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…
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.
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.
Side Profiles – Click on an image thumbnail to see it compared against the current tent.
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!
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|
|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|
|Poles Required:||2 Included4||1 Included4||1 Included4|
- Weights do not include stakes or manufacturer’s gignormous stuff sack.
- Tent and Fly stuffable size, second number refers to pole length. We recommend replacing manufacturers stuff sack/s.
- Minimum number of stakes required to stake out the vestibules only, max number indicates stakes needed for all tie-outs.
- 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.