Review: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4

(Disclaimer: Below list contains affiliate links, which means I get a small commission for purchases made through the links. The gear is bought with my own money though and I have not been asked to review the gear.)

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 at Fulufjället National park

I’m going to give a review of my Hyperlite Mountain Gear 4, with the full- and the half inner and go through my likes and dislikes with it. While it’s a great tent, it still has its downsides. I’ve owned the tent for a little less than a year, and used it both below and above the treeline and I have used a lot of different tents before this one.

For those who don’t know, the HMG Ultamid is made out of Dyneema composite fabric, formerly known as Cuben Fiber. The material was originally made to make sails for sail racing boats, but have been widely used by parts of the outdoor business. The pros, as opposed to sil nylon which is the standard material used in tents, is that it is both lighter and stronger. It doesn’t stretch, sag when wet or soak, and is easier to just shake or wipe off moisture. The cons however is that it is less resistant to abrasions and folding. I’ve read that you can expect almost twice the amounts of nights a Sil tent will take before worn out, compared to a DCF tent since the material will wear quicker. Another downside is price. The material itself is expensive, thus making the gear expensive.

I’ve owned gear from Hyperlite Mountain Gear since 2017, and before the Ultamid 4 I had the Ultamid 2. I have the backpack Southwest 4400, pack pods and a stuff sack pillow, and I’m generally happy with the gear I have from them. I’ve used a lot of tent before; Bergans Compact tunnel tent, Hilleberg Enan, Niak and Staika, Luxe Sil Hex Peak, Twin Peak and Tentipi Olivin Light, Olivin BP and Safir 5 BP. My reason for buying the Ultamid 4 was to have one tent that was light enough for solo use, but still large enough for family camping.

The Ultamid is a so called Mid, or Pyramid shelter. It’s easily erected. Lay it on the ground, put the pegs in the corners and make sure the corners are in a 90⁰ angle. I also recommend securing one guy line to a backpack too, to mitigate the risk of it blowing away while you are setting it up or taking it down.

Insert the center pole and adjust the guy lines. Tighten them a little bit at each corner to get even tension and then go around again and tighten them some more if necessary. The half inner gets secured to the fly with hooks, and with pegs in the corners, and then secured to the top with a carabiner.

The tent, with the material and shape, is made to withstand much of what nature can throw at it. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard or read ‘bombproof’ in tent reviews, and while I don’t plan to do any camping in the conflict areas of Syria any time soon, it do tell some about whats expected of it.

Pegging out the full inner before adding the fly. The inner can be left attached to the fly to set up both at the same time

So whats my impression of it then? I’ve had both the Ultamid 4 and the 2 on both low land trails and in the mountains above the treeline. And it do handle wind very well. Despite not having a solid inner it doesn’t get particularly breezy inside, even in hard wind. When it comes to quality it’s OK. It’s not Hilleberg quality, and while I didn’t have any issues with the 2, I had water seeping through the seams and dropping down in my face at night in the Ultamid 4. HMG refunded the shipping cost and sent me a few meters of DCF tape, and I taped up the weak spots. One area in the top was supposed to be covered with tape, but the tape there didn’t cover the seams. This made it possible for water to seep through, and on two trips I frequently had water dropping down on my face at night. I have a lot of other gear from HMG, and I had the Ultamid 2 without any issues, so I could have just gotten a bad one, since it was made when HMG where overwhelmed with orders during peak Covid in late 2020/early 2021.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 with the full inner
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 with the full inner
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 with the half inner
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 with the half inner

When it comes to details it has 8 peg out points along the perimeter, and 7 guy line points half way up. You get a lot of guy line with the tent, but you have to cut it and tie it by yourself. I cut mine in a length of roughly 4 meters, and use a Tautline Hitch at the end, to easily be able to tension the guy lines. With all guy lines pegged, the tent should be able to take quite a beating from the elements. But hard wind will put a lot of pressure on the center pole.

I have a carbon fiber pole from Ruta Loca. It’s lightweight, at 266 grams. I can’t say how well it would fair in extreme weather, but there is also the option to strap two hiking poles together with the HMG pole straps. I use aluminum 4-season poles from Black Diamond, and with a fair share of the poles overlapping the center pole gets really strong.

The tent itself weighs 774 grams for the fly with guy lines, 539 grams for the half inner and 823 grams for the full inner. My pegs weighs 305 gram, and I have a mix of MSR groundhogs, generic Y-pegs and nails.

But the biggest issue probably is the price. In USA the price is $890-$975 for fly, $405 for the half inner and $510 for the full inner. In Europe it’s even more expensive with 1141€-1238€ for the fly, 486€ for the half inner and 624€ for the full inner.

Another downside with a Mid with a full inner is that in a downpour it’s hard to not get a lot of water inside the tent while entering and exiting. When I camped with my daughter with the full inner in 12 hours of torrential rain it was a pain.

But do I like it?

I do, despite some downsides I feel that it’s the best compromise there is for my needs, which is lightweight, large enough for four persons but light enough for one to carry. And despite the downsides with the full inner in rain I do really like the modular approach. I think it really shines when used as a palatial 2-person tent. With the half inner as a fairly large area secured from bugs and the other half as a vestibule with a groundsheet, for cooking and gear. And with only the half inner you could enter and exit without having a swimming pool in your inner tent.

Do I recommend it?

It’s not a tent for everyone. Is a bit more complex to set up than a regular tunnel- or dome tent, it’s very expensive and DCF is bulky and not very resistant to abrasion. But if you prioritize having a large tent that can handle rough weather to a really low weight I do recommend it. For me, the benefits outweighed the downsides, and I would rate it a 4 out of 5 stars.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 at Fulufjället National park

My tents, past and present

In my search for the perfect home away from home I’ve owned quite a few tents over the years. Here’s a summary of the tents I’ve owned, and my impression of them:

McKinley 3p tunneltent

I don’t remember the model name (similar to this one), but I bought it in 2005 to use while camping with the family. We only got to use it for a couple of nights before it was stolen from the storage in our apartment building.

Bergans Compact 3

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A three person tunnel tent made from PU nylon. It was the first tent I bought when I got interested in hiking again in 2014. It was heavy with its 3800g, cramped and only had 100cm of headroom, with even lower roof in the foot end. I used it on a few hikes, both with a friend and with my daughter, but I ended up selling it. The weight and bulk off it didn’t match the interior space, and it was too low inside to be comfortable, especially with more than one person inside.

Luxe Outdoor Sil Hex peak

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I bought this tent as my first solo tent. I had recently found out about UL hiking and wanted something lighter than my Bergans Compact. I could use my trekking poles as the center pole, it was fairly cheap, and I liked the tipi style. I had a half-inner to shield me from the bugs, and the other half for all my gear. It was a bit short however, and sometimes my sleeping bag got wet from touching the rain fly. They upgraded the model in 2015, making it a bit larger for the European market, and adding an optional two person inner and a separate floor. I used it on quite a few trips, and overall I was happy with it. The inner felt a bit cramped at times, and setting up the inner and the outer separately was a bit of a hassle at times. I sold it when I bought the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2, but I still recommend it as it’s a nice, lightweight, modular and price worthy tent.

Luxe Outdoor Sil Twin peak

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I bought this one to get an UL tent for two people, in case I’d bring my daughter or my wife with me. I’ve used it by myself on a couple of occasions, and this summer my wife and oldest daughter used it on Laxaleden while me and our youngest daughter used the Ultamid 2.

I don’t really like it. I can’t say anything specific, but it just didn’t feel right. I’ve thought about selling it and buy a 3F UL Gear Cangyang 3 instead to have lightweight options for the whole family. But I don’t know if I’ll be able to persuade the rest of my family to go on hiking trips with me, so it might be unnecessary.

Hilleberg Enan (Kerlon 1000 version)

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I wanted to try a Hilleberg, and with their Enan model the weight finally appealed to me. I bought it with a foot print that covered both the inner and the vestibule.

At first I really liked it. The quality was impeccable, and I realized why they get that much praise. I thought it would feel a lot more cramped than it did and was pretty happy with it at first.

Condensations did however make it sag a bit, and my sleeping bag touched the foot end, and I had fabric really close to my face.

When I used it in Jotunheimen in 2016 it stood up to some severe winds. But the winds also made me see the downsides of having such a small tent. The wind pushed the fabric in and compressed the already small interior a lot. The worst night I had fabric pressed against either both sides of my feet or on my face and back.

All in all, I think it was a really good tent, but I wanted more space and ended up selling this one too. If you don’t mind the downsides I recommend it. You could hardly get better quality than Hilleberg.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2

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I’ve had my eye on this one for a long time, even before I bought the Hilleberg Enan. Eventually I made up my mind and bought it. I wanted more space than I had in my Enan, and I also wanted to try Dyneema Composite fabric. The weight, size and material made me take the plunge and buy it. This was my first use of a one walled floorless shelter. I also bought a Gossamer Gear polycro groundsheet and a Borah Gear bivy. Bugs and the thought of getting flooded worried me, and after I bought it I practiced  site selection a lot while hiking to get a better eye for suitable locations that wouldn’t get flooded.

The first times I used it, I also used the bivy. But after a couple of nights my fear of bugs subsided and I used the tent without the bivy.

The Ultamid 2 had gotten a lot of praise about its robustness and its quality. I wouldn’t say that quality is a special feature though. At that price I wouldn’t expect, or accept, anything other than really high quality.

The tent was well made, lightweight (albeit heavier than advertised), and stood up to severe winds without breaking a sweat. I liked that it didn’t sag when it got wet, and I really liked the interior space, compared to the Hilleberg Enan. It’s also quite photogenic :-). I can’t say anything specific that I didn’t like about it, but it didn’t feel perfect for me. I sold it when I bought the next tent on my list.

Tentipi Olivin light

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I bought this tent because I like the tipi style tents, I wanted to be able to use a fire inside and I liked the snow skirts that prevented a cap between the fly and the ground. Being made from Silpoly it doesn’t sag as much as Silnylon when it’s wet.

It was love at first sight. The tent is heavier than the Ultamid 2, but the weight includes a dedicated center pole, that can be replaces with two trekking poles for weight reduction. It had a nice venting system that’s controlled through lines going down the center pole. No need to even get out of the sleeping bag to open or close the vents. It’s fire retardant and you could have a small open fire inside. It doesn’t have a dedicated floor, and I had a mail-conversation with Tentipi, and they don’t plan to make one either. The 3F UL Gear Cangyuan 3 (AliExpress tent) has a floor with the same dimensions that costs ~25€, and I bought that one to use with it. I only wish that the floor could be opened up for the use of a fire inside.

I think I found the perfect tent for me. It’s a subjective feeling, but I really liked it from the start. For once I’ve stopped looking for other tents and feel like I found the one I’m going to keep. I know this might change though, but I hope I’ll stick to this one.

Family tents

Mc Kinley Alpha 4

The family bought this one for camping when our first Mc Kinley tent got stolen. It’s similar to this one, but a four person version. When we bought it I hadn’t started to hike yet, and didn’t know a lot about tents and outdoor gear. It’s a heavy camping tent, and we’ve used it on a couple of occasions, but it’s mostly being used by my oldest daughter and her friends for camping in the backyard during the summers. I can’t say I like anything about it for my intended use, but as a wear and tear tent for the kids it’s perfect.

Helsport Nordmarka 6

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We planned to do a bike-camping trip this summer, and wanted something a bit lighter, and bigger than the Mc Kinley tent. The sports chain XXL had a sale, with 25% discount on all their tents, so we bought the Nordmarka 6 with a floor. It’s Helsports cheapest tipi, made specially for XXL but we really liked it. It was large, with 250cm of headroom and a diameter of 450cm. It could easily hold out entire family with lots of spare room left.

The pegs were simple heavy folded tin, that bent easily. I bought lighter aluminum tri-pegs from AliExpress instead. The center pole was also heavy steel, and I bought Helsports aluminum center pole instead. It was for another one of their tipis, and 5 cm too long, but I sawed it off. This way I could shed quite a lot of weight off the tent.

I really liked this tent for family trips. It’s large, easy to set up, you could have an open fire or a stove inside, and it also looks good on photos :-). It seems like Helsport stopped making them, but if they start selling them again I strongly recommend them as they are really price worthy.