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Introduction

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 with Inner Tents (Ultamid 4 Floorless Mesh Insert, and Ultamid 4 Insert with Floor) is a highly versatile shelter. Generously-sized, it is a four-person floorless pyramid shelter that weighs less than 1.5 pounds (680.4 g). You can add a floorless mesh insert for bug season at less than 2.5 pounds (1134.0 g) or a mesh insert with floor for a 3 pound (1360.8 g) total weight.  Highly waterproof, durable, and very lightweight Dyneema Composite Fabrics (formerly Cuben Fiber) comprise the shelter. This shelter is usable through all seasons, functional for a group of four, and spacious for two. This shelter is also very expensive; the versatility comes with a significant price tag.

ultamid4review1: The Ultamid 4
The Ultamid 4, a versatile 4-season shelter, shown here in Mount Rainier National Park.

Features & Specifications

Features

  • A single door with two-way zipper opens a full side of the tent.
  • Dual peak vents with no-see-um mesh that close with Velcro;
  • Fully seam-sealed with waterproof zipper;
  • Eight¬†ground level guy lines with LineLocs;
  • Seven mid-height tie-outs for use with included 100‚Äô (30.5 m) of guy line cord.
  • Supported by trekking poles (with optional $10 Ultamid Pole straps), paddles, skis, or overhead tie out;
  • Adjustable height for increased ventilation or increased storm-protection;
  • Integrates with optional floorless mesh insert or insert with floor.

Specifications

Ultamid 4 (Main Tent Canopy)

  • Sleeps: 4;
  • Materials: Dyneema Composite Fabrics DCF8 – 0.8 osy / 26 gsm (formerly Cuben Fiber);
  • Weight: floorless mid (with guy lines): 20.8 oz / 590 g;
  • Floor Width: 111 in / 282 cm;
  • Floor Length: 111 in / 282 cm;
  • Interior Height: 75 in / 190.5 cm (variable, based on pole height);
  • Protected Area: 85.6 sq¬†ft / 7.95 sq¬†m;
  • Stakes Required: 8 (there are 8 additional guy-out points as well);
  • Packed Size: 7.5 x 6.5 x 11.5 in / 19.1 x 16.5 x 29.2 cm (includes DCF stuff sack);
  • Cost: $850;
  • Includes: mid, .5 oz (14 g) DCF stuff sack, 100 in (254 cm) of guy line (pole and stakes not included).

Ultamid 4 Mesh Insert (Floorless)

  • Sleeps: 2-4;
  • Materials: No-See-Um mesh with Dyneema Hardline center pole reinforcement;
  • Weight- floorless mid: 16.4 oz / 466 g;
  • Floor Width: 90 in / 228.6 cm (approx.);
  • Floor Length: 90 in / 228.6 cm (approx.);
  • Interior Height: 75 in / 190.5 cm;
  • Floor Area: 56.3 sq¬†ft / 5.2 sq m;
  • Stakes Required: 0 (clips to mid);
  • Packed Size: fits in mid stuff sack;
  • Cost: $160.

Ultamid 4 Mesh Insert (with Floor)

  • Sleeps: 4;
  • Materials: Dyneema Composite Fabrics DCF11- 1.3 osy / 43 gsm (formerly Cuben Fiber) with Dyneema Hardline center pole reinforcements;
  • Weight- floorless mid: 27.8 oz / 788 g;
  • Floor Width: 100 in / 254 cm;
  • Floor Length: 100 in/ 254 cm;
  • Interior Height: 75 in / 190.5 cm;
  • Floor Area: 69.4 sq¬†ft / 6.4 sq m;
  • Stakes Required: 0 (clips to mid), 4 stakes improve pitch;
  • Packed Size: 8 x 7.5 x 14 in / 22.8 x 19.1 x 35.6 cm (includes DCF stuff sack);
  • Cost: $475.
ultamid4review2: The Ultamid 4 is an incredibly light family tent.
At 2 pounds, 4.4 ounces with the floorless insert, the Ultamid 4 is an incredibly light family tent (seen here at Volcan Pacaya, Guatemala).

Review Context

A pyramid shelter or “mid” (also known as a “tipi tent”) is a highly versatile design. ¬†They give generous interior volume for the weight, tend to work well in winds, shed snow reasonably well, and are available from several manufacturers in a variety of configurations. ¬†They also tend to be very versatile. In the most simple forms, mids are floorless shelters, but a variety of custom options and inner tents make mids usable under heavy bug pressure, or times with a double wall shelter with bathtub floor becomes necessary.

The ultralight backpacker might want to consider the following when considering a floorless mid shelter:

  • Sizing that is large enough for your needs, especially when considering that the sloped walls decrease usable space to some degree: ¬†For me, sizing for my family of four is critical.
  • Available options such as inner tents, sewn-in bug netting, etc.: For me, having bug netting is required due to summer insect pressure in the Cascade Mountains. ¬†A bathtub floor is also important, as I often camp in the rainforests of Olympic National Park. ¬†I will use this shelter in deep snow, so having the option of leaving the inner tent at home and digging out the inside for a larger snow shelter is important. ¬†Especially at this price, a mid needs to cover many bases- family backpacking, mountaineering, comfy 2-person trips, winter use, and canoeing/kayaking trips. My goal with this tent is to replace a mountaineering tent, a family tent, and a 2-person tent all at once.
  • Weight:¬†silnylon versions are cheaper, but heavier whereas Cuben fiber is lighter, more durable for a similar weight, and much more expensive. ¬†For me, I often backpack with my young kids on extended trips where I’m carrying most of the gear and ALL of the food. ¬†Less weight is critical to me. ¬†Likewise, kids can be hard on gear, so durability and craftsmanship are also important for a tent to last multiple seasons.
  • Ventilation: large vents are necessary in a mid. ¬†I often camp in heavy rains and high humidity where sufficient ventilation is required to minimize condensation.
  • Guy-out options: especially if you plan to use the mid above the treeline. ¬†Mid-panel guy-outs also serve to increase usable space.
  • What pole will you use? ¬†If you use trekking poles, you will need a way to lash them together or extend one to make a longer pole. ¬†Otherwise, an after-market center pole will be required. ¬†I typically use trekking poles. This also needs to be a shelter I can use when canoeing or kayaking.

I’m clearly asking a lot of a 4-person mid. ¬†Here’s how the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 stacks up to these requirements.

Description of Field Testing

I tested the Ultamid 4 in a wide variety of settings.  I used it on multi-day trips with extended downpours along the Washington coast, during subalpine backpacking with significant winds on the Northern Loop Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, in the desert of Eastern Washington, and during high-altitude volcano trekking in Guatemala. The shelter saw heavy rain, snow, high humidity, and winds on many occasions.  I also used all configurations of the shelter: mid-only, with the floorless mesh inner tent, and with the mesh inner tent with bathtub floor. I used it as a family tent with our family of four, and I used it as a luxuriously larger shelter for two.  The Ultamid 4 emerged as a well-built and highly versatile shelter.

Performance Assessment

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