The Mountain Hardwear Ghost UL 2 (MSRP $449) is a lightweight, double-walled tent designed for 2 people. Weighing just 2 pounds and 2 ounces, it caters to backpackers willing to sacrifice living comfort for reduced weight.
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost UL 2 tent is a double-walled, front-entry tent with a front vestibule and a partial rain fly that just barely covers the inner tent’s mesh ceiling, but not the rear of the inner tent, which is exposed to the elements. While this hybrid single-walled design helps reduce the weight of the fly, it’s a bit of a mixed bag because it reduces the wind worthiness of the tent unless it’s pitched with the vestibule pointed into the wind and very securely staked down.
The inner tent hang from a single collapsible tent pole with a front and rear Y hub. While Mountain Hardware claims the Ghost UL 2 inner tent is freestanding, the reality is that you need to stake out both sides of the inner tent to create enough space for two people to sleep in it. Both stakes are also necessary to provide support for the rain fly, which hooks to the inner tent using mitten hooks. The front vestibule only requires one stake to secure, bringing the minimum number of stakes required to pitch the tent to 3.
Pitching the Tent
Pitching the Ghost UL 2 is straightforward. Spread out the inner tent and expand the collapsible, multi-hubbed tent pole. Insert the poles tips into the connectors at the four corners, then stake out the sides of the inner tent at the mid-way point.
Drape the rain fly over the tent pole and secure the four corners using the modified Jakes foot connectors provided. Guy out the sides of rain fly, reusing the inner tent’s side stakes, before securing the front of the vestibule to block the wind.
The Ghost UL 2 is quite cramped as two person tents go. The width tapers from the front door to the feet as follows:
- Front width: 54″
- Mid width: 43″
- Foot width: 34″
When lying in the tent on a sleeping pad, my feet touch the solid part of the inner tent that slants inwards and our sleeping quilts are both mashed against the side wall. This is a recipe for internal condensation transfer in anything except the most arid camping conditions.
While the peak ceiling height tapers from front to rear, as follows:
- Front height: 36″
- Mid height: 27″
- Foot height 17″
making it impossible to do much except sleep inside the Ghost UL 2. It’s even difficult to turn around in the tent. I recommend you use the Ghost UL 2 with a very good friend, although using it alone would improve its livability significantly.
The Ghost UL 2 is made with gossamer thin materials including a 20D Nylon Ripstop 1200mm PU/SIL inner tent and 10D Nylon Ripstop 800mm PU/SIL rain fly. While you’ll need to be careful and pitch the tent on soft, clear surfaces, it is possible to keep a tent like this in good condition despite frequent use. My chief area of concern isn’t abrasion to the fabric as much damage to the vestibule and front door zippers, the hubbed pole, and side rainfly guy out hooks. I’d recommend lubricating the zippers with McNett Ziptech at the start of each season and using the other components gently to prolong their use.
Although it is lightweight, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost UL 2 is awkward for two people to use, with just one front door and one vestibule which is too small for gear storage. The interior dimensions are also quite narrow to the point where you’ll need to use narrow sleeping pads wth tapered ends to fit into the tent, although the Ghost 2 UL does become more viable if you plan to camp alone most of the time.
While the shape and design of the Ghost UL 2 is optimized for use in windy conditions, this tent is best used by backpackers who are attuned to weather conditions, including the ability to determine wind direction. While airflow is good in breezy conditions, the tent can get warm and stuffy when the air is still, so good campsite selection skills are required for use in hot and muggy weather.
- Small number of stakes required to pitch tent
- Extended front awning helps keep you dry in rain
- Awkward for two people to share a single front door
- Vestibule is too small for gear storage when front door is in use
- Wind performance of the vestibule is not that good. Bring a very long front stake to secure the front vestibule guy-out to the ground and because the front stake pulls out easily when people enter and exit the vestibule.
- Sides of tent crowd two people. Slanted walls touch top of feet.
- Foot end of tent is so narrow (34″), you much use tapered sleeping pads
- Rear peak height is very low, only 17″
- Weight: 33.7 ounces on the SectionHiker.com scale
- Minimum number of stakes required to pitch inner tent: 2
- Additional stakes required to pitch rain fly: 1
- Dimensions (measured at head, middle, and foot of tent)
- Front width: 54″
- Mid width: 43″
- Foot width: 34″
- Front interior height: 36″
- Mid interior height: 27″
- Foot interior height 17″
- Length of inner tent: 84″
Disclosure: Mountain Hardwear loaned Philip Werner a Ghost UL 2 Tent for this review.
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