Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 4

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

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