Joan and I enjoy our time together in the backcountry. We have similar goals when we are out there, and our styles prove to be very compatible. We enjoy hiking all day and only looking for a campsite towards the end of the day. We camp to hike mainly with the camping portion of our trips secondary.
But, as with any couple, we have our moments.
Esp when it is December, the night is coming soon, and there is a chill in the air, with sleet coming down, and we find ourselves setting up our Lunar Duo in the rocky soil of the Colorado Plateau. This tent served me well over the years, but the large footprint and type of setup make it hard to find an ideal spot to call home, especially as Joan and I tend to walk all day. More challenging to find a suitable campsite as early evening approaches. Quite a different approach from how I used the Lunar Duo in the past.
Add in some “hantankerous” attitudes since we’ve been hiking all day, and the potential for some ah, spirited discussions increases. Mind you, coming from a working-class Catholic family, and growing up with all the stereotypes it entails about yelling vs. merely intense discussions might clash a small bit with Joan’s view of these discussions from her more academic upbringing. 🙂
In any case, after that evening of “spirited discussions,” Joan ordered a closeout version of the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 (2019) around Christmas for $300 total. I did not know about this order until it showed up one day!
I never thought I’d enjoy a freestanding tent for backpacking, but I must confess: This tent earned its keep these past few months.
This freestanding, double-wall tent weighs 3 lbs with poles, fly, body, and stakes. Or about 8 oz heavier than the Lunar Duo, but it makes for a more compact carry. Additionally, since we split the tent, the body and poles I carry at 2lbs makes for a lighter overall carry for me when we go backpacking together. Joan takes the rainfly and stakes at one pound total.
More importantly? The tent sets up quickly with a smaller footprint if we need to make adjustments, easy enough to move this freestanding tent vs. readjusting hiking poles, stakes, and essentially setting up shelter again as with many lightweight backpacking shelters. I noticed this trend with high winds combined with shallow/rocky soil here in Utah as well.
The shelter is large enough for a couple but maybe cozy for two people otherwise. The side entrance vestibules serve us well and, in my opinion, are another feature that helps prevent spirited discussions. The vestibules are not as large as the spacious vestibules of the Lunar Duo, but large enough for our needs. The dual vestibules also allow more airflow and assist with keeping the condensation at bay.
But the most crucial aspect for us? Esp during the late fall, winter, and early spring when we don’t cowboy camp? We are set up, in our quilts, and making our nightly ritual of cider and whiskey to enjoy the early winter night sky. Add our LuciLight during the dark days of winter, and we enjoy a quiet and cozy evening indeed.
The closeout version of the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 (2019) tent costs $350 via Moose Jaw. Big Agnes produces a newer version of the shelter that costs $450 and whose significant difference appears to be how the fly extends via trekking poles. The square footage, height, and even the weight look to be the same otherwise.
We nicknamed the tent, “The Wonder Tent.”
Our “spirited discussions” in regards to setting up shelter when we are hungry and tired abated. And the evenings seem to go rather well.
I tip my boonie hat to Joan – She made a wise decision to purchase this tent, and I think we’ll use it for many nights to come.
And out of owning this tent, as mentioned, we call it The Wonder Tent. Complete with a theme song to the tune of the old Underdog cartoon theme.
There’s no need to fear! The Wonder Tent is here!
When rocky ground in this world appears
and bend the tent stakes that we do fear
and frighten all who see or hear
the cry goes up both far and near
for The Wonder Tent! Wonder Tent! Wonder Tent! Wonder Tent!
Speed of lightning set up, Roar of nylon asunder
Fighting all who walk until late until sunset and are feeling hunger
Wonder Tent. Wonder tent!
(OK, we have a little more whiskey than cider when we came up this ditty.)
Disclosure: Joan bought our Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 (2019) with our funds.