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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2011

Gear Review: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo II Tent

If you count weight savings in grams, not ounces, you won't find a lighter option with this much protection.

by: Kelly Bastone

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo II (BP Photo Department)
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo II (BP Photo Department)

[lightest]
First, a disclaimer: This shelter is expensive and futzy. But if you count weight savings in grams, not ounces, you won’t find a lighter option with this much protection. The system has three components: 1) a Cuben Fiber* tarp (7 oz.); 2) a swath of fabric that serves as a “beak,” or vestibule (7 oz.), and attaches to the tarp via Velcro to provide an additional (and optional) nine square feet of covered storage; and 3) a bugproof mesh insert (15.5 oz.) with a bathtub-style Cuben Fiber floor (which you can leave at home in bug-free conditions).

Shelter wonks will love the setup options and perfecting the various pitches, which requires two trekking poles and up to 12 stakes (keep weight low—superlight titanium stakes will add about 2 oz. and $30). Using all three pieces, testers found the space (48-inch peak height and 24-square-foot floor) roomy for sleeping, but tight for sitting. Without the insert, the tarp easily accommodates four for dinner. The Cuben Fiber proved functional and durable: It doesn’t sag when wet, and it proved durable.

“Pitched tight, it did well in 20-mph wind on Utah’s Miners Mountain,” says our tester, who nevertheless noted that it’s no hurricane shelter. $620; 1 lb. 12 oz.

*Cuben Fiber Superlight and superstrong (and superexpensive) fabric made by sandwiching reinforcing fibers (typically Dyneema) between two layers of polyester film.

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