Gear Review: Big Agnes Copper Hotel HV UL3 Tent

  • Big Agnes has long been a trusted brand for our family when we are in the backcountry. The Air Core Pads have been our favorites for the last 5-6 years, as well as their integrated sleeping systems and kid’s winter jackets. In fact, their gear is of such high quality, I would trust it across the board.
  • Adding a Big Agnes tent to our list of backpacking assets as a family has long been a goal, and when the new Copper Hotel 3 came out, I was eager to put it to the test!
  • As a family of 5, sleeping scenarios while in the back country are tricky. For awhile now we’ve gone with a 4-man tent for most of us, and a hammock for my husband. This worked well as long as there was good weather. Our 4-men tent, though adequate, isn’t great in terms of weight.
  • That leaves us with this tent and the option of bringing an additional 2-man tent should the weather call for rain. But if the weather looks clear, we are hoping we can fit 3 kids and a dog in the tent and 2 adults in the super-huge vestibule.
  • Here is what we found out about the Copper Hotel HV UL3:

  • Big agnes backpacking tent family
  • Tested in:  Camping, backpacking (sun and rain)
  • Cost: $599.00
  • Availability: BigAgnes.com, Rei.com
  • Best Use: UL backpacking or backpacking with kids

Selling Points:

  1. Huge Vestibule: Huge might be an understatement. We comfortably fit two adults sleeping under the vestibule, but you could also open the door and use it as a shaded “front porch” with a couple of low-profile camp chairs. In rainy weather, it provides a ton of covered space for ALL the gear (if you aren’t attempting to fit 5 people into it, but the suggested 3!)
  2. Room: I’ve already mentioned the vestibule but the interior area, while cozy, fit our three kids with room for a dog and a few packs at their feet. Obviously, three tall adults would probably need to store the bulk of their gear in the vestibule. Big Agnes Copper hotel tent backpacking
  3. Weight: All this room only weighs 4 lbs. 3 oz! 
  4. Organization and Entry Points: The Copper Hotel 3 has two doors, one into the vestibule and one out the opposite side. It also has a large ceiling pocket and media pockets above the sleeping area.

Significant Stats:

Vestibule Area 9 / 27 sqft / 0.9 / 2.5 sqm
Trail Weight 4lb 3oz / 1.90kg
Packed Weight 4lb 9oz / 2.07kg
Packed Size 5.5″ x 21″ / 14 x 53cm
Footprint Weight 8oz / 227g
Floor Area 41 sqft / 3.8 sqm
Fast Fly Weight 1.56kg

Desired Improvements:

Like most tents these days, Big Agnes employs ultralight clips that attach the body of the tent to the posts quickly.  Yes, every tent should use this design! It cuts the set up time down to mere minutes!

However, then they have a sleeve in the fly/vestibule for one of the poles to go through… if you’ve been camping for long, then you no doubt share my hatred of feeding the tent poles through a tiny sleeve. There has to be a better way. While minimal, it was the slowest part of our set up.

The Bottom Line:

This tent performed amazingly! Our original intentions were to have a backup 2-person tent should the weather become rainy, just so we’d have more room. Well… it rained all night long and we had all five of us plus our dog in the tent/vestibule with no problem.

We did bring a ground cloth for the vestibule so we wouldn’t be on the dirt. For 3 people, this tent is a slam dunk – for 5 people it works, though inclement weather or a large quantity of mosquitoes could make it less enjoyable.

Obviously the cost will be the limiting factor for many people. However, everyone I know that owns a Big Agnes tent raves about it, specially if you are looking to go ultralight! In my opinion, getting your hands on one will not disappoint.

Big Agnes Copper hotel tent backpacking

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