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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Hilleberg Atko > Owner Review by Cheryl McMurray

HILLEBERG AKTO TENT
OWNER REVIEW BY CHERYL MCMURRAY
DATE APRIL 5, 2011

PERSONAL BIOGRAPHY

Name: Cheryl McMurray
Age: 52
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight: 145 lb (66.6 kg)
Email Address: cherylmcmurray2ATgmailDOTcom
City, State, Country: Garden Grove, California, U.S.

BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

I've been backpacking and hiking for four years, mostly on weekends year around.  Overnight trips are usually long weekend trips in the Eastern Sierras with 32 lb to 40 lb (15 kg to 18 kg) loads depending on the season. One class two rock climb with a day pack is common. Day hikes are 10-15 mi (16 km to 24 km) in the San Gabriel Mountains with loads of 15 lb to 20 lb (7 kg to 9 kg).  I'm a tent style camper and have experienced snow, freezing temperatures, high winds, light rain and thunderstorms.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer:  Hilleberg The Tentmaker
Manufacturer Website outside Europe:  www.hilleberg.com
Website for Europe:  www.hilleberg.se
Year of Manufacture:  2010
Listed Minimum Weight:  2 lbs 13 oz (1.3 kg) (inner tent, outer tent, pole)
Actual Minimum Weight:  3 lbs 3 oz (1.4 kg)
List Packed Weight:  3 lb 8 oz (1.6 kg) (inner tent, outer tent, poles, stuff sacks, stakes)
Actual Packed Weight:  3 lbs 9 oz (1.6 kg)
Colors Available:  Green, Red
MSRP:  $430 US
MSRP:  EUR 479
Purchase Date:  April 2010
Warranty:  Lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects

DESCRIPTION

The Hilleberg Akto tent is a solo single-pole tunnel tent that is considered to be an all weather, lightweight shelter.  It consists of a lightweight breathable inner tent attached to an outer tent with elastic loops and toggles.  There is one 9 mm (0.35 in) pole that goes through a continuous dead end sleeve that is located at the center of the outer tent side and the pole is secured in a plastic cup attached to a pole tensioner.  The outer tent fabric is made of Kerlon 1200 that the manufacturer claims to be the strongest and lightest tent material.  There are two fiberglass rods on each end of the outer tent to provide extra height at the head and foot areas.  There are two double guylines (with runners) on each end along with a double guyline on each side of the tent by the pole.  The floor is a high bathtub style floor that is waterproof, puncture and abrasion resistant.  There is a single storage pocket at the door end of the inner tent and a secured compartment for the extra tent pole and repair sleeve in the pole storage bag. 

Hilleberg Akto tent
Tent dimensions
Tent height
Akto tent
Tent dimensions (taken from website)
Tent height and venting (taken from website)

VENTILATION

The inner tent has a very large door entry that includes a flap of material attached with a hook and loop closure that can be opened to expose no-see-um mesh for extra venting.  There is a semi-circular zippered vent at both ends of the outer tent to provide more airflow along with a zipper at the top of the outer tent door that can be zipped down from the top to promote more airflow.  In order to prevent rain from coming in, it is covered by an awning that maintains its shape with a piece of wire. 

Awning and inner tent venting
End vent and guylines
Awning and inner tent venting
End vent and guylines

WHAT'S INCLUDED

The tent came with the inner tent, outer tent, guylines, line runners, pole, stuff bag, 10 V-Pegs, spare pole section, repair sleeve and instructions.

What's included
Packed size
What's included
Packed size

SETTING UP THE TENT

The first thing I do before packing the tent up at home is to attach the inner tent to the outer tent.  Hilleberg does offer a footprint for the Akto that includes coverage for the vestibule but in order to save some weight and money I just use a tyvek footprint (only covering the tent area) that I made with cord and clips on each corner for quick attachment to the bottom area of the tent (in winter with snow camping I leave the footprint at home).  I can then spread it out on the ground with only one step.  This can be particularly important if it's raining as one of the features of this tent is to be able to set it up in the rain by still keeping the inner tent dry.  After reaching camp and spreading out the tent so that the covered side of the vestibule is upwind (door side is downwind).  I put a stake in each metal ring at the upwind end of the inner tent to secure it.  Then I insert the pole at the sleeve opening on the door side until I reach the reinforced dead end on the other side.  After sliding it through I secure the end of the pole in the plastic cup of the pole tensioner, pulling it taut with the webbing until it is against the side of the tent.  The stakes are then placed at the other end of the inner tent through the metal rings and in order for it to be taut, I sometimes readjust the first two stakes.  I start with the runners on the guylines loosened up all the way so that when I stake down each end, I have some room for adjusting them to make the tent taut.  The two guylines at the end are then staked down along with the guylines on each side.  I like the fact that the tent comes with them already attached.  If there is no weather expected I unzip the end vents but if the winds, snow or rain is expected I keep them shut.  The fabric on both ends is breathable and should vent a little even when closed.

FIELD TESTING

Round Valley, San Jacinto Mountains, Southern California
Type of trip:  Snow Camping
Trip Duration:  1 night, 2 days
Camping Elevation:  9,200 ft (2,800 m)
Conditions:  Cold and breezy
Temperature:  19 F (-7 C) to 50 F (11 C)
Note:  This trip was done twice.  The other trip was 2 nights, 3 days with similar conditions.

Set up in snow
Ability to sit in vestibule while cooking just outside
End vent unzipped
Set up in snow
Ability to sit inside the vestibule with a foot well dug out
End vent unzipped

Eagle Peak, Joshua Tree National Park, Southern California
Type of trip:  Desert camping
Drip Duration:  2 days, 1 night
Camping Elevation:  3,200 ft (1,000 m)
Conditions:  Windy, cloudy, light rain
Temperature:  41 F (5 C) to 65 F (18 C)

Cooking breakfast in the vestibule
Cooking breakfast in the vestibule
``
South Lake, Eastern Sierras near Bishop, California
Type of trip:  Snow Camp
Drip Duration:  3 days, 2 nights
Camping Elevation:  8,800 ft (2,700 m)
Conditions:  Cold, Wind, Snow
Temperature:  20 F (-7 C) to 30 F (-1 C) (not including wind chill)

6 in (15 cm) of snowfall
After 12 in (30 cm) snowfall with some drifting.  Snow kicked off from inside
Snow gathering on tent
After 6 in (15 cm) of snowfall.  Tent brushed off a little.
After 12 in (30 cm) of snowfall with drifting.  Snow kicked off from inside the tent.
Snow gathering on tent

FUNCTIONALITY/STABILITY

All three trips involved wind.  I made sure that I set the tent up each time with the closed side of the vestibule into the wind.  The first trip involved breezes of about 10 mph (16 kph).  Since the temperature dipped down to 19 F (-7 C) I sat in the vestibule with my stove just outside the door.  It really helped keep me out of the wind and warm while heating water for coffee and breakfast.  I never heard or felt the tent move due to the breeze through the night. 

The second trip was at Joshua Tree National Park.  We had rain and high winds forecasted so when we arrived at camp I was careful to stake the tent out so that it was positioned correctly into the wind.  Little did I know that this trip would add an extra challenge for me.  On my way back from our day hike I sprained my ankle pretty badly.  When we finally made it back to camp I was completely worn out.  The rain was threatening and the winds were picking up which really lowered the temperature.  I knew that I would not be able to walk around camp later to make it to our dinner location so I decided to cook in the vestibule.  Once I got into the tent I immediately felt completely protected from the winds blowing.  Since the outer tent comes all the way to the ground there was no wind coming in underneath which really was nice.  It also began to rain lightly.  Using a canister stove, I was able to cook my dinner and heat water for hot chocolate so that I could warm up and start recovering.  I kept the vestibule door open but put the stove inside to shield it from the wind and light rain and other than a small breeze occasionally affecting the flame, it worked out really well, staying protected from the elements.  The winds blew all night at approximately 30 mph (48 kph) but I never felt any effect of it.  In fact, I slept really well and was able to eliminate any worry of how I was going to cook breakfast in the morning due to the winds.  When I woke up the next morning the winds were still blowing so I unzipped the vestibule door and proceeded to heat my water for coffee and breakfast inside the vestibule.  It worked so well.

The last trip to the Sierras was the real test.  The forecast was for 12 in (30 cm) of snowfall during the weekend with sustained winds of 30 mph (48 kph) and gusts up to 45 mph (72 kph).  It was breezy when I set up the tent but by staking down the end of the inner tent that was into the wind, I had no problem with it moving on me.  I set up the tent in the usual manner but since it took longer for the snow stakes to set up, it took longer before I could crawl into the tent.  It was not snowing when I set it up but it started right after I finished.  I was able to pull the tent taut in about 45 minutes after starting the setup and was ready to get out of the wind.  Since I had my white gas stove, I was not comfortable cooking in the vestibule so I kept the stove just outside of it.  Once I got inside, I felt completely sheltered from the wind which was really nice considering the snow falling and the spin drift blowing around.  There was 6 in (15 cm) of snowfall overnight but I never sensed it from inside the tent and it remained extremely stable throughout the windy night.  The next night I had at least 12 in (30 cm) of snowfall by early morning and with the winds, there was drifting that was even deeper.  Not realizing at the time, when I woke up, I was amazed as to how warm and quiet it was inside the tent.  When I stretched my leg down toward the end of the tent, it hit something.  At that point, I realized that a lot of snow had fallen.  I proceeded to kick the top of the tent with my foot and then hit the top near my face with my hand to get the snow off.  When I got out, the photo above showing the tent after 12 in (30 cm) of snowfall is what I found.  The tent never collapsed but did sag considerably at the ends with the weight of the snow accumulated.  All of this considered, I'm still impressed with the performance of this tent under those extreme conditions, especially given the fact that there is only one single pole for the whole tent. 

INTERIOR SPACE

The tent is actually more roomy inside than it appears from the outside.  I am able to sit up straight without hitting the highest point of the tent in the center.  I can lie back without touching the ceiling of the inner tent and there is a least 8 in (20 cm) of space between my face and the ceiling when lying down.  The shape of the inner tent allows me to store clothing and personal items next to me.  There is only one pocket at the door end of the inner tent so if I want to use it and access it at night, my head needs to be placed at that end.  It would be nice if there were a storage pocket at both ends.  There are some gear loops that hang from the top of the inner tent that I have used for hanging a small zipper pull light. 

The vestibule has an impressive amount of room in it since the pole goes through a sleeve in the outer tent giving the vestibule wall an arched shape which adds room to the interior.  I was able to put everything inside the vestibule that wasn't needed in the tent during the Joshua Tree trip, including the pack, and kept it protected from the rain.  I was even able to enter and exit the door without moving too many items.  Since the vestibule measures 30 in (75 cm) at its widest point, I'm able to sit inside during the winter with a foot well dug out. 

BREATHABILITY

The Akto has two semi-circle vents at each end of the outer tent that can be zipped up or unzipped for extra ventilation.  The door on the outer tent can be zipped down on both sides for extra ventilation at the top of the door with an awning covering it to prevent rain or snow coming in.  The inner tent has a small mesh window on the door that can be opened or closed with a single hook and loop closure.   On the trip to the San Jacinto Mountains, there was not a lot of wind so I opened both vents and kept the inner door mesh window exposed.  Other than some frost only above my head from the hot air coming from my mouth all night, there was no other condensation on the inner tent.  There was some frost, however on the inside of the outer tent but it really did not cause any issues. 

On the trip to Joshua Tree, I kept the end vents closed with the vestibule door zipped completely up but had the inner tent mesh window exposed.  Although there was light rain and high winds, I was very surprised to wake up and find no condensation at all in either the inner tent or inside the outer tent.

On the trip to the Sierras, I did have some light frost on the inner tent ceiling and inside wall of the outer tent after the 6 in (15 cm) of snowfall and a temperature of 25 F (-4 C).  The second night with 12 in (30 cm) of snowfall that covered the tent into a makeshift snow cave, I experienced light condensation (not frost but droplets) on the ceiling of the inner tent along with a little heavier moisture on the inner walls of the outer tent.  Quite honestly, this was an extreme condition and I was still impressed that although there was moisture on the ceiling, my belongings along with me stayed dry so long as I didn't touch it.  Nothing dripped down.

CONCLUSION

I've used this tent a total of six nights in some extreme conditions.  The Hilleburg Akto has performed impressively in high winds that involved light rain and moderate snowfall.  The only time that the tent had an issue was with 12 in (30 cm) of snowfall and high winds causing deep drifts that produced considerable sagging on each end of the tent.  The main structure of the tent, though, held strong.  For a solo tent, the inner tent and vestibule is large enough to house all of my gear from the elements and the height of the inner tent is tall enough for me to sit up without touching the top.  It is the quickest, easiest tent that I have ever set up and since the inner tent is attached to the outer tent, I don't worry about weather conditions when I have to set it up anymore.  This has become my "go to" tent.

THINGS I LIKE

Very stable in high winds
Roomy inside for a solo tent
Very quick and easy to set up, factory attached guylines
Inner tent stays dry while setting it up in the rain
Large vestibule for complete gear storage and cooking
Outer tent comes all the way to the ground giving complete protection from wind, snow and rain
Awning to keep rain out while venting

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

Needs one more inner pocket at the other end of the tent
The flat roof has trouble shedding snow
Tent ends sag considerably with heavy snow




Read more reviews of Hilleberg gear
Read more gear reviews by Cheryl McMurray

Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Hilleberg Atko > Owner Review by Cheryl McMurray



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