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Looking for advice on picking the right tent!

The hiking group I have for myself and co-teachers in my area are doing our first overnight. I camp all the time, this will be the group's 1st venture into backpacking. I am purchasing a new tent for backpacking and the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is what I have narrowed my options down to. It came highly recommended, and of those recommended, it's the lightest, a huge factor for my petite frame. Anyone with experience using this tent?  Anyone recommend anything comparable but cheaper?  I plan to purchase during the anniversary sale and I am interested in any last minute advice before investing in a pricier tent. TIA!

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19 Replies

Rent or borrow for the first few trips - you will be much better informed

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I have the BA Tiger Wall 2 that I use as a 1 person + dog tent. I really do love it. Easy to set up, double walled, and bomb proof for what I need it for. I LOVE BA products and it's served me well for about 4 years. They make good entry-mid level equipment (in my opinion) for backpacking but options are limited when you want to start carrying less weight or volume. 

As you gain experience and want to lighten your load backpacking, a trekking pole tent is a fairly easy way to shave weight. This is where I am now, I've backpacked for about 5 years and starting to get more comfortable with less on the trail. As @OldGuyot mentioned you can save weight with a single wall trekking pole tent, and there are a lot of manufactures of those (zpacks, gossermer gear, six moons designs and many more) that are not offered through REI.  Trekking pole tents can be fiddly to set-up and a single wall tent can be difficult to manage condensation depending on where you are hiking and what the weather is like. I prefer single wall tents but I live in the desert so condensation is basically a non-issue for me. When I lived in Ohio I always used a double wall tent (the BA Tiger Wall) to help manage condensation and deal with rain. 

My thought is that you should go with a tent that you're comfortable with right now. Something that is easy to set up, bomber in bad weather, and doesn't feel cramped. Use it for a year or a few years and when you are ready, sell it and try something new. The BA Copper Spur is a great option. The BA Tiger Wall is lighter by a few ozs and still has tons of space both in the tent and vestibule. If you are petite and you don't plan on having anyone/thing else in the tent with you backpacking (hubby, pets, kids) I would lighten the load even more by getting a 1 person tent. Still plenty of room for a 25in wide pad and leg/head room and sub 2 lbs for the Tiger Wall. One BA tent I would not recommend is the Fly Creek. It's lighter but all I hear is how much people hate having the crawl in and out of the front door, especially in the rain or morning dew. BA Tiger Wall 2, look at the vestibule space!BA Tiger Wall 2, look at the vestibule space!


"Turn and listen, for not only in my eyes is Paradise"

I'm in Ohio, and for now plan on summer backpacking. Is the Copper Spur considered a 2-wall?  Sounds like that would be a better option. I feel like the Copper Spur is a tent I'd like to start with. Plus if I don't turn into a legit backpacker, I can still use it for camping with my husband. I appreciate all your feedback!


Load your pack with the weight you think you are going to carry, add a 5lb weight. Put it on and go for a walk in your neighborhood. Think about how far you are going to walk. 2mi? 5mi? 10mi? 20? Can you carry they weight comfortably for that long.

First, it will help you adjust your pack. Make sure it fits correctly.

Second, you will figure out how much you want to carry

You will end up with more tents than one, so dont get sold on a 2 person only. I have seen the Eureka Solitare used a lot and it seems pretty good at a lighter weight. I have a 2 person, (eureka forte 2 xt? discontinued) which looks a lot like that Tiger Wall.


The Big Agnes Coper Spur is a 2 walled tent.  It has the tent and a rain fly.

Single-walled tents are built by having the (in essence) rainfly and the sides, bottom front and back all attached.  Think of canvas tents.  Tent body and roof all one layer.  2-walled tents have a tent and a separate roof.  Depending on the manufacturer, the two parts are the rain fly (or outer tent) and the tent (or inner tent).

I have a friend who uses this (older model) tent for backpacking.



I am always shocked when people talk about how they love a single walled tent because of light weight but they have to fool with "rain" inside the the tent from condensation every morning.  First priority IMO is a dry tent.  32 years backpacking with a double walled tent and never wet inside.  If it weighs ....whatever is worth it.  Be aware of taking light things but more important than that is COMFORT.  6-8 miles is perfect to be really present and stop and look at things instead of a passing glance with more mileage.  I'm a woman who did a lot of solo before electronics and never had or known of any bad things happening to anyone.  Good luck.


I have heard that too but oddly the Fly Creek UL2 got the highest rating in the 2021 Halfwayanywhere PCT survey so not everyone finds them annoying to use.


If you're soloing, have you considered a hammock tent? They're as light (or lighter) than some of the lightest tents - the Kammok Mantis, which I like, is only about 2 pounds. Also, an advantage with a hammock is I don't have to worry about finding a patch of level ground, or clearing away rocks and such from the tent site - just need a couple of well-spaced trees.  Of course, if you're not hiking/camping in a wooded area, a hammock ain't gonna do you much good.

That much said, the advice to see if you can rent a tent before buying is spot on.


Sometimes when you are just getting into a new hobby - (with me its a lifestyle, I live outside 3 nights a week, so I have tents of different sorts) you should go with comfort and with the options you might feel more comfy in a tent, like being able to sit up comfortabley, roll around and bring a book or a radio,etc. And what your weather conditions are like. The tents in the 4-6 pound range are less expensive but have more ammenities like better zippers and pockets and a more substancial rainfly. Or if you want to go stealth or not,if you can stettle on semi free standing or  do you want a freestanding tent? How big of a rainfly do you need?  They are smaller in UL tents.  You are also limited to the warmer seasons in UL tents.  Also the bad thing about single walls is if you get a leak in your roof and can't find it you have no protection from rain  (Gorilla Glue makes a really strong tape I have fixed broken poles with).  I went through a miserable windly rainy night in pne brand of ultra light (the zipper broke and so did a pole, and a delightful night in a NEMO Osmo. (Light weight and very well made).   I spent a night recently in the really light  2 person REI quarter dome.  Its very budget friendly.  I live in Alaska and it makes more sense for me to have an all season tent (the Arete 2 REI) is under 6 pounds and uber comfortable, and it carries me from Summer to below zero at a fair price. I feel like I'm glamping in that one.

You may not feel the extra pound or two on your hips, but you may feel better psychologically.  There are other ways to cut weight from your pack without having a skimpier shelter. Im small and old and and I would rather carry 2 extra pounds then be cramped or have fellow backpackers be able to see everything I am doing in my tent.  But I hike my own hike,you do you.  We all learn what we like and don't like on the trails.  


The best advise I can give you is... make sure you buy a tent with a foot-print or buy a foot-print for your tent. My last tent (Mountain Hardware) had a 12 year run and it literally just gave out. The foot-print was the most essential part of that in my personal opinion.