Mountain Equipment AR Ultralite 1
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Revised for 2006, the Ultralite 1 sneaks in at just over 1kg: that's an incredible achievement for Mountain Equipment's tent designers. Trekkers and adventure racers can save even more weight by leaving the supplied aluminium poles at home and using trekking poles in their place. Alternatively, you can suspend the roof of the tent from a tree. Fabric swatches for emergency repairs are included.
Please note, the slightly larger AR Ultralite 2 is still available.
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Mountain Equipment AR Ultralite 1 Reviews
Reviewed by Nick Rose (Huddersfield) on 2006-09-01:
General comments: I bought an AR Ultralight in 2005 when they first came out. It was bought unseen off the web, my decision was based on price and lightweight; as a 64 year old trying to be Peter Pan the lighter the pack the better.
The tent that I purchased is now being sold as the Ultralight II but is the one in your illustration and any commentsare for that but I think they may give an idea on the 1 man version.
At that time Mountain Equipment claimed it weighed under a Kilo whereas my vendor Hike-Lite said that they had weighed it at 1.25 Kg. At that time the tent was being sold without poles as it is designed for use with trekking poles. 2006 models now have poles. Hike-Lite said they had tried it out double pegged in a force 4-5 wind and it had performed satisfactorily.
The design is simple and gives an easily erected tent [in the ultralight II a very large footprint and 2 porches.] The shallow slope to the rear however limits the usable height at that end. When first erected in my garden I was concerned with the outer and inner separation at the rear and changed the shock cords to increase this.
I used it on a 10 day GR trek in France, it was not the most testing environment but it performed perfectly well in two periods of heavy overnight rain. There is the same problem with this tent as with any other small nylon tent , condensation on the underside of the outer even with its 2 large vents; so although inner and outer erect an take down as one I find in practice you have to separate the two and pack them separately which is easily done.[Nb 2other tents I've had VangoTBS 100 & Saunders Jetpacker were exactly the same]
Mine isa largish tent with not many pegging points and I would be concerned if I was in a high wind in an exposed position. I have now bought a set of titanium pegs and alloy spikes from Alpkit to peg it in harder ground.
Pros: Light weight easily erected and taken down. I also like the colour.
My tents footprint is very large and roomy for not much more weight than the ultralight 1.
Cons: Maybe not a tent for exposed positions.
Reviewed by robbie millar (glasgow) on 2007-03-22:
General comments: I wouldn't disagree with any of the previous comments, but there's a couple of points I'd like to throw in. First off, the pegs supplied are excellent, lightest V-pegs I've come across, and easily wiped clean unlike deeper V-shapes. I added an extra couple of guypoints in the middle of the longer side-doors upon first getting the tent and sealing the seams. Don't know if this actually improved stability, but I have no complaints in that regard. It stood up to a gale one morning that was so strong I later saw vortices spilling over Ben Stack and crossing the Loch, whipping up spray into little "water devils"! The amount of room for one is massive, and you could seriously contemplate using it for two. The lack of elbow room (for two) in the inner tent would be offset by the twin entrances and bell-end spaces to stash your gear separately. That luxurious amount of room does give one disadvantage however, as I sometimes struggle to find a decent flat pitch big enough! I used a coleman single hoop before, and the convenience of finding a pitch for that is a noticeable diifference on the hill. About the only other mod I'd like to see would be a guy pullout in the middle of the head-end panel, and connected through to the inner. This would improve the inner's space. All in all an excellent, simple tent!
Pros: Room, weight..... and price!
Cons: Bit of a struggle sometimes (compared to smaller solos) finding a rough pitch on the hill.
Reviewed by Paul Willgoss (Liverpool, UK) on 2007-05-24:
General comments: I've the orginal AR, which technically is a 2-man tent... I say technically because there's no way you'd fit 2 my size in (6foot and chunky).
Its light, a shade under a kilo, has a decent stuff sack which is baggy to get it in and and then compresses down well.
Using either walking poles poles, or in my case home made ultralite tent poles it goes up in a jiffy. It goes up "as one", so is ready to provide shelter within minutes. Because it is bigger than most 1 man tents it can difficult finding somewhere to pitch that is flat all over.
Also the large panel needs to be pointing into the wind, or it can get a bit "flappy" that said it has stood up to storm weather on the top of hills whilst wild camping.
The now standard reflective guylines and luminscent pulls and to the ease of pitching (or at least finding the pitched tent). The two porches are superb, giving enough space to roll over, through the large mesh opening, and cook breakfast. While on the other side the rucksack can readily sit and wait for you.
At the point the height is good, and plenty for me (6ft), and the length means there's plenty of room for me without touching the ends or sides.
Pros: Light, roomy easy to pitch
Cons: can be a bit flappy!