Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Review

Part of my enjoyment about backpacking is the ever changing and ever evolving technology that you get to play with. I love the feeling of testing out a new product out in the wilderness, just to see what it can take. Now, I’m putting the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 to the test. How did it hold up?

About the Tent:

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2

The Copper Spur 2 is designed to land in an interesting position. It’s an ultralight tent, but it breaks a lot of rules. Normally Ultra Light equipment is minimalist, and devoid of any luxuries in an attempt to shave precious ounces. Instead the Copper Spur decides it wants it all: light weight, headroom, storage, vents, and double zippers. The idea is to achieve the ultimate luxury, all the bells and whistles, plus that ultralight status. That’s a tall order as cutting weight normally requires cutting features, or sacrificing build quality. Instead, Big Agnes  has chosen to use some of the most advanced materials In the tent body, rain fly, and the tent poles to shed weight.

What I liked:

Weighing in at 3 pounds, 7 ounces packed up and ready to go, it’s not exactly breaking your back. Not only does the tent weigh very little for such a sizable tent, it packs up very small, taking up only minimal space inside your pack.

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2 with the door unzipped.

Despite being so light, it’s actually built very well. It’s taken everything I’ve thrown at it, and barely budged in the wind. It’s surprisingly stout given the weight. The overall build quality of this tent is great. The poles are made of a high grade DAC Featherlight aluminum, and the fly is a durable rip-stop nylon coated with a PU waterproof coating for weather resistance and durability.

The tent packs in an impressive amount of living space. Plenty enough space for myself and a companion to stretch out completely, and even have a couple inches between us and the walls. With 29 square feet of floor area, you’ll be living large for an ultra light tent. The tent sits a nice roomy 42 inches tall, with near vertical walls thanks to the overhead crossbar. This allows you to move around without bumping into each other. Sitting up I had plenty of room above my head.

The meshy body allows for excellent views of the night sky, and the morning sunrise. At first I was disappointed that the

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2 with no fly

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2 with no fly

mesh did not carry all the way down to the floor, but once I was actually laying in the tent, I understood why. The tan material just below the mesh is very breathable, yet blocks most of the wind that would cut under the vestibules during a storm all while providing great ventilation. This also keeps splashing from rain out of the tent. Also, it gives you a little extra privacy while blocking the early morning sun from your eyes when sleeping with the rain cover off.

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2 cross bar

The vestibules are also very large. Normally I’ll lean my pack against my tent wall to avoid it sticking out and getting wet during the rain. No worries here. I can lay my backpack flat on it’s back on the ground while still being completely covered. The vestibule packs in at 9 square feet of storage. One of the biggest I’ve ever used, and it’s on an ultralight. Plus, there are two of them. Dual zippers allow you to completely zip the vestibule shut, then unzipping it midway from the top creates an air vent to enhance ventilation. Huge plus in the humid Smokey Mountains.

Two doors allow for easy entrance. The doors have a nice rainbow zipper system that allows the tent doors to drop to the floor. A lot of people complain and worry about this, and it could seemingly fall onto the dirt or get snagged, but in my experience this is not a problem at all. Actually, it falls into the tent where it’s safest.  The doors unzip and nearly open up the entire side of the tent, almost all the way down to the tent floor. This setup allows me to slide in and out of the tent with ease. It’s almost like I’m sliding right off of my sleeping pad to get outside. Nothing to climb over at all. I really like this design. Don’t knock it  until you try it.

The tent pitches fast, and taut. You apply the poles to the tent floor, then lift the tent itself up to the poles, securing them with clips that pop on easily, yet hold fast. The buckles that hold on the rain fly allow you to adjust and tighten the tension on the tend, eliminating any sagging on the outer walls. This solves the problem of your rain fly flapping in  the wind during storms. Setting up the tent is easy thanks to the color coded poles and clips. The rainfly clips in place, so there is no risk of it coming loose during a storm. The included tent stakes are actually quite good and very light at just .4 ounces each. While being small, they offer an impressive amount of holding power.

Big Agnes Copper spur UL 2 side view

An added upper vent allows for increased ventilation. Double zipper doors on the vestibule allow you to partially unzip the doors from the top down, allowing for even more ventilation. I had almost no condensation even after a rain came through during one night spent on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.  I’ve rarely experienced so little condensation, and I was quite impressed. Normally I would have expected at least droplets accumulating, but almost no moisture at all. I stayed bone dry all night, and there were no leaks to be found.

What I didn’t like:

The tent walls and floor are thin and require some tlc and care to not trip over the tent or puncture it with sticks or branches when setting it up. Otherwise, it holds up surprisingly well.

The zippers could slide a little smoother. Perhaps a little zipper lube would help, but for the price I expected butter. Certainly not the smoothest zippers I have used, and sometimes they suck in the thin water barriers around them creating a snag, but they come out easily.

The tent is expensive, and with no included footprint that adds to the price tag. Retailing at a nickle under 400 bucks, I would expect that Big Agnes could afford a foot print to be throw in there somewhere.

Overall:

Big Agnes Copper spur UL 2 in action

While the cost is prohibitive, the overall build quality of the tent is impressive. I had concerns at first with the thin materials, but having tested it, it’s shown to actually be quite durable. Having so much living space, and many features such as double zip doors, and air vents really makes this an appealing tent. I love the massive vestibules, and the large amount of overhead room. The tent allows for excellent views in fair weather with the top off, and the color coded setup is fast and painless thanks to the clips.

In the end, I have found my new favorite tent. I highly recommend the Big Agnes Copper Spur 2 for it’s light weight and fine engineering. If you can afford the heavy price tag, it’s well worth the investment.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Review

  1. I agree with nearly everything written here, with one BIG exception – the rainbow door. After saying to myself “I hate this tent” for the umteenth time, I finally cut a slit just above the bathtub and installed another zipper across the bottom. Without it, I had to crawl under the fly to reach the far side of the rainbow zipper so that the opening was enough to get through (not fun in the rain or with heavy mosquitos).

    • I see what you mean. I honestly hadn’t even noticed how far you had to go to get to the far end of the zip.I guess I’ve used a few tents this way and had become accustomed to it. I would love to see a photo of your modification! Thanks for your feedback.

  2. I agree, the footprint is a must for this tent. Luckily some vendors (ie: HumbleOutdoors.com), throw it in for free. The 2P is the ultimate sole tent. OK, two that like being close together.

    • You would think it would be included given the build, but that’s business.
      Although, I’ve been very impressed with how well the footprint has held up, which is the same material. Not a scratch yet.

  3. Thanks for your review! I’m looking for an ultralight, but roomy tent for family backbacking. So the UL4 would be my choice, but I reckon this UL2 review holds true for much of the UL4 features as well. The Copper Spur series seems to have struck a great balance between weight, room and performance!

    • Glad I could help! The UL4 is very similar, identical in build quality, features, and materials actually. You’ll be very happy with this tent if you’re looking to cut the weight.
      Post some photos when you get it out in the mountains. Would love to see it in action.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.