I had been wanting to lighten my shelter for a while now and when Hyperlite Mountain Gear had a -25% sale in December, it was finally time to pull the trigger. Since my brother needed a shelter as well, we joined and bought the UltaMid 2 and UltaMid 4.
My brother needs a bigger shelter as he often hikes with his family (wife + two kids), and I usually need a smaller shelter as I hike solo with my dog, Fire.
When looking at reviews online, we never found any size comparisons between the two, either when packed or when pitched. So once we finally received our mid's a side-by-side comparison was in order.
Just by looking at the specs you can see there's an obvious size difference between the two. The four-person UltaMid 4 is 281.9cm × 281.9cm (111'' × 111'') wide and 190.5cm (75'') tall, whereas the two-person UltaMid 2 is 210.8cm × 271.8cm (83'' × 107'') wide and 162.6cm (64'') tall.
While this will give you some idea about their sizes, I find it hard to capture the size of a shelter just by looking at the specs.
When pitched side-by-side, you can clearly see the UltaMid 4 is quite a lot larger than the UltaMid 2. The larger dimensions also mean the UltaMid 4 requires a larger area to pitch.
While the two-person UltaMid 2 is very spacious for its weight and packed size, the four-person UltaMid 4 is humongous. You could almost park a car in there.
The UltaMid 2 is a palace for me and Fire. You can easily get all your gear inside, and there's ample room for Fire to roam around during the night (he likes to switch spots every few hours).
The UltaMid 4 will easily fit three-person plus their gear, even four. If you value space in your shelter, or you need something that'll fit a family, this is perfect for the size and weight. The 190cm (75'') center height means you can almost stand up inside.
Packed size and weight
As I mostly need a shelter that fits me + my dog, the UltaMid 2 seemed just the perfect size for us, plus our gear. And it's still big enough to fit an extra person if I was hiking with a buddy who wasn't carrying a shelter. Also, while the UltaMid 4 seemed too big for most of my needs, the biggest reason for going with the two-person version was the weight and what I thought would be a smaller package in your backpack.
HMG states the weights for the UltaMid 2 and 4 with guidelines as 499g (16.6 oz) and 618g (20.8 oz), respectively. In real life, I had a hard time telling them apart by their weight.
Originally I had thought that as the UltaMid 4 has much more fabric, it would also require a lot more space in the backpack. Imagine how surprised I was when I picked both of them up and on my way to take the picture above, I couldn't tell which one was which. I literally turned around and asked "wait, which one is the four-person one?". The weight difference is so small, and they come in the same size stuff sacks, that unless you compress them properly down, you can't tell a difference.
While I was really impressed by the weight, size and space of the UltaMid 2, what really surprised me was how packable and light the humongous four-person UltaMid 4 is. It's easily small and light enough to carry as a solo shelter, still spacious enough to fit a family of four.
Two thumbs up for both of them!