Battle of the Big Agnes Copper Spur Vs Duplex from Zpacks. This is my attempt to explain why I don’t think one is better than the other – boring right? 🙂
Let’s start at the begnning.
When I back in 2017 decided that I wanted to thru-hike The Pacific Crest Trail, I had never done any hiking that involved a tent, so I spent a ton of time online researching and trying to figure out what to get, and Big Agnes was one of the most popular ones – Zpacks was starting to get some tracktion but it just seemed too advanced and hipster for me to 🙂 and considering that I would have to order it from the US would just make it way to expensive at that time.
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2
The reason that I went with the BA Copper Spur HV UL2 was that all reviews were very positive, it was pretty lightweight compared to “normal” tents and easy to set up and had the possibility to be free standning as well.
Let’s have a look at the specs shall we.
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Specs:
3 lbs 1 oz / 1.4 kg packed weight
88 x 52 x 40 inches (L x W x H)
19.5 x 4 inch packed size
29 sq ft floor area
18 sq ft vestibule combined area
Big Agnes has introduced a new version of the Copper Spur HV UL2 tent, so I had to dig around to find some specs for the 2017 model.
During my Thru-hike of the Pacific Crest I absolutely loved the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 tent, as you might have guessed I opted for the 2 person so I could fit my backpack inside the tent and just overall have more room – remember this was my first time having to live in a tent, so I had no idea what to expect, and better safe than sorry 🙂
The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is amazing fast to set up and take down, and very roomy – I am just over 6″ (184cm) and had no problems with the length of the tent, but some nights I did end op with a moist sleeping bag as I had moved too much during the night so I was touching the tent wall.
The free standning really came in handy later on the hike, when I started to get lazy and didn’t want to use spikes 🙂 and it even has a clip system so the rain fly can be used without using spikes.
Another amazing thing is the option to not use the rain fly and lie in your tent at enjoy the night sky – and when its too hot it is also a nice option. So all in all I was very happy with my decision.
After having completed the Pacific Crest trail I knew my limits and what I was able to endure, so I started to try and dial in my hiking gear even more so I could shred som weight and the tent was one of the big places to save weight which I why I went for the Zpacks Duplex.
Reason I went for the Zpacls Duplex and not a Plexamid or another 1 person tent, was that I just loved the space I my Big Agnes tent, so I wasn’t about to give up on that – and on the PCT I saw a lot of people in 1 person Zpacks tents and they are barely able to fit 🙂
Zpacks Duplex Specs:
19.4 ounces (550 grams) including guy lines, sewn in linelocs, taped seams, and a stuff sack. A piece of repair tape is included with the tent.
*8x Stakes are required but are not included. We have a variety of Ultralight Stakes to choose from.
Peak height: 48″ (122 cm)
Ridgeline width: 53″ (135 cm)
Width including vestibules: 86.5″ (220 cm)
Vestibule space: 20.75″ (53 cm) depth on each side
Length: 100″ (254 cm)
Peak height: 48″ (122 cm)
Floor width: 45″ (114 cm)
Floor length: 7.5 feet (2.3 meters)
Zipper entry height: 36″ (91 cm)
7″ diameter by 13″ tall (18 cm x 33 cm) / 520 cubic inches (8.5L)
I used the Zpacks Duplex on my thru-hike of Kungsleden (King’s Way) and I really enjoyed it.
it needs 8 spikes, so it is not as fast or easy to set up as the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2, but its not too bad once you have done it a few times.
What I really like about the Zpacks Duplex is the weight – 19.4 ounces (550 grams) for a 2 person tent is just crazy, and since it is made of Dyneema Composite Fabric, it is waterproof and doesn’t need a rain fly.
It also needs 2 poles to hold up the tent, which is not a problem for people who use trekking poles while hiking, but if you don’t use trekking poles, it is probably a nuisance to have to carry that as well (but then again, compared to carrying the poles for the Big Agnes its not much different). But trekking poles are awesome so why aren’t you using those?! 🙂
My biggest problem, but something you just have to learn to live with, is condensation – on Kungsleden (King’s Way) I probably only had a day or two without condensation, rest of the time the tent is wet on the inside, and if you’re too close to the wall you will have a moist/wet sleeping bag 🙂
On the Arizona Trail I think I had condensation every morning so I started to sleep diagonal instead to get the most floor space and I either had to dry my tent off, wait for the sun to dry it, or pack it down wet, and take it out during lunchtime to let the sun dry it off (which is a nice way to optimise your time anyways)
As you can tell there probably are more negatives with the Zpacks Duplex compared to the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2, but the weight savings are almost 2,2 lbs (1kg) which for me makes up for the condensation – which actually is the only downside, oh and the fact that you can’t watch the night sky from inside your Zpacks Duplex Tent.
Conclusion – but not conclusion
Depending on your needs and your budget I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these tents – I had no problems carrying the Big Agnes tents on my PCT thruhike and have no regrets that I didn’t choose the Zpacks instead (I do plan on using my Zpacks Duplex on my CDT thru-hike though).
Quality wise I can only really speak on behalf of the Big Agnes which helt up with out any problems during my PCT thru-hike, and I would probably guess that it could handle another thru-hike. My Zpacks has only done about 700 miles (1100 km) so far, so I feel that its too early to talk about durability, but so far so good.
So if you’re like me back in 2017, and starting out on hiking gear, I would probably recommend the Big Agnes as it is about 150$ cheaper and is the perfect way to start tenting (is that a word?).
But if you’re like me and got sucked into the ultralight trap, the Zpacks is the way to go 🙂
Ohh and regarding packability, the Zpacks Duplex does win as it can pack down pretty small, whereas the Big Agnes does take up more space, and the included poles also take up some space. The Zpacks Duplex uses your trekking poles.
As always, if you have any questions I will try my best to answer them!