- Feb 9, 2013 at 8:31 pm #1952756
Wow Doug that shelter looks sooo cozy!! Makes me want one…Feb 9, 2013 at 9:08 pm #1952759
Thanks for sharing your photos of the Saitaris. That's a veritable home away from home. Although at 14lb, I wouldn't be taking it without a pulk. At half the weight I have the Kaitum 3. I looked but I don't have any interior shots of it, but here it is in action in late September just below the continental divide in Fox Park, Indian Peaks Wilderness, CO. Altitude was about 11,000ft, and the overnight temps got down to the high teens. Nowhere near the snow you encountered, as you'll see, but worthy of 4 season use.
The Kaitum is the widest of the 3P Hilleberg tents. Three 20" pads fit side-by-side, with perhaps an inch or two in between. The double vestibules and the vertical doors on both ends meant there was no feeling of claustrophobia. As Stephen says, this is fine for three adult males for a short trip in winter, or two adults and a child plus 1-2 dogs in a vestibule for a longer trip.Feb 9, 2013 at 10:05 pm #1952768
Jennifer, it was cozy :) In fact my pup, Vixen, did not want to leave it when it came time to take it down. lol
Stuart, thanks for the pictures of the Kaitum, the more the merrier. I can never get tired of looking at Hilleberg tent photos. Thanks for both you and Stephen for the size description. I thought I'd studied the Hilleberg tents pretty well but I had no idea the width of the Kaitum 3 was that much greater…11" wider than their other 3 person tents! And I agree with you, a pulk would have been very nice. I didn't go far from the car on this trip, only a few hundred yards across a meadow, but even that distance with all my gear and the tent I was feeling it (plus the elevation got to me). A pulk would have been really nice to have.
I've sort of decided that for winter camping, since the gear is so much bulkier and heavier, if I'm not going to be close to a vehicle I want a pulk instead of a backpack.Feb 10, 2013 at 6:13 am #1952813
Not that I ever actually need a reason to buy gorgeous backpacking gear, but…
Wow these tents just look amazing. They are, however, quite bomber and heavy. So outside of winter use, why would one use such a tent? Bigger groups? Strong winds? I'm just not sure how I could justify owning one of these beauties unless I did a lot of winter outings…
(She says as she checks her pay pal balance…)Feb 10, 2013 at 6:48 am #1952824
I have two Hilleberg Tents, the Kaitum 3 above and the 1 person Soulo.
The Kaitum is primarily for use for winter and bad weather both for US and back in Europe, its light enough it can be carried between 2 but between 3 its an easy carry.
I will pack the in the US Soulo anytime the forecasted wind speeds are over 35-40mph or if snow is forecasted, also when heading to Europe I will pack it each time if going on solo trips as I am often gone for 4 weeks.
A lot of folk on here would not dream of carrying a Hilleberg (but a lot do), it really comes down to personal preference, all the rest of my kit is UL for its intended use and my 3 season Tent is a Tarp Tent Startosphie 1 (which is a fine shelter)
Check out Moontrail for decent photos of the Kaitum 3.
StephenFeb 10, 2013 at 6:48 am #1952825
Richard LyonBPL Member
@richardglyonLocale: Bridger Mountains
Now that Hilleberg offers mesh inners for some models (as an extra, still more dollars), its tents are great year-round. They are heavy by BPL standards but the durability and size justify the weight in my opinion. I use my Unna all the time. A lifetime investment.
RichardFeb 10, 2013 at 7:13 am #1952832
That tent is nicer than my house.Feb 10, 2013 at 7:19 am #1952837
That tent certainly is far sturdier and well built than my house.Feb 10, 2013 at 7:25 am #1952838
It is nicer than my condo. And yes, probably bigger, too.
I've seen them, drooled over them, but just couldn't justify one. I'd like to get into more winter trips, and once I move out west perhaps I can find it in my pocketbook to invest in one of these bad boys as I would have more of a use for something like this. I want very badly to have a good use for one ;)Feb 10, 2013 at 7:33 am #1952844
I was lucky enough to get the Soulo discounted from Hilleberg and bought Kaitum off a Bpl member :-)Feb 10, 2013 at 7:34 am #1952845
I had an Akto for a coupe of years, and more recently a Nammatj. The performance is of the highest level, assuming one can deal with the weight. Having said that, this is an instance of getting something for the increased weight, all of which improves the all weather performance of the tent.Feb 10, 2013 at 8:37 am #1952867
I had a good poke around a Nammatj in a shop last yar and was very impressed with it, do you use it solo?Feb 10, 2013 at 10:28 am #1952895
Jennifer, it is very dangerous to ask a group of Hilleberg fans to extol the virtues of their tents. You may have just opened Pandora's Box. ;-)
Since I'm about to sound like a Hilleberg add, I need to disclose that I have never gotten a penny from the company, or compensated in any way…and with the amount of advertising I've done for them they owe me at least a Nammatj 3GT or an Unna…(are you reading this Petra?) hahahahaha.
OK, so down to your question; A Hilleberg might not be for everyone. They are simply too heavy for many people to even consider. When I go on solo summer backpacking trips I've been using my BA Copper Spur. It is a great tent for that purpose, and the lightest I'm willing to go. I'm the kind of hiker who likes to have a real tent when I get to where I'm going, and I don't care for trekking poles at all. That said, if I'd looked into the Unna or the Akto before I bought the Copper Spur, I likely would have gone the Hilleberg route for even solo camping.
Now on to their bigger tents; Ventilation is excellent. I can see why in some of their smaller tents with one door, a mesh inner tent would be nice in hot weather. But in my opinion any of their tents with 2 doors (Staika, Tarra, Saivo, Kaitum, Keron, Saitaris to name some) have excellent ventilation to the point of the standard yellow inner being fine year round. The Saivo in specific with it's vents at either end and two huge roof vents is a venting machine.
I use my Hillebergs year round, even for good weather, summer camping. The same thing that makes them excellent for going to the north or south pole, makes them great for me as well…longevity and ergonomics. These tents last forever (almost). There is a couple named Simon and Lisa Thomas who have ridden their motorcycles around the world for the past 10 years, from both the most northerly and southerly roads capable of being motorcycled in the world. They have used two Keron 4GT's for the past 10 years (replaced their first one after 5 years). In my opinion, 5 years of living out of the same tent from the hottest deserts of the world to the coldest arctic areas and having it last that long is a testiment to durability. When you get a Hilleberg catalogue they include swatches of tent material…standard ripstop nylon, and their Kerlon 1200 and 1800 fabrics. The swatches have a tear started in them already, and the idea is to rip the material apart to see the strength. The Hilleberg fabrics are pretty much impossible to rip by hand, especially the 1800.
For ergonomics the ease of set-up by one person, in foul weather, is incredible. So is their space. When Hilleberg calls it a 2 person tent, they really mean it's a 2 person tent, plus gear.
So in closing, Hilleberg will always be my tent of choice from here on out, simply because I like having confidence in my gear. Unless weight is your absolutely highest priority (and for many it is), I can't see a reason NOT to go with a Hilleberg. Even cost will be lower in the long run, with how long they last.
Even though I'm thrilled to death with the new Saitaris, the Tarra is still the most impressive tent in their line-up to me. It has the space of a tunnel, with the bombproof and easy set-up of a dome. For motorcycle camping for 1 or 2 people the Tarra probably couldn't be beat by any tent on the market.Feb 10, 2013 at 10:47 am #1952898
Doug – You've written previously about your Tarra and Nammatj 2. Do you still have those, now you're in possession of the Saitaris? I recall you thought the combination of the first two would work well for your family trips. Did you have a rethink?
I am now down to 2 Hillies – like Stephen I have a Soulo and a Kaitum 3. Petra graciously let me return my unused Staika after three months for a refund. Back problems last year meant I couldn't fathom carrying a shelter that heavy. Others have said it's perfect for motorcycle touring, kayak touring or use with a pulk – just not carried on your back. I've become more confident in the weather-handling of the tunnel tents, and I really appreciate the amount of extra space vs a dome.
Eventually I see myself using the Kaitum for winter backcountry trips, but with a young child and a tax accountant wife, my opportunities are slim at the moment. We'll be using it as a family shelter this coming summer. My two 60-70lb dogs fit perfectly in one vestibule and there's plenty of space for my rambunctious son to entertain himself with projects in case of bad weather.Feb 10, 2013 at 11:18 am #1952911
Hi Stuart, I bet the Kaitum will work very well for a family summer tent.
I only have the Tarra and Saitaris now. I had the Nammatj 2 (non-GT), and briefly had a Saivo, which I upgraded to the Saitaris from.
Here's my thoughts on the two I didn't keep for long. The Nammatj 2 was a great tent, that I probably didn't give enough of a chance to. It was my first tunnel tent and after camping at a designated site (improved campground), where the ground was incredibly rocky and hard, I sort of got turned off the tunnel concept. Since then I've realized that I was using the wrong stakes for the ground conditions. I now carry all three types of pegs with me every time I camp (snow stakes, standard pegs, and titanium "nail" stakes). You're going to be shocked when I tell you what stakes I used with the Saitaris on this snow camping photo I just put up…the titanium nails. What you can't see in the photo is that when I set up the Saitaris it was about 3 or 4" of fresh powder on top of pure ice. The titanium nails were the only stakes I had that would penetrate the ice, even with a hammer to put them in. They held great. I have really learned that the only way to play it safe for staking is to carry a variety.
So in hindsight, I would like to give a tunnel another chance, but this time I would go for the Nammatj 3 GT. Unfortunately I can't justify another Hille now that we have the Tarra and Saitaris.
Now about the Saivo. I know that people who use it as intended, 2 or 3 person basecamps for a mountaineering tent, will have the perfect tent for their task. Here is what I didn't like about it for my uses: A dome really needs to have the head-room for me to be happy in it. I have to be able to sit up without hitting my head on the ceiling. The Tarra, because of it's tunnel/ dome shape, has exellent headroom for a 2 person "dome". The Saivo happens to land in that unfortunate spot where it is wide enough to hold 3 people, but the walls are too slanted to have decent headroom except for in the middle.
The Saitaris, on the other hand, is large enough that 4 grown people can sit a comfortable distance away from each other and still have enough headroom near the walls. It's going to sound really bad, but to me the Saivo felt like a smaller tent than the Tarra, but for more money and two extra pounds packed weight. Even the vestibules are much smaller, since the Saivo's inner tent doors are so slanted. The Tarra vestibules are the same size as the Saivo on paper, but much larger in real life. I don't mean to knock the Saivo…if you use it as intented It's a bombproof tent. But for my needs I wanted a more all-around tent and it landed in the middle of two sizes I like much better.Feb 10, 2013 at 11:52 am #1952921
The Bpl review of the Kiatum 2 is what swung it for me, Its weak point is snow accumulation on the roof but if there is 2 or 3 folks in the tent someone will wake up every few hours and knock the snow off, but when I am solo camping I prefer the Dome protection of Soulo so I can sleep in peace.
StephenFeb 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm #1952967
Has anyone had a look at the Anjan yet?Feb 10, 2013 at 3:03 pm #1952974
Doug – I can absolutely understand where you're coming from. In addition to the Soulo, Staika and Kaitum 3 I've mentioned before, I tried an Akto, a Nallo 2 and a Nallo 3GT. The Akto design is a good one, but the TarpTent Scarp 1 is the better variant. I didn't get on with the Nallo 2's sloping roofline – two people couldn't sit up comfortably at once. I liked the Nallo 3GT a lot – the extended vestibule was awesome – but decided that more space in the inner tent and two vestibules was more important for the same weight, which I why I kept the Kaitum 3 instead.
From the photos I see the Saitaris has boatloads of headroom, much more so than any other in the range except the Atlas or Altai. The Kaitum 3 is fine, but I wouldn't be doing calisthenics in there :-) I think the Saitaris has a good 8" more headroom. How was the ventilation with the combination of vestibule vents and roof vents open? I really appreciate the vestibule vents on the Kaitum. And how was the wind noise with the roof vent cover? A complaint I've heard but yet to experience with the Soulo is that the vent cover can flap around noisily in strong winds.
As for the pegs you used, I can believe it. The main part of the shelter is freestanding, so it's really only the vestibule that needs to be anchored to maintain its structure, and the guylines to keep the side panels strong under a heavy snowload. One time I neglected to secure the guyline on the back of the Soulo (ie opposite the door). We had 2' wet heavy snow overnight, and when I woke up the inner tent had lost 1/3 of its usable space due to the weight of snow on the large panels of Kerlon 1200.
What I couldn't tell is whether you dug down before you pitched the Saitaris, and/or piled snow against the sides. I'll assume there was some accumulation overnight, but I'd expect to see some on the top of the vestibule unless it was all windblown.
There's one other model I'm tempted by, and that's the Jannu. However the entrance is very low due to its profile, and I'm told it's like crawling under a tarp to get in there. That, and it's snug for two.Feb 10, 2013 at 3:21 pm #1952982
For the same packed weight as the Soulo, I like the look of the Anjan 3GT.
I did read a review of the Anjan 2 on outdoorgearlab.com – the one Max was selling on Gear Swap recently. Strange review, given that it was being compared with the TarpTent Double Rainbow, Terra Nova Solar Photon 2, and the Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platinum. Those shelters have almost nothing in common, so to force-fit a ranking is just bizarre.Feb 10, 2013 at 4:04 pm #1952997
The Anjan 2GT looks nice, I really like the idea of the big vestibule.
That Outdoorgearlab did seem a bit odd having some of those other tents, one thing I will say is the sites reviews have got far more detailed lately.Feb 10, 2013 at 5:35 pm #1953021
Stephen, thanks for the link to the Kaitum review. I'll give that a peek.
Stuart, the Saitaris is very nice for headroom. But if someone were going for pure usable space, I think the Keron 4GT would be even better. It's true that the inner tent height is 6" higher (at 50" )in the Saitaris than the Keron 4 (44"), but the Keron has it's peak height usable the entire length of the tent, and the walls are more vertical. Not to mention the vestibule in the Keron 4GT must be enormous. Because the "tunnel" part of the Saitaris is much lower than the dome, I'd imagine the vestibule of the Saitaris is closer in size to a 3GT, or even a 2GT. The Keron 4GT vestibule is probably about 48" in height, and obviously very much wider than on the Saitaris.
So again, if space was my only goal, I'd have opted for the 4GT. But a big part of my decision was the design (I admit I'm vain hahaha)..the Saitaris just looks REALLY cool. And I like the bombproof confidence it inspires. Part of me also likes the cozy home feel of going in a smaller entrance and entering a much bigger living area.
I've read nothing but rave reviews about the Jannu. After seeing one set up in person, I've got to warn you that it is a pretty small tent for a 2 person. Both the Tarra and Nammatj 2 I had seemed MUCH bigger inside than the Jannu.
For my pitching conditions, as I said there was about 3 to 4" of powder on top of ice. I just plopped the tent right down on it…didn't try to pack it down or anything. All the snow you see in the photos is windblown. It snowed all night and was very windy, so I think the wind was continually blowing the snow off the roof. The wind noise was not unbearable, but I haven't done a lot of camping in super windy conditions so I don't really know what to compare it to.
It was quite cold, and none of the snow was wet or sticky. Almost like dry little pellets. It did push in a bit on the rear vestibule, and a little on the sides, however, not to the point that the inner tent was contacted. For snow, I found I really love the GT vestibule door. I unzipped it as you saw in the photo, from the top, so snow wouldn't come spilling in. It still leaves plenty of room to get in an out. With just a traditional door like on the Nammatj 2 I had, or even the Tarra, they can be opened from the top but the opening will be very narrow unless you do it all the way to the ground, which in this case was under a foot of snow.Feb 10, 2013 at 8:05 pm #1953047
Backpack JackBPL Member
@jumpbackjackLocale: Armpit of California
NMFeb 10, 2013 at 8:46 pm #1953055
Ken ThompsonBPL Member
@hereLocale: Right there
'berg sounds stronger…
ZERO interest in a Caffin. Sorry Roger.Feb 10, 2013 at 8:57 pm #1953059
Doug – Thanks again for breathing life into this thread, and sharing your experiences. Agreed, everyone I've spoken to – including folks at Hilleberg – warned me the Jannu is snug for two. They tried to get me to go for the Tarra, but the weight difference was offputting. I do appreciate your real world thoughts about the different models, and that you're willing to admit some of the design limitations of your $4-figure Kerlon 1800 palace.
I went through my photo library and found the Soulo in the winter storm last year where space limitations prevented me from fixing the guyline on the back of the tent. I live on a hillside, and my yard (if you can call it that) is a 45 degree slope. So I set the Soulo up on my deck to see how well it'd work. We had over 2' of cement-like snow overnight, and temps stayed in the 20s. I dug myself out in the morning to discover this sight. You'll see how the guylines on the front and sides of the Soulo helped it keep its structural integrity, but the absence on the back resulted in loss of internal volume. Not enough that I noticed it till morning, however.Feb 10, 2013 at 9:14 pm #1953065
Alright Ken, purely in terms of word association – I'd say strong, yes absolutely. But warm? That's not the first thing that comes to mind :-) Yet I've never been cold in my Soulo or Kaitum.
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