Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 Review

I tested the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 tent and this is my verdict.

July 10, 2023
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The Big Agnes Copper Spur is the Cadillac of backpacking tents. It is double walled, highly durable and versatile, and can withstand wind speeds of over 60 mph. This tent is just as comfortable on the beach with the sun shining, as it is on a windy ridgeline enveloped in the clouds. It is extremely roomy and the ideal tent for adventuring with a companion.

Product Overview

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3

big agnes copper spur hv ul3

✅ Double-walled (tent and rain fly)

✅ Highly ventilated

✅ Pockets galore

✅ Extremely durable against the elements

✅ Quick and easy setup

✅ Best for hiking with a partner

✅ Lightweight


❌ Expensive

❌ Doesn’t include footprint

❌ Over time, the tent fly seams may leak during heavy rain

  • Capacity: 3 person
  • Type: Double wall, freestanding
  • Packed Weight: 3 lb 14 oz
  • Packed Size: 6x21 in
  • Floor Space: 90x70/62 (LxW head/foot), 41 square feet
  • Vestibule: 9 square feet (x2)
  • Height: 43 in at peak
  • Tent Poles: 2 DAC aluminum
  • Fabric: Ripstop nylon, polyester mesh
  • Seams: Sewn and polyurethane taped
  • Footprint: Not included

To see reviews on other ultralight tents, check out our Best Ultralight Tents post.

Performance Test Results

How We Tested:

My fiancé and I put our Big Agnes Copper Spur UL3 through three seasons of rigorous testing and every weather scenario possible while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. We encountered everything from rain, snow, high winds, blistering sun, and hordes of mosquitoes. We have also taken this tent on several backpacking trips in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where the weather frequently turns bad at the drop of a hat.


When I set up this tent for the first time in my small one-bedroom apartment, the first thing I noticed was Wow, this thing is big! It actually took up about half the room, necessitating the need to move out all my furniture, including the bed. When I climbed inside for the first time, I knew this would be our home for the next six months.

Our time spent with Big Agnes actually began with the Copper Spur UL2, the smaller, two-person option. This tent weighs about 12 oz less, according to the REI website. We took it on a short backpacking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. And while it held up really well, and was perfect for our quick jaunt over several 4000-foot peaks, we realized that it was just a bit too small to live in for half a year. So we exercised REI’s exceptional return policy and bought ourselves the next size up, the UL3. This was perhaps the best gear decision we ever made.

inside the big agnes copper spur hv ul3 tent

This thing is a palace. Enough room for two people including their packs and all of their gear. The whole tent is 41 square feet with a peak height of 43 inches. There is even enough space to fully lay down and have your thru-pack at your feet. I am 5 '10’’ and fit just perfectly.

This space trend continues even outside of the tent, where Big Agnes gives you not one, but TWO vestibules, each with 9 square feet of space. Enough room that we often jokingly referred to them as our “garages”.

hiker using big agnes copper spur hv ul3 tent


One of the key features that I love most about this shelter is the double-walled design. It not only adds additional comfort and security but also contributes to the abundant versatility of the tent. On cold, rainy nights the polyurethane-coated tent fly ensures that you are warm and dry on the inside. Additionally, the added top vent ensures good airflow within, helping to prevent condensation on the inside and waking up to drops of water falling on your face and body.

Another added benefit is the removable fly, leaving only the mesh tent. This setup variation was always fun whenever the weather was warm and dry. Some of our best memories on the trail were with this setup, staring up into a star-filled sky. We liked to refer to this as our “bungalow” setup.

The fabric Big Agnes uses is a mixed-denier, lightweight double ripstop nylon, which offers extra tear strength and puncture resistance. We found it to be highly durable and it lasted all 2194.3 miles of our thru-hike without any rips or tears. The same is true for the polyester “mezzanine” mesh used for the tent itself.

hiker using big agnes copper spur hv ul3 tent

Tent without fly is a great setup for warm, dry nights.

Another great feature of the removable fly is the option for a “rain shelter”. Note: this option is only available with the footprint ground tarp which is sold separately. This setup only requires the footprint, fly, and tent poles, allowing you to have a bivouac option if the weather turns bad fast. It also allows you to set up the tent on the inside of this shelter, therefore keeping it dry.

This setup takes some practice, but once you master it, you will no longer have to worry about getting your tent soaking wet in a rainstorm. Alternatively, it works for breaking down the tent as well. We all know that a wet home is a bad news on the trail, and Big Agnes took that into account with this design.

Lastly, this tent is built to be freestanding, thus removing the need for stakes to stand it up on its own. The tent is 100% structurally supported by the poles, which are made from DAC high-strength aluminum, making it easy to pitch anywhere on most terrains. In case of high winds, you can use the four attached guy lines for extra stability. The poles are pre-bent which adds to their strength and stability and helps shed rain and snow while creating optimal living space within.

big agnes copper spur hv ul3 tent design

The engineered 3 in 1 clip system. It secures the footprint, tent, and fly together with the poles.

Quick and Easy Setup

After a long day on the trail, the last thing you want to do is fumble around setting up for the night. BA has made this an exceptionally easy, painless process in the form of color coding both the tent poles as well as the straps and clips on either end of the tent. Now all you have to remember is which end is the head, and which is the foot! I always remembered it with the mental device “gray beard orange toenails”.

I timed myself to see how long it would take to set up solo and it was just under five minutes. With another person, this tent can easily be set up in 2-3 minutes. This proved to be beneficial when rain started falling and you only have a matter of minutes to get set up and inside before the rain pours.

big agnes copper spur hv ul3 tent

Color coded poles make the setup quick and painless.

Other nice features

All the bells and whistles

As far as extra added comforts, this tent has it all. The interior offers eight mesh pockets, three on either side with a large one directly above the head area, as well as an oversized 3-D pocket above your feet.

big agnes copper spur hv ul3 tent feature

The top vent, with enough overhang to keep out water.

What's included in the package on purchase:

  • Tent
  • Rain fly
  • 1 small pole, 1 structural X-shaped pole
  • 8 Big Agnes dirt dagger UL stakes
  • 4 awning guy lines
  • Stuff sack

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Evan Shortes photo

About Evan Shortes

Evan thru hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2022, after hiking the 48 4000’ peaks in New Hampshire. He currently lives in Maine with his wife, on their 42-acre homestead.

About Greenbelly

After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Chris Cage created Greenbelly to provide fast, filling and balanced meals to backpackers. Chris also wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail.

Stoveless Backpacking Meals
  • 650-Calorie Fuel
  • No Cooking
  • No Cleaning