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Gear Review: Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 4 Tent

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 4

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 4
$600, 5 lbs. 10 oz. (tent, fly, poles)

My wife and I are delighted that our kids are big enough to backpack and are eager hikers. But they’re both still grade-schoolers—they can’t carry much yet. She and I still haul virtually all of our family’s gear and food. How far our kids can hike is no longer the limiting factor in our family backpacking trips; it’s how much she and I can carry. Now this incredibly light, low-bulk, four-person tent has changed the calculus of backpacking for us.

We passed numerous nights in the Copper Spur UL 4, from the Everglades to the Tetons and Oregon’s Grand Ronde River. It goes up easily enough for our kids to do it. Headroom is excellent throughout, and the 57 square feet of floor space more than fits our family and generously accommodates four adults. Two vestibules provide plenty of boot, pack, and rainy-day cooking space. The all-mesh canopy and two doors deliver maximal ventilation. The hubbed-pole system creates a weather-worthy structure, and the lightweight, siliconized nylon fabric is tough enough for rocky ground. It’s not often that gear changes your life, but the Copper Spur UL 4 has expanded this family’s backpacking horizons.

—Michael Lanza

About The Author

Michael Lanza

A former field editor and primary gear reviewer for Backpacker Magazine, Michael Lanza created The Big Outside to share stories and images from his many backpacking, hiking, and other outdoor adventures, as well as expert tips and gear reviews to help readers plan and pull off their own great adventures.


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  1. michaellanza

    Hi Ruby, that’s certainly a disappointing experience. I think it’s out of the ordinary, not to say that it’s your fault. Big Agnes has a reputation for good customer service. I suggest you contact them about what happened and see about getting it repaired or a replacement. I would do that with any outdoor company if a product failed long before it should.

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    I purchased this item April 2014. We used the text approximately 8 times over the next year. In August 2015, the two of the tent’s clips for connecting the rain fly to the tent have broken during normal use. I cannot even clip the rain fly to the tent due to the broken clips thus rendering the rain fly useless! Around this time, a large rip in the mesh near the door zipper has appeared when zipping the tent shut. The rip is approximately 3 inches long.

    My husband and I are diligent about taking care of our gear and never misuse or manhandle the equipment. It is severely disappointing that this tent has started to come apart because overall the tent is a great design.

    Does it sound reasonable that within 8 uses in 15 months of purchasing such an expensive and supposedly high-quality product that it would fall apart? No!

    My recommendation would be to find another company that makes better quality products that are made to withstand the use it was designed for. I am pretty disappointed because prior to this experience I had nothing but good things to say about the company.

    Buy your gear from another company. This tent is not good quality.

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    Our grown sons each have a Big Agnes tent; I sure could use one, now, even though their parents no longer have to carry all gear for these young men. Lighter loads always make sense! Especially as parents approach 60 years or more!

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    I love the amount of room to weight ratio.

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    I have one of BA’s larger tents, King Creek 6, that I use specifically for car camping. This is a wonderful tent. And at one point it ripped, which was when I discovered how amazing BA’s customer service is. They were incredibly responsive, and repaired my tent. They couldn’t have been more helpful. Great company, and fantastic products.

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    I have the copper spur 2 excellent tent love the big angus products I also have the pad sl

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    Thanks for your review! I’m looking for a 4 person tent for the exact use you’re describing: Lightweight family backpacking with two small kids – and the Copper Spur UL4 seems to fit the bill!


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Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside and former Northwest Editor at Backpacker magazine. Click my photo to learn more about me and my blog. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside now to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. And click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

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