Hyperlite Mountain Gear Flat Tarp Review

A high-end lightweight shelter that's extremely compact and perfect for ultralight backpacking.

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Hyperlite Mountain Gear Flat Tarp White
Spruce Green Hyperlite Mountain Gear Flat Tarp Shelter
Hyperlite Flat Tarp Camping
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 Summary

  • The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Flat Tarp is a simple minimalist shelter that is made from Hyperlite’s signature DCF material, offering a unique combination of durability and waterproofing in an extremely lightweight and compact package.
  • An abundance of guy-out points and line-locks give the Hyperlite Flat Tarp a very high degree of versatility, allowing it to be pitched in various terrain types and styles.
  • Using the Hyperlite Flat Tarp as a standalone shelter does not exactly provide a luxurious level of livability. It offers no four-walled weather or ground protection and provides very little privacy.
  • Recommended for more experienced hikers who have developed skills in tent pitching/rigging and are comfortable living in conditions that are more exposed to outside elements.

 Reviews by our Readers


Introduction

MAKE:
Hyperlite Mountain Gear
MODEL:
Flat Tarp
TYPE:
Ultralight Tarp Shelter
MSRP PRICE:
$355
RECOMMENDED FOR:
Thru-hiking, climbing, minimalist camping, solo hiking, packrafting, ultralight backpacking, bikepacking
WARRANTY:
1-year
MODEL YEAR:
2018
WHERE TO BUY IT:
Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Website

Tarp Details

PACKED SIZE:
6.5″ x 5.5″ x 3.5″ / 16.5cm x 14cm x 8.9cm (small), 6.5″ x 5.5″ x 3.5″ / 16.5cm x 14cm x 8.9cm (large)
WEIGHT:
0.55 lbs / 8.85 oz / 251g (small), 0.61 lbs / 9.74 oz / 276g (large)
MEASUREMENTS:
Small: 8’6″ x 8’6″ / 259.1cm x 259.1cm
Large: 8’ x 10’ | 243.8cm x 304.8cm
MATERIAL:
DCF8 Dyneema
AVAILABLE COLORS:
White, Spruce Green

Written Review

For many hikers, their shelter or tent is one of the heaviest components of their camping rig. For this reason, reducing the weight and bulk of shelters is one of the main areas of focus for ultralight hikers. In terms of simplicity, no other shelter can beat the bare-bones, minimalist characteristics of a tarp. However, settling with a simple tarp often comes at the cost when it comes to sacrificing livability and weather protection.

With the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Flat Tarp, ultralight hikers no longer have to live with this compromise. This well-made ultralight tarp offers superior durability, versatility, and a safe shelter under a variety of weather conditions.

As with many of the company’s other products, at the very core of this Flat Tarp shelter is the company’s signature Dyneema Composite Fiber construction. Also known as Cuben fiber, DCF is made of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene strands woven into a grid pattern, which is then sandwiched between thin polyester films. Compared to Silnylon, DCF has all the advantages of lower weight, better durability, and a higher degree of water resistance. It also does not degrade under UV light, allowing it to last longer than most other shelter materials. The Hyperlite Flat Tarp only has a total weight of 8.85/9.74 ounces (depending on size) and is about the size of a small sleeping bag when folded up.

The Flat Tarp is available in 2 sizes: the square 8.6′ x 8.6′ and the slightly larger 8′ x 10′. The square 8.6′ x 8.6′ version is large enough for solo hiking, especially for people who have a height of 6′ or less. If you’re taller than 6′, the 8′ x 10′ option is more viable. The larger option also offers enough space for 2 people. In any case, the Hyperlite Flat Tarp features more tie-out points than you’ll likely need at any single moment. With five guy-out points along the middle and sixteen line-locks distributed along the perimeter, the Flat Tarp can be pitched in practically any space and in different pitching orientations.

The DCF construction of the Hyperlite Flat Tarp gives it excellent waterproofing. The material does not absorb water, so it doesn’t stretch or sag after getting wet. With double DCF layers reinforcing the tie-outs, this tarp is also incredibly durable and can withstand the most inhospitable inclement weather. It’s obvious that the Flat Tarp offers no insulating advantage, so it is not recommended for hiking in extreme cold or stormy weather.

A huge advantage of the many tie-out points is the ability to deploy the Hyperlite Flat Tarp in different pitching orientations. An A-frame tent is the simplest and most all-around option that provides a degree of protection against light winds and rain. For more heavy-duty protection, the Flat Tarp can also be pitched in storm mode. With so many tie-out points, it is extremely easy to achieve an even load distribution and a taut pitch to improve weather protection.

Pitching the Hyperlite Flat Tarp in any orientation takes a fair amount of practice. It does come with pre-cut tie-outs but no stakes, meaning that hikers will need to get their own sets of stakes such as the Ultralight Stake Kit from Hyperlite. In the absence of trees for natural anchors, the Flat Tarp relies on the use of trekking poles to anchor its central ridge. Since the Flat Tarp does not have grommet holes along the central ridgeline, a rudimentary knowledge of knots is necessary for setting up the tarp.

The use of high-quality materials cannot make up for the biggest drawback of using a tarp as outdoors shelter – namely, the lack of four-sided weather protection. Even when pitched in storm mode, it may be necessary to seal the sides of the tent with snow or rocks to prevent ingress of spray and wind. Hikers may also opt to use a bivy sack for better protection against bugs and ground moisture, but this might defeat the very purpose of ultralight backpacking. Even with all the remedial actions that hikers can take, a tarp shelter just cannot equal the weather protection of a fully-enclosed four-sided tent such as the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2.

As with any tarp shelter, the Hyperlite Flat Tarp does not exactly offer a luxurious level of livability. Fortunately, it has two D-ring provisions along the inner side of the ridgeline for installation of an inner tent, such as the Hyperlite Echo II Insert.

Although the 8′ x 10′ tarp provides more than enough space for two people to lie down, there’s still very limited headroom for sitting up and moving around. If you need more weather protection, deploying HMG’s Flat Tarp in storm mode further reduces the available headroom. As already mentioned, the Flat Tarp offers no four-sided weather protection or ground protection. Further, the Flat Tarp provides very little privacy for cleaning up or changing clothes after a long day of hiking.

One other thing to take note about the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Flat Tarp is the fact that it costs much more than a standard tarp. In fact, it can cost just as much as a fully enclosed 2-man tent from other brands. However, it still provides good value for money for hikers who place a high priority on weight and versatility. It’s also an extremely reliable shelter made from high-end materials.

 Warranty

All Hyperlite products are made using the highest manufacturing and product quality standards. If the Flat Tarp fails due to a manufacturing defect within a year of purchase, Hyperlite offers free repair, replacement, or refund of the original price. However, this warranty does not cover damage due to misuse, neglect, or as a result of an accident.

Take note that this warranty is voided when the product is used for commercial purposes, or if the product was purchased from an unauthorized dealer.

Pros:

  • The Hyperlite Flat Tarp is an extremely lightweight tarp made from high-end DCF material that gives it a unique combination of durability and waterproofing.
  • It is designed to withstand the roughest weather conditions with its reinforced tie-out points.
  • An abundance of tie-out points gives the Flat Tarp a high degree of versatility in terms of pitching styles and areas.

Cons:

  • The Hyperlite Flat Tarp offers no four-sided weather protection or ground protection.
  • Be prepared for a minimalist experience. There’s little headroom inside the shelter and practically no privacy.
  • Setting up this shelter requires a fair amount of experience in pitching tents and in knot tying.

 Final Thoughts

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Flat Tarp is an excellent choice for thru-hiking where a versatile and lightweight shelter is required. The simple but versatile design of the Flat Tarp makes it adaptable to varying camp and weather conditions. However, it sacrifices the level of weather protection that a four-walled tent can offer for the sake of being lightweight. Using the Flat Tarp as a standalone shelter effectively means living in the outside world, which may or may not be a good thing depending on the weather and the hiker’s disposition.

Click Here to Buy Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Flat Tarp

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