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Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Review

Our favorite tent for all your backpacking needs.
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $450 List | $449.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Two large double doors, good headroom, excellent balance of space and weight
Cons:  Delicate fabrics require special treatment, expensive
Manufacturer:   Big Agnes
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 2, 2019
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78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 18
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Weight - 25% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 8
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 8
  • Durability - 10% 7
  • Packed Size - 10% 9

Our Verdict

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.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $449.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$389.95 at Amazon$499.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$399.95 at REI$499.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
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Pros Two large double doors, good headroom, excellent balance of space and weightExcellent balance between weight and features, many storage pockets, large vestibulesLightweight, good lateral headroom, large side doors, large overhead pocketGenerous dimensions, large vestibules, good balance between weight and durabilitySuperior weight for a dedicated pole tent, easy to pitch, easy entry and exit
Cons Delicate fabrics require special treatment, expensiveTapered foot, pockets are high upsmall vestibules, tapered footprint reduces interior spaceSmall doors, expensive, zippers don't always open smoothlyExpensive, tight for two people, mediocre ventilation
Bottom Line Our favorite tent for all your backpacking needs.A superior tent that balances light weight with excellent features.A comfortable, lightweight tent great for a weekend or a week.A high-quality tent that strikes a solid balance between weight and comfort features.A great choice for backpackers looking to minimize weight without sacrificing the conveniences of a double wall tent.
Rating Categories Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 NEMO Dragonfly 2 Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 NEMO Dagger 2 NEMO Hornet Elite
Comfort (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
5
Weight (25%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
9
Weather Resistance (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Ease Of Set Up (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Durability (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
5
Packed Size (10%)
10
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9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
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6
10
0
9
Specs Big Agnes Copper... NEMO Dragonfly 2 Big Agnes Copper... NEMO Dagger 2 NEMO Hornet Elite
Packaged Weight 3.06 lbs 3.16 lbs 3.81 lbs 3.76 lbs 2.00 lbs
Floor Area 29 sq ft 29 sq ft 41 sq ft 31 sq ft 28 sq ft
Packed Size 19.5 x 4 in 19.5 x 4.5 in 20 x 4.5 in 19.5 x 6.5 in 19 x 5 in
Dimensions 88" x 52" x 42 in 88" x 50" x 41" 90" x 70" x 43" 90" x 50" x 42" 85" x 51" x 37"
Vestibule Area (Total) 18 sq ft 20 sq ft 18 sq ft 22.8 sq ft 12.4 sq ft
Peak Height 42 in 41 in 43 in 42 in 37 in
Number of Doors 2 2 2 2 2
Number of Poles 2 3 3 2 1
Pole Diameter 8.7 mm 8.7 mm 8.7mm 8.5/9/9.6 millimeters 8.7 mm
Number of Pockets 2 3 5 2 3
Gear Loft Sold separately No Sold separately Sold separately No
Pole Material DAC Featherlite NFL and NSL DAC Featherlite NFL Aluminum DAC featherlight NSL DAC Featherlite NFL
Guy Points 9 5 6 10 4
Rain Fly Material Silicone-treated patterned double ripstop nylon with waterproof polyurethane coating 20D Nylon Ripstop proprietary patterned random rip-stop nylon with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating 15D Sil / PU Nylon Ripstop (1200mm) 7D Sil/PU Nylon (1200 mm)
Inner Tent Material [Body] Patterned double ripstop nylon/polyester mesh
[Floor] Silicone-treated patterned double ripstop nylon with waterproof polyurethane coating
15D Nylon Ripstop proprietary patterned random rip-stop nylon with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating [Body] 15D Nylon Ripstop / No see um mesh
[Floor] 30D PU Nylon Ripstop (3000mm)
10D Sil / PU Nylon Ripstop (1200mm)
Type Two Door Two Door freestanding Two Door Two Door freestanding Two Door

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.

Performance Comparison


The Copper Spur HV UL2 shares the title of highest ranked backpacking tent in our review, earning an Editors' Choice Award.

With extra head space  comfort levels are high in the Copper Spur. We took this tent on a couples camping adventure and were pleased with our results.

Comfort


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.

The roomy interior of the Copper Spur HV UL 2.
The roomy interior of the Copper Spur HV UL 2.

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.

Looking out over the Sierras  while lounging in the Copper Spur HV.
Looking out over the Sierras, while lounging in the Copper Spur HV.

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.

The interior of the Copper Spur HV UL 2 with fly deployed.
The interior of the Copper Spur HV UL 2 with fly deployed.

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.

Setting up this model has always been pretty quick and easy. Here a tester pitches the previous version of this tent  the Copper Spur UL2.
Setting up this model has always been pretty quick and easy. Here a tester pitches the previous version of this tent, the Copper Spur UL2.

Weather Resistance


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.

Durability


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.

We tested the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 on stick-laden ground  and put a big dog inside the tent to see how the floor held up. The Copper Spur took home a 7 out of 10 for comfort.
We tested the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 on stick-laden ground, and put a big dog inside the tent to see how the floor held up. The Copper Spur took home a 7 out of 10 for comfort.

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.


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

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.


All of our contenders. From left to right: NEMO Galaxi  Alps Lynx  REI Half Dome 2 Plus  Eureka Midori  Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight  Big Agnes Copper Spur HV  Hilleberg Anjan  NEMO Dagger  Tarptent Double Rainbow  Kelty Salida 2  and Marmot Catalyst.
All of our contenders. From left to right: NEMO Galaxi, Alps Lynx, REI Half Dome 2 Plus, Eureka Midori, Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight, Big Agnes Copper Spur HV, Hilleberg Anjan, NEMO Dagger, Tarptent Double Rainbow, Kelty Salida 2, and Marmot Catalyst.

Best Application


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.

Here one tester is looking out from the NEMO Dagger  over at the REI Half Dome 2 Plus and the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV. We found the REI Half Dome 2 Plus easy to assemble  even for one person working alone in windy conditions. This tent  though heavy  scored highly across all categories except for weight.
Here one tester is looking out from the NEMO Dagger, over at the REI Half Dome 2 Plus and the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV. We found the REI Half Dome 2 Plus easy to assemble, even for one person working alone in windy conditions. This tent, though heavy, scored highly across all categories except for weight.

Value


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.
OutdoorGearLab tests the Copper Spur HV alongside the NEMO Dagger 2. Both earned high scores for their remarkable durability in Montana and the Sierras.
OutdoorGearLab tests the Copper Spur HV alongside the NEMO Dagger 2. Both earned high scores for their remarkable durability in Montana and the Sierras.

Conclusion


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.

At OutdoorGearLab  we always start our morning with a fresh cup of coffee. The Copper Spur gave us plenty of room to spread out comfortably during the night  earning high scores across the board.
At OutdoorGearLab, we always start our morning with a fresh cup of coffee. The Copper Spur gave us plenty of room to spread out comfortably during the night, earning high scores across the board.


Ben Applebaum-Bauch