When the copper spur debuted in 2008, it changed the formula we used to choose a shelter. In the decade since, Big Agnes both tweaked the design and expanded the line, resulting in what we now consider the peak of weight savings and livability: The HV UL3.
At just 3.5 pounds, this tent is plenty light for two campers, but the 41-square-foot floor and near-vertical walls make it legit for three. It’s like getting two tents in one, and with specs like that, we were happy to size up even if we were shopping for a duo (it’s 11 ounces and $50 more than the two-person version).
One tester used the HV UL3 on a trip in Yosemite and said, “Even with cold-weather bags and gear, it was plenty livable for our trio of full-grown adults.” (The Copper Spur’s 90-inch length is adequate for even the tallest campers.)
The key ingredients? Big Agnes uses a proprietary 20-denier ripstop nylon for the floor and fly; its weave and high filament count increase durability without adding weight. Hubbed pole geometry also boosts strength and volume, and allows for easy setup.
And you don’t give up features to save ounces: The Copper Spur has five storage pockets, including a spacious one on the ceiling. Dual 9-square-foot vestibules let our tester fire up two stoves for breakfast and coffee—one on each side—on a cold morning in Yosemite. In canopy-only mode, lots of mesh means great stargazing. Technically it’s a three-season tent, but we’ve seen the taut pitch shed enough rain, wind, and snow that we’ll push it into moderate winter conditions. Bonus: In bug-free environments, you can pitch it fly-only to save 11 ounces.
There are other options to consider if you want either a two-person or a three-person tent. But if you want both, this is your shelter.
$500; 3 lbs. 7 oz.; Buy Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 Now