October 28, 2014
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.