Gear Reviews

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1

This four-person tent is great for families, offering generous space for an affordable cost.

Brand: Big Agnes

Model: Copper Spur UL1



2lbs. 11oz.

[family bargain]

This dome isn’t the lightest in its class—the freestanding Burn Ridge weighs four pounds more than ultralight options—but it costs half as much, making this two-door, four-person shelter a fantastic buy for families seeking an affordable backcountry shelter.

Our testers used it on paddling trips and short-haul hikes, and loved the generous space and headroom. The 60-square-foot floor measures 96 inches on the longer side, which keeps even the tallest campers happy. Using polyester instead of nylon fabric lowers the cost. (Poly is nearly as strong as more expensive nylon, resists UV damage better, and sags less when wet, but it’s not as abrasion-resistant.)

DAC’s 6000-series aluminum poles, which are heavier than Featherlite models, also keep the price down. Setup is simple, with an H-shaped hubbed pole that creates airy headroom and a soaring, 50-inch ceiling. Two 13-square-foot vestibules offer ample storage for boots, packs, or the family dog. One family of five used it for a weeklong float along Utah’s Green River, as well as overnights in the Rockies, and had no problem with condensation. Credit plenty of mesh and a taut pitch that encourages airflow between canopy and fly.

D-shaped doors keep mosquitoes out during entrances and exits (by unzipping only the bottom edge and keeping most of the door closed, testers sitting inside the tent could lace their boots in the vestibule). Downside: It’s bulky (24” x 8”) when packed, so hikers divvied the components. $300; 8 lbs. 8 oz.; Featherlite NSL pole system—featuring Reverse Combi pole optimization technology, eco-friendly anondizing, super light and strong poles with press fit connectors, twist clips and lightweight hubs
-NEW DAC Swivel Hub connects cross pole to poleset for easy set up
-NEW HClip attaches tent body to cross pole
-Fly is ultralight silicone treated nylon rip-stop with a waterproof polyurethane coating
-Floor is lightweight silicone treated nylon rip-stop with a waterproof polyurethane coating
-tent body is lightweight nylon and polyester mesh
-mesh body and double doors offer excellent cross ventilation
-single hub/pole design makes set up quick and easy
-NEW DAC Twist Clips attach tent body to the pole frame for quick and easy set-up
-two vestibules with opposing D-shaped doors
-interior mesh pockets