Regular readers know that I am not much of a tent fan. I like to rack out in the open under the stars where I can see what is going on around me. However, there are certainly situations where a tent not only makes sense, it is an absolute necessity. That’s when I want the best tent I can get and in my opinion, that means one from Hilleberg The Tent Maker.
Hilleberg describes their tents not as 3 or 4 season but as all season because they are designed and built to handle everything mother nature can squat down and dump on you. But even Hilleberg recognizes that their users come in two flavors so they make two weights of fabric. 1200 and 1800 Kerlon. 1800 is designed for extreme conditions and long exposure such as expedition base camps. The 1200 is the lightweight in the family which is sort of misleading since Hillebergs lightweight fabric is at least several times stronger than that of the competition.
I was looking for a 2 man model because Coop D is getting old enough go with me. I was thinking pretty hard on the Staika but after talking with Petra Hilleberg and Stuart Craig at the companys Seattle shop I decided on the lighter weight Allak. They suggested that I just didn’t need that much tent and based on how the Allak has performed so far, I have to agree. Now if I were going to be spending a month or six weeks on Denali, Aconcagua or the like then I would have gone with the Staika and its sturdier 1800 Kerlon fabric and thicker 10mm poles.
At 6lb 10oz maximum and 5lb 7oz minimum the Allak is heavier than most respectable 2 man tents but not by much and again, it is a true 4 season, sorry, all season tent. The Allak has 32.3 square feet of interior space and almost 10 sf in each of the twin, enclosed equipment/cooking vestibules. The main compartment measures 91 inches long, 51 wide and 42 tall making it fairly spacious for the class and very usable for two adults. The Allak is free standing which means that it doesn’t have to rely on guy lines to remain upright but when they are set up correctly, it is extremely stable and able to withstand high winds and heavy snow. Read a little history on the company and you will learn that those are precisely the conditions their tents are made for.
A couple nice features of the Hillberg line is that the inner and outer tents are connected so setting it up is easy and fast even in windy conditions or darkness. I also like the thoughtful touches like color coordinated poles and sleeves, reflective trim, flap tie backs, no see um bug screens, and built in guy line tighteners. Simply put, it is a great tent all the way round that will last many years if I take care of it.
Staked, guyed and zipped up as if you were going to walk away from it for a while. It will be there in tact when you get back. The figure of eight knots used to attach the guy lines to the tighteners serve as a subtle reminder of the Hilleberg lineage. These are hardcore tents.
The right side vestibule unzipped and stowed exposing the inner right wall and right door in the zipped position. Note the black floor tub that wraps the vertical wall and continues for added protection. There is also a support strap on the ground that connects the two poles ends which maintains structural integrity even when the tent is opened up.
The right side door is open with the flaps stowed. The yellow vertical wall on the right is shown still in the zipped close position but it can be zipped away from the floor tub and stowed making for extra easy ingress and egress. Note the internal corner pockets and left side door zipper.
With the bikini top (my term) DC’d and peeled back you can see the matching inner and outer tent hatches used for ventilation, star gazing, taking pictures or whatever. Note the robust clips that connect the outer tent to three 9mm poles and the rigid cloth rain gutter on the outer tent zipper. Practical features come from thousands of hours of field use not just CAD machines.
The right and left side vestibule and inner tent doors opened fully and stowed. Wide open but still structurally stable and quickly sealed up again if the weather changes on you. Author, in his Sitka Gear Ascent Pants and TAD Gear Raptor Jacket, stands in the background for scale.
A view of the Allak from what I call the back of the tent to show the right and left side vestibules and the outer tent doors in the open and stowed position. Again, the Allak is easily opened up without weakening its stout stance. Point the front of the tent into the prevailing wind and it just hunkers down and shoulders everything that comes.
Want a well designed, durable tent that is absolutely dependable and easy to pitch? Then buy a Hilleberg. Period. With that said I am very pleased to give the Allak a full recommendation but honestly, I am sure that anything you purchase from Hilleberg will perform as advertised. It is just one of those companies that still make their products for the right reasons. Meaning they have not been dumbed down, neutered and ruined by the MBAs.
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