The Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 is widely considered to be one of the best backpacking tents on the market today. While there are many other excellent tents to choose from, this one stands out among its competitors. It won the Backpacker Magazine Editors’ Choice Award back in 2017.
Do you love to go backpacking? Are you looking for a tent that weighs almost nothing but still has plenty of room for you and a friend? How about a tent that’s easy to set up and can withstand bad weather? If this sounds like you, then the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 is something you should consider.
What Is the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2?
The Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 is one of Big Agnes’ best-selling tents. This is saying quite a lot since Big Agnes is one of the biggest tent brands there is. It is a three season dome-style tent. This means you can use it during the spring, summer, or fall. Wintertime use is generally not recommended.
It is also considered one of the roomiest and most comfortable backpacking tents you can find. Its peak height is 40 inches, with 29 square feet of living space. This might not sound like a lot, but it uses this space very effectively. Furthermore, this tent only weighs three pounds when fully packed. This is one of its most impressive qualities. It’s incredibly lightweight and very easy to take with you on long hiking trips.
How We Reviewed
Most of this tent’s features and specs were gathered from its official website. We also used customer reviews from sites such as Amazon and REI.com to form our general opinion. Some of the aspects we chose to focus on when reviewing the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 and its competitors are durability, weather resistance, ease of use, comfort, and of course, price.
Here are a few things you might be wondering about the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2.
What features does it have?
The Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 has two doors, which is very useful for a tent of this size. This way, you and your friend won’t have to climb over each other when getting in and out. It also comes with two very spacious vestibules. Which are both nine square feet.
The interior has inner pockets that will help you keep the tent neat and organized. It also features a two-tone mesh material which gives you privacy while still allowing you to see outside. These also provide you with excellent ventilation in the summertime as well.
Furthermore, this tent is made from a double ripstop patterned nylon which is believed to be 20 percent stronger than ordinary nylon fabrics. It also uses DAC Featherlite poles. The tent’s footprint is, unfortunately, sold separately.
Does it hold up in rough weather?
You’ll find the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 to be quite durable in bad weather conditions. The entire tent is made using waterproof fabrics. As such, you can easily camp in rainy conditions without feeling a drop.
It’s also significantly more wind resistant than other tents of its size. Most lightweight tents will suffer under harsh winds. However, this tent comes with four guylines that help keep it stable. You’ll still want to take necessary precautions, but the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 easily holds its own in relatively harsh weather.
Is it difficult to set up?
You shouldn’t have any trouble setting it up at all. The Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 is almost a completely freestanding tent. The only parts that need to be staked out are the vestibules. It’s still recommended to stake out the rest of the tent in case the wind picks up, but this shouldn’t be any trouble.
On top of this, its poles and clips are also color coordinated. Overall, it’s a very simple design and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to set up. It really doesn’t get any easier than this.
How many people will it hold?
The Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 is capable of holding two people at a time, and you’ll find it’s a very cozy but comfortable fit. As mentioned before, this tent does a great job of maximizing its interior space. This is quite an impressive feat considering how weightless it is. You’d have a difficult time finding another tent that’s this comfortable — and this light — at the same time.
As far as pets go, that’s a different story. You probably won’t have any trouble if you plan to bring a small dog with you, but you might need to upgrade to a bigger tent if you have anything larger.
Are there other versions?
It’s worth noting that the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 was redesigned in 2017. Older versions of the tent might be slightly different in rather insignificant ways. They might be a few ounces heavier and feature rainbow-style doors instead of the current D shape. Aside from that, the versions are nearly identical.
It comes in a few different sizes. Along with the UL2, you can also find the UL1, UL3, and UL4 versions. These are capable of hold one, three, and four people respectively. The main differences here are in size and weight. Virtually everything else will be the same.
Are there any downsides?
Unfortunately, yes. While the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 has a lot of things going for it, it sacrifices some of its durability to keep its weight down. It’s comprised of a relatively thin, flimsy material that’s susceptible to tearing. This is in spite of their claim to being 20 percent more tear resistant.
Of course, many will say the sacrifice is worth it to keep the weight down. You just have to be extra careful when using it. You’ll find this is true for virtually any lightweight tent you use.
How Does It Compare to Other Brands?
Here’s how the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 measures up to other popular two-person tents.
Nemo Hornet 2P
- THE MASTER OF ULTRALIGHT - The updated Hornet offers unmatched livability and comfort for its weight; NEMO’s...
- LIGHTWEIGHT & LIVABLE - The 2P model is one of the only free-standing tents in the sub-2 lb category with two doors and...
- WEATHERTIGHT & RUGGED - Premium 10D Nylon Ripstop fly with silicone water repellent is extremely light and durable; DAC...
The Nemo Hornet 2P is an even lighter tent than the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2. It weighs only two pounds, making it an excellent backpacking tent. It also has two doors and two vestibules and is a semi-freestanding tent. We emphasize “semi-freestanding” because the corners still need to be staked out.
However, this tent doesn’t use its space quite as efficiently as the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2. It features a slanted design which makes it significantly more cramped. Although the manufacturer advertises it as a two-person tent, it’s more appropriate for one person. The Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 is definitely the better choice if you’re looking for a true two-person tent.
The Nemo Hornet 2P is a good tent if you’re a solo camper who’s looking for something lightweight. But if you’re looking for a comfortable, two-person tent, you should still go with the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2.
MSR Hubba Hubba NX
- 3-season, 2-person backpacking tent that offers the most livable accommodations in a lightweight freestanding design
- Pole geometry maximizes space with 29 sq. feet of floor area, interior peak height of 39 inches, plus 17. 5 sq. feet of...
- Complete setup weighs 3. 9 lbs. and packs down to 18x6 inches; minimalist setup option uses footprint, poles, and...
The MSR Hubba Hubba NX is one of the most popular two-person tents on the market. It’s easy to see why as it utilizes its interior space even more effectively than the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2. It features a symmetrical design, and its walls are almost vertical. However, this is splitting hairs in a lot of ways. In practice, you’re not going to see much difference.
The biggest difference between these two tents is in their weight. The MSR Hubba Hubba NX is noticeably heavier at three pounds and 13 ounces. It might not sound like a lot, but those 13 ounces can make a big difference on long backpacking trips.
The MSR Hubba Hubba NX also features two doors, two vestibules, and many of the same features as the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2. The weight is really the only significant difference. Therefore, we still recommend the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 for its lighter weight.
The Kelty TN2 is one of the best backpacking tents to be used in the summertime. This is thanks to its No-See-Um mesh fabric which allows for maximum ventilation. While the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 is no slouch in this area, it doesn’t perform as well as the Kelty TN2. It also comes with a Stargazer Fly which allows you to watch the stars at night.
The Kelty TN2’s main disadvantage is pretty obvious. It’s the heaviest tent on this list at four pounds and thirteen ounces. This makes it much less reliable for backpacking than the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2.
Despite having a few nice features, the Kelty TN2 simply can’t compare. It’s a nice tent in its own right, but the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 surpasses it in almost every way.
The REI Co-op Quarter Dome 2 is another two-door, two-vestibule tent that’s made for two people. It also features a top vent for added ventilation. These two tents are very similar in most other categories such as durability and interior space.
Once again, the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 wins regarding weight. The REI Co-op Quarter Dome 2 has a packed weight of three pounds and 12 ounces. Therefore, the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 is still the best option when it comes to lightweight tents. It’s also slightly more wind resistant than the REI Co-op Quarter Dome 2.
In this case, your choice largely comes down to price vs. weight. You should choose the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 if you like to go on long hiking trips. Otherwise, you might choose the REI Co-op Quarter Dome 2 for its cheaper price tag.
Marmot Tungsten 2P
The Marmot Tungsten 2P has the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 beat regarding livability. It features 32 square feet of floor space. This makes it an even roomier tent. It’s also quite a bit cheaper. The two tents are nearly identical when it comes to durability, weather resistance, and ease of use.
The Marmot Tungsten 2P still loses regarding weight, but not as bad as the other tents on this list. It has a packed weight of three pounds and eight ounces. Those ounces still make a difference, but some might be willing to make that sacrifice for the lower price, especially with the larger size.
Like the REI Co-op Quarter Dome 2, you’ll have to decide whether the lighter weight is worth spending extra money. The Marmot Tungsten 2P is certainly heavier, but its smaller price tag might make this easier to deal with.
Pros and Cons
Overall, the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 is a great little tent that has a lot going for it. It’s comfortable, easy to set up, and is capable of withstanding extreme weather. Its main detriment is going to be its expensive price tag. Casual campers might simply feel it’s not worth the price.
It’s comfortable, easy to set up, and holds up well in nasty weather. And when it comes to backpacking tents, it’s simply one of the best. You’ll have a very difficult time finding another high-quality tent that’s this light.
This tent is very highly recommended if lightness and comfort are the main things you look for in a tent. If backpacking is your thing, then the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 is a very worthwhile investment.