Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo II Shelter System Review

A top-shelf ultralight shelter system that's incredibly versatile thanks to the brilliant modular design.

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White Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo 2 Tent
Spruce Green Hyperlite Echo 2 Shelter
HMG Echo 2 Shelter Insert
Hyperlite Echo 2 Shelter System
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo II System
Hyperlite Echo II Camping Shelter
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 Summary

  • The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo II Ultralight Shelter System is a 2-man tent that is constructed out of Hyperlite’s signature Dyneema Composite Fiber technology.
  • The modular design allows you to mix and match 3 separate components for camping in various weather conditions.
  • Pitching the Echo II Shelter isn’t the easiest process — it takes a bit of time and is almost possible in particular terrain types.

 Reviews by our Readers


Introduction

MAKE:
Hyperlite Mountain Gear
MODEL:
Echo II
TYPE:
Ultralight Shelter System
MSRP PRICE:
$695
RECOMMENDED FOR:
Thru-hiking, climbing, camping, solo hiking, packrafting, backpacking, bikepacking
WARRANTY:
1-year
MODEL YEAR:
2018
WHERE TO BUY IT:
Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Website

Tent Details

PACKED SIZE:
7.5″ x 5″ x 3.5″ / 19.1cm x 12.7cm x 8.9cm
WEIGHT:
1.81 lbs / 29.03 oz / 823g
MEASUREMENTS:
Length: 8’6″ / 102″ / 259.1cm
Front Width: 8’6″ / 102″ / 259.1cm
Rear Width: 6’6″ / 78″ / 198.1cm
AREA:
68 square feet
MATERIAL:
DCF8
AVAILABLE COLORS:
White, Spruce Green

Written Review

The tent is one of the most important items in a backpacker’s gear kit – it provides a comfortable space for sleeping, keeps you and your gear dry during inclement weather, and protects you from critters and other wildlife. Considering how essential this piece of equipment is, it’s no wonder that campers typically prefer tents and shelters that have superior durability. Unfortunately, this usually comes at the cost of added weight. This is not the case with the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo II Shelter, an ultralight but durable shelter that has enough space for 2 adults.

At only 29.03 ounces (less than 2 pounds), the Hyperlite Echo II is one of the lightest 2-person shelters that you can buy today. What makes it stand out is its incredibly versatile modular design – it’s made of 3 distinct pieces that you can mix and match depending on weather conditions. The unique lightweight characteristics of the Echo II was achieved by the liberal use of Dyneema Composite Fiber (DCF8), which was formerly known as Cuber Fiber. This lightweight, durable, and waterproof material is made with high molecular weight polyethylene fibers that are woven into a grid and sandwiched between thin layers of polyester film. The company also used Dyneema for the construction of their UltraMid 2 tent.

The first piece of the Echo II Shelter is the 68 square foot catenary cut tarp made of DCF8. With a central ridgeline and radial guy out points, the tarp of the Echo II was designed to be pitched as an A-type tent. The Echo II does not come with tent inserts or poles. Instead, the tarp has two metal O-rings along its ridgeline that can be connected to your trekking poles. Tie-outs on the ridgeline and on radial positions allow you to hold the tarp taut by connecting them to stakes anchored on the ground.

All guy out points are reinforced for durability, while the guy lines are made of lightweight but durable ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene. The ridgeline of the tarp is taped instead of sewn together, eliminating the need for seam sealing.

It is worth noting at this point that the Echo II does not come with its own stakes. Instead, you will need to purchase a separate set of stakes. We recommend the Hyperlite Ultralight Stake Kit to preserve the lightweight characteristic of the Echo II. The Echo II shelter can be pitched using just 8 stakes, but the use of 12 stakes is preferred for maximum durability in windy conditions.

The second piece of the Echo II Shelter System is basically a mesh insert with a bathtub-style floor. The ceiling of the insert literally hangs off the tarp while guy lines tied to stakes secure the bottom of the insert to the ground. The rear and sides of the mesh insert are made with solid DCF8 that provides wind and rain protection, while the bathtub floor is made with thicker and more robust DCF11. When fully set up, the wide clearance between the tarp and the mesh ceiling promotes good wind cross-flow. This keeps the Echo II shelter cool even in hot and humid weather. However, it also means that camping with the Echo II in cold weather can be quite chilly.

The mesh insert has a maximum floor space of 24 square feet, which is plenty of space for two people to lie down comfortably. However, the sloping sides of the A-type tent, combined with the lower pitch of the inner tent, results in a headspace that is much smaller than typical 2-man tents. The mesh insert has barely enough room for sitting up, making kneeling or changing clothes a bit of a struggle. In keeping with the minimalist design of the Echo II, the mesh insert also lacks internal pockets. These shortcomings make the Echo II mesh insert suffer in terms of livability, although we have no issues with its durability and weather protection.

The final piece of the Echo II is the beak that can be attached to the front portion of the tarp to form a waterproof vestibule. The beak is attached to the front trekking pole by Velcro straps, while guy lines attach to the guy out areas of the tarp to keep the fabric taut. The extra room created by the vestibule is excellent for keeping your shoes dry while also providing more wind and rain protection. Using the beak does come at the price of making it harder to enter and exit the tent since only the left side of the beak can be zipped open.

Overall, the modular characteristic of the Echo II Shelter makes it a very versatile tent for 3-season camping. Depending on how well-prepared you want to be, you may choose to go backpacking with only the tarp and the beak, reducing the overall weight of the Echo II by half. The Echo II has been thoroughly tested under strong winds, rain, and snow, and it has proven its superior durability. Due to the fact that it is very lightweight and compact, the Echo II barely adds any weight to your shelter. In fact, this combination of lightness and durability is a rarity.

The main difficulty in using the Echo II Shelter is encountered during pitching. Its overdependence on stakes for durability makes it almost impossible to use the Echo II in rocky terrain or over soft sand. The number of stakes needed to pitch the Echo II – a minimum of 8, but 12 is recommended – also makes the process longer than most other tents. Hyperlite also recommends that the tarp be pitched at a height of 52 inches and at this height most trekking poles will be at their maximum length setting, making durability a concern. The issues with pitching are further exacerbated by the fact that the Echo II does not come with any pitching instructions or documentation.

Overall, the Hyperlite Echo II Shelter is an excellent ultralight tent that is built for 3-weather camping. The modular design of this shelter gives it an unequaled level of versatility. However, the A-type configuration of the tent provides very little headroom. The Echo II Shelter could be massively enhanced by making its tarp closer to the size of the larger Hyperlight Square Flat Tarp.

The price of the Echo II Shelter is also 2 or 3 times higher than other 2-man tents from popular brands, mainly due to the use of expensive DCF material. However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find this unique combination of lightness, durability, and versatility that HMG’s Echo II Shelter System offers.

 Warranty

All Hyperlite products are made according to the highest standards of quality and workmanship. If your shelter suffers damage within 1 year of the purchase date due to a manufacturing defect, Hyperlite will offer repair or replacement at no cost. At their discretion, they may also offer a refund of the product’s original price.

Take note that the warranty does not cover due to neglect, misuses, or accidents. The warranty will also be voided if you use your Hyperlite product for commercial purposes, or if you purchased it from an unauthorized dealer. These include auction sites and third-party websites such as Amazon or eBay.

Pros:

  • With the liberal use of Dyneema Composite Fiber, the Echo II Shelter is ultra lightweight without compromising on durability and longevity.
  • The modular design of the Echo II allows you to mix and match individual components, making it a very versatile, 3-weather shelter.
  • The optional beak and inner mesh inserts offer protection against critters, strong winds, and heavy rains while providing ample space for 2 people to lie down in the extended vestibule.

Cons:

  • Pitching the Echo II takes longer than most other 2-man tents. Its over-reliance on stakes also makes it almost impossible to set up camp in rocky or sandy terrain.
  • The inner mesh tent has very little headroom and no internal pockets, making it difficult to change clothes and keep gear organized.
  • It’s an expensive option when compared with other 2-man tents.

 Final Thoughts

The Hyperlite Echo II Shelter offers a unique combination of lightness, durability, and versatility, making it one of the best 2-man shelters money can buy. It has 3 pieces that you can mix and match depending on weather conditions. Each piece of the modular tent is made of Dyneema Composite Fiber, so you get to enjoy the benefits of weatherproofing and durability regardless of the tent setup you choose.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Echo II ultralight Shelter System is far from perfect – it has a complicated pitching process which may prove to be problematic when setting up camp in inclement weather or over challenging terrain. It’s also one of the most expensive 2-man shelters you can buy. Still, the level of innovation and workmanship that’s gone into this is nothing short of impressive.

Click Here to Buy Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Echo II Shelter

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