The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ground Cloth is a 3.77 oz / 107 g rectangle of green DCF8 Dyneema® Composite Fabric measuring 96 x 52 in / 244 x 132 cm. It’s a groundsheet, you know, that thing you put on the ground when you camp to protect your gear from whatever horrors may be strewn about your campsite.
If you’re still confused about what this is, it’s basically the same thing as a tent footprint.
Why do you need a groundsheet? The short answer is, you don’t. Many hikers use a sheet of tyvek as their groundsheet if they don’t have a footprint for their tent (or their shelter isn’t compatible, in the traditional sense, with a footprint). But for those who want a groundsheet and don’t mind spending what most people would call a silly amount of money for something that does nothing more than lay on the ground, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ground Cloth is an option.
I used the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ground Cloth for 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of the Pacific Crest Trail and on multiple shorter backpacking trips both before and since.
- Weight: 3.77 oz / 107 g
- Material: DCF8 Dyneema® Composite Fabric
- Corner material: DCF11 Dyneema® Composite Fabric
- Dimensions: 96 x 52 in / 244 x 132 cm
- Floor area: 34.66 ft2 / 3.22 m2
- Color: Green
- Country of origin: USA
- MSRP: $170
- Made in Maine
- Corners reinforced with DCF11 Dyneema® Composite Fabric
- Six 1/2″ lightweight binding tie-out points
- Comes with Small Drawstring Stuff Sack
THE WEIGHT | The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ground Cloth is made of DCF8 Dyneema® Composite Fabric – the lightest(?), toughest, waterproof material available. Tyvek weighs about 0.22 oz per square foot (68 g per square meter) while DCF8 Dyneema® Composite Fabric weighs just 0.057 oz per square foot (17.29 g per square meter). This makes the HMG Ground Cloth nearly 75% lighter than a comparable tyvek groundsheet.
THE COMPACTNESS | This groundsheet packs up small and comes in a Dyneema® stuff sack. It’s hardly noticeable in my pack and I usually just slip it down the side somewhere next to my tent. For how big it is, 34.66 ft2 / 3.22 m2, it packs down surprisingly small.
THE STAKE-OUT LOOPS | Each corner of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ground Cloth has a stake-out (tie-out?) loop. I imagine these as being for staking the groundsheet out (although I usually end up using rocks, or my gear, in the corners), but putting stakes through these loops is made difficult by the fact that 1) they’re quite small and 2) they’re oriented with the openings parallel to the ground instead of perpendicular to it (see photo below if this doesn’t make sense).
THE CONDENSATION | I often wake up with a lot of condensation under the groundsheet (when cowboy camping) which means that the bottom picks up a lot of dirt (and what’s hopefully not poop) when I’m packing it up. Dyneema® doesn’t absorb water, but that doesn’t mean that this thing easily shakes dry. I usually end up packing it dirty and still a little wet, but it dries quickly if you’re lucky enough to have a spot of sunshine to lay it out in.
THE PRICE | I’ve been avoiding saying it for this entire post, but the price of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ground Cloth is absurd. At $170, I’m embarrassed to say I even own one, but the ultralight movement has convinced people that price and weight are inversely related and that so long as you can say you have the lightest of something, the sky’s the limit in terms of price. That said, if you were really ultralight, you wouldn’t need a groundsheet now, would you?
THE NAME | I think calling this a ground cloth instead of a groundsheet (as it’s normally called) has to do with the fact that this piece of fabric costs $170. Perhaps ground cloth sounds more sophisticated than groundsheet and so people feel that the price is a bit more justified. However, I’m here to remind you that this is simply a piece of fabric that you’re putting on the ground to sleep on (I guess you could tie it out as a tarp if you really wanted to).
Who is it for?
BEGINNER BACKPACKERS | If you’re just getting into backpacking, there is zero reason you should ever consider buying a Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ground Cloth.
WEEKEND WARRIORS | Going on the occasional weekend backpacking trip? Your money is better off being invested in a lighter tent than in a lighter groundsheet like the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ground Cloth.
THRU-HIKERS | Perhaps the only group of people who should even consider this piece of gear, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ground Cloth could be an option for thru-hikers if you want something tough, waterproof, and light. However, if you’re not as worried about durability and simply want a barrier between you and the ground, you can always get yourself a sheet of polycryo (i.e. window insulation). It’s about half the weight of DCF8 Dyneema®.
There is a small number of backpackers who could be considered a market for the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ground Cloth.
If you’re looking for something that’s just as tough and waterproof but that’s a bit heavier, check out tyvek. If you’re not worried about how tough your groundsheet is and want something even lighter, check out polycryo. That said, I do like the HMG Ground Cloth (but I also feel silly having it – so expensive).
Check out the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ground Cloth here.
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