Floorless pyramid tents are lightweight, excellent in wind and weather, and offer some of the best interior room for the weight of any shelter. (Read more on why I love floorless pyramid tents.) Now Mountain Hardwear has set a new standard for this category: the ultralight Hoopla 4, a slightly modified pyramid design that sleeps up to four people and weighs less than 2 pounds.
To achieve such a low weight, the Hoopla features a lower interior height (50 inches) than other ultralight pyramid tents. This would pose a problem with a traditional pyramid design—the pointy, narrow apex would render the usable interior height considerably less than 50 inches.
To address this issue, Mountain Hardwear incorporates its so-called "Trussring" technology, essentially a small circular pole that inserts just below the apex to widen the uppermost area of the tent and transform it into usable space.
This low interior height confers an additional advantage: It's low enough to allow you to use a single trekking pole as the primary pole support. (Taller pyramid tents require a separate aluminum pole, or a linked combination of two trekking poles, which adds weight and/or complexity to the system.) The Hoopla 4 also uses ultralight 20d silnylon fabric, which shaves off a few additional ounces.
The Hoopla is a six-sided shelter, which means that you'll need a minimum of six stakes. This geometry means that it can take a bit of time to properly position the stakes so that all corners are tensioned appropriately, a minor inconvenience and drawback. For extra stability, guyline loops are located along each seam about two-thirds of the way up the tent. Mountain Hardwear claims a minimum weight of 27 ounces for the Hoopla (which doesn't include the necessary stakes, or more optional guylines and stuff sack); or a packaged weight of 32 ounces when all of these are included. It retails for $350, though you can find it on Amazon for only $280.
The Hoopla's closest competitor is the Black Diamond Mega Light (packaged weight: 2 pounds, 13 ounces; $269, pictured), a long-time industry standard that offers the additional simplicity of an easy-to-stake four-sided design; and the GoLite Shangri-La 3 (4 pounds, 5 ounces; $299), which includes the GoLite "Nest," an optional fully-enclosed mesh tent body.
Learn more about ultralight shelters:
Floorless Pyramid Tents (2009)
Ultralight Floorless and Single-Wall Tents Under Two Pounds (2010)
Ultralight Tents Weighing 2 - 3 Pounds (2010)
Ultralight Tent Poles: Carbon Fiber and AirLock Technology from Easton (2010)
Tent Tips: Guylines (2009)
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.