For our PCT thru-hike, we decided to go with the very popular Big Agnes (BA) Copper Spur UL2, and we were oh so happy with this decision. We both loved this tent and would highly recommend. (Don’t worry, I wasn’t paid to say that. I really mean it!)
Weighing in just over 3 lbs, the Copper Spur is one of the lightest freestanding tents on the market. A freestanding tent is one that includes its own poles and can be moved around once it is erected. A non-freestanding tent is tethered to the ground and sometimes uses trekking poles to set it up. It’s debated among backpackers whether a freestanding tent or non-freestanding is better, but it mostly comes down to personal preference. (The Trek published a great article on the debate you can check out here if you’d like more information.) All that being said, there are quite a few lighter non-freestanding tents out there. However, Big Agnes takes the crown for ultralight freestanding tents.
With the footprint (sold separately), the Copper Spur can be even lighter by just using the footprint, poles, and rain fly. We used this unenclosed structure in the desert when we weren’t concerned about wind, rain, or bugs. This will save you about a pound!
We used this tent through rain, snow, and crazy wind. The Copper Spur never lost a battle. Despite the weather, we remained consistently dry.
One of our favorite qualities of this tent was how much space we had. Sean (6’5″) is able to sit up and stretch out comfortably inside without squishing me too much 😉 . Another huge bonus for a couple is having two doors and two vestibules. We hiked the Appalachian Trail with a Kelty Salida 2, and we knew that it was imperative to make a change from one door to two. We were very happy to have our own space for ourselves and our gear in the vestibule. No more crawling over our gear and Sean while its raining outside!
The Copper Spur is very easy to set up and was designed so that one person can set it up. The tent includes one long pole with folding segments and one very short pole. We could probably set this tent up in 30 seconds. Very simple and straightforward.
As mentioned above, the Copper Spur handled the elements like a champ. Our one and only “con” with the tent is that we did have a problem with two cracked pole segments. I’m not entirely certain how the ends of the poles were cracked, but the crack started to spread down the pole with the string in the middle causing more and more damage. That being said, I contacted Big Agnes about the problem we were having, and they replaced the pole segments quickly with no questions asked. I can’t overlook the issue, especially because it happened twice, however, Big Agnes impressed me with their quick response and excellent customer service.
Truly, I love this tent. It was our home for 5 months on the Pacific Crest Trail and will continue to be our home as we hike the Colorado Trail this summer. The Copper Spur addressed the problems we had with our old tent, and I was very happy that we made this investment. If you are looking for an ultralight freestanding tent, look no further than the Big Agnes Copper Spur. (The latest model is the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 – $450. There are also 1, 3, and 4 person options.)
Do you love your Copper Spur or have another tent you recommend? I’d love to hear your input in the comments!