Copper Spur HV SL2 By the sea

Review: Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Backpacking Tent

An exceptionally lightweight and robust three season backpacking tent that is the perfect balance of comfortable liveability and high quality functionality.

The Copper Spur HV UL2 is one of those tents you see other people using and wish you were in there with them! It oozes quality and sturdiness, despite its low weight, and will be one of the last tents standing when the storms set in. I love how confident I feel snuggling up in the unexpectedly spacious interior whilst the weather outside is giving it a battering. I never lie there wondering whether the guylines will hold, or whether the seams will eventually let in some rain water. In fact I lie there in spacious luxury for a lightweight backpacking tent, and am able to move around with ease – even with another person in there with me! Read on to see what else is totally fabulous about Big Agnes’ upgraded Copper Spur backpacking tent.

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2: The stats

Weight:3lb 1oz (1.39kg)
Packed size:4 x 19.5in (10 x 50cm)
Material:rip-stop nylon and mesh polyester
Seams:taped with waterproof, solvent-free polyurethane tape
Poles:DAC Featherlite NFL pole system
Entrances:two
Vestibules:two

Design features

External zipper

External zipper of backpacking tentBoth doors of the fly have a zipper at the top as well as the bottom. I like peeping out of the top to check out the weather without committing to fully unzipping. The whole length of both zips also have storm flaps that velcro down on the outside.

Pole clips

Pole clips on Big Agnes tentIt is super easy to secure the poles to the inner tent with the super lightweight clips. They’re also really easy to unclip, which is especially nice when you have frozen fingers first thing in the morning!

Internal zipper

Internal zipper of tentBoth inner tent doors have two zippers that are independent of each other: the horizontal zipper at the base of the door makes for quick access to your gear stashed in the vestibule, and the vertical zipper makes accessing the external door easy. Of course both open fully to provide large entrances on each side of the tent.

Door tie backs

Inner tent with door openThe new door design means that the door rolls up and is secured totally out of the way to the side of the door. The earlier version of this tent (Copper Spur SL) had a D-shaped door that rolled down to the base of the tent and not out of the way quite enough.

Internal side pockets

Small internal side pocket of tentThe two side pockets next to each door are great for stashing your headlamp, earplugs, water, gloves or any other important stuff that you might need easy access to. It’s nice having a separate space to your camping buddy to keep things organised.

Internal media pocket

Media pocket inside tentThe long internal ceiling pocket is brilliant – it’s out of the way, but easy to access when you’re tucked up in bed. It provides plenty of space for some organised storage and also has two openings at each end to route your headphones down from your phone or device.

Internal loops

Ceilng hooks inside tentThere are a bunch of loops in the ceiling that are designed to attach a gear loft (sold separately). Otherwise they’re great for securing a light, or feeding a line through to hang up soggy socks to dry!

Two tone mesh

Side mesh of open tentThe inner tent is mostly made of mesh for supreme stargazing with the fly off, and to save valuable weight. But I love that Big Agnes have thought about privacy a little: the side panel provides just enough cover for changing etc without having to close the doors up.

Colour coded pole attachments

Tent peg outPutting up this tent couldn’t be more straight forward – the pole ends are colour coded to correspond with the inner tent pole attachments. And then there’s no chance you can put the fly on the wrong was as that is colour coded too! So simple.

Reflective guyline tags

Guyline of tent with reflective tagThe guylines are attached to the tent with a very useful reflective tag which makes locating the tent after dark really easy – so long as you’ve got a good headlamp!

Guylines and stakeouts

Guyline mechanism on tentI love the simplicity of the guyline adjusters. They are mega lightweight and small, and the cord secures into them really easily by locking into the teeth so there is no chance of it slipping or loosening. The two stakeouts at each end of the tent also use this system so that you can adjust the tension accordingly.

Fly vent

Tent ventThere is a single vent in the roof of the fly that secures down with velcro to close it. It is held open by an attached insert that also velcros into place.

Pole hub

Pole hub of tentThe pole system couldn’t be more simple. The 4-way hub pops together in no time and fits into the pole inserts easily. Then a separate short cross pole sits over the top of the main poles to create an incredibly secure and sturdy pole configuration.

Cross pole attachment

Pole connection on cross pole of tentThe short cross pole that sits on top of the main poles is secured to the inner tent by two connectors on either side of the tent. It creates a load of tension across the ceiling of the tent and helps create the steep tent sides for a ton of internal headroom.

Review of the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

The first time I used this tent was on a 2 night backpacking trip along the Cornish coast in the middle of winter. And I absolutely loved it! The conditions varied from clear and still, to sideways rain with nearing gale force winds. And although it was perched precariously close to the edge of the cliffs, I was fully confident that it wasn’t going to blow away into the sea! The tent structure held strong the whole night with very little movement worth worrying about and zero caving or bending of the poles.

The floor of the tent seems very thin and fragile and I was a little worried about making sure the ground was totally free from anything that resembled sharpness. But so far the new unique rip-stop pattern nylon that make up the fly and the floor has proved to hold to it’s claim of “increased fabric tear strength by 25%” (compared with the previous version).

With oodles of space for two people, I just couldn’t wait to get the tent up at the end of each day of hiking, and relax in it’s shelter to watch the sun go down.

It is mega fast and easy to put up and for all that quality, space and usability, it is also incredibly light to carry in your pack! What a joy.

What I love the most about the Copper Spur HV UL2

For a tent that is this light, and packs down so small, I can’t get over just how liveable the HV UL is! And not just for one person. If you’re camping solo then it’s a veritable palace! but for two people, there is plenty of space to sit up, get changed, faff around and do what you’ve got to do without getting in each others’ way too much. The steep sided walls contribute to this in a huge way, especially when you share the space with anyone over 6 foot tall!

The double entrances and vestibules also make a massive contribution to the comfort levels. I’ve used backpacking tents with a single entrance where one person would have to wait outside or crouched in the porch, whilst the other person got sorted. Not ideal. But two vestibules means that almost all your gear can be kept outside of the inner tent, and each person can come and go as they please, with space to move at the same time as each other.

What I don’t like so much about the Copper Spur HV UL2

I’ve yet to come across many things that I’m not keen on. But the main thing is the position of the fly door when tied back. In dry conditions the door ties back and provides a super open entrance. However, when the fly is wet from rain or dew, once the door is tied back the excess water drips into the inner tent. It’s not like it will slowly drip away without you noticing making your bed sodden with mystery moisture. You’ll notice it straight away and be able to either close the door or move your bedding slightly and put a cloth down to mop up the drips as they fall. Alternatively, if you’re hell-bent on getting some air in through the door, you can zip the fly entrance down from the top (instead of up from the bottom) so that the door flops away from the tent and doesn’t come near the inner, and is secured at the base to the tent stake.

Another tiny gripe is that the fly vent can come open when you don’t want it to. There was a little bit of user error on this one as I pitched the tent with the vent facing right into the wind, and the wind was blowing a gale! But something to be aware of anyway.

The tent is designed to be put up from the inside out which is perfect in dry conditions. But it becomes a little more stressful when you’re pitching your tent in the rain as you have to move super fast to get the fly on before the inner tent gets too wet. Once you get fast at putting your tent up, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. And if the rain is really coming down then you can put up the fly first and then clip in the inner afterwards, it’s just not as easy to do.

Big Agnes Tent on the cliffs

Verdict

The HV UL2 is one versatile tent. It delivers everything you would expect in a high end lightweight backpacking tent with the added bonus of it being super liveable and comfortable. Although designed as a three-season tent, it holds its own perfectly well in moderate winter conditions but really comes into its own on warm summer backpacking or bikepacking trips.

And although there are other tents out there that are certainly better suited to car camping, the HV UL2 is plenty comfortable enough for a night or two of more luxurious camping. An ideal option if you don’t want more than one tent in your life, but like to dabble in a variety of adventures.

An all round cracking three season tent that will go the distance on or off the trail.

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.

About Joey

Woman wearing wooly hat

Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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