For the serious backpacker, it is important to balance durability and quality with keeping your gear as lightweight as possible. In the rugged backcountry, it is important that your tent is sturdy, spacious, and hardwearing. At the same time, though, you don’t want your tent to weigh too much and take up precious space in your pack. Finding a happy medium between these two important attributes can be difficult, but it is definitely possible to find a tent that is fit for your needs. You may want to consider this Mountain Hardwear Ghost Sky 2.
What to Look For
Size and Weight
For backpackers, every ounce matters. The goal is to find the lightest tent possible, without sacrificing any features such as durability and space. Your choice in tent is a pivotal opportunity that can either lighten your load or weigh you down. It’s important to remember that with modern advancements, weight is not actually the best measurement of a product's durability or strength. The best indicator is in the seasonality of the tent, not the weight. This may seem counter-intuitive, but ultralight materials can be just as strong as heavier materials nowadays.
There are three main types of tent seasonalities; 3-season, extended 3-season, and 4-season. 3-season tents are most popular, as they are lightweight, and designed for relatively temperate conditions. Their main purpose is to keep you dry, shield you from insects, and provide privacy. Extended 3-season tents are designed to be suitable for summer use in addition to early spring and late fall, where you might have to withstand some inclement weather. 4-season tents are true to their name in being engineered to withstand heavy snow, high winds, and colder temperatures. These tents can be used in any season, but are specially designed to shield you in more extreme weather. Tents are not one size fits all. A backpacker should use their own personal judgement in evaluating whether they will need a 4-season mountaineering tent, or a 3-season tent for temperate conditions.
It is important to keep in mind when shopping for a tent that fabric canopies with higher-denier materials are more rugged than those with lower-denier materials. In addition, higher-denier floors are more durable and more successful in preventing leakage.
In many tents, mesh panels are used to provide a view and ventilate the tent to manage condensation. This is ideal for hot, humid climates. However, it holds in less warmth, so mesh panels are not as good for colder climates.
Overview and Features
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Sky 2-person tent is a durable, yet lightweight tent that offers many features desirable to backpackers. The construction is marketed as guaranteed waterproof by the manufacturers, due to a taped perimeter seam and a fully taped fly. There are two mesh doors with two vestibules that offer shelter and extra storage.
The Ghost Sky 2 fly and floor are constructed of 40-denier Nylon Ripstop. The canopy is 20-denier Nylon Ripstop. This is about average durability for a tent, though it may be a little low for a tent that is to be used for rugged backcountry trips. The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Sky 2 has mesh panels that allow for cross-ventilation, while the fly is watertight and provides protection from the elements in temperate climates. The buckles and webbing are designed to be ultralight to take away from the weight of the tent without taking away any comfort or practicality. The interior has mesh pockets for easy storage and to keep your gear organized.
- The mesh panels provide good ventilation, so it is an ideal tent for hot, humid weather.
- The taped seams of the fly and tent perimeter provide a watertight seal to prevent leakage.
- The construction of the tent is designed to be light, so it is perfect for backpackers. The welded zipper flap construction is lighter and drier than traditional sewn flaps, and the buckles and webbing are designed to be super light.
- Interior mesh pockets provide additional storage.
- 2 entry doors provide convenient access, and the 2 dry entry vestibules provide additional storage space for your gear, and extra protection from the elements.
- The 3 poles make for easy pitching.
- The Ghost Sky 2 has an average denier, which may be too low for some rough backpacking adventures.
- While marketed for two occupants, with an interior of only 27 square feet, it may get a little cramped with two campers inside.
- This 3-season tent would not be good for colder, wetter climates which may require a more durable tent.
- This tent is at the upper end of the price range at $429 from the manufacturer.
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Sky 2 Tent
39 in / 99 cm
9 sq ft / .83 sq m
8 in / 19 cm
DAC Featherlight™ NSL
24 in / 61 cm
Number of poles
3lb 9oz / 1.61kg
4lb 1oz / 1.84kg
Internal Storage Pockets
27 sq ft / 2.5 sq m
20D Nylon Ripstop
87 in / 221 cm
40D Nylon Ripstop
49 in / 124 cm
40D Nylon Ripstop
41 in / 104 cm
Overall, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Sky 2 person tent is an ideal tent for a single backpacker who is looking to remove weight while retaining quality. The Ghost Sky 2 is durable, yet super light, and provides a spacious, waterproof and well-ventilated shelter for a single adventurer. Entry is easy with the two zippered mesh doors, and the two vestibules provide extra dry storage and easy dry entry. The main drawbacks to this tent are that it has a lower-denier than what a rugged backpacker may desire, and that it will not comfortably fit two occupants like it is said to do. This would be a good tent for a backpacker with a higher budget, looking to save some weight in their pack for additional gear.