Hyperlite Mountain Gear of Biddeford, Maine: Ultralight Packs and Shelters

July 11, 2013

Part of an ongoing series on Northeast-based gear companies. I first profiled this fledgling company in 2011 and wanted to provide a quick update on their latest offerings, which continue to push the ultralight world of packs and shelters into hyperlight (and sometimes hyper-expensive) territory.

Case in point is the company’s newest shelter: the UltaMid (pictured), a drool-worthy cuben fiber pyramid tent that weighs a mere 16.6 ounces (17.6 ounces with guylines) for the two-person version and 20.8 ounces (21.8 ounces with guylines) for the four-person style. (Like other floorless pyramid designs, you use a trekking pole for the center support.)

I’m a big fan of pyramid tents and am always excited to see new options come on the market. Now the UltaMid has set a new ultralight standard for this style of shelter, besting its nearest competitors (including the Mountain Hardwear Hoopla and Black Diamond Mega Light) by nearly a half pound or more.

How do they do it? Like all Hyperlite Mountain Gear shelters, the UltaMid is made from cuben fiber, a waterproof, ultralight, ultra-strong, and ultra-expensive fabric. How ultra-expensive? The UltaMid 2 retails for $650, the 4 sells for $800. That works out to roughly $40 per ounce of tent! Or, to put it another way, to gain the 6 ounces of weight savings over the Mountain Hardwear Hoopla (retail price: $350), you’ll need to shell out an additional $300.

While it’s unlikely that I’ll fork over that kind of cash anytime soon, I am much more intrigued by the company’s line of ultralight packs, which use a much less pricey cuben fiber/polyester hybrid material. The 28-ounce 2400 Windrider ($260) was awarded “Best Ultralight Pack” by Backpacker Magazine in 2011, but I’m more interested in the more recently released 30-ounce 3400 Windrider ($295, pictured), which offers substantially more capacity for minimal additional weight. 

Other packs of note include the featherweight, ultra-simple 5.7-ounce daypack-sized Metro Pack ($128) and 3.2-ounce Stuff Pack ($96), which is essentially an ultralight stuff sack with shoulder straps.

Now five years old, the company has set up shop in a turn-of-the-century textile mill in Biddeford, where it manufactures all of its products.

Learn more:

And support your Northeast gear companies! Here are the 23 other companies I’ve profiled to date:

“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.

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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.