Dogs have a history of being great, warm, furry bedmates — as long as they aren't covered in mud and bugs, as they often are when you go camping. So, to find a remedy for the less-great part of the great outdoors, we took the Big Agnes Copper Hotel HV UL3 tent for a test run to answer camping's most important question: Can this thing fit two big-ish dogs and two humans (one with allergies) without ruining the trip?
While assembly isn’t necessarily a characteristic needed for a good dog-friendly tent, the Copper Hotel HV UL3 is an easy build, which we learned in the dark with gusting winds and without instructions. The tent itself can house three people, but the area between the tent and the rain fly make a decently sized vestibule perfect for pets.
We took the tent car camping, so we were able to lay a waxed canvas tarp down and plop two dog beds on top in the vestibule (which doesn’t have a bottom). Not having a bottom to the vestibule was actually ideal: After a few days of use, the tarp and beds needed to be shaken out. This would've been a pain if it were connected to the tent.
During a huge thunderstorm, that bottomlessness might be a different story, but we found out it was still a great vestibule. There was only one small roof puddle, and the tarp did get wet due to the incline of the features where we had pitched the tent. However, the vestibule stayed remarkably dry, and the dogs felt very secure inside, partly due to the easy access we had to the dogs. The tent’s two-zipper design allows for the top arch to be closed while the bottom can stay unzipped, which made it easy to stay inside the tent and pet the dogs, or to control them when they heard animals, other dogs, and loud neighbors. Another great feature of the tent are the two vents in the fly, one over the tent and one on the large vestibule, which creates even more airflow for those who might have allergies.
On the other side of the tent is a smaller, more traditional vestibule with sleek storm flaps. This vestibule was perfect for bags and exiting the tent for nature’s call without waking up the dogs.
Inside, the tent has layered stash pockets and a rather elegant lighting string. Plus, it's ultra lightweight, which means it would probably make a good backpacking tent (even though we didn't hike with it). But on this point, the tent break-down was easy and all parts fit well into the stuff-sack without a fight. The tent’s pack weight is 2.07 kg — a great weight for the amount of coverage it produces.
Considering the ease of build, the light weight, and how comfortable the dogs (and allergic parties) were, this is a great option for anyone who wants to bring their furry friends on their next trip to the woods.