Home / Gear Reviews / Mountain Hardwear Ghost UL 2 Tent Review

Mountain Hardwear Ghost UL 2 Tent Review

manufactured by:
Philip Werner
Version:
2016
Price:
$449.00

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On May 31, 2016
Last modified:August 26, 2016

Summary:

The Mountain Hardwear Ghost UL 2 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 weight or weather resistance.

The Mountain Hardwear Ghost UL 2 Tent is sized for two adults and weighs just 2 pounds 2 ounces
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost UL 2 Tent is sized for two adults and weighs just 2 pounds 2 ounces.

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 Ghost UL 2 Tent has a single front door and tapers sharply from the head of the tent to the rear
The Ghost UL 2 Tent has a single front door and tapers sharply from the head of the tent to the rear.

Design

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 rainfly doesn't completely cover the inner tent
The Ghost UL 2 rainfly doesn’t completely cover the inner tent.

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.

The mid-point of the Ghost UL 2 is quite narrow (43 inches) and must be pulled out with stakes to maximize interior space.
The mid-point of the Ghost UL 2 is quite narrow (43 inches) and must be pulled out with stakes to maximize interior space.

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.

Mountain Hardwear's modified jakes foot eliminates the need for a second stake in the corners.
Mountain Hardwear’s modified jakes foot eliminates the need for a second stake in the corners.

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.

It's difficult to use the front door without waking up your partner or to store gear inside the vestibule when you need to get out the front door
It’s difficult to use the front door without waking up your partner or to store gear inside the vestibule when you need to get out the front door.

Livability

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.

The sides of the inner tent slant in as the tent narrows from head to foot.
The sides of the inner tent slant in as the tent narrows from head to foot.

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.

Durability

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.

The inner tent has a significant taper, narrowing down to just 34 inches wide at the foot end
The inner tent has a significant taper, narrowing down to just 34 inches wide at the foot end

Assessment

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.

Likes:

  • Small number of stakes required to pitch tent
  • Extended front awning helps keep you dry in rain

Dislikes:

  • Expensive
  • 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″

Specifications:

  • 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″

For complete manufacturer specs, visit MountainHardwear.com

Disclosure: Mountain Hardwear loaned Philip Werner a Ghost UL 2 Tent for this review.

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10 comments

  1. One door? At that price they should have provided two!

  2. The only 1 person tent I’ve ever enjoyed was a SMD Skyscape Scout (IMHO the best $125 worth of tent out there.) Otherwise I need a 2P tent for me and myself. I’m out to have fun and camp comfort is important to me. If I was looking for pure weight efficiency, I would rock a bivy with a tarp option.

  3. I’ve enjoyed reading these reviews of “ultralight” double-wall tents. I hope the patterns are obvious to everyone: pathetically small interior volumes and extremely light fabrics that barely pass industry standards for rainproofness. Oh, and marketing that does not acknowledge the shortcomings, or puts a very positive spin on it.

    • Glad you’re enjoying them Andrew. :-) I plan to spend a very long weekend soon in a Warbonnet Blackbird for a welcome change of pace from tent testing. Just a few more days until the weekend….then back to the grind stone to test out a SD tent, which looks pretty good by the way.

  4. I just bought this tent and on first pitch it looks fantastic. I am perplexed by people that would buy a double wall tent that competes in weight with floorless tarp-tents and one person biv sacks and then gripe about the thin materials and small size. How do you think weights like 2lbs, 2oz are achieved, magic? I see many clever decisions that reduce weight, and all of them, by necessity, involve sacrifices in terms of space, durability, or weather-proofness. If you want a tent that is more comfortable for two and durable, there are plenty out there in the four pound range. If you want it to handle a snowstorm, make it six or eight pounds. I bought this because it is really light and can keep bugs and some rain out. It’s a good alternative to much less weatherproof and bugproof options, like tarps, or nothing (and nothing can work well). I carry small packs. I check weather forecasts. I do not plan to sit in a tent in storms playing cards. I just get inside and sleep. It’s a bit lame to badmouth a very interesting product because you don’t understand it’s intended use.

    As far as I can tell this is the among (if not the) lightest true tents you can buy. If that intrigues you, you probably know the trade-offs.

    • I felt it my obligation to point out all of the decisions and design trade offs made to make this tent lightweight, so that people expecting a two person tent wouldn’t suckered into buying it when there are so many more two person tents available that are more comfortable and weather resistant. Seriously, one door? I assume you’ll be using this by yourself as a one person tent.

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