- Dec 18, 2017 at 2:20 am #3508068
Chris CBPL Member
The Hilleberg Tent Thread on advrider.com is FANTASTIC! Shannon at Hilleberg and I discussed advrider thread. She said that riders like Hilleberg tents because of various terrains that get encountered from day to day; the ease of set up and break down; and, the balance of having a solid shelter for a minimal weight.
I wish I knew more Hilleberg owners in NYC so I could check out the other models. The Soulo is tempting to get, but only if it feels roomy enough. I tend to experience inclement weather so too-small-a-shelter would get on my nerves if I have to stay confined for awhile.
Anyway, thanks for starting both threads!Dec 18, 2017 at 5:53 pm #3508157
Okay boys, I just got back from a 17 day December trip and used my beloved red Keron, as usual.
In the NC mountains after a blizzard and cold snap.
I found another small flaw in the Keron design—nomatter how tight I pull the end guylines and side guyouts, a little trough sometimes forms on top of the tunnel fly and holds water or ice. With water weight this pool hangs down onto the yellow inner tent and sponges through condensation onto the yellow ceiling. Not good.
My impression after many years with two Keron tents—one green and a newer one red—is that the Hilleberg factory is making slight miscalculations in their fabric cutting—resulting in some excessive fly fabric along the tunnel between hoops.Dec 18, 2017 at 6:09 pm #3508163
These pics point out the red Keron’s improper fabric cut—
Here is the Keron set up normally without side guylines pegged. The end guyouts are very tight. So there’s too much fabric between the pole hoops—enough that the fly touches the yellow inner tent. Not good and not wanted.
Here’s my older green Keron with end guylines tight. Notice how much tighter the tunnel is as compared to the red Keron. I think they mis-cut the fly on the newer red model.Dec 18, 2017 at 6:27 pm #3508170
It looks more to me like the stitching was too tight and causes the fabric to bunch up at the seam points. Perhaps the addition of seam sealer makes that worse as well – it may get between the thread and fabric and harden, or perhaps the thread shrinks at a faster rate than the fabric with more exposure to the elements. Or perhaps when they are stitching the fabrics together they are not taking the curve into account and are stitching it when flat – then when curved over the poles the black section of the fabbric being farther out stretches less than the more inner main tent fabric.
In any case, it’s a problem with the seam not the fabric, and I doubt something that anybody could address better, except perhaps with some more specialized sewing equipment that probably does not currently exist.
An inherent problem with tunnel tents is that the top is relatively flat, especially as the fabric is not rigid and there is no ridgeline in the outer tent. I’ve had snow build up on top and press the outer tent into the inner one, but I feel the tradeoffs are worth it. When in the tent, you can just give it a push from inside to dislodge anything built up on the outside, and the Keron seems to be strong enough to withstand the pressure in most cases if left unattended.
Not sure it’s reasonable to expect more from a tunnel tent – a dome by nature will have a stronger peak that does not flatten, but the space vs. weight tradeoff is not as good. You could always carry a lightweight tarp along as well to hang in an inverse “V” over the tent, which will not be subject to any weight build up due to steep sides and can keep pressure off the sides of the tent by deflecting a fair bit of snowfall away from the sides. It’s also good at reducing UV exposure and/or providing a shaded sitting area outside of the tent. If I’m camping where I don’t move camp every day, then I carry along a REI Camp Tarp which is light enough my my concern and relatively inexpensive – I feel it’s well worth the cost to shield the tent from daytime sun exposure. If I am breaking down the tent every morning anyways, I don’t bother.Dec 18, 2017 at 6:29 pm #3508172
“Here is the Keron set up normally without side guylines pegged”
The tent door is open in that picture (and not in your picture of the green one). It’s to be expected that tension won’t be maintained on the sidewall from the end guyouts when the door is not closed, especially without the side guyouts in place…
There may well still be some defect in your tent – I don’t know, but these pictures aren’t showing a fair comparison.Dec 18, 2017 at 6:59 pm #3508176
Okay, here’s the green Keron with the door open—Dec 18, 2017 at 7:06 pm #3508180
Mine certainly doesn’t look that good with the door open, if the end guyouts are pulled very tight anyways. If they are just snug, it looks like that last picture. However if they are tight, when the door zipper is opened, the side of the pole flexes towards the opposite end and the fabric sags as a result. Do you have a picture of the red one pitched on relatively level ground with the door closed and only the end guyouts tightened?
Anyways, my tan Keron is of similar age as your red one and doesn’t seem to have this problem. If yours is defective I would imagine they should replace or repair it under warranty, and don’t know that it would suggest a general quality drop for all their tents over time.
Dec 23, 2017 at 8:23 pm #3509027
- This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Casey and Gina.
me of courseBPL Member
Okay all you Hilleberg folk, I’m looking at either the Niak or the Anjan as a light winter shelter (light in both Hille shelter weight and light as in possible light snowfall, but nothing heavy – nothing beyond maybe 3-4″ overnight).
I know these are not ‘winter’ tents, but I have no interest in the Akto and its lighter sibling (too small, too cramped for me) or the heavier red/black label tents. Just looking at these two.
Of the two, which would you choose, and why?
Thanks.Dec 24, 2017 at 7:19 pm #3509227
Richie SBPL Member
I don’t have a Anjan but I do have a niak, so I guess I would pick that. It’s very stable and incredibly easy to put up and take down. Very roomy for one and semi free standing. Offers great views with the door open.
Id certainly trust it in light snow but it could get drafty and I’d like a high level vent.Dec 24, 2017 at 11:54 pm #3509297
I had an Anjan and have a Nallo. The Nallo is a far better tent for the small increase in weight, especially in winter conditions. I ended up giving the Anjan away to some good friends because I really prefer the Nallo even in summer months.
Dec 25, 2017 at 9:26 pm #3509416
- This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Casey and Gina.
A question for those who own a GT version of the respective Hilleberg tents.
I would be looking at a 2-man tent for my solo use
How well does the long extension fare in a storm/ Does the extra length make it much worse or is the fact that the unsupported length of fabric is less actually make then stronger?
I’m looking at a Nammatj as a replacement for my Macpac Minaret and debating the utility of the GT vestibule Vs the extra weight on the sled, I think the extra weight of a Keron would be too much
I would love to see a Keron 6 double GT for base camp use tho
A secondary question is about valances, they are not a factory option so what is the best way to add them to a Hilleberg tunnel?Dec 25, 2017 at 11:19 pm #3509429
I’d say that three poles is superior to two poles in a tunnel tent, having a lot of experience with the Keron 3, Anjan 3 GT, and Nallo 3 (2-pole). I’ve used the Nallo most overall but the Keron in the worst of conditions – it’s my primary tent in winter. I do think I’d prefer a Nammatj 3 if I were to use a single Hilleberg year-round at times because the Keron is a bit excessive but not enough to seek one out until the Keron’s life is over. I think with secure guyouts/stakes and the beefier black label poles, 2 poles is plenty enough but storms WILL test the end stakes more… I personally just don’t need or use all the massive space of a GT vestibule and it goes unused most of the time. I’m okay with carrying a couple longer stakes or using trees to secure the ends. Hope that helps somehow…Dec 26, 2017 at 3:47 am #3509448
me of courseBPL Member
Thanks for the opinions gentsDec 26, 2017 at 3:49 am #3509449
I see no reason for ever needing more than a Nammatj 2 for solo use, whatever the conditions. The vestibule is easily big enough to swallow everything one person could throw at it and cook in comfort, it’s totally doable with two as well in my experience. A Keron 3 is not only heavier and bulkier, but more limited in campsites and more time consuming to pitch by yourself in a storm.
Hi Casey and Gina,
I have no background in engineering. But I would confidently suspect the Keron 3 is a weaker tent than a Nammatj 2. There is twice as much surface area on the roof to accumulate snow. Yes, there is a third pole, but the two panels of unsupported fabric between the poles are no shorter than the single one on the Nammatj 2. Thus, I’d speculate the stress applied by the weight of snow to the poles is roughly equivalent between two and three pole models. But don’t forget the poles are shorter and thus stronger on the Nammatj 2 compared to the Keron 3. As for the idea that snow weight and wind applying more force to the end stakes on two pole tunnels, I would disagree. Simply because the smaller model will catch less wind and accumulate less snow. The Nammatj 2 has five stakes point to secure the back end to the ground, and three in the front. The Keron 3 has three on each end, and it will catch more wind and snow.
Not to say the Keron and other three pole models aren’t very strong winter tents, but they all add length and surface area along with the third pole so I don’t understand how they could be more storm worthy. Please help me understand if I am missing something!Dec 26, 2017 at 9:44 am #3509460
Gunnar HBPL Member
“Yes, there is a third pole, but the two panels of unsupported fabric between the poles are no shorter than the single one on the Nammatj 2.”
Interesting, I haven’t noticed that before, I have always assumed the Nammatj span is longer. I agree that it is the span length between the poles that should be the critical factor for snow.
Anyway, both Keron and Nammatj was introduced in the 80s and have both been used in the harshest winter conditions for decades, so I don’t really see any reason to pick one over the other based on how wither worthy they are. The only complain I have heard about Nammatj is that it is a bit short for long people due to the sloping wall. Keron seems to have even non-ultralighters long for something somewhat lighter after a few years.Dec 26, 2017 at 11:14 pm #3509514
I’ve always understood that the advantage of the Keron is the double entry and the ability for the occupants to top&tail when sleeping. I have a Fairydown Plateau tent which like the Macpac Olympus and the original Eureka Caddis is wider in the middle, in those tents you sleep with your heads in the middle and your feet at the doorways when using them at capacity.
I am reasonably tall, my initial concern with the sloping Nammatj is that my really thick winter sleeping bag is touching the sloping end and the ensuing condensation/frosting issues; this also happens with my current small tunnel tent, the MinaretDec 27, 2017 at 5:55 am #3509534
Gunnar HBPL Member
Then Nammatj is maybe not the best for you. Kaitum could be an alternative if you would consider a Hilleberg red label tent.Dec 27, 2017 at 10:41 am #3509539
Yes the Kaitum is a good bit longer than an Olympus but is it strong enough?Dec 27, 2017 at 11:24 am #3509542
Vladimir GBPL Member
Hello everyone in this thread! Let me introduce myself: my name is Vladimir, I live in Russia and I recognize myself as a bicycle tourist and weekend backpacker. In last years I do most backcountry trips with my wife and son (he is 2.5 now). Last summer I became a “Reviewer of the month” at Trailspace.com.
I’ve been an owner of two Hilleberg Kaitum 3 tents since 2016. The first one (green) was defective, so it was eventually replaced by Hilleberg to a new one (sand). I’ve been writing down the most complete impressions from these tents in my review: http://www.trailspace.com/gear/hilleberg/kaitum-3/#review36506
Speaking of the tent strength, one need to understand that the Kaitum is quite a lightweight one. So the ultimate strength and durability are less than in Black Label tents. Nevertheless this tent is wind-stable until around 30 m/s (60 mph), according to German Outdoor magazine test.
By the way, my second tent is Fjallraven Abisko Lite 3, and it combines the properties of Hilleberg’s Anjan and Nallo models. Worth consideration if you need a lightweight 4-season tent for 2-3 persons.Dec 27, 2017 at 3:27 pm #3509550
I have extensive use with several Hilleberg tents, namely the Keron 3, the Nammatj 3 and the Staika, and so this post is mostly for Edward John and this comment—
I am reasonably tall, my initial concern with the sloping Nammatj is that my really thick winter sleeping bag is touching the sloping end and the ensuing condensation/frosting issues; this also happens with my current small tunnel tent, the Minaret
As mentioned, the biggest drawback to the Nammatj/Staika is the short foot ends with sloping inner walls. In a perfect world you will never touch your feet to the end wall of these tents—but in reality it’s a different story. Here’s how it works—
** You are inside the Nammatj or Staika atop a thick Exped downmat at 3.5 inches thick—or even a 2 inch thick Thermarest.
** You are inside a down bag with a 10 to 12 inch loft.
** So, your feet are not on the floor at the end of your tent but raised up off the floor atop a sleeping pad covered by a high loft bag. Added all up the footbox of your sleeping bag is now always touching the inner tent at the angled end.
** Inner tents often get wet with condensation, most esp in winter.
** Ergo your sleeping bag footbox gets wet.
** Hilleberg recognizes this problem and recommends placing a rain shell over the foot of your sleeping bag. Poor solution especially for a $800 to $1000 tent. And for that price do they include the necessary rain shell?? Nope.
** Here’s the rule: No part of your sleeping bag should touch the fabric of your inner tent (or single wall). Breaking this rule due to poor tent design is no big deal on a weekend trip—but a compromise on a 15 to 24 day trip with repeated sleeping bag moisture due to canopy contact.
People will often say, “This has never been a problem for me” but then they have never been backpacking day in and day out for weeks at a time and esp in winter.
** Or just get a tent with vertical foot walls like the Keron or Kaitum.
Regarding the Red label vs Black label choice—
I prefer the Black label tents for all of my solo trips, despite the extra weight. Beefier floors and kerlon and especially guyout tabs and zippers and all the rest. I want my investment to last as long as possible and to have the most robust Hilleberg I can get for those 10% times when hellstorms hit my camps.
And the worst winds and storms are not only in the winter but in July on mountain ridges and open balds during summer thunderstorms and microbursts.
Dec 27, 2017 at 3:37 pm #3509553
- This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Tipi Walter.
As mentioned, I just got back from a snowy 17 day December trip and ran into my backpacking buddy Hoppin John who brought his Allak for the festivities—
All set up on Hangover Mt in NC at 5,000 feet and before the blizzard. His Allak looks like it was shredded by scissors—nope just the venting system.
John on Bob Mt getting camp squared away.
Dec 27, 2017 at 3:38 pm #3509554
- This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Tipi Walter.
Matt DirksenBPL Member
@namelesswayLocale: Mid Atlantic
“I am reasonably tall, my initial concern with the sloping Nammatj is that my really thick winter sleeping bag is touching the sloping end and the ensuing condensation/frosting issues; this also happens with my current small tunnel tent, the Minaret”
Edward, If I understand you correctly, you are planning this tent for solo use – right?
If so, I’d think the sloping end would be less of an issue, since you can position your bag at an angle.
Or are you looking at a 2p tent because you are going to have two occupants most of the time?
(I’m 6′-2″ and I’ve only ever been interested in a Kaitum 2P. But at 3.1kg’s, I might as well stick with my 2-door Eldorado.)Dec 27, 2017 at 4:21 pm #3509559
Vladimir GBPL Member
I tried wrapping my lower legs into the jacket. Didn’t like it either. First, the jacket itself may be really wet. Second, in case of high-loft sleeping bags their insulation is reduced. Third, in the morning I found my jacket in far corner of inner tent. :)Dec 27, 2017 at 4:24 pm #3509560
I’m 5’11”, but use long/wide sleeping mats, and will readily admit that the Nallo has (and therefore also the Nammatj would also have) the possible problem of the sloping foot end touching the sleeping bag with enough snow weight piled on. There is a guyout that pulls the middle of the sloped wall up and out, and this helps, especially for solo use I’d suspect, however the slope is not nearly as steep as the one on the Keron vestibules. I’ve been in the Keron in up to 30″ of snowfall overnight, and even with it tightly guyed out, snow pressure pressed the outer tent into the inner tent on the top, sides, and pressed in the vestibules. It was an extreme case, but made me really appreciate the black label materials. I haven’t faced that much snow with the Nallo – only a few inches, and in those cases it has worked fine. My sleeping bag has Pertex Shield as the outer fabric which would help significantly if it were to touch the tent, though that doesn’t protect water seeping in through the untaped seams or zipper.
My main complaint about the Keron is not weight but bulk. The Nallo is just a much preferable balance for me in 95% of the cases I use it. I do not like the poles being so much less stiff than the black label ones though, which would be my main hesitation to use a Kaitum in severe conditions. Wind is fine with good guyouts, but snow weight is another story. The Keron is, hands down, the most amazing palace of a tent I’ve ever been in, and an undeniably superior tent to the others I own, except perhaps the stronger Saitarus. But the Saitarus is not only much heavier but would be a nightmare to pitch in bad/urgent conditions in comparison to the simplicity of the Keron (or Nammatj or Nallo for that matter). It’s a rock in a windstorm, has proven itself under extreme snow weight, etc. But the Nallo is substantially lighter and I can pack it a lot easier. The poles are the main let down after being spoiled by the Keron, hence why I like the idea of the Nammatj. I suppose I could also replace the poles with thicker ones as well. Double-poling would add too much bulk to carry.
I wanted a “safe bet” for all conditions when I got my first Hilleberg, and that’s why I bought the Keron. I think that was the right choice. I’m not sure that the Kaitum with it’s thinner red label poles makes that much sense to me if you’re concern is avoiding a sloping foot end pressing into your sleeping bag, as the poles will fail sooner, though it would be a nice step up from the Nallo in temps of space.Dec 27, 2017 at 4:38 pm #3509561
Also see this earlier review of the Nammatj, including use in lots of snow: https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/63979/page/31/#post-3482515
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