The Copper Spur HV UL2 is one of Big Agnes’ best-sellers, and it’s among our all-time favorite backpacking tents. The ultralight freestanding design of the Copper Spur enables hikers to pitch almost anywhere, and it doesn’t sacrifice convenience, weather protection, or livability.
Read on to see why the Copper Spur HV UL2 & UL3 earned the title “Best Backpacking Tent Overall” on our Best Backpacking Tents List and “Best Ultralight Free-standing Tent”on our Best Ultralight Tents List.
Copper Spur HV UL2 Specs
PACKED WEIGHT: 3 lb. 2 oz.
DIMENSIONS (L x W x H): 88 x 52/42 x 40 in. (wider at head, narrower at foot)
LIGHTWEIGHT – The Copper Spur HV UL2 is among the lightest double-wall, freestanding tents on the market, which is a big win in our books. Its packed weight is 3 lbs. 2 oz. (including stakes, guylines, etc.), which is very light for a two-person, freestanding tent, especially considering the generous interior space it provides.
Carrying a lighter load has a ton of benefits. To sum it up, we find lightweight backpacking to be less exhausting and much more enjoyable.
FREESTANDING – The Copper Spur is a fully freestanding tent, which means it can be pitched almost anywhere. This type of design is extremely convenient, quick to set up, and can come in handy when pitching on hard ground or solid rock.
ROOMY INTERIOR – Interior space is another key highlight for the Copper Spur. Its bent-pole structure and top crossbar create nearly vertical sidewalls, which provides a lot of headroom.
The shape of the Copper Spur is asymmetrical, with more room at the head of the tent. It has enough space for two regular-width sleeping pads lying side-by-side and a small stuff sack or two stored by your head. Your backpack, shoes, and any wet gear will easily fit in the vestibules.
QUICK & EASY TO PITCH – The Copper Spur’s clips and poles are color coordinated to make setup fast and foolproof.This tent is freestanding, but you’ll still need to stake it out for a taught pitch. The upside is there’s no need to adjust trekking poles or deal with finicky geometry like you would with a non-freestanding tarp or tent.
SOLID WEATHER PROTECTION– We’ve tested the Copper Spur extensively in the Pacific Northwest in very wet conditions and it’s kept us bone dry inside while pouring rain outside.
As far as wind resistance goes, tents like the Copper Spur (spacious, double-wall, freestanding) don’t tend to perform as well as low-pitch pyramid tarps/tents, but they’re far more comfortable.
There are more bomb-proof shelters on the market for extreme conditions, but the Copper Spur does an excellent job in the weather most backpackers are likely to encounter. Use the storm guy-out points and be careful with campsite selection and the Copper Spur will perform well.
3-SEASON VERSATILITY– The Copper Spur is a 3-season tent, meaning it will work well under most spring, summer, and fall backpacking conditions. The Copper Spur can handle a dusting of snow, but it’s not designed to be a winter tent. If you need a winter tent, check out our list of the Best 4-Season Tents.
DOUBLE-WALL CONSTRUCTION– The Copper Spur HV is a double-wall tent with a pre-bent top crossbar to help make the sidewalls vertical. Double-wall tents are preferred by many backpackers because they create separation between the mesh tent body and the rainfly. In wet conditions, it’s common for condensation to build up on the inside of a tent rainfly and the mesh barrier will help keep you from rubbing up against it.
TWO DOORS– The Copper Spur HV UL2 has doors and vestibules on each side, which is super convenient, especially for multiple users. Having separate entrances will ensure that you’re not climbing over your tentmate every time you want to get in or out of the tent, and each person will have easy access to their own gear in the vestibules.
DUAL-ZIPPER DOORS – Two zippers open each main body door on the Copper Spur (one zipper along the bottom and one on the top). This makes it easy to reach out for quick gear grabs, and you can open and close the doors with a single hand.
FUNCTIONAL VESTIBULES– Each vestibule on the Copper Spur provides about nine square feet of space. One stake is used to guy out each vestibule and we think this design is excellent. The vestibules aren’t huge (we’d say they’re medium-sized), but they provide plenty of room for your backpack and any gear you want to keep protected at night (shoes/boots, wet clothing, etc.).
AWNING OPTION – If you hike with trekking poles, you can use them to set up the Copper Spur’s vestibules awning-style. It creates covered living space that can be useful in sunny or drizzly conditions. Just remember to pack some guylines and a couple of extra stakes if you want to take advantage of this option.
POCKETS – The Copper Spur hasplenty of interior pockets to keep things organized while you’re in camp. There’s a large pocket in the foot that’s great for clothing and bulkier items you want to get off of the floor, as well as an oversized ceiling pocket that works well for a headlamp and drying gear. There are also several smaller pockets near the head for anything you’ll want within reach at night.
If you prefer hiking light and crushing miles, stick with the listed model (example: get the UL2 to sleep 2 people).
If you’re willing to carry more weight for increased interior space, you may want to bump up one tent size (example: get the UL3 to sleep 2 people). Learn more about choosing the perfect tent capacity for your needs in our Tent Size Guide.
EXPENSIVE – The Copper Spur is not a budget backpacking tent, but in our opinion, it’s well worth the cost if you put it to good use. The Copper Spur is one of the lightest and highest quality freestanding tents on the market, and as is often the case, you get what you pay for. If you’re willing to carry more weight for a lower-priced tent, check out ourlists of the Best Backpacking Tents, Best Ultralight Tents, and Best Budget Tents.
RAINFLY SAG– The rainfly on the Copper Spur is made of lightweight (20D), silicone-impregnated nylon. The material is fully waterproof, but one of the downsides of a sil-nylon rainfly is that it will sag a bit when wet and cold. Many tent rainflies are made with sil-nylon and all this really means is that you may have to re-tighten your rainfly occasionally to maintain a completely taught pitch.
LESS DURABLE THAN SOME– The floor and rainfly of the Copper Spur are made with 20-denier nylon. That’s on the thinner side for tent floor fabrics, though some ultralight tents use even thinner 10D or 7D nylon to save weight.
The thinner fabric could reduce the Copper Spur’s long-term durability. That said, this tent is still a popular choice among thru-hikers of the AT, PCT, and CDT, all of which are notoriously tough on gear. If you take care to clear pokey debris from your campsites, this tent should last for thousands of miles. We’ve been backpacking with our Copper Spur 2 and 3 for many years and they’re still going strong.
We recommend carrying Tenacious Tape along with any lightweight tent to repair small rips/holes in the field if needed. If you’re nervous about tent floor durability, pick up the Copper Spur HV UL2 Footprint (sold separately, 5 oz.).
RAINFLY ZIPPERS CAN SNAG – The rainfly zippers on the Copper Spur do have a tendency to snag on the storm flaps at times, especially when wet (we find this to be a common tent problem). This is easily avoided with the use of two hands and a little care, though we do see it as a small downside.
SHORT A FEW STAKES– The Copper Spur comes with eight aluminum, Dirt Dagger Stakes. That’s enough stakes for a standard pitch (one for each corner and four for the rainfly), but you’ll need four additional stakes to fully guy out the Copper Spur in stormy conditions.
The stakes included with this tent are okay and will get the job done under most conditions, but they’re not super sturdy and they could have better holding power. If you’re looking to upgrade or add extra stakes to your backpacking kit, check out our list of the Best Tent Stakes.
The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 & HV UL3 are two of our all-time favorite backpacking tents and we recommend them to friends and family all the time. We love getting the comfort, convenience, and weather protection of a freestanding, double-wall tent in such a lightweight package.
If you’re a backpacker looking for a balance between camp comfort and trail weight, the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is an excellent choice. If you’re willing to carry a bit more weight for increased interior space, we recommend going with the UL3, which still weighs less than most two-person tents.
We hope this helps you decide if the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent is right for you. If you enjoyed this post, you’ll probably like the CleverHiker Gear Guide as well. Here are some popular resources to check out.
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