rescue will take the longest. Well....thinking Cactus 2 Clouds as an edge of personal limits example To the tram it's like 16 miles and 8200 vert. The trick seems to be timing, cool enough for your low desert zero dark:30 head lamp affixed assault, and snow free/travel safe enough up high (or not?). The rate limiting factor is water, again affected by the timing issue. But if you run out of gas after 6000' vert an over night bivie may be in order me thinks-with company of course. Then again water could be the issue so now were talking ultra light stove, more weight, and hope there's snow that's nice and warm-hah! Yikes, 12-15 hours or 12-15 minutes of tram, decisions-decisions. Anyways the edge of madness seems to be your well taken point, challenge vs risk accounting and such. Will ponder this until spring-thanks.

Andy October 30, 2014 at 6:07 pm

When you add weight you are balancing the possibility it will be needed versus the certainty it will slow you down. No one yet has come up with a one-size-fits-all solution to this dilemma... (though you can sure find a lot of talk about it!)

Brad Brown October 31, 2014 at 4:50 am

I believe Sir Edmund Hillary figured this out over 60 years ago: hire Sherpas.