The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is a high-performance two-door backpacking tent for people that want more space and comfort than lighter tents like the NEMO Hornet Elite or Tarptent Double Rainbow offer. It wins our Editors' Choice Award because it does an exceptional job of balancing the competing metrics that we apply in this review. It weighs in at just over 3 pounds, has two spacious vestibules and has a solid space-to-weight ratio. It does well in harsh weather, keeping its dwellers dry. Its fabrics could be stronger and more durable but they are meant to reduce weight. It competes closely with the NEMO Dragonfly 2, another exceptional choice.
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Two large double doors, good headroom, excellent balance of space and weight
Cons: Delicate fabrics require special treatment, expensive
Manufacturer: Big Agnes
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Copper Spur HV UL2 is an outstanding balance of weight savings and comfort, making it a top performing backpacking tent. We love its double doors, storm protection, and ample headroom, all for just a tad over three pounds. This is truly a tent that we could take anywhere, from sea kayaking adventures to peak bagging missions.
The Copper Spur HV UL2 shares the title of highest ranked backpacking tent in our review, earning an Editors' Choice Award.
The Copper Spur HV UL2 strives to be both lightweight and spacious…and it succeeds! This is our favorite tent for luxurious lightweight backpacking with lazy afternoons spent reading, and drinking tea from the comfort of our 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 headroom.
A really solid 42" peak height makes it easy for both people to sit up. The floor does taper down in the foot area but it doesn't make it feel too much tighter. Twenty-nine square feet of interior space and steep walls provide plenty of room to spread out and use the floor area.
Two 9-square-foot vestibules easily cover shoes and a moderate size pack. This model features overhead pockets with 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 base camper. The privacy panels taper from head to foot but we found that they were high enough to keep us covered from most angles.
This is some of the best storage that we have seen for a tent under four pounds. We also like the bright and cheery orange color — although it is less stealthy than some tents we tested. Other top scorers in the comfort metric include the REI Half Dome 2 Plus, along with the NEMO Galaxi 2 and Marmot Tungsten UL2. These are the first tents we'd reach for if comfort is the number one priority.
Ease of Set-Up
The Copper Spur HV 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 headroom. It is completely free standing, so no funky stakeout maneuvers are required. Color-coded pole and fly connectors and reflective quick adjust guy lines make setup straightforward. Its stakes are decently strong and the tent comes with enough of them for all of the critical points.
As with all double wall backpacking tents, the setup of this tent 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 a footprint, sold separately, but we don't think this is the best way to use the tent. The Hilleberg Anjan 2 GT is more versatile than the Copper Spur HV UL2 because you can "fast pitch" it without a footprint.
The Copper Spur HV UL2 has a nice geometry that produces a tight pitch, holding steady in wind. The vestibule has a common but effective fly zipper flap that keeps precipitation from seeping through the zipper.
The guy points at the head and foot help to secure this tent better than most lightweight competitors. A large vent above the head area helps combat condensation. The geometry is very similar to the MSR Hubba Hubba NX. We sat out many rain storms inside the Copper Spur HV UL2 and stayed cozy and dry. Its closest competitor, the NEMO Dragonfly 2, just barely edges it out in this metric because of a superior fly geometry that holds firmer in the wind.
Big Agnes sacrifices a degree of durability with the fabric to keep the weight of the Copper Spur HV UL2 down. We think it is a good compromise — but it requires more care than burlier models. 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 unattended when it's windy out. For what it's worth, this model evidently comes with a proprietary 'random ripstop pattern' that is meant to increase strength.
This tent has a sturdy and well-designed pole construction that helps to offset its potentially fragile fabrics. They provide both flexibility and rigidity.
Weight & Packed Size
This tent weighs in at 3 pounds, 1 ounce. It does an excellent job of minimizing heft while maximizing interior space. Split between two people and the load is a breezy pound and a half per person.
This model's materials are very packable, and it is just barely bulkier than the smaller Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 and NEMO Hornet Elite. One person can pack the whole tent and still have enough room in their pack for personal gear and food for a few days.
The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is a great choice as a lightweight option for two backpackers. Trips like the John Muir Trail or other long distance multi-day backpacking or paddling trips would be good uses for this tent. It also has enough interior space that it would be a fine choice for a car camping weekend. It really is an excellent all-around option.
The Copper Spur UL2 retails for $450. This is a serious investment for your backpacking gear for sure. We think this is a decent value if you are planning on doing a lot of backpacking trips, but not if you are only going to use it for, say, the occasional car camping trip. However, if you use it consistently and care for it, we think that the load you don't carry on your back will make up for the initial price tag.
This contender wins our Editors' Choice Award because it takes a share of the title for best all-around backpacking tent we've tested. This two-door tent does an exceptional job of balancing comfort and weight. Despite its thin fabrics, it has solid weather resistance. It comes with a big price tag, but we think it is worth the investment if you know you will be doing a lot of backpacking, particularly with a partner.
— Ben Applebaum-Bauch