Ultralight Pyramid Tents for Backpacking

A floorless, open-air, ultralight pyramid tent is larger, lighter, and more storm-worthy than any other backpacking shelter configuration. Pyramids are superior to traditional tents in virtually every way, except that they are not inherently bug-proof. But in buggy conditions, a mesh insert can be added for complete protection.

This guide is grounded in decades of collective pyramid tent use among the Adventure Alan & Co crew. The MLD DuoMid XL and HMG UltaMid 2 are two of our all-time most used shelters. And they’ve served us well in severe conditions across Alaska, Patagonia, and pretty much everywhere in between.

While you’re here, don’t miss our related guides to the best backpacking tarps, tents (1P, 2P, 3P, 4P), sleeping pads, quilts, and sleeping bags.

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Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2 pyramid tent

Ultralight Pyramid Tent Comparison Table

Price ($) Weight (oz) Material Height (in) Area (ft²) ft²/oz
Zpacks Hexamid 349 6.1 DCF .55/.75 47 31 5.1
HMG Mid 1 479 8.8 DCF .55 54 40 4.5
SMD Deschutes 190 13.0 20D Sil Nylon 49 44 3.4
MLD SoloMid XL DCF 545 14.0 DCF .75 55 44 3.1
MLD SoloMid XL Sil Poly 275 16.0 20d Sil Poly 55 44 2.8
MLD DuoMid XL 765 16.0 DCF .75 59 65 4.1
HMG UltaMid 2 699 19.1 DCF .75 64 63 3.3
MLD DuoMid XL Sil Poly 365 21 20d Sil Poly 59 65 3.1
MLD SuperMid DCF 885 19.0 DCF .75 69 70 3.7
MLD SuperMid Sil Poly 385 26.0 20d Sil Poly 69 70 2.7
HMG UltaMid 4 849 27.1 DCF .75 75 85 3.1
MSR Front Range 380 26 20D Sil Nylon 64 81 3.1
BD Mega Light 400 32 30d Sil Poly 65 78 2.4
Zpacks Hexamid Pocket Tarp

Zpacks Hexamid Pocket Tarp

At just 6.1 oz in the .55 DCF material, Zpacks Hexamid is the lightest of the light! And while this one person pyramid tent may also be the smallest in its category, it’s still comparable in size to the interior of a standard 2P tent, only with no vestibules and more sloping sidewalls.

This tent is available in two DCF variants, .55 and .75. While .75 is generally superior and longer lasting for only a minor weight penalty, the DCF .55 version is lighter, less expensive, and could be the difference maker allowing you to achieve a five pound base weight. We really like the dual, overlapping storm doors which can be opened and closed off independently without compromising the integrity of the pitch. The Hexamid is our preferred fastpacking tarp, and is incredibly effective as a super ultralight shelter.

  • Price: $349
  • Weight: 6.1 oz
  • Material: DCF .55 or .75
  • Height: 47 in
  • Area: 31 ft² (our estimate)
  • Area/Weight: 5.1 ft²/oz
  • Pros: Super ultralight. Lightest in category. Good value. DCF does not stretch or sag. Dual storm doors open/close independently. No zipper.
  • Cons: A bit smaller than other 1p models.

Add-ons: Bathtub Groundsheet, Tyvek Groundsheet

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Mid 1 Tarp

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Mid 1 Tarp

Choose the HMG Mid 1 Tarp, minimalist sibling to their Mid-1 Tent, for a well-rounded and fully-featured super ultralight shelter. Most notable are the two large peak vents, #3 YKK Aquaguard zipper, and a user-friendly magnetic storm door roll-up.

For a body fabric, the Mid 1 Tarp utilizes DCF .55, reinforced with DCF 1.1 at the corners, and a DCH50 apex cone. At 8.8 ounces, it’s the second lightest in our guide. For context, the 40 sq ft volume is only a tad smaller than your typical 2P tent including its vestibules.

  • Price: $479
  • Weight: 8.8 oz
  • Material: DCF .55
  • Height: 54 in
  • Area: 40 ft²
  • Area/Weight: 4.5 ft²/oz
  • Pros: Spacious and super ultralight. Magnetic toggle. Dual peak vent. DCF does not stretch or sag.
  • Cons: Expensive. Only one door opens. No zipper stress relief mechanism.

Add-ons: DCF Groundcloth

Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL

Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL

Ahh, MLD SoloMid XL, the largest and most livable in the 1P pyramid tent genre. This status is achieved via a hyper-spacious 44 ft² interior, which is as large as the average 2P tent. It also features an ingenious offset pitch, which places the trekking pole at a slant to achieve a 70-30 main area/vestibule split. This is especially helpful for entry exist in the rain and keeps your gear nicely organized.

We also note that SoloMid XL has more tie-outs than any other 1P mid, 17 in all, making it the most wind-worthy among ultralight 1 person pyramid tents. While we always recommend choosing DCF when available because it is lighter, stronger, and does not sag or stretch when wet, the SoloMid XL is also available in SilPoly, which saves a few hundred bucks while adding only a bit more weight.

  • Price: $545 | $275
  • Weight:  14 oz | 16 oz
  • Material: DCF .75 | 20D SilPoly
  • Height: 55 in
  • Area: 44 ft²
  • Area/Weight: 3.1 ft²/oz  | 2.8 ft²/oz
  • Pros: Largest model in 1P DCF category. Best-in-class materials. DCF does not stretch or sag. Offset pole. Massive peak vent. Most tie outs.
  • Cons: Heaviest in 1p category.

Add-ons: Standalone DCF or SilNylon Floor, DCF/SilNylon Floor + Inner net (all available from main product page)

Six Moon Designs Deschutes pyramid tarp

Six Moon Designs Deschutes Tarp

The SMD Deschutes is a large, ultralight, and incredibly high value. Constructed with 20D SilNylon, this pyramid saves money and weight, coming in at just 13 oz before add-ons.

Features include a single peak vent, dual roll-up doors, and a very welcome storm flap over the #3 YKK zipper. We love an off set pole pitch because it creates more area under the center, thus increasing headroom.

  • Price: $190
  • Weight: 13.0 oz
  • Material: 20D Sil Nylon
  • Height: 49 in
  • Area: 44 ft²
  • Area/Weight: 3.4 ft²/oz
  • Pros: Ultralight. Vent. Offset pole. Spacious. Great value. Both doors roll up
  • Cons: Not DCF. Requires seam-sealing. No zipper stress relief mechanism.

Add-ons: Serenity Ultralight NetTent

Mountain Laurel Designs DuoMid XL pyramid tent

Mountain Laurel Designs DuoMid XL

The MLD DuoMid XL has been one of Adventure Alan’s preferred tents for well-over a decade now, and for very good reason. Weighing just one pound yet offering 65 ft² of interior area, it is the lightest, largest, and most livable 2P pyramid tent on the market. It is larger and roughly 4x lighter than your typical 3-person tent.

We love how it pitches with an offset pole, which delineates between a sleeping area (back 70%) and gear area (front 30%) without separating couples. This also prevents rain from hitting your sleeping bags upon entry/exit. The optionality of 16 total guy out points significantly increase its sturdiness in high wind. This is the tent Alan has used most in Alaska and Patagonia’s, famously harsh and windy ecosystems.

  • Price: $765 | $365
  • Weight:  16.0 oz | 21.0 oz
  • Material: DCF .75 | SilPoly 20
  • Height: 59 in
  • Area: 65 ft²
  • Area/Weight: 4.1 ft²/oz | 3.1 ft²/oz
  • Pros: Ultralight. Offset pole. Largest in 2p category. DCF does not stretch or sag. Peak vent.
  • Cons: 3-6 week lead time. Pitch may require strapping poles together. Expensive.

Add-ons: DCF/SilNylon InnerNet, DCF/Silnylon Floor, Carbon Pole (all available from main product page)

Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2 pyramid tent

Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2

The HMG UltaMid 2 is your quintessential ultralight pyramid tent. This iconic, best-selling, fully-featured Dyneema shelter offers spacious and highly wind-worthy protection for up to two campers. It has more interior area than a 3P tent, for about 1/3 of the weight

UltaMid 2 weighs just 19.1 oz thanks to the burly yet ultralight DCF .75 material; this tent is seriously durable. In fact, we only recently retired our 2015 UltaMid due to inevitable zipper failure, but the body fabric and all other components were still going strong. We like that both doors can be open, though doing so degrades the stability of the pitch. For true storm mode, make sure to utilize the four center panel tie outs in addition to the eight ground level perimeter guylines.

  • Price: $699
  • Weight: 19.1 oz
  • Material: DCR .75
  • Height: 64 in
  • Area: 63 ft²
  • Area/Weight: 3.3 ft²/oz
  • Pros: Ultralight. Spacious. DCF does not stretch or sag. Dual peak vents.
  • Cons: Expensive. Pitch requires strapping two poles together. Zipper tends to bear horizontal pressure.

Add-ons: Ultamid 2 Half Insert, UltaMid 2 Floorless Mesh Insert, UltaMid 2 Mesh Insert with Floor, Carbon Pole, Ground cloth.

Mountain Laurel Designs SuperMid

Mountain Laurel Designs SuperMid

We believe in the top-of-the-line quality of MLD’s ultralight pyramids, and SuperMid in DCF is Adventure Alan’s 4P choice! At 19 ounces in top-of-the-line DCF .75 fabric, it’s the lightest weight option in its category. Split four ways, that’s less than five ounces per person! The Sil Poly version is a bit heavier, but a lot cheaper, and makes for a killer value buy.

Note the 3-6 week lead time. We recommend buying no later than two months before your first intended use, just to be safe.

  • Price: $885| $385
  • Weight:  19.0 oz | 26.0 oz
  • Material: DCF .75 | 20D Sil Poly
  • Height: 69 in
  • Area: 70 ft²
  • Area/Weight: 3.7 ft²/oz | 2.7 ft²/oz
  • Pros: Ultralight. Lightest 4P option. Best in class materials. Peak vent. Inserts available. Fewer seams. Exceptional quality.
  • Cons: 3-6 week lead time. Smallest interior area in 4p class. Most expensive mid in 4P DCF class.

Add-ons: DCF/SilNylon InnerNet, DCF/Silnylon Floor, Carbon Pole (all available from main product page)

Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 4

Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 4

For a massive, ultralight, Dyneema pyramid tent, choose the Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 4. This design offers an incredible strength-to-weight ratio, and its massive 85 ft² interior can easily fit four campers (tying for largest size in its category). DCF does not stretch or sag, and is significantly stronger than nylon or polyester. This is truly a great piece of gear, especially in winter, and we recommend it highly!

Notable features include the dual peak vents, independent door roll ups, and plenty of tie out points along the perimeter and mid-panel.

  • Price: $849
  • Weight:  27.1 oz
  • Material: DCF .75
  • Height: 75 in
  • Area: 85 ft²
  • Area/Weight: 3.1 ft²/oz
  • Pros: Ultralight. Largest 4P option. DCF does not sag or stretch. Peak vents.
  • Cons: Expensive. Heaviest 4p DCF option. Requires strapping two poles together.

Add-ons: Mesh Insert with DCF Floor, Mesh Insert No Floor, Half Insert (for 2p use), Carbon Fiber Pole

Black Diamond Mega Light pyramid tent

Black Diamond Mega Light

In our estimations, the Black Diamond Mega Light is the best non-cottage industry pyramid tent. Compared to its chief competitor, the MSR Front Range, Mega Light is slightly more expensive, but comes pre-seam taped, includes a peak vent, and a carbon fiber pole (or use trekking poles), and is designed with an explicitly sag-resistant fabric. It’s not as good as Dyneema, but it’s the next best thing, and even though it’s a tad heavier and small, we think this tent beats out the MSR Front Range by a small margin.

  • Price: $400
  • Weight:  32 oz
  • Material: 30d Sil Polyester
  • Height: 65 in
  • Area: 78 ft²
  • Area/Weight: 2.4 ft²/oz
  • Pros: Spacious and tall. Lightweight. Sag-resistant fabric. Peak vent.
  • Cons: Heaviest in category. Not DCF.

Add-ons: Mega Light Ground Cloth, Mega Bug Mesh Insert
Alt Version: Black Diamond Mega Snow (same as Mega Light, but with snow pitching specific feature)

MSR Front Range pyramid tent

MSR Front Range

You don’t have to break the bank or shop cottage industry to purchase a 4 person pyramid tent; the MSR Front Range is available now at REI! It’s large, ultralight, and very high-visibility.

In fact, it’s slightly lighter, larger, and even less expensive than its direct competitor, the Black Diamond Mega Light. However, it lacks a peak vent, is slightly more prone to sagging, and doesn’t come seam taped. As such, we slightly prefer the alternative, but only marginally and neither is strictly better than other.

  • Price: $380
  • Weight: 26 oz
  • Material: 20D Sil Nylon
  • Height: 64 in
  • Area: 81 ft²
  • Area/Weight: 3.1 ft²/oz
  • Pros: Ultralight. Great area-to-weight ratio. Lightest weight value option.
  • Cons: Not seam-taped. No vent. Optional floor and bug mesh inner sold separately.

Add-ons: MSR Front Range Bug/Floor Insert, MSR Adjustable Tent Pole

When & When Not to Choose a Pyramid Tent For Backpacking

When to choose an ultralight pyramid tent:

  • When the most wind-worthy type of ultralight shelter is required
  • As one of the very highest area-to-weight ratio ultralight shelters
  • As the ultralight 4-season shelter of choice
  • As a group camping communal shelter (choose a 4p model)
  • For going ultralight
  • For going super ultralight
  • As far and away the lightest 4p shelter option
  • When there is a 0% chance of rain, just use the bug mesh insert as an airy standalone mesh shelter

When not to choose an ultralight pyramid tent:

  • For buggy or critter-y conditions
  • If you plan to use it with a full insert 100% of the time (in which case it loses interior volume and becomes bulkier and heavier than a comparable single walled trekking pole tent
  • In truly gnarly 4-season conditions when a pole-structured 4-season tent is the only tool for the job
  • In super rocky or loose and sandy terrain when you may not be able to achieve a perfect taut pitch
  • Beginner backpackers should opt for a tent that’s easier to pitch

Pro Tips for Pitching and Using Your Pyramid Tent

  • In warm conditions, pitch it higher off the ground to increase air flow and allow a breeze through. Leave one or both doors open
  • In cold, windy, stormy, or buggy conditions, pitch it lower to the ground to create an edge seal with the ground
  • In high wind, definitely use the mid-panel tie offs, prioritizing the ones on the windward side
  • In high wind, place a ring a of rocks/sticks/natural objects around the perimter to help prevent drafts
  • Orient the door away from the wind
  • In pyramids that orient you length wise, place your head opposite the door
  • In pyramids that orient width-wise, place the sleeper who is more likely to use the bathroom closer to the door
  • Be mindful of over tensioning and overstressing the door zipper, especially on models without a zipper stress relief snap or buckle. This is the most common way to damage a pyramid tent
  • If using a taller pyramid, remember to pack your trekking pole lashing straps
  • Use larger/wider/longer than average Y-stakes. The wind-worthiness of your pitch is entirely dependent on how well staked out the tent is
sleeping in a pyramid tent

Best Pyramid Tent Conclusion

Thank you for reading our guide, where we hope you found the best pyramid tent for your needs. Pyramids make for seriously excellent, storm-worthy ultralight shelters, and we recommend them very highly. They are trail proven, and we know you’ll enjoy using one. Happy hiking!

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