Rating: 8.3 / 10
Value for Money 1.8
I have been using a Big Agnes Cooper Spur UL 2 tent for just on three years now and love just about everything about it which is why it is my first choice for two person expeditions. Recently I had the opportunity to try trial the recently released Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Platinum tent and was keen to see how it compared.
Firstly lets deal with the elephant in the room and that’s the price. At the time of this review the recommended retail price of this tent in Australia is $950 but you can get it on sale at $829.95. With a price premium of $180 over and above the standard Big Agnes Cooper Spur UL 2 tent, this three season, two person tent is one of the dearest on the Australian market.
Price is the most common discussion thread you will come across on social media with regard to both tents and other products. You will see recommendations for cheaper tents online and if you only camp occasionally then they will be fine. Big Agnes and other main stream brands spend a lot of time and effort developing materials, features and technology for their tents which eventually filter down to the cheaper models.
If you camp as much as I do it is important to know your tent will last through the worst conditions for a number of years and that means spending the extra if you can afford. The question is why would you buy this tent and not the standard version or indeed another brand instead? If you look solely at the price, the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Tent Platinum may not be one of those tents you commonly see on the trail but there are very good reasons you should consider it and here’s why.
First up the Copper Spur is a fully free standing tent. Other models in the range such as the Tiger Wall and the Fly Creek are only ‘semi freestanding’. Having a freestanding tent means the tent inner can be used by itself as a bug net both in and outside of shelters without having to peg the tent down – assuming of course there is no wind. In addition, this tent is a true two person-sized tent. Gill and I comfortably fit into this tent without it being a squeeze. As is typical with the Big Agnes range, the internal length of this tent is 229cm which means that with rare exceptions, even the tallest of hikers will fit. We find that all the little bits and pieces we don’t put into the four internal gear pockets, fit at the ends of the tent without us feeling cluttered. While we are still on size, the head height is generous at 102cm so two people can sit up inside on a rainy day if you are tent bound.
This tent comes with 8 ‘J-stakes’ which are small lightweight tent pegs that work well in hard to form ground. If you are setting up in sand, soft ground or snow then you will need to change out the pegs. I’m a fan of the Big Agnes J-pegs as I find them to be a robust little peg that won’t cripple you if you accidentally kick them in the middle of the night in bare feet unlike some other types of pegs. If you’re expecting to be out in heavy rains and strong winds or you know that the ground will be very soft, then I recommend bringing some pegs that will cope with those conditions.
One of the big selling features with the Copper Spur range which continues with the release of the Platinum range, is the side door entries provide vestibules that fit the majority of packs including 70 litres sizes. The large vestibules also mean you are less likely to disturb your partner when getting out of/into the tent in the middle of the night. In fact, the dimensions on the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 tent Platinum are identical to the standard Copper spur. The other thing I like about the Copper Spur tents is that they cope with wet weather and the side openings minimise the incidence of dragging in mud.
So why buy this Platinum version tent over the standard version? It’s the differences, combined with the price on this tent that are going to steer you one way or the other.
The first thing you notice about this tent compared to the standard Copper Spur is the colour difference. For a number of years the Copper Spur range has been a combination of bright orange and white colouring – the aim of this combination is that it’s easy to spot, particularly in case of emergency. Having said that if you are trying to stealth camp and be invisible to the world, this colouring makes doesn’t help. The new Platinum version of this tent has a translucent white fly that one of our readers described as ‘looking like condom’ and when you see this up close you can sort of see why. However, the colouring means the tent almost disappears in most landscapes and I actually don’t mind. As much as I like wearing bright clothing, I prefer my tents to be a bit more subdued. The tent inner is made of orange mesh and this does cast a glow of that colour inside the tent. When we tested this tent while doing the Aussie 10 in the Australian Alps, Gill was unable to see the tent until we were about 50 meters away. The fly colour blended in so well with the cream-grey coloured boulders that littered the area. We had a very full moon on our trip and when I woke up in the middle of the night to answer the call of nature, I thought I had bumped on my head torch by accident as the tent was really lit up. A darker colour would minimise this light impact but not fully.
The real difference with this tent from a feature perspective is the weight. While the standard Cooper Spur UL 2 tent weighs in at 1.4kg (packed weight), the packed weight of the Platinum version is 1.19kg so you are saving 210 grams. ‘Not a lot’ I hear you say which is true but transfer this weight saving across all your gear and it makes a big difference.
The weight saving is achieved in two ways. The tent inner is almost exclusively bug netting and the tent fly and floor uses a lighter weight silicone treated nylon rip-stop material than you find on the standard version of this tent. While this lighter weight material does save weight, it does mean the tent is a bit more ‘delicate’ and prior to use I was concerned about durability. In reality I found this tent to be pretty much the same as the standard Copper Spur and while you do need to take care, it’s no different to any other tent in regard to handling. One thing you do need to watch is the floor of the tent and even though it will add weight back into your pack, I would recommend purchasing the footprint as an optional extra. Whether you use the footprint or not will depend on your trip but if you know you will be travelling to places like the Larapinta Trail where you’ll encounter sharp rocks then you will need a footprint regardless of the tent model or brand. I use a footprint with my heavier standard Copper Spur so the weight saving is still there.
One other little glitch I experienced with my current three year old Copper Spur tent is that at some point some, Big Agnes changed the clip system which means my old footprint doesn’t clip on to the newer tent clips but I can still use the footprint. Not an issue really and given I don’t use my tent without the inner mesh, my footprint is still useable but this is something to keep in mind.
Overall this tent is great. Having used a Copper Spur for the last three years I didn’t find it to be hugely different and this is actually comforting. It’s really annoying when manufacturers release new models and end up making the product worse rather than better. This is not the case with this latest version of the Copper Spur. So having tested out the Copper Spur UL 2 Platinum in the real world would I buy one? The answer here is yes and no.
No because I’m very happy with my current older Copper Spur tent and its still in great condition after 3 years. When I need a two person tent option, Gill and I split the weight between us so the weight saving provided by the newer Platinum version is minimal. I’m not about to sell off my older tent just yet.
Having said that if I was ready for a new two person tent then I would definitely choose the Platinum version over the standard. While this tent is not cheap, its lightweight weatherproof construction provides a good compromise between weight saving and available space. The Big Agnes Cooper Spur UL2 Platinum is well worth the outlay from my perspective.
Standard Copper spur tent colouring vs the Copper spur UL 2 Platinum tent colour
Comparing the packed size of the Copper Spur 2 and Copper Spur Platinum
You can purchase the Big Agnes Copper Spur 2 UL Platinum tent online from Wild Earth
Please note that our affiliations do not influence, in any way, the independence of our reviews
If you have used the Big Agnes Copper Spur 2 UL Platinum tent or if you have questions, we’d like to hear from you. Post your comment or question below
$829.95 AUD (without footprint)
There are a number of other tents available in the Big Agnes Copper Spur Range:
Tent with fly open. Both the two and three person versions of this tent has an access door and vestibule each side for convenient access and storage
Tent set up without the fly. In this configuration it provides insect proofing
Tent dimensions of the Copper Spur 2 Platinum is identical to the Copper Spur UL 2
Big Agnes tent pegs
Clips from tent inner to pole
Tent door fly zips
Clip system used to attach the various tent layers
Putting up the the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Platinum tent
This review was done with product provided by the product importer