Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 Review – Your Ultimate Ultralight Backpacking Tent?

Review of the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3, a top choice for ultralight backpacking with excellent space, durability, and weather resistance.
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3

Uncover the Superior Features and Performance of the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 Tent
The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 is a top-tier ultralight tent offering excellent space, durability, and weather resistance, ideal for serious backpackers.


Weather Resistance
Space & Livability
Weight & Packability
Durability & Build Quality
Ventilation & Condensation Management


  • Lightweight design
  • Spacious interior
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Durable materials
  • Ease of setup
  • Practical features (dual doors, multiple pockets)


  • High price
  • Fragile materials
  • Limited gear storage
  • Potential condensation in high humidity


Brief Overview

The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 is a high-performance, ultra-lightweight tent designed for backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts who prioritize weight savings without sacrificing comfort and functionality. As part of Big Agnes’ award-winning Copper Spur series, the HV UL3 model aims to accommodate three adventurers comfortably, offering a blend of durability, weather resistance, and innovative design features that cater to a variety of camping conditions.

Initial Impressions and Context of Testing

Upon first glance, the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 impresses with its sleek, minimalist design and meticulous attention to detail. The tent’s ultra-lightweight construction immediately stands out, promising an easier load for those long treks into the wilderness. During testing, this tent was subjected to diverse environments, from the damp and misty woods of the Pacific Northwest to the arid, rocky landscapes of the Southwest. These varied conditions provided a comprehensive overview of its performance capabilities.

Setting up the Copper Spur HV UL3 was intuitive and quick, thanks to its color-coded webbing and buckles. Even in low-light conditions, the setup process was straightforward, highlighting the practicality of its design. The initial feeling of spaciousness inside the tent was a pleasant surprise, given its compact packed size, making it an excellent choice for hikers looking to maximize both space and weight efficiency.

In summary, the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 tent immediately showcases its strengths in lightweight design, ease of setup, and potential for comfort, setting the stage for a thorough evaluation of its technical specifications and performance in the wild.

Technical Specifications

Key Features and Technology

The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 is packed with innovative features and advanced technologies that set it apart in the competitive world of backpacking tents. Some of the key features include:

  • High Volume Architecture: This design maximizes interior space, providing more room for occupants without adding extra weight.
  • DAC Featherlite NFL Poles: These poles are known for their strength and lightweight properties, contributing to the tent’s overall stability and durability.
  • Dual Vestibules and Dual Doors: These features offer easy access and ample storage space for gear, enhancing convenience and organization within the tent.
  • Proprietary Double Rip-Stop Nylon Fabric: This fabric is both lightweight and durable, with a higher tear strength for increased longevity.

Design and Materials

  • Fabric: The tent body and fly are made from proprietary rip-stop nylon with a silicone-treated outer and a polyurethane-coated inner, providing excellent water resistance and durability.
  • Poles: The DAC Featherlite NFL poles are made from high-quality aluminum, ensuring a strong yet lightweight frame.
  • Mesh: Lightweight mesh panels are strategically placed to enhance ventilation and reduce condensation inside the tent.

Dimensions and Weight

  • Floor Area: 41 square feet, providing ample room for three occupants.
  • Vestibule Area: Each vestibule offers an additional 9 square feet, perfect for storing gear and keeping the interior space clutter-free.
  • Peak Height: 40 inches, allowing for comfortable sitting and movement within the tent.
  • Packed Weight: 3 lbs 14 oz, making it one of the lightest three-person tents available.
  • Packed Size: 21.5 x 6 inches, ensuring it fits easily into most backpacks.

Ventilation and Weather Protection

  • Rainfly: The full-coverage rainfly is made from waterproof, silicone-treated rip-stop nylon, providing excellent protection against rain and wind.
  • Ventilation: Mesh panels and a vented fly ensure ample airflow, reducing the risk of condensation buildup.

Practical Features

  • Storage Pockets: The tent includes multiple interior pockets for storing small items and keeping the sleeping area organized.
  • Gear Lofts: Loops are available for attaching gear lofts (sold separately), providing additional storage options.
  • Quick Stash Door Keeper: A convenient feature that stows unzipped doors quickly and securely, keeping them out of the way.

The technical specifications of the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 highlight its focus on combining lightweight materials with durable, high-performance features. These specifications ensure that the tent not only meets the needs of serious backpackers but also enhances their overall camping experience by providing a reliable, spacious, and easy-to-use shelter in various outdoor conditions.

Performance Evaluation

Fabric Performance

Breathability: The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 excels in breathability, thanks to its strategically placed mesh panels. These panels ensure continuous airflow, reducing the buildup of condensation even in humid conditions. During overnight testing in a dense forest, the tent maintained a comfortable internal climate, preventing any feeling of stuffiness.

Waterproofing: This tent features a silicone-treated fly and floor, which are further coated with polyurethane to enhance waterproofing. The tent held up remarkably well during a heavy downpour, with no signs of water ingress. The taped seams and bathtub floor design contribute significantly to its ability to stay dry, ensuring a comfortable sleep environment even in adverse weather.

Durability: The proprietary double rip-stop nylon fabric is robust and resilient, showing minimal signs of wear after extensive use. This durability is a critical factor for backpackers who subject their gear to rigorous conditions. The DAC Featherlite NFL poles also add to the tent’s overall sturdiness, maintaining structural integrity against strong winds.

Weather Resistance

Rain and Wind: In testing conditions that included heavy rain and gusty winds, the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 demonstrated excellent weather resistance. The full-coverage rainfly and secure guy lines provided robust protection against the elements. The tent remained stable and dry, making it a reliable shelter in unpredictable weather.

Temperature Extremes: The tent’s ventilation system, combined with its ability to retain warmth, makes it versatile across different temperature ranges. During colder nights, the tent retained enough warmth to stay comfortable, while in hotter conditions, the ample mesh allowed for sufficient airflow to keep the interior cool.

Practical Features

Pockets and Storage: The interior of the Copper Spur HV UL3 is well-equipped with storage options, including multiple mesh pockets for organizing gear and small personal items. These pockets are conveniently placed to keep essentials within easy reach without cluttering the living space.

Zippers: The tent’s zippers are smooth and robust, designed to withstand frequent use without snagging. The Quick Stash door keeper is particularly useful for stowing unzipped doors, keeping them out of the way and enhancing ease of entry and exit.

Adjustments for Comfort and Utility: The tent features several adjustable components, including the guy lines and stake-out loops, allowing for a tailored setup based on the terrain and weather conditions. These adjustments enhance the tent’s stability and user comfort, particularly in uneven or challenging environments.


The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 excels in all critical areas of performance evaluation, from fabric breathability and waterproofing to overall weather resistance and practical features. Its durable construction and thoughtful design make it an excellent choice for serious backpackers seeking a reliable and lightweight shelter that can handle a variety of outdoor conditions with ease.

Fit and Comfort

Sizing and Fit

Accommodating Different Body Types: The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 is designed to comfortably fit three adults, making it an ideal choice for small groups or families. The tent’s high-volume hub architecture maximizes internal space, ensuring that even taller individuals have ample headroom and shoulder space. This is particularly beneficial during extended trips where spending time inside the tent is inevitable. The 41 square feet of floor space is well-distributed, allowing for a relatively spacious sleeping arrangement without feeling cramped.

True-to-Size Specifications: The tent’s dimensions are true to the manufacturer’s specifications, ensuring that users can accurately gauge how much space they will have. This is crucial for planning how much gear can be accommodated inside the tent along with sleeping arrangements.

Comfort During Various Activities

Sleeping Comfort: The tent’s floor plan and shape allow for comfortable sleeping positions, whether side-by-side or slightly staggered to maximize personal space. The bathtub floor design helps keep moisture out, adding to the comfort during sleep. The durable and soft material of the floor provides a cozy feel even without additional padding.

Ventilation and Temperature Control: One of the standout features of the Copper Spur HV UL3 is its excellent ventilation system. The combination of mesh panels and vented fly ensures that air circulates effectively, reducing condensation and maintaining a comfortable temperature inside the tent. This ventilation is particularly appreciated during warm summer nights, providing a cool and pleasant sleeping environment.

Ease of Movement: The tent’s peak height of 40 inches allows for easy movement inside the tent. This height is sufficient for most people to sit up comfortably, making activities such as changing clothes or sorting gear more convenient. The dual doors and vestibules also facilitate easy entry and exit, minimizing disturbances to fellow occupants.

Practical Design Features: The tent includes several practical design features that enhance overall comfort. For instance, the dual vestibules offer additional space for gear storage, keeping the sleeping area free from clutter. The mesh pockets and gear loft loops provide organized storage solutions for smaller items, ensuring that essentials are always within easy reach.

Weather Protection Enhancing Comfort: In addition to its structural design, the tent’s weather-resistant features contribute significantly to comfort. Knowing that the tent can withstand heavy rain and wind without compromising the internal environment provides peace of mind, allowing occupants to rest comfortably regardless of the external conditions.


The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 excels in providing a comfortable and accommodating shelter for three people. Its thoughtful design, which includes ample internal space, excellent ventilation, and practical storage solutions, ensures that users remain comfortable during various activities. Whether it’s for a long backpacking trip or a weekend camping excursion, this tent offers the fit and comfort necessary for a restful and enjoyable outdoor experience.

Pros and Cons


Lightweight Design: The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 stands out for its ultra-lightweight construction, making it a top choice for backpackers who prioritize reducing pack weight. At just 3 lbs 14 oz, it’s one of the lightest three-person tents on the market, without sacrificing durability or functionality.

Spacious Interior: The high-volume hub design maximizes interior space, providing ample headroom and floor area for three occupants. This design ensures comfort and ease of movement inside the tent, enhancing the overall camping experience.

Excellent Ventilation: With strategically placed mesh panels and a vented rainfly, the Copper Spur HV UL3 offers exceptional breathability. This feature minimizes condensation and maintains a comfortable temperature inside the tent, even in warmer conditions.

Durable Materials: The use of double rip-stop nylon fabric and DAC Featherlite NFL poles ensures the tent’s durability. These high-quality materials contribute to the tent’s longevity and ability to withstand harsh outdoor conditions.

Ease of Setup: The tent’s intuitive design, featuring color-coded webbing and buckles, makes setup quick and straightforward. Even in low-light conditions, the setup process is hassle-free, which is a significant advantage for weary hikers at the end of a long day.

Practical Features: The dual doors and vestibules, along with multiple interior pockets, provide convenient access and ample storage options for gear. These practical features enhance the tent’s functionality and organization.


Price: The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 is on the higher end of the price spectrum. While it offers excellent features and performance, the cost may be prohibitive for budget-conscious campers.

Fragility: Despite its durability, the ultralight materials require careful handling to avoid damage. The thin fabric, while strong, can be more susceptible to tears and punctures compared to heavier tents, necessitating extra caution during use and packing.

Limited Space for Gear Storage: Although the vestibules provide additional storage space, they might not be sufficient for campers carrying a large amount of gear. For extended trips with extensive equipment, the storage capacity could feel limited.

Condensation in Humid Conditions: While the tent generally performs well in terms of ventilation, extremely humid conditions can still lead to some condensation inside the tent. Proper site selection and ventilation management are essential to mitigate this issue.


The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 offers a range of advantages, from its lightweight and spacious design to its durability and practical features. However, potential drawbacks such as its high price and the need for careful handling must be considered. Overall, it remains a strong contender for backpackers seeking a reliable and comfortable three-person tent.

Comparative Analysis

When comparing the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 with the SlingFin Portal 2 and the NEMO Dragonfly Osmo 2, several key differences and similarities stand out, particularly in terms of weight, space, and weather resistance.

SlingFin Portal 2: The SlingFin Portal 2 is a notable competitor in the ultralight tent market. It offers a similar lightweight design, but being a two-person tent, it naturally provides less internal space compared to the Copper Spur HV UL3. The Portal 2 is renowned for its exceptional weather resistance, especially in high winds, thanks to its robust pole structure and tensioned internal guy system. While it excels in extreme conditions, the Copper Spur HV UL3 offers more livable space and additional vestibule area, making it a better option for those prioritizing comfort and storage for longer trips. Additionally, the setup of the Copper Spur HV UL3 is more intuitive, making it accessible even for less experienced campers.

NEMO Dragonfly Osmo 2: The NEMO Dragonfly Osmo 2 is another strong contender, designed for ultralight backpacking. Similar to the SlingFin Portal 2, it is a two-person tent, which inherently limits its interior space when compared to the three-person Copper Spur HV UL3. The Dragonfly Osmo 2 features a balanced design that emphasizes both weight savings and durability, with its Osmo fabric providing enhanced waterproofing and sustainability. However, the Copper Spur HV UL3 outperforms in terms of spaciousness and headroom, crucial for longer stays and multi-person occupancy. The Dragonfly’s vestibules are well-designed but smaller than those of the Copper Spur, potentially limiting gear storage options.


In summary, while the SlingFin Portal 2 and NEMO Dragonfly Osmo 2 offer excellent features for two-person setups, the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 excels in providing more space and comfort for three occupants, making it a superior choice for group outings or extended trips. Its balance of lightweight design, durability, and practical features makes it a versatile and reliable option in the ultralight tent category.


The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 is an outstanding ultralight tent that perfectly balances weight, space, and durability. Its high-volume hub design offers impressive interior space and headroom, making it a comfortable shelter for three people. The tent excels in breathability, weather resistance, and ease of setup, ensuring a reliable and pleasant camping experience in various conditions. While the price may be on the higher side, the investment is justified by its superior performance and thoughtful design features, such as multiple storage pockets and dual vestibules.

However, users must handle the lightweight materials with care to prevent damage. For those seeking a spacious, lightweight, and versatile tent for backpacking adventures, the Copper Spur HV UL3 is an excellent choice. It provides the comfort and reliability needed for extended trips, making it well worth the investment for serious outdoor enthusiasts.

Further reading