There's a fine balance to be struck with a tent for bikepacking or touring between comfort, weight, packsize and ease of use. The Mountain Hardwear SuperMegaUL 1 is definitely light, packs down small and goes up easily, which all makes for an excellent start.
The SuperMegaUL 1 is Mountain Hardwear's lightest one-man (or woman) tent, and is aimed squarely at fast and light backpackers and cyclists, or anyone for whom low overall weight and compact packsize are absolutely crucial.
It's made using some of the lightest fabrics and components in the industry, yet is still designed to be fully weatherproof and durable.
At less than a kilo all in, it's hard to find fault with the weight of the SuperMegaUL 1. Everything packs into a decent compact space too, with the end result fitting into a rear pannier quite happily, or the pouch straps easily onto a rear rack.
The tent pitches inner first, with just two DAC Featherlight NSL poles and some clever clips and eyelets. This mesh inner is completely self-standing and makes an ideal hot weather shelter, giving protection against insects and yet allowing the breeze to pass through. The super-lightweight outer waterproof fly sheet fastens easily and mainly with just tent pegs, rather than actually clipping to the interior. This helps reduce the weight and bulk further too. There's a small porch created by the fly sheet, and mesh pockets in the inner tent to keep things tidy.
Pitching the tent was incredibly quick and easy, taking just five to ten minutes including the outer fly sheet. The poles are joined together, so there's absolutely no confusion at all as to what goes where. There's only one place they CAN go!
As tempting as the inner mesh tent is, I can't imagine it will be used alone that often in UK conditions, but it's the sort of thing that makes European touring that bit more enjoyable. I've spent many a night under canvas in the Mediterranean and roasted. This tent puts paid to that problem. With the outer, though, it's watertight and still fast to put up.
Space inside is ample for one person, even a six-footer, but definitely only one. Even spooning. The porch created by the fly sheet doesn't give much space for storage of luggage or cooking in bad weather, but it's just about big enough for a pair of rear panniers, and the less tall cyclist has space inside the tent too.
The tent was stable and didn't leak, but overall it definitely favours changeable weather rather than persistently bad weather, given the ultra-lightweight nature of the fly sheet, the lack of ventilation options and the way the outer pitches. In fairness, who wants to set off on a week's cycle tour expecting persistent rain and gail force winds? Not I! If you don't have a choice, though, a different and almost certainly heavier tent might be a better option.
Price wise, this is somewhere in the middle of the vast continuum of prices for a one-person tent, but it marks good value given that it's an extremely technical tent, extraordinarily light and very easy to pitch, perfectly tuned for solo adventures. Most tents of a comparable weight and packsize are more expensive than the SuperMegaUL 1. The more likely it is that you're going to travel to warmer climes, the better and better value this tent gets.
Light, compact, easy to pitch, roomy for one and excellent for hot conditions – spot on for touring
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Mountain Hard Wear SuperMega UL 1 Tent
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Mountain Hardwear says:
"Our lightest 1-person backpacking tent. Truly free standing, with integrated vestibule. An ultra lightweight and compact tent for fast packing, cycling and other extremely space- and weight-sensitive trips."
Does just what it's supposed to. Incredibly light and compact.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Mountain Hardwear says:
Industry leading DAC Featherlight® NSL poles
Super lightweight fabrics designed in every aspect to be as lightweight as possible but to still deliver solid protection from the elements
Guaranteed watertight construction with fully taped fly, taped perimeter seam, welded corners and welded guy clip anchors
Dry entry vestibule for added storage and convenience
Truly free standing light weight geometry and design
Welded zipper flap construction is lighter and drier than a sewn flap
Mesh pockets for interior storage
Super-light buckles and webbing reduce tent weight
Pole Type: DAC Featherlight™ NSL poles
Fabric Fly: 10D Nylon 800-1200mm PU
Fabric Canopy: 15D Poly Knit Mesh;15D Nylon Ripstop
Fabric Tent Floor: 30D Nylon Ripstop 2000 mm Ether Type PU/SIL
Weight Packed: 2 lb 3 oz / 0.98 kg
Weight Minimum: 1 lb 13 oz / 807 g
Weight Pitch Light: 1 lb 6 oz / 631 g
Tent Capacity: 1
Number of Poles: 2
Number of Doors: 1
Number of Vestibules: 1
Height Interior: 33 in / 84 cm
Length Packed: 19 in / 48 cm
Diameter Packed: 5 in / 13 cm
Tent Floor Area: 16 sq ft / 1.5 sq m
Tent Vestibule Area: 4 sq ft / 0.4 sq m
Superbly well made from high quality fabric and components.
Performed very well.
Such incredibly lightweight fabric does incur a penalty of being more likely to tear or catch on brambles and the like, but if taken care of properly and mindfully, it should last just fine.
Weight cannot be faulted, especially for a tent with plenty of space for one person.
Extremely comfortable, especially inner only for hot conditions.
Very good value for its weight and pack size. Many tents of similar spec are much more expensive.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Amount of space for one person, ease of erection, light weight and small pack size.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of ventilation options for wetter weather, slightly small porch.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, definitely
Would you consider buying the product? Probably, especially if planning overseas tours in hot conditions.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
A very well considered tent, and extremely easy to put up and take down. Best suited to occasional bad weather rather than prolonged, but up to the job nonetheless. Perfect choice for hot-conditions bike camping.
About the tester
Age: 42 Height: 1.65m Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.