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4 season tent

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Looking for recommendations for a light 4 season tent to use on the cascade volcanoes. Right now I have a heavy 3 person sierra designs that is about 8 years old, and looking to upgrade.

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are you climbing the volcanoes in winter? why a 4 season instead of a 3 season tent used on good weather forcast trips? (why go on a bad forcast?)



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I said 4-season so I would get good mountaineering recommendations. I want to use the tent for more than just mountaineering, so it should protect against downpours as well. If I asked for just 3 season tents, I might get people stating "I saw a good one at Target the other day," or "why not just use a tarp." A sturdy 3 season will work just as well.

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I had a MEC tarn that was a 3 season tent that went through many hard times in the mtns. Did 4 seasons guiding in it and it went through all manner of conditions from may to september. I had many guye lines which helped. the only reason I could see why it was a 3 season tent was due to the mesh on inner body. It weighted around 5 pounds and fit 2 snugly. cheap too. though not target cheap.



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I posted an embarrassingly long set of miscellaneous comments on some tents in this thread about the Bibler Tempest:



I would add to those comments above that if I were choosing any lightweight 2-man mountaineering tent, the Hilleberg Nallo would be at or near the top.


The Black Diamond Hilight as I mentioned in that thread I linked to above is lighter without the vestibule, but if you want a vestibule it is very close to the Nallo 2 weight. In addition, you are more likely to want a ground sheet under the Hilight because the floor is so thin compared to the Nallo, which brings the weight to about the same.




The Nallo advantages are mainly:


-it will never need seam sealing (they use fell seams instead of tape or sealer, and claim they have never had a fell seam leak any water in their 25-year history)


- it will never leak no matter how many days of rain


- it will probably withstand UV light a lot longer (Hillebergs are known for being UV-resistant)


- Hilleberg uses the strongest outer wall fabrics of anybody


- Spectra-blend guy lines are stronger, hold almost zero water, have nearly zero stretch, have no sheath to separate from the core, and each guy line attaches to two points to distribute the load better


- if the outer wall ever tears or gets a hole, you still have some protection from the inner tent


- it's bigger in both dimensions, and the walls are more vertical


- you can buy one with an extended vestibule (the Nallo GT)


- you can pitch it with or without an outer wall


- you can pitch it with double-poles in each sleeve for extra strength


- you can pitch it first with loose pole and peg tension, then tighten them after pitch is complete for extra strength.


- it pitches more "dry" than any other tent in a rainstorm (you pitch it *with* the rainfly already on the tent instead of inner tent in the rain then covering it with a fly after, plus you can stay outside the tent until it's pitched, then go into the vestibule and remove your wet clothing before entering the inner tent)


- all their tents are made to be pitched by one person, while wearing gloves, in high winds. No hassling with forcing poles into the inside corners of a bucking tent and trying to use little twist ties or velcro like Bibler/ID, and all items can be handled with gloves on.


- the Nallo would be warmer in cold weather (double-wall, and the inner tent is unusally wind and water-repellant while still being very breathable)


- the Nallo should have the least condensation in wet weather. Note that does not mean zero condensation, as no tent can guarantee that, and it requires that you try to pitch it dry, vent it as much as possible, and if you're lucky to get a big enough tent so you don't touch the inside walls very often. In addition, Hilleberg recommends that you cover your gear in the vestibule when it is raining heavily or on occasions when there is a lot of humidity in the air.






Sales pitch type of comments:


- every Hilleberg tent is completely made by one person, and every tent they sell has been pitched before leaving the factory.


- many of the Hilleberg tents from 25 years ago are still in use today.


- customer service is great, with the founder's daughter in the US (near Seattle), and often available to answer questions. As and example, Black Diamond is annoying because they cannot provide replacement sacks for their tents. Hilleberg sells tent bags, 5 different kinds of stakes, sled bags, etc.


- the big profit margins in gear are in clothing. This is why North Face and Mountain Hardwear can give away so many tents and sponsor all those expeditions; they get the cost back through increased clothing sales. In addition, I've heard that many of the tents you see used by high-profile climbers they sponsor are not stock off-the-floor construction, but have been modified.


- look at who uses Hillebergs (get a copy of their paper catalog and look at all the extreme users noted by the photos). Their tents are also used by special ops military teams.






Downsides of the Nallo are that:


- the poles must be inserted from the sides so if you're on a knife-edged ridge that can be harder


- it is not as cool in summer weather (but if you aren't expecting rain you can pitch without the outer wall and it will be much cooler)


- one of the vents (other side from the door) is at the bottom so if it get's buried under snow you'll only have one vent left






Finally, a thread that shows how strong a Nallo is in severe windstorms (look for "Rainier" a little past half way).


Oddly enough, the poster ragged about what garbage these tents are, after THREE DAYS OF 75-100 MPH WINDS.

Bizarre, but it shows how strong these little guys are.

He also didn't seeem to realize that the Nallo is one of their "weak" ultralight tents, and Hilleberg recommends two poles in each sleeve if you expect severe winds.



If you want the severe weather version of the Nallo (wind, sand, UV light, etc), they really recommend that you use one of the Nammatj tents (pronounced Nah-MAWJ).

The Nammatj also has both vents at the top, and is their only tent that allows you to open a port to the outside while still in the inner tent (for use as a window, or for photographers to use on a shoot). It also offers more guy-line points, and the GT version comes with a bug mesh over the vestibule door.


As a final note, Hilleberg recommends one of their dome tents if you want a tent made for several feet of snow loading.

If you want a modular tent, look at the Stalon. It allows you to zip on/off extended or standard vestibules, connect it to other Stalons, etc.

If you want a lightweight 2-man Hilleberg, with two doors and two vestibules, look at the Kaitum (the full-strength version is the Keron).




For the best set of photos of tents, I use this site:





You can read their more Hilleberg information here:

Tent Information


Tent Listing

Practical Hints

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With my experience with the BD Firstlight, DON"T plan to sit through any downpours in it. It's a good weather only tent, not a "do-it-all" tent, at least in the NW where rain is rarely entirely out of the forecast.

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Go with the Eldorado. Its awesome. Light, bombproof, and small footprint. no vestibule, but you can set it up from the inside.


they make a clip on vestibule for the Eldo. I've got one, works pretty good.

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While people are weighing in with their 2 cents, here's mine - Marmot Alpinist - pretty light (even with the vestibule), very easy/fast to set up, bombproof and quite roomy for the size. Reasonably priced to boot. The current model is worlds better than the original (clips vs. pole sleeves) in most respects.

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+1 on the Bibler Eldo, mine is a single door model but I use it as a solo tent. At 6'4" I have to sleep diagonally, not really any room for anyone except maybe one of my 4 yr. old twins. It's not cheap at close to $600 but I've had mine for 6-7 years and it's still in great shape, one tiny little snag on the mesh door. Oh, anf for what it's worth it's a green one. I haven't looked at BD's site lately but isn't yellow the only color available these days?


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