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.
Features & Specifications
- 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’ (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.
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 Version)
- 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.
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.
Member's Only Content
Login as a Premium or Unlimited Member to read the comprehensive Performance Assessment and Author Commentary sections of this review:
- Performance Assessment
- Product Strengths
- Product Limitations
- Compared To...
- Locus Gear Khafra CTF3
- Mountain Laurel Designs Supermid (CF)
- Bearpaw Wilderness Designs Luna 4 (CF)
- Bearpaw Wilderness Designs Luna 6 (CF)
- Recommendations for Improvement
Member's only version is 4,000 words and includes 24 photographs.
Review Rating: Highly Recommended
The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 Pyramid Tent, Ultamid 4 Floorless Mesh Insert, and Ultamid 4 Insert with Floor combine to create a highly versatile shelter. The shelter system serves a wide range of purposes, from mountaineering to family backpacking trips.
The tent is constructed of Dyneema Composite Fabrics (formerly Cuben Fiber). This results in a high space-to-weight ratio and a high strength-to-weight ratio. This is also what makes the shelter among the most expensive backpacking shelters on the market. Its cost is one of the key drawbacks of this shelter. However, when you add up the cost of a three-season mountaineering tent, a four-person family shelter, and a two-person backpacking tent, the value of this one ultralight, multi-purpose, and durable shelter becomes apparent. For avid backpackers or multi-use enthusiasts, the Ultamid 4 makes an excellent choice.
Ryan Jordan has been using Ultamid 4's for several years in a variety of contexts. The Ultamid 4 is his primary shelter for sharing a tent with a partner due to the "enormous amount of space you get for two people for its weight, especially when you leave the floors / inserts behind." In addition, Ryan notes that after a significant amount of research and shopping around, Backpacking Light's Venturing Crew One made the decision to use Ultamid 4's as their primary expedition shelter for group use. The Ultamid 4 is usually shared by up to four expedition members, which results in the lightest possible "shelter weight share per person" for a shelter that can provide them the storm protection needed for long expeditions above the treeline in mountainous terrain. Crew One's testimony of the Ultamid 4 rings clear: "we choose them for durability and longevity, light weight, and storm protection." Because of its cost, the Ultamid 4 is not often considered for youth or institutional use, Ryan notes that the Ultamid 4 allows them to camp in locations and conditions we might not consider if we were using less durable or less stable shelters. Ryan concludes: "The total cost of ownership, when distributed over the number of people who get to enjoy it, the longevity of the shelters, Hyperlite Mountain Gear's terrific service and repair policies, make the Ultamid 4 a unique option for group and institutional use."
Where to Buy the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 and Accessories
- Get the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4, Ultamid 4 Floorless Mesh Insert, and Ultamid 4 Insert with Floor at the manufacturer's website.
DISCLOSURE (Updated November 7, 2019)
- Product(s) discussed in this article may have been purchased by the author(s) from a retailer or direct from a manufacturer, or by Backpacking Light for the author. The purchase price may have been discounted as a result of our industry professional status with the seller. However, these discounts came with no obligation to provide media coverage or a product review. Backpacking Light does not accept compensation or donated/discounted products in exchange for guaranteed media placement or product review coverage.
- Some (but not all) of the links in this article may be “affiliate” links. If you click on one of these links and visit one of our affiliate partners (usually a retailer site), and subsequently place an order with that retailer, we receive a small commission. These commissions help us provide authors with honoraria, fund our editorial projects, podcasts, instructional webinars, and more, and we appreciate it a lot! Thank you for supporting Backpacking Light!
- Read about our approach to journalistic integrity, product reviews, and affiliate marketing here.