Mountain Hardwear SuperMegaUL 2 SpotLite Review
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Maia
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Mountain Hardwear SuperMegaUL 2 SpotLite Review on 03/05/2013 16:17:47 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Mountain Hardwear SuperMegaUL 2 SpotLite Review

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
MH SMUL2 on 03/05/2013 20:08:20 MST Print View

Brad,
Agreed with almost everything said in your excellent review; yet I hated the tent and returned it. Guess that just goes to show how subjective the whole tent thing can be.

Jeff McWilliams
(jjmcwill) - M

Locale: Midwest
Looks cramped on 03/06/2013 07:03:46 MST Print View

Despite what you say, this tent looks cramped judging from the photos.

Very little room at the foot end, and the sides look like they slope too severely inward. I'm 5'11", and it looks like there would be a problem sitting up in the tent. Imagine a rainy day, retreating into the tent and trying to peel off wet clothing and getting ready to sleep.

Maybe I'd feel better about it if I saw it in person.

Daniel Fish
(daniel@fishfamilypdx.com)

Locale: PDX
... on 03/06/2013 09:15:01 MST Print View

...

Edited by daniel@fishfamilypdx.com on 06/12/2013 08:15:28 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Looks cramped on 03/06/2013 10:04:01 MST Print View

A 2 lb shelter that can squeeze 2 and is palatial for one.

Wow. I remember when 4 lbs for 2 was light.

And it is freestanding.

And yes, you may have to guy out the sides.

Lapsley Hope
(Laps) - M
"hated it?" on 03/06/2013 10:22:14 MST Print View

Mr.Farrington: could you elaborate as to why you disliked it so as to help the rest of us decide as to purchase or not? Thanks.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
weddy, weddy interesting on 03/06/2013 10:24:32 MST Print View

OK, finally a decent tent design from Mt'n. Hardwear.

SHAPE> fairly aerodynamic and wind shedding

ENTRANCE> "DRY"!! yeah!

WEIGHT> amazing for a "two consenting adults" sized tent.

STRENGTH> looks like sturdy pole geometry

CONCLUSION> Notta too bad, notta too bad.

Danny Milks
(dannymilks) - MLife

Locale: Sierras
MH and Golite on 03/06/2013 10:33:21 MST Print View

Thanks for the great review.

I just learned about the new Golite Imogene UL2, which looks strikingly similar to this MH tent. The Golite tent is a 2-person double-wall free-standing tent with a trail weight of 2lbs 6 oz and costs $249. It has substantially more mesh in the tent body, 20D ripstop nyon in the floor and 10D ripstop nylon in the fly. Height of 39", area 29.6 sq. ft, and 5.7 sq ft vestibule.

I wonder how they compare in the real world testing?

Golite Imogene

Steven McDowell
(smcdindelmar) - MLife

Locale: San Diego
Re: Mountain Hardwear SuperMegaUL 2 SpotLite Review on 03/06/2013 12:06:53 MST Print View

Appreciate the review, especially the pictures on some of the cool features.
Within the review was the following;

"I don’t remember ever using a factory stuff sack, and as I’ve said before, if you’re worried about the weight of the stuff sacks… you shouldn’t be carrying them, anyway."

Heading out to the Sierras this summer with a group of Scouts. Already locked in on what tents we are bringing. I looked through the various forums. and I couldn't find what members are using or doing to avoid having to carry a tent stuff sack.

If someone could point me to a forum or link that provides some suggestions I would appreciate it.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: MH and Golite on 03/06/2013 12:35:28 MST Print View

Danny, it looks like the MH is a bit narrower but longer. It is also freestanding. The Golite still requires the two rear pegs (at each corner) to keep the tent up. This isn't required with the MH.

Casey Cardwell
(Niles) - MLife

Locale: On the Dirt in Oregon
Packing on 03/06/2013 13:42:32 MST Print View

Thanks for a great review! What size does the whole thing pack down to?

Justin McCabe
(justinmc)

Locale: Southern California
Re: Stephen on 03/06/2013 13:57:05 MST Print View

Hi Stephen,

I typically use a tarp or Golite SL2,so I just stuff them in the outer mesh pocket of my pack.

But when I do use a tent, I just put the poles vertical in my pack, and stuff the tent body and fly on the OUTSIDE of my trash compactor bag liner.

But it can vary depending on weather. If I'm expecting wet weather, I'll bring something to stuff the tent into, like a stuff sack, because I don't want mud and wetness free flowing in my pack.

If I wasn't expecting wet weather and my tarp/SL2/tent is wet, I just revert back to stuffing it in the outside mesh pocket until it dries.

Monty Montana
(TarasBulba) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Mountain Hardwear SuperMegaUL 2 SpotLite Review on 03/06/2013 15:16:54 MST Print View

Hi Brad! I really wished that you'd field tested this very intriguing tent, say, in the soggy PNW just to see how it handles condensation. Since the fly has no peak vent and there was no mention (or else I missed it) of a double slider zipper on the vestibule entrance, my guess is that this tent would have a terrific condensation problem, especially with two people. I envision it raining down droplets right through the mesh. Do you concur? My old Montbell Diamond does happen to have a peak vent, which does an absolutely sterling job of moving the moisture out...it wouldn't be usable otherwise. I suppose a vent or double slider could be retro-fit to the fly, that might work. Happy Trails!

Lapsley Hope
(Laps) - M
condensation on 03/06/2013 17:59:17 MST Print View

That would be my concern also, all the more why the Tarptents (Moment DW) look more inviting. I was looking at this MH tent as a possible use for solo ventures, but not so much now.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: condensation on 03/06/2013 18:07:44 MST Print View

I have never not had condensation, vent or no vent.

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
" ...could you elaborate as to why you disliked it .." on 03/06/2013 20:12:48 MST Print View

Lapsley,
This design has a ridge pole. As Brad appears to acknowledge in his article, what happens is, after a foot or so, the area behind the front hoop becomes, in essence, a pup tent shape, just a steep walled triangular A-frrame.

Another thread just started on GEAR has some good insights on how cramped this shape can be. Franco suggested there to make a full size string model of the tent shape to get an idea of just how cramped this can be. Roger commented that there were lots of A-shaped tents around fifty or so years ago. Putting a hoop, or a bowed triangle (Big Agnes) at the front of the A-frame provides a little more space near the door, but not much else.

I think people see the hoop in front, and tend to imagine that the arc continues along the length of the tent. It doesn't, unless there are other hoops along the length, or at least at the rear, and the fabric is tensioned to maintain the Quanset hut shape between the hoops. Roger uses several hoops, Warmlite and many others use just two, or three at the most. Adding a ridge pole destroys the arc over most of the tent's length. Goodbye head and shoulder room.

Another concern is that the 10 and 20 D(denier=thread weight) materials are also pretty new to the market, and there is still not much feedback on how they will stand up, if you want the tent to last for more than a few seasons. Not a deal-breaker necessarily, but something to consider.

Having used 'side-entry' tents (you enter alongside the sleeping area) for a long time, I just could not see myself giving them up to have to crawl into one end of an A-frame, like we did in basic training. With a tunnel, or a solo width dome tent, I might consider an 'end entry', but not with this design. The INSIDE heights at the entry and highest point are not very high, either, and manufacturers often list only the OUTSIDE height without saying so. They also make these tents on the short side. Seven feet of length isn't really seven feet if the fabric slopes sharply inward above the foot end.

Those are the reasons recalled for not liking the tent, and if i had to buy someone else's design would favor one of the side-entry TarpTents or LightHeart Gears. Don't mind stooping, but hate crawling. Probably more hangover from that basic training.

Edited by scfhome on 03/06/2013 20:32:19 MST.

Lapsley Hope
(Laps) - M
Mr.Farrington's reply on 03/07/2013 06:27:55 MST Print View

Thank you for the insightful critique of this tent. I had imagined that the shape and size were limiting factors as well.
I have a Scarp 1 and a Contrail (Tarptents) and looks like I'll be purchasing the Moment DW in a few weeks. Can't go wrong with Henry's designs.

Danny Milks
(dannymilks) - MLife

Locale: Sierras
Golite and MH on 03/07/2013 08:06:05 MST Print View

Dave - the Golite is freestanding as well. The back two corners do need to be staked out to get the full structural stability and room, but this would be the same as what is needed for the vestibule for either tent too.

Anyways, the two tents look strikingly similar, and are very close on paper. However, the Golite goes for $250 while the MH is $450 - seems hard to justify the extra $200.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Golite and MH on 03/07/2013 08:54:29 MST Print View

If you have to peg out the back, then it is not freestanding. Much the same way that the Fly Creek 1 is not freestanding. No such trickery is required with the MH.

The length of the Golite is 82" which will not fit anyone over 5'9" with the sloping ends. It is also heavier (the 2'6" weight is not the packed weight). They may look the same but are clearly not the same. Whether the extra $200 is worth the extra space, freestanding design, and lower weight is obviously up to the user but don't forget that people on this thread are more than happy to spend $200 for cuben over silnylon for a small loss in weight.

Thomas Glennon
(Eagletrek007) - MLife
Re: Looks cramped on 03/09/2013 08:57:37 MST Print View

Just trialed a Super Mega UL 2 last weekend. I'm 6'4", 238 lbs and had no problem with space or headroom at all. I bought this for my sons for an upcoming Philmont trek and I'm now thinking about buying one for myself to replace my GL Shangrila 1. Was really impressed with the form, fit and function of this tent. Add a Tyvek footprint and you're "cooking with gas".

Thomas Glennon
(Eagletrek007) - MLife
Re: Re: Looks cramped on 03/09/2013 09:30:40 MST Print View

Lastly, I'm really amazed about how many folks have opinions about an item they haven't really tried or at least seen in person. Before you go condemming something, check in out at your local outfitter.

I make a living as an operational tester. I wouldn't go around praising or condemming an item until I fully tested it. For those of you worried about condensation, I'll see if I can't find the right climatic conditions to put it through it's paces but it may be hard right now in Central Texas.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Looks cramped on 03/09/2013 09:33:33 MST Print View

Thanks for posting this, Thomas.

Kathleen Church
(carpediemkath) - M

Locale: desert Southwest
pole sockets on 03/12/2013 01:39:05 MDT Print View

I love those pole sockets! I use a Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 which is designed to clip the rain fly into a buckle right next to the end of each pole. I discovered that that setup channels water under the tent (especially with Big Agnes' footprint), so I took to using separate stakes to stake out the rain fly about two inches beyond each corner pole (plus I use a smaller piece of Tyvek instead of BA's footprint). MH's pole socket solves that problem by allowing some space between the fly and the tent pole, which gives enough clearance to channel water away from the bottom of the tent. All without having to carry extra stakes! Love the new design. It would be great if Big Agnes took note of this design and offered their own pole sockets as a retrofit for their tents.

James Schifferns
(schifferj) - M
Re: Re: condensation on 04/07/2013 21:58:39 MDT Print View

I couldn't agree more! I've lost track of the number of tents I've owned but all of them have had condensation at some point or other. The tent that would appear least susceptible to condensation, a Gossamer Gear/Tarptent Squall 2 which is basically a tarp attached to a floor with netting presents with condensation before I even get in it. I own several Hilleberg tents and they all have vents and they all have condensation. One of the least problematic is an Easton Kilo which is very similar to THIS tent. As I live in the PNW, I always carry a small camp towel or tent sponge to help deal with condensate.

Paul Lewer
(Idahoan) - M

Locale: Boise, Idaho
Why no two-hoop near equivalent? on 03/05/2014 02:34:57 MST Print View

A couple of questions related to the discussion here:

1) I have never understood the advantage of a freestanding design. I like to add the required stakes into the weight of the non-free standing tent and do a comparison from there. Other than that consideration I see no inherent advantage of freestanding tents. But I am seriously open to someone enlightening me. Edit: just read the nice discussion here on FS vs NFS: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=65896&disable_pagination=1

2) I am not sure why any manufacturers haven't yet come out with a two-hoop tent using light fabrics similar to the reviewed tent. I believe the overall weight would be less (even with stakes included). The smaller hoop near the feet is much shorter than the "spine" pole that runs the entire length of the tent. And this design doesn't suffer from the volume problems associated with the A-frame/spine pole designs (though they usually aren't designed from the ground up to be super roomy).

Edited by Idahoan on 03/05/2014 03:04:10 MST.