We ran the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 tent through its paces this year on the Great Divide Trail and were glad we had it. The tent is lightweight, simple to setup and offers a roomy design was a boon the evenings when we had to set up camp amongst hordes of mosquitoes (read: almost all of them!).
Spec’s & Features:
- Weight: 1.42 Kg
- Size: 2-person w. 2.7 m² floor space
- Style: Double wall, 2 season
- Included: tent, fly, 2 x poles, tie-down cord, stakes
- Features: 2 doors, 1 vent, 4 inside pockets
- Type: Freestanding
Who are Big Agnes, Jake Lah and DAC?
Big Agnes is a Steamboat Springs, Colorado based company that has been making outdoor gear for almost 20 years. Bill Gamber started Big Agnes as a way to better solve issues with a poor night’s sleep in the backcountry by attaching a sleeping bag to a sleeping mat. They’ve since branched out majorly in the camping world, and one of those branches is their impressive tent line which started in 2003.
Written on the side of the Copper Spur is, “Architecture by Jake Lah.” Admittedly, I didn’t know who Jake Lah is so I had to look him up. Jake Lah is the owner of DAC and by all accounts an expert tent designer. DAC is a South Korean aluminum tube manufacturer. Teh specialize in tent poles and make what seems to be virtually all the aluminum tent poles on the market. In fact, they make poles for over 43 companies and they even have their own aluminum alloy called TH72M.
What’s it Made of?
Let’s start with the poles. They’re made from DAC’s Featherlite NFL and NSL pole system. They are extremely lightweight and strong. For more info on the poles head to DAC’s webpage.
The fly and floor are silicone treated proprietary ultralight double ripstop mixed denier nylon with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating. All the seams are taped and waterproof so there is no need to seam seal the fly or the floor.
The tent body is a proprietary ultralight double rip-stop mixed denier breathable nylon and polyester mesh. This is a very thin material and utmost care needs to be taken with it. It got caught in my backpack zipper and went right through teeth of the zipper. There was no way to back the zipper out and we ended up with a small hole in the tent body. A little bit of Tenacious Tape closed the hole for the rest of the trip.
Ultralight plastic clips attach the tent body to pole frame.
The tent comes with 8 DAC aluminum J stakes. If you want to know how versatile these stakes are have a read of my Trekking pole review here: Camp Sky Carbon Evo
Setting up the freestanding Copper Spur HV UL2 is a snap. Stake out the four corners of the tent body. Fit together the four main poles into their central hub (they’ll look like a spaghetti monster when done) and place their ends in their color coordinated grommets (red pole to red clip, grey pole to grey clip). Can’t tell the color difference? No Matter, the poles are asymmetrical so there really is only one way to set the tent up. Connect all the clips and add in the crossbar on the roof.
Finally, the fly goes over top and connects to the tent body via plastic buckles. Guy out the mid sections and the vestibule and you are set to go. The whole process shouldn’t take much more than three to five minutes, two if you’re practiced, and only takes one person.
The footprint doesn’t come with the Copper Spur HV UL2 and I wish I had bought it or at least brought a sheet of Polycro. After so many days on the trail the bathtub bottom of your tent will be sure to get dirty, moisture will leak through from the pressure of you sleeping on top. The bonus of the footprint is you can put up the rainfly without the tent body inside since the footprint has grommets to accept tent poles.
How Big is the Copper Spur HV UL2?
Packed up, the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is quite small. I’ve included a photo of the tent and rainfly in one bag and the poles in another. Once in a packed backpack the tent body will compact even further. It makes for a very compact setup.
Big Agnes lists the Copper Spur as having 2.7 m² floor space. What this means is it is a two person tent. We used two wide Exped Mats for our adventure and though they fit, they did push the sides out quite a bit. They would have fit much better foot to toe, but as I was camping with my wife for 38 days, we weren’t about to do that.
This was one of the first tents I’ve had where I could sit upright in. It has a head height of 102cm and we really appreciated the room.
The tent features two Doors. One on each side as opposed to each end. I find this to be ideal. When one person has to wake up to use the bathroom or take night photos, they are less likely to wake their partner. The tent body doors opens with opposing zippers. Both zippers are closed at the same point by the head of the tent thus they zip away to open. I normally prefer a single zippered door that curves around the entrance but then the zipper can be closed at either the top of the tent or the foot. The advantage of two zippers is always having both zippers at the ready and not having to figure out where you had placed the zip in the dark. And from a durability standpoint, avoiding a curved zipper really extends the life of the door.
There is one vent on the rainfly, supported by a small movable post. Unfortunately, if the tent is not set up with the vent windward, you will end up with moisture inside of the rainfly. The alternative is to not snug the rainfly down or to keep the doors open while you sleep. A second vent would have been welcome. On cold clear nights we found our breath condensed enough that it lightly saturated the fly so you will need to pitch the tent so the vent is windward, or keep the fly somewhat slack to promote more wind coming in from under.
Inside the tent body are several pockets. 2 interior mesh pockets, 1 3-D bin pocket, and 1 oversized mesh pocket with two cord-routing portals. I found the interior mesh pockets to the side of the tent be more than big enough on warm nights to store my phone and satellite communicator. On colder nights I would put the phone into a pocket on my Thermarest quilt. We never found a need to use the other pockets but they provide a lot of space if you need it.
Two updates found their way onto the The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 for 2020. The update I am most excited about is the Vestibule Awning. There are zips on both sides of the vestibule opening. Unzip them, lift the flap up and prop it on a pair of trekking poles and then staking out the awning. This would be an amazing addition on a lightly raining day when you want to keep the vestibule open and still keep you and your gear dry under the vestibule. It would also double as a great sun awning.
The Tiplock Tent Buckles are also a new addition. They combine the grommet, attachment and adjustment of the the rainfly in one piece.
The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 was a great tent for our trip. The packed weight of just 1.42kg was appreciated on our backs. It had plenty of room inside, with enough space under the vestibule to store our gear without it getting wet. The new Awning Vestibule will only make this a better tent. Take a little extra caution with this light weight spacious tent will reward you.
Pros: Sturdy. Lightweight. Weatherproof. Free Standing
Cons: Lightweight materials require care. Doesn’t include footprint. Only one Vent. Pole hub is bulky and awkward
Interested in the Copper Spur HV UL 2? Head on over to Big Agnes and check it out: Big Agnes
Big Agnes supplied Black Sheep Adventure Sports with a Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent for this review but this didn’t influence our review in any way.