Jan 2, 2009 at 4:38 pm #1232984
with three people in foul winter conditions?Jan 3, 2009 at 4:39 pm #1467781
No, but I've used a Saivo (3-person) and Jannu (2-person) in winter with two people, and the Saivo in all seasons, and have a few observations:
First, in winter, it's not unreasonable to subtract one off the official "number of people" rating of the tent due to larger sleeping bags, extra clothing, etc. I've found the Saivo to be just right for two people in winter, and bet it would be a tight fit for three even in good weather, though the dual vestibules make a huge difference.
The Jannu was a tight squeeze for two in winter, though doable.
In both cases, filling the tents to their max rating in foul weather would make the experience less comfortable.
Both tents seem to develop a fair amount of condensation on their floors when pitched on snow, which gets worse the more people are inside of it, and the more active they are. Wet weather compounds the condensation issue (not unique to these tents, obviously), and the more people you have in there, the more you'll add to the moisture load.
The Nammatj shares a feature of the Jannu: one vestibule, plus a sloping rear portion of the tent. Because of that, the flexibility goes down, and with more than one person in the tent, it's likely that sleeping bags will end up touching the rear sloping wall. Hilleberg suggests draping a shell jacket over the foot of your sleeping bag to compensate.
Because of the vestibules at both ends, I've found the Saivo more flexible and comfortable for extreme weather, and I'm betting the same would be true of the Keron versus the Nammatj. Both of the latter would be more flexible in severe weather with the GT extended vestibules, but of course that adds some weight.
Beyond those issues, these are superb tents for bad weather; stable, waterproof, and reliable – also easy to pitch, and because of the way the inner is attached to the outer tent, able to be pitched without getting the inside wet or snowy.
What, specifically, are you hoping to learn? What conditions and types of trips do you hope to use the Hillebergs for?Jan 5, 2009 at 4:48 pm #1468136
Thanks for the feedback.
There is a possibility that I might take a winter backpacking trip with my two adult sons – most likely CA. Was searching and reading about winter tents. These seemed to be among the best when it comes to shelter strength.
I'm comfortable with summer SUL and spring/fall UL, but don't have sufficient winter skills. My thinking was to start with a winter shelter choosing a safe, strong one.
I like the MLD Silnylon Mid (Erin & Hig), but unfortunately don't possess their amazing winter skills to handle adverse conditions.
We used to ski alot when they were younger. We've been in some pretty cold and harsh, snowy conditions, but we could always retreat to a warm lodge or car. : )Jan 6, 2009 at 10:17 am #1468267
The 'mids are certainly another way to go – I know a lot of people that like them, but I'll also note that they spend a fair amount of time setting them up (digging out a pit, in particular), and they're left somewhat more exposed to the elements. Depending on your preferences and the weather, that could be positive or negative.
Take a look at the Kaitum 3 or even the new Kaitum 3GT as possibilities, if you want to stick with Hillebergs. They're tunnel tents like the Nammatj and Keron, but lighter. Very roomy, and one of the other editors here has posted about how much he likes his Kaitum. It would hold up fine in any conditions California could throw at it, and be useful in more than just winter as well.Jan 6, 2009 at 10:31 am #1468270
George, I've used the Keron 3 and 4 with 3 and 4 people in stormy winter weather many times as these were the tents used on ski tours I've led Spitsbergen, Greenland and other places. I found them excellent. There is a little more space and comfort if you sleep 2 in the 3 and 3 in the 4.Jan 9, 2009 at 10:34 am #1468946
Your two recent articles are excellent sources of knowledge and inspiration. Unfortunately, the winter trip to CA with my sons is not going to happen this year. Our schedules just didn't work out.
However, I'm going to improve my winter backpacking skills this winter. I know, it's about time for me to get out in the cold : ) Funny how all of sudden this forum and related articles became very interesting to me.Jan 17, 2009 at 1:58 pm #1470858
George, sorry the trip is not working out. My wife and I are also polishing our winter backpacking skills after recent winter hiking and snowshoeing and looking for a good winter tent. You'll probably find this thread very helpful: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=5345&startat=100
We're also looking at Hilleberg tents, particularly the Jannu, Nammatj 3 and Allak, trying to strike a balance between strength, quiet in winds, ability to handle snow loads and weight. I'm 6 ft tall 185 lbs and my wife's 5 ft 6 130 lbs , and I can sit up and stretch out in all of the above tents.
Steve and Chris, I've been trying hard to strike a balance between winter use (ability to handle snow loads and wind), space and weight. I'm looking for a winter all-arounder my wife and I can also use in 3 season windy exposed higher campgrounds as well, and obviously lighter weight would help. I thought the Saivo was a great design (dome + double vestibules) but leaned toward the Jannu for the weight savings so it could be used for 3 season higher exposed sites. If you have a chance, appreciate it very much if you could comment. I just can't imagine carrying the 10 lbs 4 oz packaged weight Saivo for 3 season higher, exposed use. Perhaps we should just focus on a more solid winter tent and deal with the weight, as we're saving weight in many other places.
BTW, Chris, your Backpacker's Handbook is a classic and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it after getting back from my military service. It was great to see you on BPL. And Steve, I've greatly benefited from your BPL articles and comments.Jan 17, 2009 at 2:05 pm #1470859
You are also making me reconsider the Kaitum, though I worry about it flapping around in high winds and thus steered toward the Jannu's 3 pole 3 x crossed dome design.
Would you recommmend replacing the Hilleberg stakes to save weight?
Which snow stakes/anchors would you recommend?
I'd bring snow stakes and some regular stakes as I could see conditions where you'd wind up using both.Jan 17, 2009 at 3:00 pm #1470877
EJ, Glad to hear you enjoyed my book. I wouldn't want to carry the Saivo either. I haven't used the Jannu but I'd rather have the extra space of a Nammatj or Keron, both of which I've used on really windy exposed sites.
George, sorry to hear your trip is off. I hope you enjoy the winter anyway.Jan 17, 2009 at 3:38 pm #1470881
How's the Nammatj for 1) quiet in high winds and 2) ability to handle snow loads?
Being a tunnel and presenting a near horizontal roof surface with material between hoops, I thought snow load could be an issue, but this is probably balanced by the fact that the Nammatj uses heavier Kerlon 1800 and 10 mm poles instead of the Jannu's Kerlon 1200 and 9 mm poles.
For non-arctic winter conditions, do you still take the Kerlon, or opt for the lighter Nammatj or a similar tent? In other words, do you look to save weight on your winter tent, or always go with the added safety margin of the more solid tent?
By the way, my wife's father's family is from Scotland and she spent a year studying in Edinburgh. Can't wait to visit – she tells me Scotland can easily rival and even best Vermont and New Hampshire for wind and wet – which is why I pay particularly close attention to your articles and comments on walking in the wet.Jan 17, 2009 at 4:20 pm #1470891
The Nammatj is quite quiet as long as it's pitched with the back into the wind. It handles snow loads fine. The roof slopes enough for snow to slide off as long as it's pitched tautly.
Because I usually camp solo I mostly use either the Hilleberg Akto or the GoLite Shangri-La 3 in winter. This winter I've been trying the Hilleberg Soulo, which is very stable but relatively heavy, and the TarpTent Scarp 1, which I haven't tested severely yet but which looks good and weighs a bit less. If camping with two I would use the Nammatj 2.
The Scottish Highlands can indeed rival Vermont and New Hampshire for wind and wet. There's one difference – far less forest so more exposure to the weather. I spent two weeks hiking in the White Mountains in New Hampshire a few winters ago and the weather was very like Scotland. I did like being able to drop into the trees for a sheltered camp.Jan 18, 2009 at 4:38 pm #1471065
The dome tents are great particularly for base camp style winter camping, where you set up for a few days and go off to ski or snowshoe, as they can handle static loads well. They actually flap a bit in the wind too – the vestibule fabric, rather than the main tent body – so I don't know if that should be a deciding factor on which one to pick. I do find them more stable, especially in shifting winds that tend to deform tunnel tents – but both styles will ride that out just fine, especially when fully guyed.
I really enjoy using the Jannu as a solo winter tent when I'm hauling in gear on a sled, and the Saivo for two – and trust them in any weather. For use in other seasons, they're quite fine, but there are better-suited, lighter tents for that – even in the Hilleberg line.
For fine winter use and good flexibility in where/when you'd find them comfortable the rest of the year, I still would suggest looking at the Kaitum and Kaitum GT models. You can roll up the vestibules at both ends and have superb ventilation, and you get the benefits of the tunnel design for roominess and ease of pitching.
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