Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent 2020 Review

The Best Gets Even Better!

big agnes copper spur hv ul2 tent review

If we were allowed only one backpacking tent this would likely be it

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 2020 is likely the best all-around ultralight backpacking tent that will appeal to the greatest number of hikers. Since 2008 this category-leading ultralight tent has been constantly improved and refined to be one of the very best backpacking tents. And the 2020 model’s new features continue to keep the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent at the head of the pack.

The 2020 Copper Spur bridges the gap between lightweight construction and livable design that will appeal to car campers, weekend warriors, and long-distance backpackers. This means it has something for everyone: it’s light enough to be split between two gram weenies without sacrificing convenience and livable space. It sets up easily, has a stable pitch, and is packed with features like interior pockets and a super cool new awning design we haven’t seen anywhere else.

Also See: Best Backpacking Tents | Lightweight & Ultralight for a complete overview of the best tents on the market including the competition for the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 2020.


Full Video Review of Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Tent

If a picture is worth a 1,000 words what is a comprehensive video of the tent review worth? There’s stuff in here that we can’t begin to cover in worlds.

Key Highlights of the 2020 Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 2020 is one of the best all-around ultralight backpacking tents that will appeal to the greatest number of hikers. Extremely versatile, spacious, lightweight, and user-friendly. 

  • Highly livable and lightweight
    Livable volume maximized by a number of key features: pre-curved tent poles and a spreader pole on the top of the tent create vertical walls for more livable volume. Plenty of large interior pockets create more livable space since you don’t have to spread your gear all over the floor of the tent. Low weight | This is also an extremely low weight for a tent with this many features and creature comforts. Only 2.7 pounds!
  • Great Pockets
    2020 ads huge pockets on the foot and the head end of the ceiling. This improves interior space and liability — getting everything off the floor to increase floor space, and easily finding and accessing what you need. You can leave your pack outside the tent  Everything can be stashed and organized and is right at hand when you need it.
  • Awning for ventilation
    One of the biggest updates for 2020 was the new awning feature. This is great for ventilation, cooking, and ease of entry-exit in light-to-moderate rain.
  • Simple setup
    Even for one person in the wind, this tent is very fast and easy to pitch. It has hubbed poles, everything color-coded, and it also has new three-function TipLok Tent Buckles.
  • Weather-proof and stable
    Nice, high fabric on inner tent walls keep rain and dust out, and make for a fairly wind-free sleep, even with the rainfly off. This tent is excellent for sleeping warm and stargazing. We tested this in a variety of conditions and it’s darn stable and wind resistant for a tent of this weight — especially if you use the already attached (4) guylines strategically located mid-fly on each corner of the tent.
  • Condensation control
    Fully double-walled construction and flexible vestibule door options do a great job of managing tent condensation in humid conditions.


  • Cost | We think you get what you pay for but its price might put it out of reach for some hikers
  • Floor Fabric | The good news is that the 2020 upgrades the floor fabric to a stronger, more tear, and puncture-resistant material. Even so, you’ll likely need to use a footprint at most campsites. But pretty much any sub 3 lb, 2-person tent will have floor fabric of this weight and it may not be as strong as the 2020 Copper Spur fabric.
  • Corner Stakeout Loops | Are not adjustable. As such, if there’s a rock where you want to put the stake you can’t move its location. But there’s an easy fix.
  • Tent Stakes | Are a bit on the light side. We have recommendations for some better stakes that are easier to handle and pound into hard ground. See here

Key Specs | Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

Design: 2 person | 3 Season | Double Walled, Freestanding tent
Min. Trail Weight: 2 pounds, 11 oz | (1.2 kg)
Area/pound: 17.5 ft2/lb
Interior Space: 29 sq ft / 2.7 sq m | Vestibule Space: 2 x 9 sq ft
MSRP: $449.95

Find the full Spec’s here

big agnes copper spur hv ul2 review

Overview of the 2020 Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Tent

This update to one of Big Agnes’s best-sellers is a wonderful improvement in features and livability. It pretty much has it all: the ease of use, easy setup and creature comforts most folks want without being too heavy. The livable space is maximized for the weight, with an extended crossbar in the pole hub that creates near-vertical walls and plenty of shoulder space to sit up and shift around.

Great Livability & Features for the Weight

While it’s definitely on the pricier side, the combination of trust in Big Agnes, quality construction, thoughtful design, and a lot of space for not a lot of weight have made this tent worth it to backpackers of all types. The newer and stronger fabrics go a long way to fixing past issues with fabric tears. And of course, it’s tops in liability and creature comforts for a sub-3-pound two-person, freestanding tent.

Dry and Condensation Free

Like many double-walled freestanding tents, the Copper Spur makes good use of venting options and strategies. The two doors and two vestibules have double zippers, allowing for multiple access options. This lets users minimize precipitation getting into the tent while not preventing it from venting. The low-vent vestibule door paired with high-fly vent increases the access of both active and passive airflow. In short, if you set this up strategically and use the different venting options, you won’t collect condensation in your tent. Win-Win.

If You Need a Slightly Larger Tent

We’d love to see 32 square feet of interior space for the Copper Spur HV UL2, but that likely won’t happen with a two-person, freestanding tent, that’s under three pounds. If you want the extra space, you can go to the Tiger Wall 3, which weighs 2 pounds, 15 ounces, has 38 square feet of interior space, and costs the same as the Copper Spur 2.

Key 2020 updates and overall best features for the Big Agnes Copper Spur

Below we list the key 2020 updates and the best features that make the Big Agnes Copper Spur a standout.

big agnes copper spur hv ul2 with awning

Awning mode for vestibule doors

This is one of our favorite updates for 2020. The awning mode extends out from the side-entry doors, and creates a ventilated, spacious area for cooking or hanging out in light precipitation. It secures with two trekking poles and is a fun, creative feature we haven’t seen anywhere else.

big agnes copper spur hv ul2 head pocket

big agnes copper spur ul2 foot pocket

Useful Pockets

What people don’t realize about interior pockets is that they aren’t just good for keeping track of your headlamp. With plentiful and spacious interior pockets, you actually get more use out of your interior, as your gear and small items aren’t scattered all over the floor of your tent. Generously sized and well-located pockets means you can have an organized base camp and keep key items like glasses or a headlamp easily found and easily accessible.

Along with the head-area pockets, the Copper Spur also has a large off-floor storage space as the foot of the tent, and media pockets with cord spaces so you don’t get tangled up at night.

BIG AGNES COPPER SPUR HV UL2 Review - fabric detail

More durable, tear-resistant fabric for same weight

The Copper Spur is built with double ripstop nylon; a mixed-denier fabric that has extra tear-strength capabilities and is puncture-resistance without adding weight. This is a significant improvement from the earlier models, making the 2020 stronger and more durable.

BIG AGNES COPPER SPUR UL2 Review - Three-function TipLok Tent Buckle

Three-function TipLok Tent Buckle

The “TipLok buckles” have keyed holes, which securely locks the pole tip in place when you pith the tent. They have a hinged design that helps to stabilize the setup of the tent by equalizing the force between the three parts: the tent body, the rainfly, and the stake that it’s attached to.

Big Agnes tent fully set up

Overall ease of use

This tent is very user friendly. There is a real attention to detail and refined design with this 2020 update. The zipper pulls are easy to find and gripped for easy grasping, even with cold or wet hands. The quick-stash door keeper holds the door open and the vestibule door can be rolled up like a window shade and completely out of the way. Even the initial setup and adjustments are great: pitch can be stabilized and tensioned with the eight supplied tie-out cords with tensioners attached.

Recommendations for Improvement

Big Agnes tent review

Tent Stakes

Below we list some changes that would make the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 even better

  • Stakes are not on par with the overall quality of the tent. A bit small, not easy to palm in. (They were chosen to reduce overall tent weight and not function.) We suggest (4) AnyGear 7075 Aluminum Tent Stakes (easier to get) or these Nail Stakes (more bomber) and (4-6) of these MSR Carbon Core Tent Stakes.
  • You’ll want more than 8 supplied stakes pitching the tent in exposed and windy areas.
  • The thinner fabric on the tent floor is not up pitching on most ground except soft grass. Most hikers will need to use the Big Agnes Footprint (2020) or a Polycryo (Tent Footprint) Ground Cloth (our choice). We don’t really see this as a deficiency as almost every tent in the weight rage has a similarly thin 15D or 20D floor. It goes with the territory.
  • While strong this tent is not up to extreme winds in exposed places. For that, we’d suggest a more mountaineering-style tent like the SlingFin Portal.
  • No adjustability of stakeout points for the four tent corners. If there’s a rock or tree root where you need to put the stake, you’re screwed. Easy Fix i just to tie on your own extender cord to the existing tie-out loop. See our video at min 5:15.
  • Some of the door tie-out toggles are too tight.
  • We can’t get both sides of the vestibule taut at the same time… would be great to have a slight modification here. 
  • While Big Agnes does everything right to maximize livable internal volume—near-vertical walls, tons of pockets—29 square feet of floor area is not huge. Large hikers and/or hikers that are carrying a ton of gear may feel cramped if forced to spend a long time in the tent (with all their gear) during sustained rain. For us, with our UL gear kits, this was definitely not an issue though. More something for larger or taller hikers to be aware of. An alternative “2-person” tent more room at a similar weight would be the Big Agnes Tiger Wall 3

morning with Big Agnes Copper Spur tent buttoned up


This is a well-designed update to a fantastic tent that will appeal to pretty much any type of backpacker. Big Agnes has a major corner of this market for a reason, building smartly designed, lightweight tents that provide an excellent balance between space and weight savings. The tent is easy to pitch, vents well, has fun updates for both livability and durability, and we LOVE having two doors and two vestibules.

One of the main things we’d like to see is the option to adjust where you stake. The fact that you can’t change the stakeout points for the tent corners means you’re pretty screwed if you’re near a rock or a shallow obstacle under the dirt.

Depending on where you pitch this tent, the Copper Spur’s floor fabric will do well with some protection. To protect the floor, we recommend putting a $12 Gossamer Gear Polycro Footprint or the Big Agnes Copper Spur footprint under it.

Looking for More?

For tents in the same class check out our Best Backpacking Tents | Lightweight & Ultralight. And in particular:

Full Specs | Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

Design: 2 person | 3 Season | Double Walled, freestanding tent
Features: Dual doors & vestibules, awning feature, double-walled, lightweight, spacious
Full Packaged Weight: 3 pounds, 2 ounces | 50 ounces | 1.4 kg
Min. Trail Weight: 2 pounds, 11 oz | (1.2 kg)
Area/pound: 17.5 ft2/lb
Interior Space: 29 sq ft / 2.7 sq m
Vestibule Space: 2 x 9 sq ft
Peak Height: 40 inches
Packed Size: 19.5 x 6 inches
Materials (canopy, floor, rainfly): Ripstop nylon/polyester mesh
Materials (poles): DAC NFL
Included in package: Tent body, rainfly, poles, 8 stakes, guylines, stuff sack
MSRP: $449.95

Find all the details at Big Agnes here

Big Agnes Copper Spur Accessories

BA 2020 model year HV UL2 footprint (UL2 currently unavailable)

The footprint features their TipLok Tent Buckles. This can also be used when fast-pitching with fly-only. We do recommend using some sort of footprint or ground protection when pitching the Copper Spur on rugged terrain, over extended periods of time. Note that this footprint is not included with the Copper Spur package, and as we mentioned before, other options for footprints are available from alternative retailers. 

Copper Hotel HV UL2 Accessory Vestibule Fly

This is a pretty luxurious accessory for either car camping or when you really want space to spread yourself and your gear out. This extended vestibule has two awning-type doors, perfect for expanding your sprawl of gear or providing a perfect place for your dog to sleep.  Built with ultralight nylon double ripstop, and the awnings can be set up with trekking poles or the included guylines.


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2 replies
  1. Jim Brown
    Jim Brown says:

    I just ran across this awesome tent about copper sour.
    Two questions.
    1) in awning mode, will it tend to collect water. And perhaps channel into the tent. I have this happen once so am cautious.
    2) I can’t make it. If you are seeing up our tearing down in the rain, can you leave for up and take done the interior so that rain does not get into tent before you can take it down

    Great video

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Hi Jim, the awning can be setup so it channels water away from the tent. But It would not be possible to pull the inner tent and leave the outer tent/fly standing. Hope this helps. Best, -alan


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