Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent ReviewThe Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent is designed to be ultralight for those who love to backpack across the outdoors for days on end. It's light, packable, easy to set up, and is known as one of the best ultralight tents around. View Latest Deal
The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is made for backpacking in comfort without having to carry extra weight. It’s a favorite amongst hikers who love to camp and is an ideal mix of low-weight, great living space, weather resistance, and convenience. It is one of the top ultralight tents on the market and has been for a while.
The Copper Spur made its debut in 2008 and has been consistently named as one of the best ultralight tents in the game. It’s been updated year after year to keep up with the competition, and today we are taking a deep dive into the 2020 version, the HV UL2.
We are going to start off with a brief overview and rating to give you a full picture before we then follow it all up with all the details around materials, durability, comfort, and more.
The material a tent is made out of has a large effect on both the weight and durability of the tent as a whole. And finding the balance is a little tricky if you’re looking to make a tent ultralight for backpacking, like the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2.
A heavier more durable fabric will weigh you down, while a thin delicate fabric will keep the tent light but delicate. Here is what’s happening with the HV UL2.
The floor, solid fabric, and rainfly of the HV UL2 are made from a mix of 15D and 20D nylon, and the inner walls are made from 15D nylon. These are low D ratings and you’ll have to be careful and delicate with the tent in order for it not to tear, especially in regards to the floor, as this is where most wear occurs.
D (denier) measures the weight of the fabric and therefore denotes its thickness and thus durability. The Copper Spur HV UL2 has tried hard to make the D count high enough for durability but overall, their main target was making the tent ultralight.
Using a mix of 15D & 20D, they are in the middle ground when it comes to ultralight tents, some using 30D and others using fabrics as low as 7D. This stands them in good stead of finding the right balance been lightweight and durability.
They have, however, put some great technology into the fabric to give it some extra strength. The nylon used for the floor and rainfly is a little bit special and is made in a particular double-ripstop weave for added durability for a lower D rating.
The zippers on both the body and rainfly are solid and are noticeably upgraded from the previous model. They can catch in the storm flaps on the rainfly when wet so be careful while opening and closing.
The Copper Spur HV UL2 comes with 8 J stakes which are enough for a standard pitch, but if you camp in bad weather you’ll need to buy 4 extras for the guy lines. The stakes provided are of medium quality and will handle most situations. But if you camp above the tree line or in heavier weather, it’s worth upgrading.
The Big Agnes Copper Spur uses a DAC Featherlite pole set up which is extremely convenient to use, but we’ll get to pitching later. They are sturdy and durable while keeping the weight down. Once assembled they create a durable structure that’s sufficient to handle rough weather.
There is always going to be a compromise between the spaciousness of a tent and its weight and packed size. Roomy tents require more materials and therefore end up being heavy and bulky to carry, not something for backpacking.
The Copper Spur HV UL2 has found a great balance between the two, making quite a spacious tent that’s also in the ultralightweight category.
The Copper Spur HV UL2 weighs in at just 3 lbs. 2 oz. including all the extra’s like stakes and guy lines, making it one of the lightest double-wall freestanding tents available today.
There are other spacious ultralight tents that weigh 3 lbs 14 oz. and very cramped and hard-to-pitch ultralights that weigh just 2 lbs. 5 oz. For us, the Copper Spur HV UL2 is the perfect mix between space and weight. 3 lbs. 2 oz. is very light for a roomy two-person tent, especially when you can split the contents between you.
The Copper Spur HV UL2 packs down to just 19.7 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches and is easy to get into its stuff sack. The packed dimensions will easily fit inside your backpack or be strapped on to one of the carry straps. It’s also pretty small compared to others in the marketplace.
Overall we find the Copper Spur HV UL2 to be the ultimate lightweight tent in terms of weight, packed size, and spaciousness.
Let’s face it, squeezing yourself into a tight and clumsy tent for three nights in a row while backpacking is not fun. Living space and storage are some of the most important factors for being comfortable and sleeping well on the trail. Here’s how the Copper Spur HV UL2 does against them.
The HV stands for high volume and Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 accomplishes this through its bent pole structure that gives a fully freestanding construction with nearly vertical walls. This gives you a height of 40 inches inside the tent that’s more than enough space for two people to sit upright. A real benefit when hanging out in bad weather.
There are two doors on the tent which is a huge asset. There is nothing worse than having to clamber over your camping buddy in the middle of the night to go and use the bathroom, over being clambered over for that matter.
The two large doors make access convenient and easy, each person with their own door. Also when camping in hot weather, opening up the two doors will give you maximum ventilation whilst still being in the shade.
On entering the tent through one of the two doors you instantly feel the spacious rectangular shape of the almost vertical walls and the flat roof. The internal dimensions of 52 x 88 x 42 inches, the width tapering off towards the foot end, gives you ample space for two medium size sleeping mats, but two wide sleeping mats will not fit at the foot end, something to be aware of.
Overall it’s very comfortable and roomy for an ultralight tent.
Once you’re inside there are a few solid storage options. There are two media pockets at one end with chord routing for your electronics, a long pocket in the roof, and a huge pocket dubbed as a ‘storage mezzanine” at the foot end that’s the full width of the tent. The pockets are very convenient and have great capacity, especially when you consider the vestibules.
The two doors give rise to two vestibules which are ideal for storing both your and your camping buddy’s shoes and backpack, leaving the internal space available for sleeping and key items.
Each vestibule is 9 foot squared, plenty of room for storage, and the convenience of having two means you’ll be able to access the ten easily instead of opening up the mesh to find a floor of shoes and backpacks to clamber over.
Thanks to the double zippers on each vestibule you can now prop them up to create an awning on either side of the tent. You’ll need to use your trekking poles and the included guylines to set it up and once done you get a lot of extra ventilation with great sun protection.
Weather protection is a key consideration when buying any tent and the Copper Spur HV UL2 is rated as a 3 season tent. This means it’ll handle most conditions in spring, summer, and fall plus some light snowfall but it’s not made for camping in wintery, icy conditions.
The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is designed to keep you dry as a biscuit during heavy rainfall and stands up extremely well to heavy downpours. It’s also effective in windy and gusty conditions, especially when the guy lines are also staked out. The rainfly sits low to the ground to prevent any water or dust from being blown in and there is a solid gap between the rainfly and internal walls for ventilation.
Ventilation is also key to staying dry by removing condensation inside the tent. The Copper Spur comes with one large top vent on the rainfly that when combined with the airflow between the rainfly and internal walls, keeps condensation to a minimum.
The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is a freestanding tent meaning it can be set up on pretty much any terrain. It also means it’s super fast and easy to put and takedown.
To set up, simply stake the corners and insert the poles into the color-coordinated grommets on either end and clip them into the TipLok Tent Buckle. This is buckle is unique and actually clips into the pole like a key so that it will remain connected to make set up easy.
The fact that the tent is not symmetrical means that it’s impossible to put the poles in the wrong places, so there will be no confusion with which pole goes where. Plus the poles are color code too, making it even easier.
The center hub forms the X structure and then you just need to attach the small poles to the top of each of the doors. Then throw the fly over the top, buckle it with ease at each corner and pull it tight with the velcro pole attachments.
Taking it down is just as easy and fast. It takes just a few minutes to set up and a few to pull down. It’s also pretty easy to set up in the wind.
The Copper Spur HV UL2 is by no means cheap but it is one of the top ultralight backpacking tents on the market. And when it comes to tents you get what you pay for.
For the seasoned backpacking camper, it strikes a balance between living space, weight, and durability that no other tent has quite managed. This makes it worth every penny in our eyes.
The Copper Spur HV UL2 achieved 92/100 in our rating system, an excellent score. It lost its marks in the durability section but, as we have discussed already, to be light you’ll have to sacrifice a little bit of durability and be delicate when using the tent.
The Copper Spur HV comes in a few different sizes and all are available in orange or green. We have focussed on the 2P tent in this review, and here’s what else is available.
The design is pretty much the same across all the sizes but they will differ in weight, space, and height. As well as the 2P you can choose a 1P, 3P, or 4P tent but note that only the 2-4P tent comes with two doors and two vestibules.
If you love to camp solo or in a pair, we would recommend getting the 2P option. It’s perfectly sized for two and for a solo camper, you may want the extra space or the option to invite a buddy. The 1P option is a little limited in terms of storage.
If you’re a pair, you might consider the 3P option to give you extra room, especially if you like to take your dog along with you, it weighs just 12 oz. more and is only an extra $50.
Overall, the Copper Spur HV UL2 is one of the best ultralight backpacking tents on the market but is it worth buying?
If you hike and camp a lot, and a lightweight tent is what you need, then this is worth the investment, every time. The Copper Spur HV UL2 is the perfect balance between space, comfort, size, weight, and durability.