Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2 Shelter Review

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2 Shelter Review

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    Edward Jursek
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    After posting complaints over editorial drift into areas like pack rafting and heavy backpacks, it is nice to see a review of a newish UL product. I have always enjoyed Will's reviews.

    Greg Mihalik
    BPL Member


    Locale: Colorado

    —- drifting —-

    Tom –
    "Could those people that have used shelters of this type comment on how the sloped entrance works on a rainy night? It does seem like LOTS of water could come in during avery short time if you have to get out during storm. I ask this because I often camp with my kids, and there is little hope of controlling when they decide to go."

    Have you considered a Mountain Laurel Designs' TrailStar?

    It's got a very functional all-weather entry…

    …or a SuperMid


    …in "half-door" mode?

    end drift

    Daryl and Daryl
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth

    "Taking into account that a center pole is required for these shelters (unless you suspend it from a tree branch), the narrower Mids (60 and 64 in/152 to 163 cm wide) seem inadequate for two sleepers; the wider widths would be preferred, especially if you use it for winter camping."

    At another site one reviewer of a center pole tent liked the center pole as a nice divider between users. My wife and I are usually debating which of us is over the center line. Center pole might be good for us?

    Is the center pole really a problem for two sleeping people? Neither of them should be taking up the center spot anyway.

    Will Rietveld
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southwest Colorado

    Sorry for the delay in responding to your questions.

    CORNER CATENARY CURVES: The corners do have a catenary curve, and yes that does reduce interior headroom. Raising the shelter up a bit helps a lot to increase sidewall headroom. It snowed on the shelter only one time when I was testing it. It was about 1" of wet snow that stuck to the tent; it really flattend the lower sides of the shelter and did not readily come off. It was not very inhabitable under those conditions. I did not use the shelter for camping in dryer snow.

    CUBEN FIBER WEIGHTS: I incorrectly stated that HMG uses a heavier weight of Cuben Fiber. Upon further research I find there is some variation in the stated weight from .74 to .78 g/sm, but in fact they are all exactly the same thing. Only ZPacks uses a lighter weight. CT2E.08, about 26g/sqm, .75oz sq.yd, break strength 105 lb/in is the Cuben Fiber used by most manufacturers; CT1E.08, about 18g/sqm, .53oz sq.yd, break strength 68 lb/in is the one used by ZPacks.

    SEAM CONSTRUCTION: The four corner seams have two lines of stitching and are taped on both sides with 1.25" wide Cuben tape. See photo below.

    HMG UltaMid Seam

    r m
    BPL Member


    I'm almost ready to buy an ultramid, (I really like HMG's customer service and so far trust their products).

    But, hearing that one inch of snow kills its liveability is a bit concerning.

    I was thinking of a 4 person for myself and gf for year long use as a lightweight shelter. One thing I'm unsure about is what happens when you get say half a foot or more of wet snow while you're gone, or asleep. That's a lot of mass if the sides aren't steep enough to shed it, and is hate to return to camp to find the tieouts have blown or the pole snapped and poked a hole through a wall.

    Demanding circumstances for a mid, but that's precisely what I'm interested in – how much I can get away with before I reach the bringing my 3kg winter tent stage.

    So…How have people gone with ultramids in windy/snowy/harsh alpine environments?

    Dan Durston
    BPL Member


    Locale: Canadian Rockies

    My experience with mids in the winter is limited, but the general wisdom is that silnylon sheds snow quite a bit more readily than cuben. At moderate angles snow may slide off silnylon but not cuben. It'll still collect around the edges and reduce space a bit, but a generously sized silnylon mid should fair well in moderate snowfalls. In heavy snowfalls it's time to get out and shovel.

    With that said, cuben doesn't stretch very much, so I've found that I don't lose that much space inside under light snow falls (1-2") but that's with other cuben shelters (HMG Echo, MLD DuoMid), not the UltaMid. There may be something specific to the UltaMid design that is causing this (i.e. guyline stretch). Silnylon will sag quite a bit more for the same snowload. Cuben is probably better for light snows, while silnylon is probably better for heavy snows because it's shedding ability and dynamic stretch.

    The weight savings of cuben are nice, but I've recently switched over to silnylon for my mid (MLD cuben DuoMid to Locus Gear Khufu) because I feel more comfortable using silnylon in really cold conditions with potentially a lot of snowfall.

    Locus Gear makes a number of really nice mids (Khufu, Menkaura, Khafra) that they'll make in either cuben or silnylon (not all options are listed, so ask). MLD makes great mids in both fabrics too.

    Paul McLaughlin
    BPL Member


    My experience with a mid on the snow is with an old Chouinard megamid, but this applies pretty generally: IF you get serious overnight snowfall, like 6-12", then you're up during the night digging out. Even if the snow slides off nicely, it has nowhere to go at the bottom, so it piles up on the bottom edge, and all that weight pushes the bottom edge down, reducing your interior space. The only way that you can sometimes get around this is to build a little snow wall and set your mid up on top of the wall, so that when snow slides down the side it can slide off the top of the wall and build up outside the wall. But it's hard to get the bottom well anchored on top of the wall – the best I've done is to use guylines on the bottom stake points and put the stakes out past the wall, so that bottom edge is on top of the wall but the stakes are out past the wall at the end of the guylines. Trouble with that is in the wind it tends to flap, so it's only really good in a heavy snow with not much wind (like if you're camped in thick trees). And even then at soem point the snow starts to build up at the bottom edge of the fabric – it just takes longer than if the mid is staked down without the wall.
    My own attitude on mids for the snow is they are great for the spring, but not so much in mid-winter when you get the big snowfalls.

    Steve Staloff


    If you cut blocks for a high snow wall and add a skirt to the pyramid, wind isn't much of a problem, snow buildup is less of a problem, and the room inside is huge because the loss of length to the blocks is offset by the height at the edges. Adding a akirt to a mid seems to have a wonderful payoff, but I haven't used my modified mid in extended periods of high winds that might eat at the snow walls.

    r m
    BPL Member


    Thanks for the insights.

    I've gone with a MLD Supermid in sil-nylon. It sounds like I'll survive just fine in a mid – and if not at least I'll have first hand experience in the matter.

    At one quarter the weight of my winter tent, I'm excited :)

    Chad Lorenz
    BPL Member


    Locale: Teton Valley, Wydaho

    Pyramid w/walls

    This shelter setup (not finished, front wall near door not dug out yet) shows how I built up internal walls that help shed heavy snow. The snow along the outside wall also gets dug out a bit to allow for snow accumulation. Digging down into the snow also allows for a lot more room ("bell out" the interior and we got 4 people in a megalight). A pillar has been left to help support the pole (stuff sack filled with snow serves as a float for the pole end) is awkward, but the alternative, throwing a rope over a branch would be even more problematic as the tree branches gather and release their snow loads during the night. Other alternatives exist, but this works for me!

    Bob Moulder
    BPL Member


    Locale: Westchester County, NY

    We were out night before last and got some freezing rain that created an ice glaze approximately 1/16" thick on my Duomid.

    It sagged a bit but there was still plenty of room inside for me, although with 2 people inside there would have been some brushing of the walls. However, the 2-pole inverted V set-up is really good for this situation because the poles hold the walls out.

    In the morning, the ice sloughed off the silnylon very easily.

    duomid ice

    ice sheets

    Dave @ Oware
    BPL Member


    Locale: East Washington

    Taller is better for snow loading. Digging down prior to set up can give one a circus tent feel with the extra room.

    Here is a friends mid. This one is 6 ft tall and 10×10' bottom dimension. Sleep and cook.mid in snow 4mid in snow 3

    Dave @ Oware
    BPL Member


    Locale: East Washington

    mid in snow 1mid in snow 2

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