- Dec 27, 2017 at 4:49 pm #3509564
“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!”
I can only speculate, but my reasoning is this:
The snow weight on the horizontal top of a 2-pole tunnel puts all the stress on the ends as it pulls in. On a 3-pole, the stress is primarily divided between one guyout and the center pole which stays in one place due to relatively even stress on each side. You do end up with a lot of weight pushing down on the poles, but my experience tells me this is no concern with the black label poles.
Secondly, the foot end is a less steep angle than a Keron vestibule, so it will accumulate more weight.
Now, a Nammatj 2 is a different story than a Nallo 3, which is all I’ve actually used. But my Nallo is an old one which has two same-length poles and is more similar to the current Nammatj 3 than the current Nallo 3 in terms of cut. I would imagine a Nammatj 2 would be better because it’s narrower width can’t accumulate as much weight.Dec 27, 2017 at 8:47 pm #3509587
In designing a tent for winter use, the two most important factors are the fabric span between poles and the length of the poles. The longer that unsupported fabric span, the less able the tent is to handle wind. The longer the poles, the more prone they are to flopping around.
Which is why pop-ups fail so easily in a storm: they have both a very long fabric span and very long poles. Never mind the marketing spin; that’s the practical field experience.
CheersDec 28, 2017 at 11:06 pm #3509764
Took some photos while I was drying things out.
Empty 70 liter pack in vestibule, a second pack just goes on top. If I want a tidier porch I can stash boots or other things between the tent walls like so.
I haven’t been using the inner wall on any of my trips. Inners don’t seem a very effective or practical way to deal with condensation on multi day trips. They are heavy, they absorb water (which kills their breathability and only brings wet walls closer to you), they are bulky, they take away headroom, they raise the humidity of your immediate environment, they add marginal warmth. AND you still get frozen condensation all over your sleeping bag (and not because of the sloping end on an inner, because you’re spewing water vapor all night long thats going to freeze long before it gets past the inner wall)
For that two pounds (or much less), there are more effective (and warmer) solutions to protecting you and your gear/insulation from condensation when it really counts. Mostly I just like having the inner for base camping, primarily for the cheery yellow color.
BUT if you want a few more inches between your feet and inner wall you could run a guy line like so in the Nammatj. The bag is a 6′ WM Antelope on a 1.5 inch air mattress. I wiggled and moved my feet to my hearts content and never brushed the inner wall, can’t speak for a 6’6″ bag though.Dec 29, 2017 at 4:54 am #3509805
Tipi WalterBPL Member
Po—It’s funny you say you don’t use an inner tent on any of your trips as my experience is just the opposite of yours—My Keron’s inner tent has saved my butt on dozens of occasions due to tent fly condensation.
(And after several years of hard use your Hilleberg fly will develop small holes which will invariably leak during a rainstorm—easily patched with a dab of McNett’s silnet—and the leak will be deflected by the inner tent).
Many Hilleberg black label tents are worse with condensation because their tent flies hug to the ground all around the tent’s perimeter. Hilleberg users will find copious amounts of condensated water on the inside of the kerlon fly fabric and so the purpose of the inner yellow canopy is to keep this water off my gear by dripping onto the canopy and down the outside to the ground.
I have a perfect example pic of this on a long December trip I pulled in 2015.
On Day 11 of a 17 day trip I got hit by a 75 hour cold rainstorm in Citico wilderness in TN and got tremendous weather related condensation off the tent fly but it all hit my canopy and everything stayed dry. All this water would’ve dripped right down onto my nice Puma sleeping bag and other gear.Dec 29, 2017 at 5:02 am #3509807
I agree with Tipi, although I learned the hard way that I have to leave the inner tent door open at the top to allow vapor to escape rather than building up on the inner tent. If you close it all the way, then you get the problem Po describes. Even if you only close the mesh portion all the way, in sub-freezing conditions the mesh will fill up with vapor which freezes and makes it an impassible barrier for vapor that will escape through an open door. So, I just leave a few inches at the top of the door open in the winter which alleviates this problem.
This might seem silly because you wonder why have an inner tent if you’re just going to leave it open? Well, because the inside of the outer tent fills with condensation. During a cold night it may stay stuck to the top as ice, but once the sun comes up, or if you cook in a vestibule as I do, it is likely to melt enough to drip and fall down. The purpose of the inner tent is to deflect that, which it does well.
The other purpose of the inner tent is to provide a good bathtub floor, which is where most of its weight is.
I don’t know that the inner tent provides any added warmth and don’t really think it’s intended to.Dec 29, 2017 at 6:33 am #3509813
The inner tent has added several measured degrees of warmth to my tent in the snow. It should too.
Yes, if you close everything up you will get condensation. We KNOW that. But if you allow a little air flow through the outer tent much of this gets blown away.
Way sub-zero overnight, and an inner tent with two people in it. But there was a slight breeze overnight and I had left some ventilation through the tent. The tent was DRY in the morning. Yeah, OK, we were impressed too.
(Was there a bit more than a slight breeze? I dunno – we were asleep.)
CheersDec 29, 2017 at 7:56 am #3509814
Vladimir GBPL Member
We usually favor the warmer inner tent over the low humidity (while I understand that it is not good). Last time we used our Kaitum 3 tent, it was slightly above freezing, and it was raining all night long. Right after the trip I put the tent on scales, and the weight gain was about 1 kg (2 lbs). In our subsequent trips the situation remained mostly the same: three of us generate about one liter of condensate during the night. But, again, while traveling with child, the warm inner tent is more important.Dec 29, 2017 at 3:34 pm #3509830
Michael FBPL Member
Last winter the week between Christmas and New Years I took my Tarra on a week-long expedition across the frozen lakes in the Boundary Waters Area just a couple miles from the Canadian border. The first night with temps at 0F and two of us in the tent I made the mistake of zipping the entire up thing up. I woke up with the feeling of ice crystals gently falling on my face as though our breaths were freezing in mid air and it was snowing in the tent. When I put the tent back in its stuff sack it was noticeably heavier with all the overnight condensation. On the pulk it went and we trekked another 4-5 miles during the day. With temperatures still hovering around 0F, I went to set the tent up on another frozen lake only this time when I pulled the tent from the stuff sack I found that all that moisture from the previous night had frozen during day so the tent was really “crunchy.” I looked at my friend and trekking partner and said, “tonight the doors stay vented a few inches and the roof vent stays open.” That helped A LOT. By the third night the solid inner tent doors were open even more (each open 1/3 of the way) and again the roof vent all the open which improved the venting even more. I suspect if we’d cracked open the vestibule doors, with the cross draft, we’d have been down to very little inner condensation at all. The problem was that each night it snowed, even if just a couple of inches, and we didn’t want snow blowing into the vestibules where our packs and other gear was being stored. Anyway, I agree with Casey & Gina, Tipi, Roger and Vladimir that having an inner during winter camping is a good thing and that with proper venting the condensation issue is largely reduced if not eliminated.Dec 29, 2017 at 5:05 pm #3509840
Tipi – I disagree that the outer tent coming to the ground is bad for condensation – I experienced much worse condensation in an Anjan than the Keron or Nallo in similar conditions. It’s because the Nallo performed so much better in warmer humid conditions that I ended up giving the Anjan away.
The worst conditions for condensations are when it’s very humid with zero wind. or nonstop rain for a long time. In extended rain, a four-season outer tent helps significantly, especially with wind, because it keeps rain water from splashing onto the inner tent (and seeping in through the seams). If there’s no or only little wind, the lack of upper vents keep your own breath vapor from getting out, and it just builds up inside the bubble you’re in. In the same conditions, upper vents help a lot – there’s still condensation if there’s no wind but it’s not as bad, and a little wind helps a lot more than with only a perimeter gap around the bottom, and in rain, no water makes it into the inner tent.Dec 29, 2017 at 6:40 pm #3509849
I do realize that part of the inners job is to prevent drips from falling back down on you. Sometimes this works beautifully, I’ve seen it many times. But in my own experience and opinion carrying two pounds or more of inner attached to 4-season tent to deal with dripping condensation is not the answer. I respect that you’ve developed your own system for your own unique needs.
Casey and Gina,
I’ve never closed the inner all the way, I leave everything wide open. Condensation often still forms on the chest area of my sleeping bag. Sometimes it forms on the inner itself, especially when it’s way below freezing. When its that cold your inner wall has no hope of staying above freezing. Thus ice forms on the first thing vapor comes in contact with, the inner wall.
I’ve found ice to be an easier problem, it’s preferable to dripping. When its time to cook, I can fold my groundsheet over my sleeping bag, I can put the bag away, I can put it out in the sun if the weather is nice. I could leave a cheap fleece blanket (that is lighter and protects a sleeping bag better than an inner) draped over the bag while I cook. After I’ve packed up and put my separate floor away, I can more easily brush the ice off directly onto the snow from the inside. I don’t bother with bathtubs in the winter, but they are not exclusive to inners if you still want one. I once made one with tyvek and tape. I just bought a sewing machine, maybe I’ll sew a simple liner that attaches onto the ceiling? Could be cool, and much simpler and lighter and compact.
I would not credit that feat to an inner wall. I would credit the breeze and good ventilation stealing away the moist air before it freezes. I too have had zero condensation nights in sub freezing when the wind is knocking the air around, mostly in single wall shelters with some ventilation.
Keep that baby warm and happy!
I’m aware of conventional wisdom and Hilleberg marketing copy/recommendations. I realize inner walls work to some extent, why else would they have prevailed for so long. I appreciate you sharing all your experiences supporting your value of them.
ThanksDec 29, 2017 at 7:58 pm #3509868
I would not credit that feat to an inner wall. I would credit the breeze and good ventilation stealing away the moist air before it freezes.
The worst conditions for condensations are when it’s very humid with zero wind. or nonstop rain for a long time.
VENTILATION rules – with a breeze.
CheersDec 29, 2017 at 9:28 pm #3509896
Tipi WalterBPL Member
QUOTE OF THE DAY
This is the best description of tent condensation I have seen and comes from Peter Clinch on an outdoorsmagic.com forum thread regarding Hilleberg tents—
“Is there anything that can alleviate such condensation (if that’s what is was) apart from venting as much as possible?”
“It’s easy, all you need to do is defy some fundamental laws of physics . . . There are times and conditions when you just can’t stop it. If air is saturated with moisture, which it quite often is in persistent rain because there’s so much moisture about, you’ve got lots of condensation potential. Cool things down by letting the sun set and you’ve got saturated air that often can’t help but lose some of that water, and it comes out in the form of a fine mist over any good condensing surface, and a tent porch is an excellent one.”
“Most of what venting a tent does is carry away excess moisture created by the inhabitants of the tent as people naturally give off a fair bit of moist air. But if the source of the moist air is just all the air that’s around you anyway there’s nothing much you can do about it. Which is why most inners are lightly proofed, to deal with the condensation that you just won’t ever be able to stop.”
The reason I post it is because I so often hear tent campers (or even tarp campers) say, “I never get condensation and it’s never a problem.” Wow.
Peter puts it in perspective. And he points out the truth that terrible condensation can happen in a tent WITH NO ONE INSIDE ALL NIGHT. I left a Staika tent set up in my backyard one cold humid night and went out to unzip it and found it saturated inside with “dew water condensation” etc.
This proves Peter’s quote—venting is mostly done to curtail human occupancy, and will do nothing when conditions are terrible. My backpacking buddy Patman does a tarp and at times gets dripping condensation—even with the best venting of all.
Hillebergs (like TarpTents I suppose) are subject to nasty condensation at times—hence this discussion. I solved the worst Hilleberg condensation problems (sloping angled foot end touching my sleeping bag) by going with a model with vertical head and foot ends—the Keron 3. Here’s a neat pic showing the inside of my Staika during a typical winter night—
When I pack up such a frosty tent in the morning all this inner canopy ice falls off and so when I set up in the afternoon this ice is dislodged by packing and is all on the floor of my tent, which I sweep out with my gloved hands—amounting to a liter of ice or more.Dec 29, 2017 at 9:48 pm #3509903
Franco DarioliBPL Member
The reason I post it is because I so often hear tent campers (or even tarp campers) say, “I never get condensation and it’s never a problem.” Wow.
I have mentioned that on several threads too.
About the funniest comment I read was from a guy that stated he had “zero” condensation in his Soulo.
It was funny to me because I had just read a comment from another guy that called his Soulo a “condensation machine”.
My retort to the “never had condensation” has been to point out that I have never been snowed under in one of my tents in Melbourne .May 30, 2018 at 8:35 am #3539219
Thomas EBPL Member
Has anyone ever tried removing the mesh door of the inner tent in their Hilleberg tent? I have to replace my old winter tent, and find that all the mesh in Hilleberg tents add unnecessary weight.Aug 2, 2018 at 8:08 am #3549511
Oliver MBPL Member
Weighing up a tunnel tent for two people (for long trips 3+ weeks winter trips). I am currently looking at either the Nallo or Nammatj series. My main concern is my sleeping bag foot box rubbing up against the walls of the tent.
For two (cosy) people at 176cm, do the nammatj or nallo series have enough room for long trips and to avoid condensation on foot boxes?
I don’t want the GT version so looking at either the Nallo 2,3 or Nammatj 2.
I was hoping to get some comments from those with much more experience than me!Aug 2, 2018 at 9:55 am #3549513
You might be better off with a Kaitum.
CheersAug 2, 2018 at 3:33 pm #3549542
Vladimir GBPL Member
That’s true. The Kaitum benefits from the best effective length and ventilation at its weight. Far better than Nallo or Nammatj.
We are travelling in Scandinavia right now with our Kaitum 3 (2 adults, 1 child – 3 years) it’s really hot here. In most nights we keep our gear in back vestibule and completely remove the front one for the best possible ventilation. I wrote a review about my Kaitum 3: https://www.trailspace.com/gear/hilleberg/kaitum-3/?review=36506Aug 2, 2018 at 3:53 pm #3549544
Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
@ Oliver: You might get a quicker response by starting a new thread with your specific question.
Also Ms. Hilleberg at Hilleberg USA has been known to answer questions about their tents. They did add what they call the inner tent vent to the Nallo a few years ago to improve ventilation.
I know on my Atko there is a lot of seperation between the fly and the inner tent but I do get condensation near the top of the door and in the vestibule, not at the footend.
That being said, in a solo tent in winter you sometimes get condensation or even frost on the outside of your bag just from the temperature inside your tent.Sep 16, 2018 at 1:56 pm #3556050
Ryan GardnerBPL Member
@splproductionsSep 16, 2018 at 4:19 pm #3556066
Ryan GardnerBPL Member
I have read all 33 pages of this thread, some pages two or three times now. Thanks everyone for your valuable insights and comments! I was wondering if you all could help me decide on my first Hilleberg…
Usage: This shelter is strictly for high-altitude mountaineering. Winters in CO and UT, 10-days in the Cascades next June (Rainier and Baker), and Denali at some point in the near future. I have plenty of other 3-season UL shelters that I’m happy with for less extreme conditions.
Budget: Doesn’t matter – I’d rather pay more for the right tent if it’s the right tent.
Number of People: Tent needs to be comfortable for two people and expedition gear, and needs to be comfortable for long trips where waiting out storms for long periods of time is possible.
Tents Under Consideration: MH Trango 3, Keron 3 or 4, and Saivo.
Thoughts About Trango 3: I own the Trango 3. I love that it’s bombproof and that my bag doesn’t touch the tent walls at the head or foot at all (which matters for expedition-length trips). That’s all I love about it. Ventilation, vestibule space, and ease of set up in a storm with gloves on all sucks compared to Hilles.
Thoughts About Keron 3 or 4: I have a Keron 4GT set up in the basement right now (borrowing it from a friend). This gives me a good idea of what the dimensions of the Keron 3 and 4 are like. I love everything about this tent except that my sleeping bag touches the inner wall at the head and foot. Down isn’t compressed, but it touches. (I’m 6’2” and use the size ‘long’ sleeping bags). I’m very concerned about this; maybe my concern here is unwarranted though.
Thoughts on Saivo: I haven’t seen this tent in person. It is 4” longer than the Keron and 2” shorter than the Trango 3. Depending on how angled the slope is, my bag might not touch with this tent. I like that its more bombproof than the Keron and that I wouldn’t have to worry about snow loading as much on a trip like Denali.
Any thoughts?Sep 16, 2018 at 5:13 pm #3556077
I reckon the Keron would work just fine. Your sleeping bag would be far from touching the OUTER walls – contact with the inner ones alone should be no issue.Sep 16, 2018 at 8:46 pm #3556106
Personally, if I had to buy a Hilleberg tent, it would be the Kaitum 2. That one will take the weather. It is rather like the ones I make. And with square ends and a 2200 mm long groundsheet, no worries.
A lot of the other ones need more shelter from the wind imho.
CheersSep 18, 2018 at 7:35 pm #3556393
Stuart .BPL Member
In my experience, the 3P tunnels have a taller profile than the 2P models, making them more prone to catch the wind. The curvature of the longer poles on the 3P is more gradual which makes the side walls less vertical, and the 3P models seem less spacious for three than the 2P models do for two. And the longer poles have more “play” in the wind, so the smaller model is likely to feel more secure.
As for the Saivo, yes it’s absolutely robust enough for the conditions, but at a significant weight penalty over the tunnels. The floor of the inner tent is longer than the Keron or Kaitum, but the inner tent doors do slope inwards due to the geodesic design. The Tarra’s doors are much more vertical because it was designed as a hybrid, taking some cues from the tunnels and some from the geodesics. Its vestibules also offer more usable space (length and height) than the Saivo for this reason.Sep 18, 2018 at 8:28 pm #3556405
the 3P tunnels have a taller profile than the 2P models, making them more prone to catch the wind.
Hilleberg can look after themselves, but it is worth looking at the actual figures for the Kaitum models:
K2: groundsheet 220 x 120 cm, ext ht 100 cm, vertical ends
K3: groundsheet 220 x 155 cm, ext ht 105 cm, vertical ends
Now, air mats are typically not over 55 cm, so there is plenty of width. 220 cm (with vertical ends) is long enough for anyone. A difference of 5 cm in external ht is, well, ‘not large’. All vestibules are capacious.
CheersSep 18, 2018 at 8:57 pm #3556408
Paul SBPL Member
“Personally, if I had to buy a Hilleberg tent, it would be the Kaitum 2. That one will take the weather. It is rather like the ones I make. And with square ends and a 2200 mm long groundsheet, no worries.”
Yep, me too. Kaitum 2.
If I buy a tunnel tent with three poles I want all three poles to be for the living quarters, not for an extra large vestibule (Nallo GT, for example, has three poles, but the sleeping quarters still has same sloped end and long span between (only) 2 poles)
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