Tested: 'UltaMid' Pyramid Among Best Ultralight Shelters

Tested: ‘UltaMid’ Pyramid Among Best Ultralight Shelters

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Minimal and bomber in storms, a thin sheen of Dyneema Composite Fabrics comprises the entirety of this ultralight pyramid tent. Our crew reviewed the tent around the planet this year.

Tent in mountains
photo by Brian Threlkeld

At $695, the UltaMid 2 by Hyperlite Mountain Gear is a top-shelf tent made for a niche crowd. It’s built to pack tiny and set up in minutes anywhere, offering a floor-less shelter staked out and propped pyramid-style from a single center point.

Trekking poles or even a stick can create the main support. You tie off the tent with guy lines, trees, rocks, or stakes in the ground to anchor the teepee and create a 63-square-foot space for two people (or more) and loads of gear.

Packed up, the shelter weighs, astonishingly, only about 1 pound. This is incredibly light for the protection and durability the tent provides. For our testers, who used the tent for a week in harsh Patagonia weather during an expedition, it was a great solution to balance weight and needed protection from the elements of the region.

High-End, High-Price Minimal Tent

But, again, this is a “hyper”-niche product. Worth reiterating, the UltaMid 2 costs $695 for what is essentially stitched wonder-fabric with a zipper. The material, Dyneema Composite Fabrics (formerly known as Cuben Fiber), is the reason for the high price; it’s a rare commodity developed initially for yacht sails, fully waterproof, and stronger, fiber for fiber, than solid steel.

If you purchase this shelter for your ultra-light trips, it should last decades. After a tough season of use this year, including massive storms and much abuse, it shows no sign of wear.

It is made in America at Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s New England factory. The shelter comes seam-sealed and has a waterproof two-way zipper. There are two vents on top to give airflow.

Dyneema Composite Fabrics tent
Testing the Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2; photo by Brian Threlkeld

Tie points and guy lines let you stake and support the tent body, and a cone on top is where you shove the trekking pole to create a 5-foot, 4-inch apex point.

Use paddles, sticks, skis, or poles to support that point. The company designed this tent for backpacking, alpine climbing, ski touring, packrafting, and other ultralight pursuits. The tent weighs about nothing and stuff up smaller than a loaf of bread.

Oh, you want a floor? You need to upgrade and purchase an insert, which runs an additional $375 and gives a netted surround and a bathtub-style floor to sit on and keep your stuff dry.

Our testers used it floor-less in Patagonia, and they also squeezed four people into the two-person shelter. They were going ultra-ultra light and out there in a competitive endurance event, the Patagonian Expedition Race, for more than a week.

It “saved our lives,” one of the testers wrote, noting the quick protection provided during a storm when the team was nearing hypothermic cold close to the end of the event. Read below for more on the report from the field.


Review: UltaMid 2 (Hyperlite Mountain Gear)

by Chelsey Magness

Look no further thru-hikers and minimalist adventurers, the Ultamid tent is the smallest, lightest, and most durable we’ve seen on the market. We put it through an ultimate test during the 2016 Patagonian Expedition Race.

When we first received the tent, my reaction was: “there is no way this thing is going to keep us safe from the Patagonian elements!” Its thin fly looked like it would get ripped to shreds out there.

hyperlite tent
photo by Brian Threlkeld

But Jason, my husband and optimistic teammate, assured us he had done his research. And sure enough it worked and wowed us.

After eight days of racing through some of the craziest weather we have ever experienced, including howling winds, hail storms, and torrential rains, it survived with no signs of any wear. I wish I could say the same for all of us!

The Ultamid 2 is a bare bones shelter. But its design works, and it will not fail you out there. The fabric is its standout feature, and that is worth more than any bell or whistle. Dyneema Composite Fabric is extremely light, ultra-durable, and waterproof.

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