While planning for an Icelandic adventure, Mattie and his wife opted for the ultralight Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2. Read Mattie's impressions of the tent and its bikepacking friendly features. Let's go.
I've used many different tents over the last few years, often choosing which tent I'm carrying based on how far the ride, and what season of the year. I've got an ultralight TarpTent for longer, lightweight summer missions, and a more hardy tent from Australian company Mont, for solo winter adventures. But when my wife started planning a three week cycling tour in Iceland, we realised that neither of these tents were quite fit for purpose.
The Iceland tour created a fairly specific set of criteria, quite different to my usual style of bike adventure. With the promise of strong winds and potential for long rainy days, we decided that ample room for storing gear out of the elements was a greater requirement than usual.
After much internet browsing and chatting with cycling friends, we finally landed on the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2.
We chose the Copper Spur HV UL2 for a fair few reasons, the main ones focussing on size, weight, space, cost, and performance.
Size and weight: The Copper Spur HV UL2 has a packed size of 7" x 13.5" and weighs just 3lb 8oz. This relatively small pack away size and weight compare extremely well with its competitors. You can easily stow the tent into a handlebar roll, or saddlebag, with room to spare for stashing other gear. External webbing on the bag means you can also directly mount the tent to your handlebars, or rack, using straps, forgoing the need for a dedicated bikepacking bag. Shorter pole lengths help fit the tent between narrower handlebars - also useful for occupying less space in a bag.
Space: We opted for the 2 person version of the Copper Spur for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the extra internal space offers more room to store bikepacking gear in the event of rain, guaranteeing it stays drier than being just stored in the vestibule. Secondly, the extra space makes for a more pleasant hideout if you're stuck inside for a long rainy afternoon at camp (something we expected could happen regularly in Iceland). Finally, we chose the 2 person version in the hope that we might one day get away for a cycling trip together in the future.
Cost: At around $600, the Copper Spur HV UL2 might be towards the higher end of the market. But if you're someone that values weight saving and quality materials, then I reckon it's worth the money.
Performance: If you like reading about technical fabrics, I'll let you head over to the Big Agnes website and read your fill about what's been used to make the Copper Spur. Let me just say that it's waterproof and tough. I've been using it for around six months, in all sorts of conditions and it's kept me nice and dry.
I've already mentioned the shorter poles and attachment straps on the Copper Spur HV UL2, but I reckon they're worth another mention as they're key features of the design in this tent. These thoughtful design aspects make it easy to pack the tent on the bike. Using a couple of voile straps, I carried the tent on my handlebars on a recent two-day bikepacking trip along the coast. Having the tent packed separately makes it handy at camp, as you can erect your tent immediately, without having to take other gear off the bike first.
While this packability is great, it's not my favourite feature of the tent. Ultimately, my favourite design aspect of the tent is the dual vestibules and doors on either side of the tent. The internal doors offer a large opening to get in and out of the tent, and the external doors open in several ways. There's nothing better than opening both external zippers and pinning back the vestibules to create wide-open views from the tent. As I love camping in beautiful locations (who doesn't) this design makes the most of the views - especially good for slow mornings in bed or while brewing up that morning camp coffee.
Other cool bikepacking-specific features are the helmet storage straps on the inner fly, drying loops on the external fly, and extra large internal pockets for stashing gear. This internal storage is great for stuffing puffy jackets, clothes, electronics, etc. The external vestibules are plenty large enough for storing gear and are easily accessed.
Overall I've been super impressed with the Copper Spur HV UL2 and it's quickly become a first choice for bikepacking trips. Sure, if I'm planning to travel extra light on a solo mission, I'll choose a different tent (I'd probably take the one-person version if I owned it), but when I've got a little extra room, or I'm planning a mellower pace, or I just fancy a bit of extra luxury at camp, then I'll be sure to strap on the Copper Spur HV UL2 to my bikepacking rig.
Get it here.
|Small packaway size & shorter poles|
|Straps directly to bike/rack|
|Large double doors for maximum views|
|Fairly snug footprint for two|
|Only comes with 8 pegs (stakes)|