Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 4 mesh body

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 4 Review

November 4, 2023 – The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4 is far and away the lightest weight and overall best freestanding 4p backpacking tent thanks to its low weight, premium materials, and high volume. Nothing else even comes close! While virtually all 4 person Copper Spur competitors are less expensive, they are also some combination of heavier, smaller, and lower quality. Shop now.

You make Adventure Alan & Co possible. When purchasing through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Here’s why you can trust us. Now back to the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4 review.

  • Price: $800
  • Weight: 5 lbs, 4 oz
  • Interior Area: 57.0 ft²
  • Vestibule Area: 28 ft²
  • Total Area/Pound: 16.2 ft²
  • Height: 50 in
  • Fly Material: Silicone-treated ripstop nylon/polyurethane coating
  • Pros: Lightest freestanding tent in 4p capacity class. Modular awning doors. Near-vertical sidewalls. Massive vestibules. High quality poles. Easy intuitive setup. Large doors. Vent. Spreader bar. Comes with own stakes.
  • Cons: Very expensive. The usual 4P tent downsides – cramped when used at full capacity by four medium-to-large sized adults, large wind profile, requires large tent pad.

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4, a 4 person backpacking tent

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4 Construction & Features

Like most freestanding tents, this is a cross-pole pitch, bolstered by a spreader bar. All of the strong and light 10.25mm DAC Featherlite NSL Poles come pre-bent into the desired shape to maximize headroom by increasing verticality. Interestingly, the spreader bar doesn’t cross at the exact midpoint, but hooks onto two poles lower down the tent body.

Setup is quite easy. Pole ends go into corner grommets. The pole-body clips are simple and effective. The fly-body connection clips are color-coded.  Anyone who has ever set up a tent before will have no trouble pitching Big Ages Copper Spur HV UL4 without even reading the instructions.

The tent body is made with a lightweight ripstop nylon, with a bathtub floor and mesh upper. The fly and floor fabrics are silicone treated proprietary ultralight double ripstop mixed denier nylon with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating.

Two doors allow easy entry/exit from either side, and all four campers will have access – though middle campers will have better access. The inner doors can be rolled way way up to create massive openings for ventilation and entry/exist.

Many of the sidewalls and ceiling sections feature mesh pockets, though we wouldn’t have minded a few more when using the tent at max capacity. There is one ceiling vent.

The vestibule doors can be closed off or opened in a variety of ways and at a variety of angles to accommodate varying levels of wind and rain. Add a pair of trekking poles to create the iconic awning vestibule! This is a really nice system that can almost always be configured to increase airflow without allowing rain to get inside.

inside the tent

Compared To 2p And 3p Versions

For the most part, Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4 is just a bigger version of it’s smaller Copper Spur siblings. Same fly and body fabric, same modular awning vestibules, same design philosophy. However, there are a few key differences to note.

Firstly the 4-person version uses a much beefier set of poles to accommodate a larger structure with a larger wind profile. While the 2P Copper Spur uses DAC Featherlite NFL 8.7mm poles (standard for ultralight freestanding tents), the Copper Spur HV UL4 uses DAC  Featherlite NSL 10.25 mm poles. This is some heavy duty kit. NSL 10.25mm is the largest diameter and single strongest option in their Featherlite series. These are the exact perfect poles for the job and they are very strong and light.

The second major difference is how the Copper Spur 4p align campers inside. While the 2p and 3p version both have you sleeping parallel to the length of the tent, the 4p version aligns users perpendicular, so that all four campers have their heads next to a door and their feet next to the opposite door. This is advantageous because it means everyone gets door access, as opposed to two middle sleepers both needing to climb over top of edge sleepers to enter or exit.

The advantage of being in the middle is that you get easy door access and no side wall slopes brushing you. The disadvantage is that you’re surrounded by others on both sides, and don’t get much access to mesh end-wall pockets. Choose your poison!

pole architecture

When and When Not To Choose Copper Spur HV UL4

Here we highlight which scenarios and for which buyers the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4 would be perfect. Or not.

When TO choose Big Ages Copper Spur HV UL4

  • A family of 2 parents and 2 kids or dogs
  • Four small-to-medium size adults, all using standard-width sleeping pads
  • Three medium-to-large size adults and/or mixed use of wide-width pads
  • As a car-camping/backpacking crossover tent
  • As a backcountry tent with room for gaming and hanging out
  • As a basecamp-style tent

When NOT TO choose Big Ages Copper Spur HV UL4

  • For four larger sized adults, because it would feel too cramped. For that, choose the 5P version.
  • As a four season tent for use in strong wind and snow, despite the burlier poles. That’s just not what it was designed for.
  • For two backpackers (excluding a basecamp scenario), for which it is overkill on size and weight. As backpacking tent, this is generally only viable for 3-4 people. If you want room for two people to spread out, choose the 3P version
  • If the occupants are unlikely or unable to care for and treat the tent respectfully. This includes large dogs and rowdy youngsters. This tent uses ultralight fabrics and can be damaged by misuse and abuse

view from inside the tent

Add-Ons & Relevant Alternative Capacities

Copper Spur HV UL 4 Ground Cloth – Pick up a ground cloth to extend the lifespan of the floor and increase waterproofness. For an $800 tent investment, it’s worth protecting the floor from abrasions.

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 5 – Choose the 5p version if you intend to sleep four average-or-larger sized adults, or two adults and three kids, or two adults, two kids, and a dog. Etc etc.

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 3 – If your tent will be primarily occupied by just two campers who want to spread out and/or use two wide width pads, choose the 3p version instead of the 4p.

Big Agnes Copper Spur 4

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4 Review Verdict

We’ve thoroughly researched the market, run stat comparisons, and our verdict is that Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4 is absolutely, hands down, without question, the best tent for backpacking with capacity for four. It is pounds lighter than the competition, while offering just as much or more volume, good features, and premium materials.

sleeping pads laid out on tent floor
stakes guylines pole splint and accessory bag
all zipped up in copper spur 4