Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Ghost UL 1 Tent
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost UL 1 is a super lightweight 1 person double wall tent with a weight listed at 1 lb 14 oz (tent, rainfly and tent poles). I weighed mine in a 1 lb 10 oz before adding tent stakes and stuff sacks. It is a true freestanding tent, though the sides can still cave in a little. Not to worry, Mountain Hardwear addressed this and built in loops on the side of the tent body that clip to the fly. With the fly attached and staked out, you'll be able to maximize interior space (see pic below). This also allows for excellent ventilation. For cloudless nights under the stars you can attach additional guylines to the loops and stake out the tent body on its own.
The tent body is freestanding, using DAC Featherlight NSL tent poles, two hubs and plastic hooks.
The ends of the poles fit easily and securely into modified Jakes Foot buckles.
The hub in the front pulls the head height up and is also an integral part of the dry entry design (when used with the rainfly).
Entry to the tent is in the front rather than on the side. This tunnel style design may feel cumbersome to some backpackers. There is also an internal pocket near the door where I can keep smaller items I like to keep close by at night, as well as a loop to drape a lantern or headlamp.
The tent floor is made of 20D Nylon Ripstop 1200mm PU/SIL. Higher than usual bathtub style walls help block drafts and also work with the rainfly to offer complete coverage from the elements. The fabric canopy uses 10D Nylon Ripstop 800mm PU/SIL.
Due to the thin material you may want to consider getting the footprint that goes with this tent or create your own using Tyvek.
Attachment of the rainfly is simple, as it uses the same modified Jakes Foot as the tent poles. Linelocs allow for quick adjustments for the perfect pitch.
With the rainfly attached, the 4 sq ft vestibule space is more than enough for a pack and footwear. You'll probably want to move those items out of the way in order for an easier entry/exit. For many 3-season trips I leave my pack at the footend of the tent as it provides elevation, support and comfort in addition to the 3/4 length sleeping pad I use. Entry with the rainfly on is on the side of its torpedo like shape which I have found keeps my gear and inner tent dry in wet conditions. It also mitigates wind gusts with ease.
The fabric used for the rainfly is a 10D Nylon Ripstop 1200mm PU/SIL. It is very delicate and should be handled with care. The fly lives up to the product's name and can seem bright during the day or on clear moon-filled nights, due to its ghostlike appearance.
This tent is a little smaller than the average tent and feels more like a liveable bivy. I still find it to be spacious enough for my 5'11" frame to fit and sit up comfortably in. If you are above 6' you will most likely want to consider a different shelter. The tent body has a peak height of 34" and an interior space of 16 sq ft (81" long x 35" head x 21" footbox). These dimensions also allow for an easier fit in densely wooded areas, where a larger shelter can feel problematic.
Pictured below in the tent is my usual setup for a good night's rest during a 3-season trip. Pillow, pad and pack with a quilt on top.
Since the tent is freestanding, there are no issues with setup on a tent platform. This can be very beneficial should you find yourself setting up camp on one.
From my experience, the stock rainfly guylines seem to fit snug into most tent platform cracks. If I'm not securing them to a platform, I will still stake or tie them out allowing for increased ventilation, space and protection.
You can also makeshift anchor points if needed. From the moment I used hiking poles, I have never looked back so they are always with me. On this trip, they offered a quick and simple additional anchor for the tent fly.
The tent and rainfly pack down small enough to fit together easily into a 6 liter stuff sack (From left to right: footprint, tent stakes, tent body & fly in red stuff sack, tent poles).
Tent stakes that come with the tent are a standard, but light, hook style stakes.
This tent is one of the lightest freestanding double wall tents out there. It's a nice shelter, that combines comfort and protection without adding extra bulk or weight to my pack. Though I have been growing very fond of this tent, I would not want to spend multiple rainy days in it. For that I would bring a long something a little more spacious.