Copper Spur UL2 vs. Hubba Hubba vs. Quarter Dome T2

A Look at Three Lightweight 2-Person Tents


We recently took a look at three ultralight 2-person tents to see how they measured up. We’re back at it again, this time we’re working with three popular ‘mainstream’ options: The Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2, the MSR Hubba Hubba 2P, and the REI Quarter Dome T2. Each of these tents can comfortably sleep two, they all have 2 side doors and dual vestibules (when fly is attached), and they’re all around the 4-pound ballpark, give or take a few ounces. All three tents are of the common “double wall” style; in other words, the inner tent is mostly mesh and is pitched individually of the rain fly which can be attached if desired or optionally pitched without the inner tent in the case of these three models. With the inner tent in place the occupant is completely surrounded by mesh making the possibility of brushing against any of the fly surfaces (which may be damp) less likely. Lastly, these are all free standing tents which do not require stakes in order to be pitched, but as you’ll notice throughout the article I do my best to hammer home the point that staking these tents down is still a good idea. So let’s look at how they compare…

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2
MSR Hubba Hubba
MSR Hubba Hubba
REI Quarter Dome T2
REI Quarter Dome T2

Setup

Each of these tents is fairly easy to pitch and intuitive enough that many people will not need instructions (who reads those anyway?!). These three all use Featherlite poles manufactured by DAC. The Hubba Hubba and Copper Spur have a similar pole design, while the REI is quite different.

Copper Spur UL2

The Copper Spur UL2  (“CS”) uses a pole system that resembles a double ended “Y” with a crossbar at the center. At first glance it might not be obvious but one end of the tent is wider than the other for weight savings; thus the ends of the pole assembly are also of different widths. Fear not though, setup is still easy enough: assemble the pole, match the narrow end to the narrow end of the tent and insert it into the grommets on tie outs. Do the same on the opposite end then clip the tent to the poles, proceed clipping to the cross pole as well. Color coded tie outs make it easy to match up the ends of the fly when putting it on the tent. In this case the fly clips onto quick release clips on the tent stake loops. The fly has a couple of loops on the underside to attach it to the pole system as well. Stake out the vestibules and you’re done. We like to stake out the corners and the bottom tie outs on the fly as well for additional ventilation.

Hubba Hubba 2P

The Hubba Hubba 2p (“HH”) also uses a double ended “Y” pole system with a crossbar at the center. This tent is bilaterally symmetrical so there’s nothing to figure out when getting ready to the set the poles up. Setup is a piece of cake: assemble the pole and insert the ends into the grommets on the tie outs at both ends, then clip the tent to the poles. Proceed clipping to the cross pole as well. The fly is symmetrical too so there is no way to get the ends mixed up, throw it on, loop to the poles from beneath, and secure the fly tensioners to the ends of the tent pole. Stake out the vestibules and you’re all done. Again, we like to stake out the corners as well and at a minimum use the bottom tie-outs on the fly for better ventilation.

Quarter Dome T2

The Quarter Dome T2 (“QD”) uses a different pole arrangement than the others as can be seen from the photos above. Instead of a center ridgeline, the main ridgeline pole runs diagonally from corner to corner on opposite ends. The poles that attach to the other corners also run diagonally but they end directly above the door on each side. This is a very interesting arrangement as it seems to make the most of the available space, although it takes a little more thought to pitch the tent. Although the tent has color coded stitching that matches the color of the poles it’s possible to get the diagonals pivoted 180º opposite of where they should be. I actually screwed it up on the first attempt, but it was easy to see that I had the poles reversed and I got it right on the next go around (this was a first experience with this tent as of the review). To set the tent up start with the main ridge pole and run it across diagonally, attaching the ends to the grommets on the tent stake loops. Secure the corners of the other pole sections then attach them to the grommets above the door on each side. Proceed to clip the tent to the poles all the way around. The fly is symmetrical and goes on easily; there are several attachment loops on the under side that should be attached to the tent poles. Stake out the vestibules and you’re done, unless you’re also staking out the corners, which as you might have guessed by now, is the way we do it.

Staking down free standing tents and using the fly tie-outs makes a ton of sense. They pitch tighter, resist wind better, and generate less condensation.

Living Quarters

The interactive photo series below will overlay the tents so you can get a good idea how they compare size-wise. A couple of quick notes – the measurements we’re posting below are of the inner tents “as measured” by us with the tent in free standing mode. In all cases free standing tents had slightly smaller measurements than specified when measured this way. By pulling them taught, staking the corners and re-measuring we found them to be very close to manufacturer specs.

Copper Spur UL2

The CS, like the following tents, provides room for two, however you will be in close quarters. The floor measurements are approximately 88″ long with the wide end measuring 52″ and the narrow end measuring 42″ (recall that the floor is tapered) with a peak height of 42″ and a peak width of about 36″. The end profile of the tent is more or less rectangular with slightly tapered wall. The side profile is tear drop shaped with the smaller end towards the feet and the highest point above the door. The dual doors are situated symmetrically making entry or exit the same for both occupants. The doors are rainbow shaped and span practically the entire side of the tent. They hinge at the bottom and include tie downs to get them out of the way completely; although in practice it’s a little odd having the door either lying on the floor of the tent, or outside the tent. The cross pole at the center of the tent extends beyond the walls to give the fly better coverage; without the fly in place it’s easy to forget the pole is up there. When the fly is in place the vestibules on either side of the tent provide plenty of room for gear. Ventilation is provided by means of a single fly vent at the head-end of the tent, as well as airflow from under the fly on either side.

Hubba Hubba 2P

The HH features about the same floor area as the CS does, although with a rectangular shape instead. The difference is in the length; the HH floor measurements are approximately 83″ long x 50″ wide with a peak height of 41.5″ and peak width of about 46″. The end profile best resembles a rectangle, with nearly vertical walls. The side profile is an arch shape with a flattened top. The dual doors are symmetrically arranged making entry or exit the same for both occupants. The doors are pretty standard and zip from top to bottom in a sides arc. With the fly in place, the dual vestibules have just enough room to accommodate your gear, but not much to spare. Like the CS, the HH has the cross pole above the door, however it doesn’t extend beyond the edges of the tent. This is nice for entry and exit but also reduces the amount of protection the fly provides during entry/exit. There are no fly vents on the HH so ventilation relies on airflow from under the fly at the sides of the tent. Using the fly tie-outs is important with this design to minimized the amount of condensation collected.

Quarter Dome T2

The QD also has about the same floor space as the others. The floor measurements are the same as the HH: 83″ long x 50″ wide with a peak height of 38″ and a peak width of about 46″. This tent feels very roomy. The end profile is more or less rectangular with nearly vertical walls. The side profile is an arch shape with a flattened top. The doors are symmetrically arranged just like both of the above tents. In this case the doors are tear drop shaped with the hinge directly at the top. It’s a nice shape although the overall door is a little on the small side, and the hinge is very small which might be a possible weak area in the case of drunken fall… er, user error. One interesting feature with the doors is the presence of a stuff compartment on the ceiling of the tent; this allows for the door to be stuffed out of the way rather than tied back. The vestibules on the QD are a little on the small side, probably borderline for what most people would consider adequate and can make entry and exit feel a little tight. Ventilation is provided by not one, but two fly vents at opposite ends, as well as from under the fly at either side.

End Profiles – Click on an image thumbnail to see it compared against the current tent.

Copper Spur UL2
Copper Spur UL2
Hubba Hubba 2P
Hubba Hubba 2P
Quarter Dome T2
Quarter Dome T2

Copper Spur UL2
Copper Spur UL2 (fly)
Hubba Hubba 2P
Hubba Hubba 2P (fly)
Quarter Dome T2
Quarter Dome T2 (fly)

Side Profiles – Click on an image thumbnail to see it compared against the current tent.

Copper Spur UL2
Copper Spur UL2
Hubba Hubba 2P
Hubba Hubba 2P
Quarter Dome T2
Quarter Dome T2

Copper Spur UL2
Copper Spur UL2 (fly)
Hubba Hubba 2P
Hubba Hubba 2P (fly)
Quarter Dome T2
Quarter Dome T2 (fly)

Fair Weather and Foul Weather Use

A note on wind-shedding ability: We have not destructively tested these tents, and even if we had there are so many variables involved that the data harvested could only be of limited use. We’ll concede that, in general, a shelter with lower, rounder profile and less “sail faces” will shed wind better than a tall oblique shape. Keep in mind that where a tent is pitched and its orientation with respect to the direction of the wind are critical factors in how it will weather the storm. Pitching any of these tents on an open exposure in strong sustained winds would NOT be advisable. If you’re thinking that your intended use might push the tent to its limit you should be looking at dedicated 4 season bomb proof tents – your life might depend on it some day!

Copper Spur UL2

The CS  features roll up vestibules all around for complete unobstructed views and airflow in good weather. The doors can also be dropped and tied out of the way when bugs are not an issue leaving the tent feeling wide open. The rain fly can of course be completely removed as well for the ultimate air flow and soaking in some sun, or star gazing. The CS provides a little more privacy than the others when used without the fly due to nylon that the lower part of the tent is made from. The nylon also makes the tent a little more comfortable in breezy weather by providing additional protection near the ground. In rainy weather the fly provides excellent protection against the elements and windblown rain from getting inside the tent during entry and exit. The cross pole supports the fly above the doors and does a good job of keeping drips out of the tent entry. The fly is provided with additional tie outs for windy weather and we recommend they be used for extra stability and to prevent possible tearing of the fly. Staking down the corners of the tent is always a good idea, especially when the weather turns.

Hubba Hubba 2P

The HH also features roll up vestibules all around for great views when the weather is nice. The doors can be unzipped and tied back to take in the scenery if the bugs are not around. With the fly totally removed the tent becomes a super airy mesh structure to chill in. There is absolutely no privacy in this mode though, so bear it in mind 😉 The “HP” version of the Hubba Hubba features some lightweight nylon(ish) material that provides privacy (and additional protection from the elements). In rainy weather the fly does a fine job of keeping the rain, drips and splashes out. It would be nice if the fly featured a vent or two; it tends to pick up condensation in rain/humid conditions… or you can just buy an MSR pack towel (you will get this joke if you have watched MSR’s video on dealing with condensation :)). At the end of the day it’s not a big deal; it’s a double walled tent and it’s designed to keep you comfy. The cross pole of the HH does not extend beyond the body of the tent as with the CS, but the steep walls aid in keeping the drips out. Additional fly tie outs are provided for extra wind stability and we recommend they be used (especially for condensation mitigation) in addition to staking down the tent at each corner.

Quarter Dome T2

Like both of our previous tents, the QD also offers roll up vestibules for grand views and airflow in fair weather. The doors can be tucked away into the interior stuff pockets for a nice unobstructed portal into the wilderness. Like the others, the QD can be setup without the fly for tons of air flow and warm sunshine… perfect nap mode. Again, don’t think you’ll have any privacy as it’s only mesh between you and the outside world. As would be expected, the fly works well at keeping out the rain (and water from stray hoses!). The vertical tent walls help keep the drips at bay when entering and exiting the tent, however, one thing we noticed is via combination of small door and vestibule size means that you’re likely to have some contact with the fly on entry and exit… try to tie it back or give it a wipe with a bandana first. The fly is provided with additional tie outs for windy weather and we recommend they be used for extra stability and to prevent possible tearing of the fly. And for crying out loud… stake those corners down!

The Specs

Theses tents compare pretty well, yet they each offer something a little different. All specs below are as tested, as measured, and as weighed by us.

Side by Side Comparison
Copper Spur UL2 Hubba Hubba 2P Quarter Dome T2
Style: Double Wall Double Wall Double Wall
Sleeps: 2 2 2
Packed Weight (oz): 53.41 68.51 60.51
Packed Size (in): 7×162, 20 7×162, 18 7×162, 18
Floor Size (in): 42-52×88 50×83 50×83
Floor Area (ft2): 28.8 28.8 28.8
Peak Height (in): 42 41.5 38
Peak Width (in): 36 46 46
Interior Volume (ft3): n/a n/a n/a
Free Standing? Yes Yes Yes
Stakes Required: 2-123 2-103 2-123
Poles Required: 2 Included4 1 Included4 1 Included4
Doors: 2 2 2
Vestibules: 2 2 2
Fly-Only Option? Yes Yes Yes


Foot Notes:

  1. Weights do not include stakes or manufacturer’s gignormous stuff sack.
  2. Tent and Fly stuffable size, second number refers to pole length. We recommend replacing manufacturers stuff sack/s.
  3. Minimum number of stakes required to stake out the vestibules only, max number indicates stakes needed for all tie-outs.
  4. Pole assembly consists of multiple poles permanently joined by hubs, listed here by number of poles that can physically be separated.

 

The Bottom Line

For the hiker who is looking for a double wall tent these three offer great flexibility and a great weight to volume ratio. Backpackers used to heavier tents will enjoy the weight savings but may need to adjust to a cooler, breezy interior, as well as close quarters with your tent buddy. These are minimalist mainstream tents and they fill the gap between big, heavy camp tents and stripped down ultralight backpacking shelters.

Copper Spur UL2

The Copper Spur is a very nice tent; the lightest of this group and one of the lighter, full sized double wall tents out there to be sure. The asymmetrical shape may be desirable or not depending on what you’re looking for. The longer floor dimension should work well for tall people.

Hubba Hubba 2P

The MSR is a very balanced tent with straightforward setup. The rectangular shape and nice head room gives each occupant a little more space but the length may be borderline for taller hikers. The “HP” version of this tent (not reviewed here) replaces some of the mesh with lightweight fabric, reduced overall weight at a premium price though.

Quarter Dome T2

The Quarter Dome is a great value. On paper it looks very similar to the HH with a lower ceiling, but the shape is actually quite different.A decision between the two may come down to personal preference in aesthetics, set up, or simply price. The “Plus” version of this tent (not reviewed here) adds extra room with some weight increase of course.

Jacob D Written by:

Jacob is the head honcho, wearer of many hats, and modern day berserker here at Hike It. Like It. When he's not out hiking or running the trails you'll find him operating in full capacity as a Super Dad and chipping away at a degree in Kinesiology. This guy likes to stay busy. Follow on Strava

8 Comments

  1. Gerrard
    April 23, 2014
    Reply

    Though your post is several years old, your photo comparison of the different tents is the best I have seen anywhere. It helped me choose the Big Agnes Copper Spur which I will use for the first time this weekend. Thanks!

    • May 2, 2014
      Reply

      Gerrard,

      Thanks for dropping by to leave a comment. I’m happy that the photos helped you out. I hope to do a few more like this in the future, the timing of having all the tents/shelters/whatever at the exact same time doesn’t always work out though 🙂 Enjoy your new tent!

  2. Raymond
    January 20, 2013
    Reply

    Nice comparison. I was leaning heavily toward the Hubba Hubba but will probably settle on the Copper Spur. I like the fly-only option which gives the ability to take down the tent in the rain and pack up while under the protection of the fly and poles, saving them for dead last (although without a proper footprint it may be a little more difficult).

    One thing you don’t cover that I’m very interested in is the individual weights. What do the poles weigh? What does the base tent weigh? What does the fly weigh? (I don’t care about the footprint since I use Tyvek instead anyways.) I feel like I’m pulling teeth to find these pesky weight details. Everyone who does reviews tends to publish the already provided manufacturer specs. I do know that the Hubba Hubba poles weigh 19.1 oz. (Fibraplex produces some lightweight carbon fiber replacement poles that weigh only 9.8 oz. for the Hubba Hubba)

    I plan on hiking the AT this year and I’m looking for every possible avenue to reduce weight.

  3. Romain
    August 15, 2012
    Reply

    Thanks for this review, I hesitate between the CS and the HH, but you just make me discover the QD, and I think it could be a good choice. I’m not decided yet (even after reading this review) but I’ve more informations.

    I’ve one question, about the quality of the fly, and the bottom/floor ?

    Bye

    Romain

    • Jacob D
      August 15, 2012
      Reply

      Hello Romain. The Quarter Dome is indeed a nice little tent. The floor and fly are both silnylon. I believe the fly is a slightly heavier weight than the floor (I would have to check to confirm that). In any case I don’t believe either has an inherent advantage or disadvantage compared with similar competitive tents.

      • Romain
        August 21, 2012
        Reply

        Thanks for your reply.
        I’ve got an other question (I don’t find a good answer from users on any forum) about the floor of the QD and HH : is that no disturbing for the dust or wind that the mesh start a few inches on the ground compare to the BG (sorry for my english..)

        Thanks and goodbye.

        • Jacob D
          September 14, 2012
          Reply

          Romain, I’d expect the Big Agnes to keep wind blown dust and dirt out better than the others due to the higher nylon sidewall before the mesh begins. If you’re in an area such as the coast or desert where this would be a regular issue, that might be an important factor… otherwise I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

  4. Mike
    April 23, 2012
    Reply

    Nice review.
    I have Quarter dome T2 (plus) and for me it is a perfect tent. It is roomy enough to camp out in and light enough to take backpacking. There is a lot of room and the materials are fairly sturdy. The plus version has roughly 45 inches of usable width, so you can squeeze in 25 inch pad for yourself and 20 inch pad for your girl/friend

    Regarding Foul weather use. Aside of winter blizzards, you should have no problem with this tent bellow the treeline even in the worst of storms. Just watch out for the falling trees and you’ll be fine. But all jokes aside, it is a solid three season tent. I see no problem taking it to the sheltered alpine campsite in the summer but as the author suggested proper mountaineering tent might be even better idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *