For a light, packable tent with top-notch star-gazing functionality, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than the Ghost UL 2 from Mountain Hardwear.
Weighing less than a kilogram, this two-person tent was designed with the backcountry hiker in mind and is Mountain Hardwear’s lightest offering.
As I didn’t have any plans for a longer trek, I instead tested the tent on a mossy corner of lakeshore near Bobcaygeon, Ont.
Setting up the main structure was intuitive and easy. The tent has a conservative footprint (2.6 square meters), with more space at the head that narrows at the foot.
Although meant for two, I slept solo that night and was able to fit my backpack inside and lay out my belongings for easy access.
The forecast called for a dry night, so I shirked the fly in favour of the entirely mesh top of my little enclave. This was lovely, and I fell asleep with the Milky Way twinkling above. Also, I was a little nervous about the efficacy of the fly, the breadth of which doesn’t seem to entirely cover the tent. Although a clever use of pegs turns it into a serviceable cover, I’m not sure how confident I would be in a rainstorm with sideways precipitation.
In the morning, the book and clothes I’d laid on the floor were bone dry, despite the fact that it was a dewy morning and I’d neglected to lay down a ground sheet.
Bottom line: if you need a versatile shelter that doesn’t take up much room (both packed in your bag and set up in a meadow) then the Ghost UL 2 is a solid bet.