Every evening on the Pacific Crest Trail we were on the lookout for a campsite. Sometimes the search was easy and in a few minutes we found a flat pre-established site with a view. Other times, after walking an extra hour and a half, with daylight almost gone, we had to settle for a tiny spot between bushes. We photographed all our campsites along the PCT and created this short fun video with the assistance of Joe Sofranko. Enjoy!
The Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 tent performed well during our PCT thru hike. It’s very light. Out of the box this two-person tent weighs 2.6 pounds. We left the stuff sack at home and brought only 6 Vargo titanium tent stakes, bringing the weight down to 2.3 pounds. The Fly Creek UL2 was cozy for the two of us with only a few inches to spare on either side of our sleeping pads, but its small size allowed us to pitch the tent in itty bitty spots when necessary.
The tent’s single Y-shaped pole made for a fast and easy setup — we were done in 3 minutes. The rain fly kept us dry in storms and the tent’s mesh kept mosquitoes at bay, even when hundreds of them were trying their hardest to bite. Durability was decent for an ultralight tent, but our zipper broke after 700 miles of camping in the sandy deserts of Southern California. Our second Fly Creek UL2 tent withstood the remaining 1900 miles of trail without issue. Overall we would recommend this tent.
Though we have praise for the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2, after hiking 2600 miles we know that every ounce counts. On the Appalachian Trail we will be using a prototype of Gossamer Gear’s new Spinn Twinn tarp. We’ll save weight on tent poles by supporting the tarp with our trekking poles. Using one item for multiple purposes is one of our favorite weight saving strategies.
Here are a few campsite tips which are helpful regardless of which shelter you use:
- If the ground is too hard for stakes, wrap the rainfly cords around large rocks instead.
- Camping away from low-lying lakes and streams is warmer and reduces condensation.
- In windy areas, face the narrowest part of the tent towards the wind.
- Set up camp on durable surfaces and in pre-established campsites to avoid damaging vegetation. Leave no trace.
But enough about tents — here’s a brief update on our Pacific Crest Trail photo book. In the past few days we have seen the initial results of all our hard work. We’ve been at Shapco Printing in Minneapolis checking the pages as they come off the press. The photos look beautiful and it’s exciting to see the PCT come alive in printed form. In the next four weeks, the large press sheets will be cut, folded, and bound together into a cloth-covered hardback book. If you haven’t already, you can still pre-order a signed book!