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Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Review

Backpacking Tent

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Top Pick Award
Price:   Varies from $344 - $430 online  —  Compare at 4 sellers
Pros:  Above average space-to-weight ratio, comfortable for two people, guy points, pole configuration and low profile end make it strong in winds
Cons:  Delicate fabrics require special treatment, still 17.2 ounces heavier than the lightest tent in this review
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Big Agnes


The Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 is a high performance two-door backpacking tent for people that want more space and comfort than lighter tents like the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 offer. It wins our Top Pick award for the best lightweight, livable backpacking tent. It weighs in at 52.6 oz. or 3 lb. 4.6 oz., has two spacious vestibules, and has an above average space-to-weight ratio. The tent features high quality ultralight fabrics that could be stronger and more durable. It competes fiercely with the MSR Hubba Hubba NX and the Tarptent Double Rainbow, and we think it is the most comfortable and easy to use of the three.

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
Jessica Haist
Review Editor

Last Updated:
November 22, 2015
The Copper Spur UL2 is an outstanding balance of weight savings and comfort, making for a top performing backpacking tent. We love its double doors and ample head room, all for just a tad over three pounds.

Performance Comparison

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The Copper Spur UL2 wins our Top Pick Award for being the most livable lightweight tent we tested.

Ease of Set-up

The Copper Spur UL2 is relatively easy to set-up and has a very similar pole design to the MSR Hubba Hubba NX. It has a single, interconnected pole with two hubbed ends for extra strength in winds and a cross pole for extra head-room. The Copper Spur is completely free standing, so no funky stake out maneuvers are required like with The North Face Mica FL2. Color-coded pole and fly connectors and reflective quick adjust guy lines make set-up brainless. It comes with only minimal guy line attached, and it would be useful to have had more for all the guy points on the tent. Its stakes are decently strong and the tent comes with enough stakes for the critical points.

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The Copper Spur UL2 is relatively quick and easy to set up.


The Copper Spur strives to be both lightweight and spacious; and it succeeds! This is our favorite tent for luxurious lightweight backpacking with lazy afternoons spent reading The New Yorker, drinking tea, and frolicking around in fluffy down sleeping bags. It is a great compromise for two people backpacking together who want to go light, but don't want to sacrifice things like two doors and head room.

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Two ladies and all their junk go backpacking with the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2. It's a cozy fit and Jessica is snug as a bug in the Women's Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 800 sleeping bag.

This tent has the third highest space-to-weight ratio of all 16 tents tested. An impressively tall 42" peak height makes it easy to sit up at the front. Twenty-nine square feet of interior space and steep walls provide plenty of room to spread out and use the floor area to a greater extent than is possible on many lighter, cramped tents. Two 9-square-foot vestibules easily cover shoes and a moderate size pack. Big Agnes has added four upper pockets along with the two supportive side pockets that were found in the previous version to hold nighttime essentials, and an optional gear loft quenches the organizational thirst of the messy basecamper. We also like the updated bright and cheery orange color although it is less stealthy than some tents we tested. The Copper Spur's inner doors zip down in a rainbow shape. We prefer a door that opens in a D pattern and find the Copper Spur's doors allow more dirt to enter the tent unintentionally.

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We like the new color combination of the Copper Spur, although it is less stealthy when trying to go unnoticed.

Weather Resistance

The Copper Spur has wonderful geometry that produces a tight pitch and holds steady in winds that bend many other lightweight tents over, including the Fly Creek UL2. Three guy points at the head and one at the foot help to secure it better than most light tents. A large vent above the head area helps to combat condensation (the company's Fly Creek series misses this critical feature). The geometry is very similar to the Hubba Hubba, and we noticed that both tents' fly materials squeak against the poles in high winds. We sat out many rain storms inside the Copper Spur without a care in the world and stayed cozy and dry.

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We sat out some serious rain storms in the Copper Spur and, along with our gear, stayed cozy and dry.


As with all double wall backpacking tents, the Copper Spur is not very adaptable. You can take the fly off on warm summer days to check out the stars, but fly on and fly off are the two basic options. You can "fast pitch" it if you purchase the expensive footprint separately, but we don't think this is the best way to use the tent. The Hubba Hubba NX is more versatile than the Copper Spur because you can "fast pitch" it without a footprint.


Big Agnes sacrifices a degree of durability to keep the Copper Spur's weight down. We think it is a good compromise but you need to take good care of the tent. Its fabric is not particularly abrasion resistant and you'll need to make sure that it is well staked down if you are going to leave it un-attended when its windy out or you'll come back to it shredded to pieces. The Copper Spur has a sturdy and well-designed pole construction that helps to offset its fragile fabrics. The tent uses slightly more durable fabrics than the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 (20D versus 15D), but they're still neither strong nor durable, and it's important to care for them like a baby. A slight bit of bushwhacking tore the stuff sack and floor of a Copper Spur that was sticking out of the top of one tester's pack.

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Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 uses ultralight material. Tear strength and abrasion resistance are compromised for weight savings. The stuff sack is made of the same material as the fly.

For this reason we recommend always packing your tent inside your backpack to avoid any un-necessary abrasion. Otherwise, its materials are of high quality and won't degrade as quickly in your garage as others like the Kelty Grand Mesa 2. For more information on fabrics check out our Buying Advice Article.

Weight and Packed Size

In their latest version, Big Agnes has worked to shave a few more ounces off the Copper Spur UL2, bringing it down to 52.6 ounces (they advertise it as 50 ounces but not according to our scale!). The Copper Spur's materials are very packable, but it is a bulkier tent than the smaller Fly Creek UL2. It packs to about the same size as the Hubba Hubba NX and is 3.5 ounces lighter.

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The Big Agnes Flycreek UL2 and the larger, more livable Copper Spur UL2.


The Copper Spur's greatest limitation is its fabric. Despite a full season all over the High Sierra, including three serious and one record-setting storm, our test model showed few signs of wear. Nonetheless, the fabric tears very easily compared to others, which is a significant drawback. For many backpackers, the fabric will not pose a serious drawback, but for long distance hikers or anyone traveling to remote areas, we recommend something with increased strength and durability like the Hilleberg Anjan 2 or the Tarptent Double Rainbow.

A relatively minor drawback: the Copper Spur isn't as stealthy as green and grey tents such as the Hilleberg Anjan, or a stony grey like the Mountain Hardwear SuperMegaUL 2.

Best Application

The Copper Spur UL is a great choice as a lightweight option for two backpackers. If you're looking for a roomy, lightweight shelter for one, consider the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2.

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Grab a friend and head into the backcountry with the Copper Spur UL2! It has an incredible space-to-weight ratio, making it lightweight as well as livable.


The Copper Spur UL2 retails for $400. This is a serious investment into your backpacking gear. We think this is decent value if you are planning on doing a lot of backpacking trips, but not if you are only going to use it for car camping trips. If you want a great tent for shorter trips, car camping, or very occasional use check out something less expensive and more durable like the Mountainsmith Morrison 2 ($180) or the REI Half Dome 2 Plus ($219). The Copper Spur is an expensive piece of equipment, and because it is made from lightweight delicate fabrics it needs to be treated with care and stored properly. For more information on caring for your tent check out our Buying Advice article.


The Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 wins out Top Pick Award because it is the most comfortable lightweight two door tent in this review. It is just slightly lighter and more livable than the Hubba Hubba NX and we think it is more weather resistant than the Double Rainbow, but not quite as strong and durable as the Hilleberg Anjan 2. Its main drawback is its delicate materials and expensive price tag, but we think it is worth the investment if you know you will be doing a lot of backpacking with a partner.

Other Versions and Accessories

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Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platinum
  • Top Pick Award Winner!
  • Ultralight version of the Fly Creek series
  • Same Floor space as UL2 version
  • 1 lbs 9oz.
  • $550

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Fly Creek UL1
  • Single Person version of the Fly Creek Model tent
  • 1 lbs 11oz. (26oz.) for poles, fly and tent body.
  • $319.95
  • Less mesh material on tent sidewalls (main reason for added weight)
Jessica Haist

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: August 11, 2016
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   Aug 11, 2016 - 12:08pm
Subaruski · Backpacker · Portland
Have used this tent for about two seasons now. Love the lightweight and versatility of it. Fits two people with ease and also allows space in one vestibule for the dog to sleep.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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How to Choose the Best Tent for Backpacking - Click for details
 How to Choose the Best Tent for Backpacking

by Jessica Haist and Max Neale