Backpacking 101 – this class taught by the local Sierra Club cost Dustin and I a lot of cash.  Backpacking equipment doesn’t come cheap, and decisions aren’t easy.  After all,  it is our lives we are playing with here.  Our first agonizing decision – the tent.  Hours searching the net, countless discussions with Brooke and Matt, and lots of hem-hawing at Dynamic Earth led us to the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2.

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To be honest, our search was narrowed down to two choices rather quickly, the MSR Hubba Hubba and the Big Agnes.  Dedicating one evening to purchasing a tent, Dustin and I went into Dynamic Earth and had them set up both options.  After rolling around, sitting up, snuggling, stretching and pushing off in both tents, we pulled the trigger on the Big Agnes.

Now, that you know the story, let’s talk about why we love our tent.

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1. Weight – Listed at 3lb 6 oz, the Copper Spur definitely fits the bill for ultra-light for a two-man tent.  For most outings, I carry the tent, so I wanted something light and super compressible.  The Copper Spur is each of those.  This past fall on my solo trip to RMNP, I used a compression bag for the tent, and it ended up taking up less room than my clothes, and even weighed less.  Score.

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2. Room – Just shy of 30 square feet, the design is genius, with a wider head area and narrow foot box, extra room where you need it and not where you don’t.  We can both undress/dress simultaneously, but sometimes elbows crash.  The length is 90”.  Dustin is 6’2”, and uses the long sleeping pad without hitting his feet on the end of the tent.  The biggest selling feature for us, Dustin can sit up.  The other tents we looked at just didn’t have the head space the Big Agnes does.  A rather imperative feature when we’re spending a rainy afternoon inside.  The doors are rainbow style, and open plenty wide enough to load and unload our goodies.  The vestibules are a little smaller than we would like, but our packs are always completely covered so we can’t complain.    

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3. Construction – The tent poles are made with TH72M aluminum, making them lightweight and durable.  The stakes, also superlight, are coated with eco-friendly anodizing.  The fly and floor are ultra-light silicone treated with a waterproof coating.  The body of the tent is mesh and polyester.  All seams are taped.  So far, the durability has not been an issue.  Our stakes are still in good shape, and the tent doesn’t have any tears or rips.  However, I must report that our first tent leaked…a lot.  Our first night backpacking, Dustin and I got soaked in 30º temperatures.  It sucked.  We took it back to Dynamic Earth, and they exchanged it for us without a problem.  The second tent, 100% dry! 

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4. Setup – The ease of setup with this tent, is really unmatched, at least from the options at which we looked.  Alone, I can set up this tent quickly and efficiently.  The stakes drive well, and everything either clips or slides right into place.  We’ve also set-up in the dark without a problem.  A huge bonus. 

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3. Cool stuff – Two handy pockets rest on both sides of the tent; we both keep our headlamps there for easy access.  There are also loops for a gear loft (sold separately).  We might go ahead and buy the gear loft this year, as storing all our indoor stuff at my feet kind of stinks.  The “bathtub” in the tent is also deep, we like that as well.  When a nice night blesses us, we love the mesh.  It is a stellar star-gazing tent.  Again, I need to mention the ease of set-up.  It really is a breeze.

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Overall, we are ecstatic with our tent.  For the weight, it gives us plenty of room, even when we are stuck inside waiting out a rain.  Condensation was a big worry of ours, but this tent handles it well.  The condensation it does gather, dries quickly in the morning sun.  Our Big Agnes has been worth every penny.

SPECS (from Big Agnes):

Trail Weight: 3lb 6oz

Footprint Weight: 5oz

Fast Fly Weight: 2lb 8oz

Packed Size: 7″ x 22″

Floor Area: 29sq ft

Vestibule Area: 9/9sq ft

Head Height: 42″

Leg Height: 22”

Season: 3

Capacity: 2 man

Written by Stephanie Mullins

12 Comments

Sanders

Thanks for the info. I've been looking at getting a new tent and some new camping gear, this review helped a lot. Thanks!

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Stephanie and Dustin

@Sanders – Let us know what you end up purchasing.

@Mark – Where the rain fly attaches to the center pole there is a reinforced section on each end where the pole inserts into the fly (hard to explain). Each of those sections seemed to lack waterproofing and allowed water to leak through. We ran the hose on it for a while and it seemed that the entire tent might have missed the waterproofing step, as the fabric became saturated, the water didn't bead like it should. We just happened to get a funky one – bad luck on our part. Big Agnes and Dynamic Earth were shocked this happened and apologized all over themselves. I really think it was a fluke occurrence, but only fair to mention. The replacement hasn't leaked once, and the water beads like it should.

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JGR

Great review, well thought out and written. That's the thing about camping, you have to make such a huge investment to get started and for me at least, I was never really sure what I needed or not. I have it boiled down and love my Kelty 6 man, even if its just me and the lady most of the time.

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The Sowbug

Not that it always matters but… they're also local; Steamboat, CO. If the product and company are worthy then that counts for something in my book.

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Stephanie and Dustin

@Cofisher – I've send plenty of canvas tents, but they are like the Taj Mahal of tents. Last fall I saw some elk hunter's setups in Roosevelt…TV, stove, beds, heat. They had it made.

@JGR – You are so right about the initial investment. We have serious cash tied up in camping equipment. It is insane.

@Sowbug – Local is good. Plus the Big Agnes company is outstanding. They definitely focus on customer satisfaction.

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kennethwegener

Nice review and like the blog. I have found that Big Agnes tents are the best combination of design, easy setup and value for backpacking. I bp and flyfish alot of high mountain lakes in Colorado. Looks like you are new to the state, let me know if you want some ideas.

Ken

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Stephanie and Dustin

@Ken – shoot me an email. I just happened to see your comment. We plan to do (hopefully) quite a bit of small stream fishing this summer, and any insight would be most welcome. I tried to click on your profile, but says it is not accessible. My email is antlersandgills@gmail.com

-stephanie

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Anonymous

Have the same tent myself. Use it for me and my dog. Its lightweigth and I have plenty of space. Like the two vestibules. I have the backpack and stuff on one side leaving just the shoes and small things in the other so I dont need to move stuff to get in and and. It also handles wind well even it only has four guylines.
Though its much mesh in the innertelt some it doesnt feel windy since jo have solif fabric about 30-40cm at the lower part. For use in early spring and autumn I rather use the BA String Ridge 2 which has solid fabric all the way. Then normal temperature at night is somwhere beetween 28 and 50F.

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eremitt

I just bought this tent for a thru-hike of the Colorado Trail my dog and I are starting on Saturday! Will let you know how it holds up after I put it through some abuse!!

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