My experience . . . I don't always have much time to get shelter over my head. No time to unpack and pitch a tent. No time to find trees and string a tarp. Or no trees. Most of those moments are driven by the undercurrent of desperation as violent squall or windstorm is approaching. And it's in those conditions that a 'mid' shelter is a godsend. The teepee style tent goes up with a single pole and quick stake out. Hyperlite uses their patented cuben fabric construction to design two- and four-person mid tents that are both light and durable in every season and environment. Two trekking poles strapped together form the center support pole, and it goes up in a matter of minutes, hopefully before whatever impending deluge is upon you. Actually, the most time-consuming part of set up is strapping the two trekking poles together. The Ultamid is also sweet for shade on a hot desert afternoon (vents at the peak enhance the air flow) or as the tent on trips free of bugs. I've even pitched one over passengers in the front of a raft during a sleet storm. The price tag is the main drawback, but the benefits are clear: ease of setup, quality of design, and the ability to sleep two people under a one-pound shelter.

Intel: 16.6 oz., 63 sq. ft. and 64" height, $675; www.hyperlitemountaingear.com.