The backpacker’s quest for lighter and stronger gear is seemingly endless—and for good reason. When you’re a three-day walk into the wilderness, every ounce counts and equipment failure isn’t an option. Maine-based Hyperlite Mountain Gear first caught our attention with their ultralight and strong packs made from the veritable wonder material cuben fiber (more about that later). Now, the simplicity-focused maker of outdoor gear brings their high-strength, low-weight approach to what are more aptly dubbed shelters than tents.
Opting for a modular design allows Hyperlite to keep weights down while giving users a wider amount of flexibility with use. All of the shelter designs feature a floorless bottom, which means the absolute weight-obsessed camper can cut out a few ounces while getting closer to nature. Additionally, the floorless design is continually more viable as sleeping mat technology improves and is often a more comfortable solution in summer months and for beach camping. Where many tents include collapsable pole systems, Hyperlite makes use of hiking poles—existing equipment any backpacker that’s worth their trail mix will already have in their kit.
If wet ground and bugs are on the cards, Hyperlite offers inserts to go with its shelters. A cuben fiber floor guarantees strength while the brand’s No-See-Um netting exceeds standard mesh with a lightweight polyester monofilament yarn knit designed to resist fraying. Use the insert on its own for a sleeping-under-the-stars feel without the bug bites to prove it.
With everything from a simple flat tarp, to one- and two-person shelters (along with attachable weather vestibules) as well as maximum protection for minimal weight high-intensity shelters, the effectiveness of Hyperlite’s products lies in its source material: cuben fiber. Entirely non-absorbent, the composite laminate material is both 50% to 70% lighter than Kevlar as well as up to four times stronger. Particularly important for shelters, the material is flexible without sacrificing strength.
All of Hyperlite’s shelters are available in white or spruce green from their webstore, where a three-piece modular Echo one-person tent starts at $575 and weighs in at under 650 grams.
Images courtesy of Hyperlite Mountain Gear