Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 Review
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Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3
|Price||Check Price at Backcountry|
Compare at 4 sellers
|$499.95 at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$540 List||$329 List|
$329.00 at REI
|$439.00 at Amazon|
Compare at 3 sellers
|Pros||Lightweight, good lateral headroom, large side doors, large overhead pocket||Massive storage pockets, sturdy vestibule shape, dual-tone privacy mesh||Lightweight, high peak height, excellent storage pockets, detachable kickstand vents||Spacious, affordable, included footprint||Lightweight, good headroom for its size, double side doors, massive storage pocket|
|Cons||Small vestibules, tapered footprint reduces interior space||Comparatively narrow, expensive, difficult to get into stuff sack||Expensive, shorter length, thin rainfly||Heavy, bulky poles||Odd door configuration, delicate materials, expensive|
|Bottom Line||A comfortable, lightweight tent for up to three people, great for a weekend or a week||This tent is an exceptional balance between weight and comfort features with one of the best shapes around||With two large side doors and plenty of headroom, this lightweight tent is a great balance between comfort and weight||This inexpensive tent is spacious enough for laid-back car camping and light enough for short to moderate backpacking trips||This is a lightweight tent for a long-distance backpacking duo that still wants the comfort of a double-wall shelter|
|Rating Categories||Big Agnes Copper Sp...||NEMO Dragonfly Osmo 2||SlingFin Portal 2||REI Co-op Half Dome...||Big Agnes Tiger Wal...|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Ease of Set-up (10%)|
|Packed Size (10%)|
|Specs||Big Agnes Copper Sp...||NEMO Dragonfly Osmo 2||SlingFin Portal 2||REI Co-op Half Dome...||Big Agnes Tiger Wal...|
|Packaged Weight||3.88 lbs||3.29 lbs||3.18 lbs||4.82 lbs||2.50 lbs|
|Floor Area||41 sq ft||29 sq ft||27.45 sq ft||35.8 sq ft||28 sq ft|
|Packed Size (length x diameter)||21 x 6 in||19.5 x (5.5 x 3.5) in||14 x 5 in||20.5 x 7 in||18 x 5.5 in|
|Dimensions (length x width x peak height)||90 x 70 x 43 in||88 x 50/45 x 41 in||85 x 51/42 x 44 in||92 x 56 x 42 in||86 x 52/42 x 39 in|
|Vestibule Area (Total)||18 sq ft||10 sq ft||8.4 + 8.4 sq ft||22.5 sq ft||16 sq ft|
|Peak Height||43 in||41 in||44 in||42 in||39 in|
|Number of Doors||2||2||2||2||2|
|Number of Poles||1||1||3||1||1|
|Pole Diameter||8.7 mm||8.7 mm||8.7/9.3mm||2 mm||8.7 mm|
|Number of Pockets||5||4||7||6||4|
|Pole Material||Aluminum||DAC Featherlite||DAC Featherlite NFL, NFL||DAC featherlite NFL aluminum||DAC featherlight NFL aluminum|
|Rain Fly Material||proprietary patterned random rip-stop nylon with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating||0D OSMO Ripstop||10D Nylon 66 Ripstop Sil||40-denier ripstop nylon/20-denier nylon mesh||Ripstop nylon, PU coating (1200 mm)|
|Inner Tent Material||proprietary patterned random rip-stop nylon with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating||10D Nylon Ripstop||15D Nylon mesh||40-denier taffeta nylon||Ripstop nylon, PU coating (1200 mm), polyester mesh|
|Type||Two door freestanding||Two door freestanding||Two door freestanding||Two door freestanding||Two door semi freestanding|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Copper Spur HV UL3 offers a lot of versatility and is designed to accommodate three people. However, its light weight means it is still a reasonable load if split between two. This tent takes a top spot against other three-person options and even performs well relative to other 2-person tents.
This tent has its comfort pros and cons. We love the two large doors on each side, which make entering and exiting the tent easy. Some of our testers find the dual-zipper configuration a little inconvenient because it requires two hands and a little more time to open and close, but this is a minor inconvenience. On the flip side, the (minor) benefit is that if you are lying down and realize you need to grab something from the vestibule, the zippers are already in the right position to open just a little bit to stick out your arm.
The gear storage pockets are a huge plus. There are two massive pockets, one overhead and an even larger one at the foot end, for storing a ton of gear. Small side pockets also help organize items that you might want to have close at hand. At 70 inches at the head, the Spur UL3 is just a nudge wider than other 3-person tents that we've tested in the past. With a 43-inch peak height, it falls in the middle, but it does bump the length up to 90 inches from the 2-person's 88 inches. The Spur also comes with pre-bent poles to maximize interior volume. All good so far.
The drawback is the taper — it's a much tighter 62 inches at the foot. For context, a standard sleeping pad is 20" inches wide, so three of them take up just about every bit of wall-to-wall space at the foot. This geometry serves to save weight and keep the tent feeling roomy without sacrificing the more crucial head-and-shoulder space. In the two-person version, it's a real asset (reducing overall weight without diminishing the feel of the interior volume).
However, you notice the narrower dimensions much more with three people, especially if that middle person is sleeping head-to-toe (also worth noting is that the privacy panel tapers and disappears entirely on the sidewalls of the tent at the foot). It is a cozy fit for three people.
We like the Copper Spur HV UL3 for its weather resistance. The stakes at the head and foot create some space between the tent body and the fly so that they don't touch in the rain. The vestibule is super adaptable. The fly doors can be opened up into awnings that are stabilized with a set of trekking poles (though depending on what time of day you roll into camp, you may or may not find it worth it to do that particular dance). There are also a lot of in-between configurations that the doors can take, allowing you to control the balance between ventilation and protection from wind and rain.
There is also enough of a bathtub floor that splashback above the waterproof PU-coated ripstop nylon is minimal. The tent comes with a guyline and tensioners already installed on the fly. Though there is nothing exceptional about them over other tent guylines, in practice, having them pre-attached is a huge benefit because you are much more likely to use them. We pitched ours in heavily forested areas, but there are a fair number of reports that the Copper Spur doesn't always hold its own in high winds. Though the fly is admirably waterproof, it does also seem to retain more water for a little longer than its ultralight counterparts.
This metric is where this tent makes its worth evident. Its dimensions are meant for three (or two plus a dog), but its sub-four-pound packed weight also makes it reasonable for two people to carry. If you are into the fast-fly approach and don't mind shelling out for the footprint, then you can cut the weight down even more to right around three pounds.
This tent is versatile exactly because of how lightweight it is. If you are on the fence between a two- or a three-person shelter, the Copper Spur HV UL3 can do the job either way without adding too much extra weight if it's just two of you. If you are considering roomier two-person options and could afford the (considerable) premium, we would recommend this version instead; it's wider and lighter than either of those other options (by a lot).
This tent has decent durability, but at the end of the day, you have to remember that it uses materials that are meant to reduce weight. The material is strong for its weight, but it is still susceptible to punctures.
The Spur is made of quality materials, and we had no major durability issues with it during testing. If you want to make it last, though, we recommend getting a relatively inexpensive piece of plastic contractor tarp, Tyvek wrap, or polycro to protect the bottom.
Ease of Set-Up
The Copper Spur HV UL3 is easy to set up, even for one person. It offers a fairly typical structure: two primary poles in the shape of an X connect at a metal hub at the apex, with each end of the poles fitting into a teardrop-shaped hole at the corner of the tent that secures it from sliding out.
A cross pole runs the tent's width to increase lateral space for sitting up. It comes with a color-coded fly clip and pole design, so you always know how to orient each of the pieces before attaching them.
Our only note of caution is that this tent also comes with generic-looking grey shovel stakes. They are effective and bend-resistant, but they don't come with any reflective or colorful cord attached, as many other stakes often do, so we recommend attaching some before you head out so you don't lose any in the duff.
The Spur HV UL3 packs down to 21 x 6 inches, which is smaller than some of our larger 2-person competitors. Split three ways, it averages out to just over a pound and a quarter per person. If the number in your party changes or you like to bring your pup, this is a great option.
Should You Buy the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3?
The value of this tent primarily depends on whether or not you are going to take advantage of its versatility. If you are looking for a roomy two-person option that can also fit a dog at your feet, there are some great tents in this review that won't cost you nearly as much. However, if you could see yourself using it equally as either a two- or three-person shelter, then this is a valuable tent to own. It's a great option for a couple that is equally likely to go for a weekend car camping trip as they are to hoof it into the backcountry.
What Other Backpacking Tents Should You Consider?
If you want space, the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ will offer that at a fraction of the price. For a very comparable model from a different trusted brand, the Nemo Dagger Osmo also comes in a three-person version, as does the Sea to Summit Telos TR2, both of which will balance space and weight well, just like the Copper Spur HV UL3.
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