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Review – Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 1 – Solo tent


Here is my experience: 

For the past 400 days I have spent almost every night in my Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 1 until I finally threw it away annoyed.

The Copper Spur is a solo tent which I would describe it as very roomy. I am 1.72m (5.6 ft) tall and my pad is 1.83m (6 ft) long and the inner tent still gave me enough space to store all my bags in the interior – or in the large vestibule.

It is a 3-seasons tent, and I only used it as low as 0 Celsius (32 Fahrenheit). Most of the time I was travelling in the tropics and I was very happy about the full mesh of my inner tent. Although the ventilation was often not enough – I was still sweating too much – but impossible to blame the tent for it.

It weighs only 1,08 kg (2.38 lbs) and can be packed small. It is also free standing, which I find extremely important.

I find the inside pockets very practical. The view of the night sky through the mosquito net is great.

The fly is a weird design. You can’t really tension it properly. The door of the fly won’t stay rolled up especially in wet conditions. The material gets loose when wet.

Ventilation is of course good due to the large amount of mosquito net, but is made more difficult by the strange design of the outer door.

As expected, the tent is not as durable as heavier tents due to the thin UL material, but I had surprisingly few holes.

I immediately replaced the pegs with MSR pegs, because they are just great.

I used a tarp as a groundsheet and would not use it without one.

The tent is delivered without spare zipper sliders, which are a special Big Agnes size and you can only get them directly from the company and that is of course, completely impractical. Especially since Big Agnes only ships them within the USA.

So, I had to organize them through an American friend who sent them to me in Germany. I know on the Big Agnes site they say they ship internationally, but they told me otherwise.

Big Agnes also states that you can use the FixNZip replacement sliders, which I carried as well, but they didn’t work either.

I had to exchange six sliders because the zippers are an absolute catastrophe.

Yes, I was in desert regions and therefore the tent suffered from the sand, nevertheless, I had to glue the lower zipper closed, because of complete zipper failure. In malaria infested areas this is dangerous.

The elastic in the shock cord inside the poles broke after a very short time. It made assembly of the poles very difficult.

The pole broke after about 10 months and I tried to repair it temporarily. But since there is so much tension on the poles, it was really hard to implement. And just really annoying, because I had to put my panniers at the foot end of the tent so the tent did not collapse.

The color orange is, of course, without question, a disaster – you could also put up a sign at the roadside “Hello here I am camping” because you are seen from far away.

I liked the grey fly color of the tent; it makes the inside of the tent much brighter. It absorbs much less light than a dark green fly. Therefore, I needed my torch far less often than in my Hilleberg Soulo.

The tent has annoyed me altogether too often and for what it offers it is much too expensive.

One thing is certain, no more Big Agnes products for me.  

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  1. Thanks, I was considering it, but will find something else 🙂

      • Hi, if you are considering to buy a new one I found myself really satisfied with the SixMoon Design Skyscape Trekker. It’s even lighter but it’s super easy to build and never had problems in a 10 months trip on the Andes. The only bad point it’s not freestanding but it was never a problem so far!

    • Merci. Très intéressant

      • Hi i would say the cloud up 2 tent is not one i would recommend except for the price, i think the build is not terrible but the sloping sides make the interior space way to small, please do more videos, your awesome.

  2. Point taken! I’ll go and find me someting better (probably Hilleberg).
    Thanks for writing this review.

    • Hilleberg is simply the best – but not made for the tropics.
      Cheers Heike

      • Why not to buy,Hilleberg inner,mesh tent for tropics?

      • Because it would be still too hot – there is not enough ventilation….

      • Hilleberg,mesh inner,tent?

  3. Thanks. I had similar complains and experience with the DAC poleset. They were not built to last for months on end use. The stakes have to be changed out immediately for anything less than ideal ground conditions. I found that rain water would get in easily under the fly. It’s almost like you have to spend time every day trying to maintain the zippers. It is light weight so I get the attraction for short backpacking trips. But for regular expedition use no way.

    • Yes Mark, lifespan of this tent is very short.
      Thanks for sharing your experiences!
      Cheers Heike

  4. Thanks for your review. I agree with all your negative observations about the Big Agnes family of tents. I love their layout and livability but they’re marketed for people who only use them for weekend trips. There lower end tents used to have more robust zippers and fabric, at a weight penalty that seemed to me worth it. Especially since those tents cost less. I’ve spoken with a couple of their reps who seemed unable or uninterested in hearing feedback. It’s really too bad because that big side door,expansive mesh panels and the pole system are great features that could be incorporated into a superior expedition tent for tropical use. If anyone has any alternativesuggestions I’d be all ears…

    • I’m in the early stages of using my new Nemo Dragonfly 2P.

      I have used it so far for one two week long through hike. But it was also bought for cycle touring for which I think it’ll be great… IF it proves durable enough.

      I made a Tyvek footprint and I would recommend that.

      • Hi Nima, how is your tent holding up?
        Yes Tyvek is very popular!
        Best greetings Heike

    • Hi Pistil – thanks for your comment – sorry for the late reply. Did you find something new?
      Best greetings Heike

  5. Hi Heike, do you already know which tent you will replace it with ?

    • Hi Heike,
      Thanks for sharing. You mentioned that Hilleberg isn’t suited for the tropics. May I know why in particular? I have a Niak which is the UL version of the Hilleberg. I’ve used it in various conditions – desert, mountain, rain and snow but I agree, I did not use it in damp and humid environment of the tropics. I’m planning to cycle through South East Asia next year and plan on continuing the use of the Niak but I am open to consider any other. Thanks for sharing!

      • Hi Nurul,

        Hilleberg produces tents made for harsh, wet, windy and cold conditions in Scandinavia. It is a Swedish brand.
        The nights in South East Asia are hot and humid. Sleeping in a winter tent at 30 C in the night is a torture.
        But Hilleberg has a inner mesh tent for the Niak, so you can pitch it without the outer tent. But it is not cheap.
        In most places you won’t camp much in SEA anyway. Too many people.

        Ii hope I was able to help, best greetings Heike

  6. Hello Heike,
    WOW you really ended up having a hard time with that tent. Good to know. I’m on my second MSR mother hubba as the first one failed with water proofing only after 6 months. I hope the second one will last longer, but I’m unsure.

    We live in the tropics and it is only after I had bought the tent that I found out MSR doesn’t last in this heat/humidity.


    Good luck with the next purchase and I hope you are holding up somewhere safe and interesting for a while.

    Take it ez mate.


    • HI Les, how is your second MSR holding up?
      All the best for you -sorry for the late reply…
      Best greetings Heike

      • Ha Ha Heike, I just noticed this comment from my original post. I had forgotten that I had posted. Anyway the reply is below in a new post. Thanks heaps . Les.

      • All good – no worries!
        Enjoy Tasmania……

  7. I am using MSR FreeLite 2 tent and although it has its drawbacks it is holding well and I am very satisfied with it. If I need to change it I’d probably go for the MSR Hubba tent. More heavy indeed but I am no sacrificing my rest comfort for few grams anymore 🙂

    • That makes total sense Hristo!
      What are your experiences with your new tent?
      Best greetings Heike

  8. I used my Big Agnus C.S. on atour from England to Spain and loved it! true the shock cord on mine started to come out, but I may have pulled it too hard.
    I HATED the color and am trying to find a camo fly for the tent.
    thanks for the review.

    • Hi Rob, how is the tent holding up? Did you replace the fly?
      Best greetings Heike

      • I can’t find another fly without paying full price for a brand new one, so it is bright orange for me!
        Just waiting for things to open up planning a trip from Belgium down through France and then down italy north to south.
        Hope your stay safe

      • Sorry – never seen any other tent company selling just a fly as a replacement.
        Hopefully everything will open up soon….but I actually think it will take another while….
        Stay safe….Heike

  9. Hi I think for the size of the to man and the extra room I would rather the larger tent .

  10. I would put a tarp under it and save lot’s.

    • Hi David, what do you mean, a tarp under it? A footprint?
      Best greetings Heike

  11. The Mutha Hubba is my home away from home. It is very light and is a three person tent. Unfortunately the new design really requires you to peg out most of the tie down points. You can not rely on the tent self supporting at all if you want to stay dry in rain and/or wind. I have had the fly replaced under warrantee as it was not water prof in rain within the tropics. Also I have been told that the high tech materials will not last in the tropical environment where I live. Currently I’m using the tent in Tasmania and it holding up very well. The rain here is more like England drizzle and not Cairn monsoons. I does have heaps of internal room for two persons, and gear. Would I buy it again….no. I would look for something that can be erected completely self supporting.

    • THanks Leslie, yes self-standing is very important! I agree! Thanks for sharing!
      Best greetings to Australia, Heike

  12. What tent would you recommend? Currently have a Copper Spur HV UL1 and a Soulo black label. What would you recommend for a tent that can at least get by in as many different conditions as possible?

    Leaving for a world tour next April and trying to sort gear. I can’t face taking two tents to cover extremes!


    • HI David,

      yup, there is no tent which is great in every situation!
      It all depends on how much weight you want to carry.

      The Soulo is an awesome tent, but way too hot in the tropics!

      The Copper Spur is not made for longer use. Stay away from it.

      It is hard for me to give you an advice because I don’t know where you are going and how much you want to spend and carry.
      More info would be good.

      Best greetings Heike


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