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Ultralight Shelters Not Just About the Light Weight

by Seth Levy
August 5, 2011

Shelter systems are pushing boundaries not just for weight, but for innovative and interesting designs. Many shelter systems weigh less than a bivy sack, but offer far more space and features.

Here are a few highlights, fresh off the OR show floor, from Eagles Nest Outfitters, Easton, Sea to Summit, and Hyperlite Mountain Gear.

Eagles Nest Outfitters

ENO Reactor
Eagles Nest Reactor Hammock showing sleeve.

Eagles Nest Outfitters' hammocks start at approximately 12 ounces, and the North Carolina company has introduced two products that extend the comfort and functionality of these light shelters.

First, the new Reactor hammock incorporates a second layer of nylon to add warmth and solve a problem that vexes many hammock campers: a sleeping pad adds warmth, but tends to scoot out of the hammock. The Reactor's two layers trap the pad, creating a warmer, more comfy shelter. 

ENO Reactor Hammock

  • MSRP: $94.95
  • Weight: 26 oz
  • Capacity: 400 (!) lb
  • Available November 2011
ENO Hot Spot
ENO Hot Spot

ENO also debuted the Hot Spot, a product that secures a sleeping pad in place with wings, and adds additional warmth to the thicker sleeping pads that winter hammock campers use. Paired with ENO's Ember Underquilt, this creates a light system for cold-temperature hanging.

ENO Hot Spot

  • MSRP: $29.95
  • Weight: 9 oz
  • 6 mm closed cell foam insulation in wings
  • Available October 2011


Easton Mountain Products

Easton Mountain Products added the Kilo 1P and 3P to its ultralight Kilo line for 2012. Both the Kilo 1P and the Kilo 3P utilize Easton's proprietary Ion carbon fiber poles with AirLock locking technology.

Kilo 3 P
Kilo 3P, showing cavernous space inside.

The Kilo 1P compares favorably in weight to many bivy sacks, and the 14-inch poles mean it fits with ease in smaller packs and panniers. The Kilo 3P accommodates three times as many people for less than three times the weight of the 1P. It also features three poles and weighs three pounds, making it a triple threat!

Easton Kilo 1P

  • Weight: 1 lb 14 oz
  • MSRP: $350
  • Available Summer 2012

Easton Kilo 3P

  • Weight: 3 lbs
  • 3 pole design, includes vestibule
  • MSRP: $499
  • Available Summer 2012


Sea to Summit Specialist Solo
Sea to Summit Specialist Solo.

Sea to Summit

Sea to Summit, known for light and functional stuff sacks, accessories, and sleeping bag liners debuted two extremely light shelters made from an unusual material. The new Specialist shelters uses Pertex Endurance, a waterproof-breathable membrane often used in shells, laminated to light 15 d nylon. Available in a Solo and Duo model, the Specialist includes poles, but can be pitched with trekking poles to save more weight.

Sea to Summit Solo Specialist

  • Weight: 15.6 oz
  • Weight with poles: 21.8 oz
  • MSRP: $429
  • Available March 2012

    Packed-up Specialist Solo

Sea to Summit Duo Specialist

  • Weight: 22.3 oz
  • Weight with poles: 29.7 oz
  • MSRP: $499
  • Available March 2012




Hyperlite Mountain Gear

HMG Echo 1
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo 1

Hyperlite Mountain Gear, a small Maine company new to OR, showed off their Echo Shelter systems (one- and two-person models), constructed from Cuben fiber, and laminate that has attained ultra-light cult status for water and UV resistance, and high tensile strength.

These shelters pitched tight as a drum, and feature three components: a tarp, and mesh insert with waterproof bottom, and a weather-defeating wing.

Echo 1 Shelter

  • Total weight: 1.48 lbs
  • Tarp weight: 6.1 oz
  • Insert weight: 11.49 oz
  • Beak weight: 4.1 oz
  • MSRP: $495
  • Available now
    HMG Echo 2
    Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo 2 showing tarp, insert, and beak.


Echo 2 Shelter

  • Total weight: 1.84 lbs
  • Tarp weight: 7.1 oz
  • Insert weight: 15.5 oz
  • Beak weight: 4.3 oz
  • Price: $595
  • Available now