Quickie #2 Big Agnes

Just having been carried halfway to Glen Affric and back again without leaving my pack is the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1.
Big Agnes has been getting better established in the UK over the past couple of years and more of the range is going to be available this year. I’ve got the Copper Spur on test for a while and then I should be exchanging it for a shot of a Fly Creek later on.
The Seedhouse SL1 I’ve had on test has seen a shed load of use and has proved to be badass-tough, so my thinking about Big Agnes has shifted from “Ooh, a meshy looking US tent” to “Grab the tent and head for the tops”.
The Copper Spur is interesting. It’s really big inside for a one-person, has a mighty porch also and there’s a second tiny door for storing stuff at the back of the tent and grabbing some extra ventilation.
I’ll be carring it some more and actually using it, so watch not this space, but one appearing above it sometime soon.

25 thoughts on “Quickie #2 Big Agnes”

  1. It really seems that I’m the only person ever to have had a Seedhouse SL2 fail on me… maybe the wind was stronger than I thought.

    Don’t ever think that Duck Tape will help you out on that silnylon! ;)

  2. Ah why didn’t I think of that…

    I reckon the McNett Tenacious (or is it Magic?) Tape might do it. But not in the rain and wind even then.

  3. We really considered that…

    But then we noticed that despite battling across the tops all day we’d ended up not 4K from a tiny little village at the end of the valley. So we tramped off there after and found the first house in the village was the most fantastic B&B.

    We ended up spending half the next day wandering about the place with the owners looking at the garden and their horses etc.

    Not the ending we’d had in mind but all the better for being unexpected.

  4. Interesting design – there seems to be a bit of US led trend for these floating top pole thingies that seem to start and end randomly and provide a bit more internal apace.

    I was wondering how much strength/ stability they provide.

    Many tents are also using these hub pole arrangements (including a couple that are highly regarded around this Parish).

    There are obviously some clever tent designers about, but I wonder how well this stuff works in bad weather or whether there is an element of design over function.

  5. There’ll be an element of “Oh look what we can do with this” once the simple hub design that seems common was found to be practical and tough. It definitely makes possible forms and shapes that single poles would never allow.
    It is tough though, the Seedhouse pole bent miles away from it in the high winds of January, so my worry that it might kink at the pole hub seems unfounded.
    But, it does make for a bulky package which is annoying.

    The Copper Spur has multi hubs and only three guy points, so I feel a proper test of componentry coming on :o)

  6. The floating top pole isn’t a new concept, the Phoenix Phreerunner/Phreeranger both had a horizontal top pole 15+ years ago.

    Still one of the best solo tents, if they still made them they’d still be a contender. I had a Phreeranger EB but sold it a couple of years ago, having just bought a Laser I’d say the Phreeranger is the superior design/better tent by a long way.

    Definately be looking closely at the Copperspur even though I’ll have to stick with the Laser this year.

  7. I wonder who has the intellectual rights to the Phoenix tent desings these days? I suppose it must be Vango, unless they just bought the brand name.

    I left the Copper Spur at home this week as it looked very windy and I didn’t want to push my luck too much with it’s three guy points, but I’ll have it out soon and we’ll see what the score is.

  8. No idea but it’s a shame the design is being wasted.

    I’ve just pitched both the Phreeranger and Laser in the garden, the Ranger is much tighter, has a bit more (1″-2″) headroom, more floor space and is faster/easier to pitch by a long long way. I’d use it but the fly looks a bit dry/brittle, maybe a re-proof would help it.

    Not counting the pegs which are proper alloy channel type it weighs in at 1558g which is scary light for a tent of that age, the fabric is obviously heavier than the Laser, the inner has 2 mesh pockets, the fly pegging points are 1″ webbing with alloy rings and the guylines (all 9 of them!!) are light by the standards of the time but heavier than the Laser. It couldn’t fail to be lighter than the Laser if it was made with modern materials. It’s less streamlined than the Laser though so possibly wouldn’t cope so well in high winds.

    The EB model that I originally had was fully taped, full mesh & plain door and an extended porch (EB = Extented Bell) the door opened like a Quasar, either of the end quarters or the center section, again like the Quasar it could be opened top down. I think they came in at around 1900 – 2000g.



  9. Now that I’ve seen one again it reminds me of something current, but I can’t place it for the moment.
    Good ideas from the past (and the present) are always nicked or recycled into the next best thing for another brand.
    Old gear in modern materials, there’s a wealth of possibilty there. I sometimes wonder if development goes too far down the possible that the practical. When new methods and materials become available designers are desperate to use them.

  10. There’s a few tents similar including the Tarptent Rainbow/Double Rainbow, Macpac something or other and a wee Vango/Blacks one, none as good as the Ranger though :-)

    Change for the sake of it and fashion trends. I commented on your post about frame packs a while back, at the time I mentioned I fancied trying one. I eventually picked up 2 old Karrimor Annapurna 11 models, one with a load bearing hip belt and one without. They hold a massive amount of gear, 65L easily. The one with the plain belt weighs 1500g, thats including the tubular alloy frame and the pack is pretty tough nylon. Thats about 1kg lighter than my Karrimor Alpiniste 45+10 and it isn’t unbearable to wear with nearly 19kg. Again with a lighter frame and a Dyneema pack it should be easily under 1kg.


    Makes you wonder when you look at modern UL gear whether it’s smart designers after all or just that they got lucky with modern materials.

    (I need to get a closer look at a LIM 45 too)

  11. I saw that when I was escaping from packing the other night, looks in great nick. I’d love a brown pack!

    I know for a fact that modern materials are making the difference, design seems to have more constants.
    I was amazed how comfy that ’65 Whillans pack was to use with no hipbelt or backsystem at all.

    I would love to see exposed frame pack in cost-no-object materials, as long as I didn’t have to scramble in it!

  12. Any thoughts on the tent?
    would love to hear your take since i´m about to buy one..
    Have had an akto for 10 years and i wan´t to change tent!!
    So have you had time to use it yet?

  13. It’s been great on local use at lower levels, and I’ll be taking it up north to get it pitched on some ridges or summits in the next couple of weeks.
    It’s a great tent to spend time in, lightweight but still built for comfort.
    Review coming soon!

  14. Just clicked the link to the Fly Creek, looks a bit like the Seedhouse, like the Copperspur and Emerald Mountain look similar.

  15. Aye, the seem to use a handful of designs and play about with them. Evolution instead of revolution?
    In theory it should make for a reliable design.

  16. Close to putting up the review?? My deadline for choosing tent
    is rapidly approaching. Your knowledge on the copper spur ul1 is close to unique so i would very much like to hear it, especially about it´s windstability. Cheers!

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