The only thing better than getting to spend four days exploring remote and rarely visited parts of Wyoming’s Wind River Range was doing it with a Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2. The ultralight Cuben fiber shelter proved itself reliable, easy to set up and plenty roomy. We comfortably fit three people in the two-person UltaMid, by propping up the center pole at an angle.
Here are the specs of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2:
- Weight : 16.6 ounces (no guy lines) or 17.6 ounces (with guy lines)
- Made in America
- Fully seam sealed
- Made with DCF8 Dyneema® Composite Fabrics (formerly Cuben Fiber)
- Waterproof two-way zipper
- Comes with an X-Large DCF8 Stuff Sack for storage
- 8 reinforced perimeter tie-outs
- Line locks on all perimeter tie-outs
- Specially designed cone to prevent deformation when using oddly shaped poles, paddles, sticks or skis.
- Dual peak vents covered with no-see-um netting that can open and close
- Larger than traditional mids
- Can be pitched high off the ground or tight to the ground
- Use for four-season backpacking, alpine climbing, ski touring, packrafting, and more
Now onto our full Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2 review ...
The Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2 doesn’t come with its own center pole. Instead, you use lightweight trekking poles, or even paddles or skis. I’m always a fan of gear pulling double duty!
We used a set of lightweight trekking poles for the middle pole. One trekking pole alone wasn’t tall enough, so we needed to lash two trekking poles together using one of those orange ski straps and a lightweight piece of webbing.
The first night we set up the Mid “tarp style,” with about six inches of airflow between the ground and the shelter. A brisk night breeze coupled with lightweight sleeping quilts resulted in chilly, fitful sleep. The next two nights we staked the shelter as close to the ground as possible. This adequately blocked the vigorous wind that continued to pound us, and we slept snug and cozy.
Expert tip: bring ear plugs to stifle the noise of the shelter flapping in the wind (and your backpacking partners’ snores).
We never experienced rain during our trip. That said, I’ve used Hyperlite Mountain Gear packs for years, both for packrafting and backpacking, so am confident that Cuben fiber is a sufficiently waterproof material. The main thing I imagine you’d want to think about with the floor-less Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid is choosing a campsite on high ground. Waking up in a puddle would definitely dampen spirits.
We carried a Hyperlite Mountain Gear bug net insert with us (because it seemed crazy to go into the notoriously mosquito-infested Wind Rivers without it), but ended up never needing to set it up. So my only comment there is that the bug mesh inside a stuff sack makes a nice pillow.
Without having put the Mid through years of use (yet), my initial impression is that it’s plenty durable. The stitching seemed solid, even as wind battered it. It’s seam-sealed and the tie outs are reinforced. The cap at the top of the shelter, where you stick your trekking poles, paddles or skis is specifically designed to prevent deformation.
I also really liked that you have the option of venting the Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid with two tiny mesh “windows” at the top. The first night we didn’t open these and condensation collected inside the shelter. The following two nights we had these open, and experienced no problems with condensation.
Bottom line: I’m seriously drooling over this piece of gear. It’s one of the most functional, lightweight, aesthetically beautiful pieces of equipment I’ve ever used.