Sometimes, lightest and mightiest aren’t the same thing. Here’s a case where a few more ounces meant repelling Moab sleet- and sand-laden winds. Then popping off the fly to enjoy watching the moon trek slowly across the sky. The brand? Beyond dispute for thoughtful design, build quality and customer service out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Field Notes: One night, we pitched this tent on the canyon rim and opted against the fly, choosing instead to watch the moon slowly trek across the sky. On another, we relied on this best-in-class tent in a classic Moab storm, a delightful blend of sleet and sand.
Pros: Even if you’re completely against the idea of having lights integrated into the body of your ultralight tent (we’re out to enjoy nature, after all), Big Agnes MTNglo tech has saved many an eyeball from the scarring blaze of a headlamp. Dual lines of LED lights follow the ceiling of the tent, making reading a joy.
Beyond the lights some purists may downplay, Big Agnes offers up the most livable lightweight tent tested. A high ceiling, ample headroom and enormous vestibules made this tent the definitive tester favorite. Even when two of our male testers shared this tent, one our 6’5” photographer, the tent felt remarkably spacious.
The Copper Spur UL2 is also sturdy: in high winds, it performed well, perhaps only trumped in this category by the more angular MSR Free Lite 2 and the tapered Mountain Hardwear Ghost UL2.
Big Agnes has their design dialed, and testers valued everything from the fundamental elements (easy-to-use snaps that lock the tent body to the featherweight poles) to the extra features (the internal organization pockets were perfectly designed).
Cons: While this tent is far from heavy or bulky, it is heavier than the Mountain Hardwear Ghost UL2 and the MSR Free Lite 2 to pack bulkier than the Brooks Range Foray 2. A sliver of this weight accrues to the MTNglo system, which consists of a small 3-battery pack and the integrated LEDs. However, if you’re in the dark about the MTNglo system’s benefits, we recommend shaving ounces with the MSR Free Lite 2. The only other con our testers noted was the door threshold, which seemed excessively elevated and made it cumbersome to move in and out.
Favorite Feature: When erecting the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 during momentary ceasefires between 45 mph gusts, the intuitive, quick-snapping setup earned major points from testers. Still, the overarching winner among team members team was the high ceiling. Backpackers over 6’2” will eagerly trade the extra weight for bonus height (when compared to the cozy confines of the Ghost).
Tester Quote: “Why was this our top pick? Namely because of the livable space. You don’t feel cramped—it’s more like a car camping tent that packs down to a size that pleases most backpackers. The vestibules were amazing, too. I would pick the MSR Free Lite or the Mountain Hardwear Ghost if I was really trying to cut weight for ultralight backpacking or wasn’t stoked on the MTNglo lighting system. Otherwise, if I’m going to pick one tent to take anywhere, from cushy car camping road trips to mid-range backpacking trips, this is the one.”
Bottom Line: Loved by testers for a million reasons, this tent is a top pick. Its livability will surprise you
- Polyester mesh walls
- Nylon ripstop fly and floor with PU and silicone coatings
- Fully taped seams
- 2 doors with vestibules
- 2-pole DAC Featherlite hub pole design
- Individual media pockets with cord routing
- Reflective guylines and corner webbing
- Footprint and gear loft sold separately
- Interior Height: 42 in
- Floor Dimensions: 90 x 52 - 42 in
- Floor Space: 29 sq ft
- Packed Size: 5.5 x 17.5 in
- Fast-pitch Weight: 2 lb 1 oz
- Trail Weight: 2 lb 13 oz
- Packed Weight: 3 lb 2 oz
Materials: [fly] nylon ripstop, PU coating (1200mm), [body] nylon, polyester mesh, [floor] nylon ripstop, PU coating (1200mm)