Top photo credit: Hyperlite Mountain Gear
The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dirigo 2 Dyneema Tent is a surprisingly sturdy trekking-pole-lofted triangle tent. We tested the Dirigo 2, made for space- and weight-savers who want a step up from cowboy camping.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear has a dedicated following among long-distance backpackers and fast-packers. And today, the U.S.-made brand, already known for its Dyneema-based packs and minimalist tarps, is releasing an ultralight tent: the Dirigo 2, a 1.75-pound two-person, three-season shelter.
“Dirigo” means “I lead,” and this tent gave me the confidence to do that in the outdoors.
I was among the first to test the featherweight shelter in the Superstition Mountains north of Phoenix. We soaked up some desert heat in early March. But that meant I couldn’t put the Dirigo 2 through the rain, winds, and other elements it’s touted to withstand, according to Mike St. Pierre, founder of Hyperlite Mountain Gear, who guided our crew.
Here, I break down what it was like to carry, set up, and sleep in this tent down to freezing temps.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dirigo 2: First Look
The Dirigo 2 is meant for a wider range of campers than just the typical Hyperlite Mountain Gear customer: anyone who wants more protection than a tarp at night but isn’t ready to sacrifice weight for more ground cover.
Erin O’Toole, lead Hyperlite Mountain Gear product designer, said her intent with the Dirigo 2 was to create an extremely stable and livable tent that’s simple to pitch and perfectly balances weight and durability.
“I challenged every material and feature that went into this tent to ensure the final product was exactly what our users need and nothing more,” she told me. “The Dirigo 2 is for anyone looking for a reliable and secure tent that they can bring anywhere — with high confidence that they will rest well regardless of the conditions they encounter.”
Blending five Dyneema composite fabrics, the Dirigo 2 weighs under 2 pounds. The brand used a 100-percent-waterproof fabric and eliminated the need for (and weight of) a rainfly and groundsheet.
St. Pierre puts his in a 2400 Hyperlite Mountain Gear backpack that he can get down to 10 pounds — everything included for 3 days in the backcountry. I’m not that efficient, but this tent is light.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear already makes a variety of pyramid-style portable shelters with removable mesh and floors. The Dirigo 2 is the brand’s first trekking-pole-tented, single-wall enclosure made with fully waterproof Dyneema (ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene). The material is incredibly lightweight, durable, and waterproof, a favorite among thru-hikers and adventurers.
Triangles Add Tent Strength
Beyond the remarkable strength-to-weight ratio of the tent’s Dyneema walls and floor, the Dirigo 2’s standout feature is its rock-solid structure. The tent is a series of replicating triangles, a notably sturdy shape. After staking, you lock that base structure into place with two trekking poles on either side of a patent-pending carbon fiber center bridge on the top of the tent.
Once you stake anchor points, you simply loft the tent with one trekking pole at a time, inserting the handle end into small cups on either side of the carbon bridge. Then, adjust each pole upward as needed to increase the tent’s stability from side to side. These micro-adjustments, along with solid staking and the tent’s triangular structure, create a surprisingly tight shelter for an ultralight tent.
I’m not engineering-minded but could easily secure this tent after a demo from St. Pierre. The Dirigo 2 is an integrated shelter, which means you only need to keep track of the tent and a set of tough aluminum stakes. In fact, St. Pierre suggests shedding even more weight by eliminating the stuff sack for the tent. Just shake off any moisture and push it right in the bottom of your bag.
Dyneema in the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dirigo 2
Dyneema is a badass fabric. Used on the bathtub-style bottom of the Dirigo 2, the floor was as waterproof as it gets for the weight. It allowed zero moisture in from the outside, and I felt a little more protected from the stray rattlesnake that I imagined squirming under my tent. And while we were testing the tent in the desert, St. Pierre said he’s had a river of rain running under the Dirigo 2 prototype and woke up dry.
The wettest I got in the tent was from some condensation that built up over a night that dipped to freezing after a 75-degree day in the desert. However, one finger flick along the tent’s side walls and the moisture on the outside quickly slid off. The single-wall sides are well-angled, and corners elevated via staking and extra guy-points in such a way that moisture moved away quickly, acting almost as a double-wall tent would.
There’s venting on all sides of the Dirigo 2. Two large zippered mesh doors create solid side-to-side airflow. Additionally, smaller eVent triangles at the head and foot short sidewalls add built-in breathability, in effect adding creating 360-degree venting.
Additionally, the Dirigo 2 is roomy. The footprint stakes wide from four corners, with two additional guy-points to pull the sides. Two zippered openings add vestibules outside each mesh door, which creates two additional small staging areas. I could sit fully upright and move around in comfort with a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir sleeping pad and a lightweight down sleeping bag inside the tent.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dirigo 2 Tent Specs
- Weight: 1.75 lbs | 28 oz | 794 g
- Dimensions: 12” x 8” x 6” (packed); 92″ x 95″ (pitched); 45″ (interior height)
- Max capacity: Two people
- Floor area: 32.5 ft²
- Vestibule area: 28.2 ft²
- One interior hanging mesh pocket
- Pitches minimally with 4 stakes, optimally with 8
The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dirigo 2 goes on sale today for $795 on the Hyperlite Mountain Gear site. If the price point scares you, remember these ultralight tents are made by hand in Biddeford, Maine.