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Hands-on Gear Review
Cons: Very delicate materials, expensive, small for two people
Manufacturer: Mountain Hardwear
The name of this tent makes a bold claim on how light it is – Super Mega Ultralight? It's pretty light, maybe super, but not mega. This is the second lightest tent in this review and we think it is stronger and holds up to high winds and rain better than the lightest (the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2). It is quite small inside and, as with most ultralight shelters, it is not super mega durable.
Also consider an ultralight tent for ultralight backpacking.
RELATED: Our complete review of backpacking tents
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Mountain Hardwear SuperMega UL2 is lightweight and more storm ready than other ultralight tents we've tested.
Ease of Set-up
The SuperMega's set up is relatively straightforward. Snap together its interconnected and double hubbed pole and stick the ends in Mountain Hardwear's unique grommet and fly attachment system. One thing to watch out for that can be annoying is to make sure that the central attachment point at the top of the pole is facing down towards the fly body. If not, you have to take out the corners and flip it around. Otherwise, we like that the SuperMega's guy lines come pre-attached and can create large enough loops to use rocks instead of carrying all the stakes.
The SuperMega UL2 sacrifices livability for more comfort when carrying. It has a slim, tapered design and low peak height. It is a tight fit for two people, head and foot room is scarce, and it would be a great choice for a couple or one person. It only has one front door, which requires you to swing around, hopefully not putting your feet in your travelling companion's face when you do it. The SuperMega is slightly more comfortable than the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 because it has two hubbed poles, creating more room in the foot area, and it is also 4 inches wider at the door than the Fly Creek. It has two small stash pockets for your trinkets like headlamps and watches.
It was a particularly smoky season here in the High Sierra, and we have noticed that this tent seems to hold odors (smoke) more than others when we bring it back to our home.
You need to ask yourself, will you be spending more time hanging out inside the tent or more time carrying it on your back? This tent is ideal if you will spend more time carting it around. The most livable tent we tested was the REI Half Dome 2 Plus
For an ultralight tent, the Super Mega UL2 is surprisingly weather resistant. Our testers sat out several intense rain storms and some heavy winds. The fabric held up well to moisture and the fly walls come down low enough to protect the interior. It has a four-inch tall strip of solid nylon that lies above the waterproof walls that serves to block wind, splashback, and spindift, and make the tent slightly warmer. This is an advantage over the Big Agnes Fly Creek. The entrance is rather low and can be difficult for taller folks to get in and out of without brushing their backs up against it and getting wet.
As for high winds, we had the SuperMega and the Fly Creek out side-by-side on a windy night below Mount Whitney. The Fly Creek's central pole proceeded to fully collapse in the wind, whereas the Mega stood strong. We think this is because both ends are enforced by the hubbed pole design. The fly fabric does create some noise when it rubs against the pole in the wind.
We think the new Smokey Sage color is just as stealthy as last year's green, especially when you are camping among the granite boulders in the High Sierra.
The Mountain Hardwear SuperMega UL2 is a double wall tent and is not super mega adaptable. You can pitch it without the fly on clear nights, and you can use rocks in place of stakes for its guy lines.
The SuperMega is the least durable tent in this review. It's 10D nylon fly feels paper-thin and our testers were afraid they were going to tear it just by tightening the guy lines! At one point when the fly was laid out on a granite slab to dry, it was blown across the slab and immediately was abraded with several small holes. The mesh used for the walls was also showing signs of strain, especially where it was sewn along the ridgeline, and was beginning to undo. It does not seem like it would last a full season of extended use, and it is quite pricey for such a short product life.
Weight and Packed Size
This is the second lightest product we tested in this review, weighing in at 2 pounds, 8 ounces. We think the pole sections of the SuperMega UL are strangely long, perhaps as an attempt to save weight with less connection points, but results in the tent being more awkward to pack.
The SuperMega UL seems like a single use tent. You will have to be very delicate and treat this tent like it is made of glass – or something less durable than glass.
The weakest point on many ultralight, double wall, front entrance tents is the
seam above the door by the pole. This receives a lot of stress when people lean against the walls or the end. The small area inside lightweight tents makes it important to select level campsites where you will not slide down and put pressure on a wall or the end of the tent. Our SuperMega started to show some signs of wear at the "above door seam" after about ten days of use. We've heard of similar complaints from others and we've seen similar problems on other lightweight tents we've tested. This is likely to be an inherent drawback to this type of tent.
We would bring the SuperMega with us on long thru-hikes where weight matters and on shorter backpacking trips – especially with a significant other who we want to snuggle with. The SuperMega UL2 is also a good option as a solo shelter for someone who wants a bit more interior space.
We were surprised that the Super Mega retails for $450 – we think this is a bit much. It is constructed from high quality materials, but as we said, it probably wouldn't last through the season without damage. For $100 less you can purchase the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 – if you plan to camp below tree line it works just as well. Or pay $50 more for the slightly more durable and spacious MSR Hubba Hubba NX.
We were impressed with the SuperMega's strength and performance in extreme weather and like its low profile shape and color. Considering its lack of durability, we think it is overpriced for what it is. Word on the street is that Mountain Hardwear has given the Super Mega a facelift for 2016, shaving ounces and adding durability, so we look forward to giving that one a test drive next summer!
Other versions and accessories
SuperMegaUL 1 is available for those solo adventurers out there.
— Jessica Haist
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 22, 2015
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