Steamboat’s Big Agnes adds to trophy case |

Steamboat’s Big Agnes adds to trophy case

Copper Spur 3-season tent wins Outside magazine Gear of the Year award

Mike Lawrence

Steamboat Springs company Big Agnes won a 2011 Gear of the Year award from Outside magazine for its Copper Spur UL 4 tent, which sleeps four, weighs less than 6 pounds and retails for about $600.

— Steamboat Springs outdoor gear company Big Agnes just got a strong new marketing pitch that couldn't be timed better, as April rain washes away low-elevation snow and summer camping season nears.

Outside magazine awarded Big Agnes a 2011 Gear of the Year honor for the company's Copper Spur UL4 tent, a three-season tent that sleeps four and weighs 5 pounds, 10 ounces. Outside magazine's spring/summer buyers' guide reaches newsstands April 26 and gives Gear of the Year honors to one product in each of 14 categories, ranging from sunglasses to cameras, and from mountain bikes to boats. Big Agnes won the tent category for its Copper Spur model.

"The internal space for the weight is kind of like no other tent on the market — that's why it got so much attention," Big Agnes co-owner Bill Gamber said Monday. "It's really big and really lightweight, so you can take a really roomy tent on a backpacking trip."

The Copper Spur tent retails for about $600.

Gamber said some reviewers have fit eight people inside a Copper Spur, which he said has steep walls that create extra space for a backpacking trip's down time or unexpected challenges.

"You can get a ton of people in there during bad weather, then it sleeps four," Gamber said.

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He called the Copper Spur "a user-friendly tent" with two doors, lightweight fabric and poles, and numerous storage pockets.

"When you don't have a (rain) fly on it, it's got a whole mesh ceiling," he said. "It's really nice for ventilation, star-gazing, that kind of thing."

Gamber is a co-owner of BAP, Big Agnes and Honey Stinger, three award-winning businesses making names for themselves in the outdoor clothing, outdoor gear and natural energy food industries, respectively.

He said because of Outside magazine's broad readership, the award could increase interest in Big Agnes as a whole.

"It's probably bigger for the brand than for that particular tent," Gamber said.

The Copper Spur tent also won an Editor's Choice award from Backpacker Magazine earlier this year. Big Agnes also has received a 2011 Gear of the Year award from National Geographic Adventure magazine for its Fly Creek UL3 tent. The Fly Creek tent weighs 3 pounds and 3 ounces, and costs about $450.

Big Agnes has received at least four other Backpacker awards since 2008, but only one other Outside magazine Gear of the Year award — in 2007, for its Emerald Mountain tent.

"To win another one is really huge for us, and for the whole (Big Agnes) crew," Gamber said. "We're very humbled."

To reach Mike Lawrence, call 970-871-4233 or email

For more

Check out Big Agnes, BAP and Honey Stinger products in the “little red house” at 735 Oak St., or take a look at the award-winning Copper Spur tent at

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