Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Quick Guide
Category: 2 Person Ultralight Backpacking Tent.
Dimensions: Packed Weight: 3lb 2oz (1.42kg) / Floor Area: 29 ft² (2.7 m²) / Head Height: 40" (102cm)
Capacities: 1P, 2P, 3P, 4P
What We Like: Redesigned rainfly is awesome for ease of entry and visibility from inside; Lightweight and super packable; Spacious headroom and floor area.
What We Don't Like: Poles are fairly long when collapsed and a bit difficult to fit into a pack; Zippers on the fly easily get stuck; On the more expensive side.
Best suited for: Solo backpackers.
Alternatives: REI Quarter Dome SL2 or Marmot Tungsten 2P.
Final Verdict: Despite the higher price tag, the 2020 Copper Spur HV UL2 is a clear winner in our book.
Before we get started, feel free to check out our tent buying guide to make sure you know what kind of tent you need.
The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 2020 is a two-person, full-featured, ultralight backpacking tent.
Copper Spur has been a go-to favorite for campers since Big Agnes introduced it in 2008. In 2020, this veteran tent got a serious makeover that makes it better than ever.
It has a new rainfly with two awning-style vestibules, also, including tons of redesigned features for improved performance.
Who is the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent best suited for?
Based on our experience, the Copper Spur HV UL2 is perfect for solo backpackers.
The Copper Spur allows campers to sleep with their gear in the tent, also for campers who aren’t super concerned about a few extra ounces. It is a roomy and luxurious feeling. It's big enough to spread out all your gear inside and wait out a storm without feeling cramped.
Designed for two people, the Copper Spur HV UL2 actually does sleep two people comfortably. Plus, it has plenty of headroom to sit side by side. Also, it has doors on both sides for easy entry and exit without climbing over your partner.
The 2020 Copper Spur weighs around 3 lbs 2 oz and weighs about 5 oz more with the footprint (sold separately).
This tent is slightly heavier than some of the single-wall tarp tent alternatives. However, it offers plenty of handy features to be worth the added weight for most backpackers.
Features like a spacious interior design and being a 100% freestanding tent. For an ultralight backpacker, you can cut weight by opting for the smaller 1-person Copper Spur HV UL1. This tent weighs only 2lb 6oz.
Also, you could leave the tent body at home and use the fast-fly setup with footprint.
Optional New “Fast-Fly” Feature
The new 2020 Copper Spur HV UL offers an optional footprint accessory and “fast-fly” setup.
A footprint is a ground cloth made of thicker material. It lays under the tent body to provide a layer of protection against rocks and sticks on the ground. This is to extend the life of your tent since the lightweight material is thinner.
At MSRP $70, the optional footprint accessory seems pricey. But, the footprint does come in handy if you want to pitch your setup in the new “fast-fly” configuration.
For this, you’ll use the footprint, rainfly, poles, and stakes. Set the pole tips into the corners of the footprint and attach the rainfly with the velcro tabs. The buckles at the corner of the rainfly snap into the buckles on the footprint for a secure fit.
We found this was a great configuration for creating shade, sheltering you from the sun during lunch breaks and afternoon naps. It takes a couple of minutes to set up and tear down.
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent Performance Guide
Big Agnes is well known for their quality craftsmanship and durability. The 2020 Copper Spur is a 3-season tent. We tested it in the rain, wind, cold, and brutally sunny conditions.
The light grey tent body with plenty of mesh stays fairly cool even in hot desert mornings. We’ve also used it on winter trips with wind and 34-degree temps. The fly breaks the wind nicely and kept us warmer than other similar size tents we’ve used.
Also, the normal wear and tear is better than other ultralight tents we’ve tested.
The rainfly and floor use double rip-stop mixed denier nylon. It has a 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating and is silicone treated. What does that mean to you? Their advanced technology means it gives you protection without adding on weight. Also, you and your gear can stay dry during a downpour.
The new 2020 Copper Spur adds a corner construction with “TipLok Tent Buckle™” to make setup easier. Poke the pole tips into the keyhole buckle, and they stay there instead of popping back out like most tents.
Weight & Packed Size
The 2020 Copper Spur HV UL2 technically packs down to 19.5" x 6", according to Big Agnes’ specs. We found that it fit best in our backpacks with the poles, tent body, and fly separated. The lightweight material stuffs easily filling in the gaps around other gear.
The Copper Spur HV UL2’s packed weight comes in at 3lb 2oz. That includes the guylines, stuff sacks, and stakes. Add the optional footprint for an extra 5oz.
Interior livable space
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 uses a pre-bent span pole system with a hub design to create the “high volume” (HV).
The poles come out of the center hub almost horizontal before bending downward toward the corners. This creates a larger headspace than most tents. It has enough room for the average adult to sit up comfortably.
The 2-person tent offers 29 square feet of floor space. The dual vestibules add 9 square feet of usable space outside each door for storing muddy shoes and gear.
Prop up the awnings on the rainfly to extend the livable space. It's a great place to relax in the shade on a hot day or stay dry while cooking in the rain.
The Copper Spur’s fabric is strong and puncture-resistant. This is helpful when camping on rocky ground. Even with the double ripstop technology, the floor will be thinner than the average tent. Thus be mindful of the location where you set up avoiding sharp rocks. We recommend adding the optional footprint for more durability if weight is not an issue.
After about 100 miles in a backpack, we noticed some wearing on the sack around the poles where the end of each rubbed against the backpack.
The poles themselves are not the lightest we’ve seen, but hold stable in windy conditions. It’s not recommended, but they’re also strong enough to hang a few pieces of clothing to dry out overnight.
The included tent stakes are average at best. We bent a couple on the first few trips pounding them into the ground with a small rock. It’s not a deal-breaker, but buying stronger, more durable stakes after the first few trips out may be in your future.
The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 boasts waterproof, solvent-free polyurethane tape on all seams. Plus, it has a waterproof coating on the tent floor and rainfly.
We’ve used it in some pretty wet conditions, and it holds up well to a strong downpour. The lightweight material dries fast for packing up in the morning.
In windy conditions, the fly does seem to make quite a bit of noise if not staked out tightly. To solve this, the Copper Spur comes with pre-attached guylines and tensioners. Take the time to set it up, and you’ll sleep better for sure.
There’s nothing worse than waking up to find that everything in your tent is damp from condensation. The Copper Spur’s double-wall design with separate tent body and rainfly vents nicely. The tent body nylon and polyester mesh are quite breathable.
The fly includes a large high-vent that actually stays open. At night, you can stake out the dual vestibules down low to provide greater airflow.
Inside, the Copper Spur HV UL2 includes three built-in mesh gear pockets. Several optional “gear lofts” are available to help organize your stuff. The pockets seem well placed and plenty big enough for most anything you want to get off the ground.
We noticed the electronics left in the “media pockets” seemed to gather a bit more moisture than we’d like. It's not enough to hurt anything, but we felt better putting our important gear in a dry bag before storing it up top.
Ease of setup/Takedown
Setting up the 2020 Copper Spur is super easy.
As with most lightweight tents, the body attaches to the poles with plastic clips with ease. The new TipLok Tent Buckles™ seem a bit novel at first. However, they're handy for keeping pole tips in place at one end while attaching at the other end by yourself.
We were able to set up the Copper Spur, including rainfly and stakes in about 5 minutes. Teardown takes about the same time.
The new fly awnings are one of the best parts of this tent, but also the most complicated to set up. They’re designed to use two hiking poles on each door. You could fashion a way to do this with some long sticks in a pinch, but hiking poles are easier. We love dual-purpose gear!
First, we hooked the awning door corner loops over the tip of our poles. Then used the provided guylines to stake them out at an angle.
Big Agnes marketing photos seem to show the same approach with hiking poles tip side down. This probably works if you have soft ground, but as we camp more often on hard desert ground, we had to improvise.
What We Like about the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent
One of our favorite features of the 2020 Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is the redesigned awning-style doors. The one thing that sets it apart the most from previous models.
For years we’ve been stuck with unzipping a center zipper and rolling back two doors. You end up with limited visibility in the top corners, also it is a hassle to duck through the center of the opening to have enough room to get in.
The second zipper on the fly door seems like a small detail. Yet, it makes such a big difference when the entire door can be rolled straight up. You can then secure it out of the way with two plastic toggles. It’s amazing!
Prop up the awning door to give you more outdoor livable space. It also gives you two different entrances/exits, so you're not climbing over your partner.
Lightweight and Packable
If you’ve ever tried packing up camp in the rain, the last thing you want to deal with is the tent. It's frustrating remembering how to fold and roll the exact way for it fit back in your bag. This tent packs down tight into whatever shape you want in a hurry.
Spacious headroom and floor area
We love our hiking partners, but we don’t always love sharing a tiny tent at the end of a long day. Most of our old tents leave us jockeying for elbow room. Also, imagine the struggle trying to put on a clean shirt while lying down.
The slight trapezoid shape of the Copper Spur creates more room where you need it. It has a tapered foot area to save weight but is still plenty big for two people and a little gear.
What We Don’t Like About the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent
Packed pole length
When collapsed, the Copper Spur HV UL2’s poles with central hub are around 20 inches long. This length can be a bit difficult to pack depending on what size backpack you’re using.
Zippers on the 2020 Copper Spur are both a pro and a con. We love the double zippers on both the doors and rainfly. They’re great for easy access from inside and out.
For weather protection, “storm flaps” cover the zippers on the fly. These thin fabric flaps seem to get stuck in the zippers pretty easily during normal use.
To make sure not to damage the fabric, zipping and unzipping become a two-handed process. This is, unfortunately, pretty inconvenient when your hands are full.
Does the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Offer Value for Money?
At MSRP $449, the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is a significant investment. There are dozens of cheaper tents on the market, as well as some more expensive options.
Keep in mind these three things when shopping for gear: lightweight, features, and quality. Gear that has all three will always have a higher asking price. However, the Copper Spur is a good value for the discerning backpacker as it should last you many years and on many adventures.
Big Agnes also offers a generous warranty, return, and exchange policy. If you do have any issues, they’re there to help make it right.
We understand it might be a big jump if you’re new to backpacking, so we recommend the REI Quarter Dome SL2 (MSRP $349) or the Marmot Tungsten 2P tent (MSRP $214). While it's heavier, the affordable price will get you started on your journey. Also, you can try to cut weight elsewhere.
For the ultralight ultralighters, you can also check out the smaller 1-person Copper Spur HV UL1.
The 2020 Copper Spur HV UL2 is a clear winner in our book.
Big Agnes redesigned small features that pack a big punch. They’ve improved an already outstanding tent, and we expect it to hold up well for years to come.
It’s more expensive than a lot of backpacking tents on the market. Yet, the ease of use and the comfort it provides make it a worthwhile investment for any backpacker.
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