What are you looking for in a backpacking tent? The first answer is almost always going to be a lightweight tent. Though making an ultralight tent means that you to have to strike a balance between the best lightweight design and still have a tent that will handle the unpacking, pitching and repacking that we’re constantly doing when backpacking. Comfort often takes second place and most of us are prepared to rough it when backpacking. But let’s face it, some extra comfort when camping is always great.
So is there one tent that can provide us with all of this? Yes, there are some great tent manufacturers and those that specialize in lightweight hiking tents have come up with some fantastic options. One of these has to be the Big Agnes, Copper Spur, HV, UL range of tents that are specifically designed for backpackers.
The massive popularity of this tent has meant that we simply had to review it. I’m so glad to be the one doing it. This tent is a backpacker’s dream and worth paying for.
It comes in several sizes – 1 Person , 2 Person , 3 Person and 4 Person. All of these variants provide you much more space than one would normally get from a tent in any of these categories. All of this, whilst giving you an incredibly low trail weight and compact packing volume. So how did Big Agnes achieve this remarkable feat?
Most of it comes down to the high-volume (HV) pole architecture, this is a unique and remarkable design. It’s so simple and logical, I bet we’ll see many imitating it in time. The pre-bent DAC tent poles click together quickly like any of the best designs for hiking tent poles, it pops up in seconds. Though the poles come together in such a way as to give you maximum rigidity and near vertical walls. This makes for much better use of the floor space, you don’t have sloping walls that leave the sides of the tent basically unusable. This is what first drew me to this tent. Being 6’6” tall has meant that hiking tents have always meant sleeping with a low-hanging wall flapping in my face and the Copper Spur HV hiking tent makes sleeping in a compact lightweight tent so much more comfortable – regardless of your size.
Then there’s the ultralight design, which is something all hiking tent manufacturers are constantly working on. The random rip-stop nylon provides extra strength with a very low weight to strength ratio. Ultralight plastic clips for attaching the tent to the frame and superlight aluminum stakes, further help to reduce the total weight. If we look at the very spacious 2-person Copper Spur HV UL2, it has a floor area of 29 square feet (all of it usable thanks to the HV design), and an interior height of 40”. Yet this tent has a trail weight of only 2-pounds and 12-ounces. All the seams are tape-sealed with solvent-free polyurethane, for durable waterproofing. This is rated as a 3-season hiking tent.
There are also two massive vestibule area for packs, boots and other stuff – for the UL2 (2-person) tent, this is a spacious 9/9 square feet. There’s plenty of other handy storage solutions. The ceiling pocket is nothing short of huge and there are several media pockets with perfect accessibility and these have earbud cord routing for cell-phones, I-pods and the like.
Two entrances with large easy grip dual zippers make for effortless entrance and exiting. The two-tone mesh gives you an airy interior when you remove the rainfly and the fly attaches or detaches really easily by means of velcro tabs. Both the fly and floor use a high filament count yarn for extra strength. Everything is neat and practical, the precut guy lines with tensioners attach to the fly without any hassle or fuss. The guy lines are reflective for nighttime visibility and the tent corners use webbing for extra strength. As optional extras, you can get the super-strong footprint and the triangle gear loft (clips for the gear loft are already fitted).
It’s clear to me that the guys at Big Agnes are passionate about backpacking and camping. This a company based in the Rockies and that kind of says it all. When you’re in backpacking country, you have to love the outdoors. With a doubt, the Copper Spur HV series of ultralight tents are about the best there are.