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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Hilleberg Nammatj 3GT > Owner Review by Seth Quistad

Hilleberg Nammatj 3GT
Owner Review by Seth Quisted
May 22, 2011

Personal Details and Backpacking Background
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Height: 6' 2
" (1.88 m)
Weight: 176 lb (80 kg)
Email address: squistad at hotmail dot com
City, State, Country: Z
urich, Switzerland
Backpacking Background: I spend most of my backpacking time in terrain ranging from treks in the Alps, to Mediterranean coastal trips, with the main emphasis being on family adventure trekking. We always hike as three, with my wife and now 7-year old son. That leads to a very special kind of ultralight backpacking, where the emphasis is on light weight and full protection from the elements.


The Hilleberg Nammatj 3GT(hereafter referred to as the Nammatj) is a tunnel tent manufactured in Estonia by the Swedish tent guru Bo Hilleberg. The GT suffix denotes an extended vestibule, practically doubling the interior volume of the tent. The Nammatj also exists in the standard, smaller vestibule version at a weight reduction of approximately 2.2 lb (1 kg).

Manufacturer: Hilleberg the Tentmaker AB, Froson, Sweden 
Year of manufacture: 2001 
Year of Purchase: 2001
MSRP: currently $745 US/Eur 829
Length, 160in/405cm
Width, 64in/160cm
Height, 42in/105cm
Floor area, inner tent, 36.6 ft^2/ 3.4 m^2., vestibule, 30.1 ft^2/2.8 m^2
Minimum weight" (inner and outer tents + poles), listed 7 lb 1 oz/ 3.2 kg, measured 7 lb 10 oz 3.45 kg  
Packed weight" (tents, poles, stakes, stuff sacks, instructions), listed 8 lb 10 oz/3.9 kg; measured 8 lb 5 oz/3.77 kg  

I purchased the Hilleberg Nammatj 3GT in 2001 after a large amount of research (probably too much...) based on the following criteria:

I was looking for a tent that would provide the highest amount of livable space and all weather scenario protection for the lowest weight for our family of three (at that time only 2 and a twinkle). I wanted something light, but solid enough that I would not be afraid of a toddler bouncing off the walls. There were at the time lighter tents, and today this is even more so, but nothing in this weight category for real four season protection and indestructible design.

Brief description
The Nammatj is a hand-sewn tunnel tent. The manufacturer proudly states that he does not seal the seams of the tent, since they are so well sewn that they do not require sealing. My experience has justified this claim, and I must admit that the tent is a thing of beauty. The outer tent fly is constructed of Kerlon 1800, and comes in red or green. My model is the red version, and while I prefer the quality of light in the interior of the tent, it is less discreet, which may be an issue for some. It has one side entrance with a second mesh door for warmer weather. The door has been updated since my purchase. The manufacturer describes it as "The entrance on the GT's extended vestibule boasts a full no-see-um mesh door (which can be zipped off completely), and a multi-slider zipper door that can be opened from the top, side, or bottom." I have seen the new door, and consider it to be an improvement.

The Nammatj, as are almost all Hilleberg tents, is constructed in an "exoskeleton" style: structure is given to the tent by poles inserted into sleeves in the outer tent fly, instead of on the inner tent. The inner tent is suspended from this outer shell, leaving a 4 in (10 cm) gap between the inner and outer walls. The inner tent is constructed of a breathable, DWR coated fabric.  In practice, this fabric effectively repels drops of water that may have fallen from condensation, but will let the water pass if I push up against it. The inner tent is suspended with a 4-inch space between the inner and outer walls, reducing the chance for contact between the two. The entire front face of the inner tent is a double fabric/ mosquito net door can be zipped open in various configurations allowing various possibilities for entry, and ventilation.

Field use

Our family has slept in this tent in a variety of situations ranging from around 20 F (-7 C) to 80 F (27 C). We have woken up to snow during a five-day trip in the Italian Dolomites, and set it up in a campground near Naples at Pompeii. It has kept us dry during a week of rain on a cycle tour down the Swiss part of the Rhone, and we were admittedly sweating when we pitched it on the porch of a deserted house near a mosquito-infested swamp in Thailand. We have not yet slept on solid snow with it, but maybe this year...

As stated earlier, the Nammatj is a tunnel design, meaning that it will not stand on its own, but requires a minimum of 4 attachment points (normally stakes, but I have also used rocks, trees and even the leg of a picnic table) to the ground. While I was initially skeptical of the limitations inherent in this design, I have yet to encounter problems when pitching the tent. It would be difficult to pitch on a sheer rock. The “exoskeleton” design of the Nammatj makes pitching a simple, two step affair of inserting the poles into the sleeves and then staking it out. All three poles are identical, adding to the simplicity. I have found in practice that to get a very nice taut pitch, 6-8 stakes are required. When guyed out to its maximum of 20 stake points, the tent is firmly anchored in place, to put it mildly. The Nammatj is very stable in wind, especially when pitched in the direction of the wind.

A great benefit of the Nammatj design, and implicitly other Hilleberg tents, is that by pitching the whole tent at once, the inner tent stays dry even in severely wet conditions.

One issue to take into consideration is that the tent is quite long (159 in/405 cm), making pitching in very tight situations a little creative. But it was a big tent I wanted...

The Nammatj has two large vents, situated about 3/4th of the way up the each end of the tent These both have a screen and a closure flap, adjustable with zippers. In addition, the inner tent has a rear triangular vent linked to the rear outer tent vent with a similar screen and closure system. The complete front entrance to the inner tent is vent-able or close-able depending on the weather and personal preference. The venting works well when pitched into the wind, and when there is wind, but we have had several occasions with quite a bit of condensation on the inside. Sometimes the problem has been inadequate venting on our part, but sometimes there is nothing we can do about it. A morning wipe down seems to be about the only solution, which can take quite a bit of time considering the surface area of the tent. Another possibility is to remove the inner tent and pack it separately, but that is also relatively labor intensive.

In practice, I have found that the simplicity and attention to detail of the Nammatj make it a pleasure to use.

The actual sleeping area is sufficient for three adults, but not luxuriously big. For our family of three it is perfect. The end of the sleeping area does angle down, leading to occasional problems of a wet sleeping bag foot where I have pushed up against the outer tent in the night, collecting condensation. This has not affected my wife or son, since they are not so tall. Hilleberg himself recommends solving this problem by zipping a rain shell over the foot of the bag at night. I have found this an effective solution.

The tent is also very warm, making a very noticeable difference in cold weather. The warmth can be regulated by adjusting the vents.

For me, the vestibule is the crowning glory of the Nammatj 3GT. It allows us to to change clothes, cook, eat and live, while keeping the inner sleeping area clean. With a small child, this was especially helpful. In addition, the inner tent can be unlinked from the outer to create a very large space. In wet conditions we often will push the inner tent, complete with sleeping bags and (not fully inflated) mattresses, into the back corner, keeping our sleeping area very clean and dry while providing a very large space for cooking, and generally lazing around. I have at one point pushed the vestibule back (see photo), seated 7 people comfortably inside, and cooked dinner for them all in the center with room to spare.

Long term
After close to ten years of using this tent, I am still extremely happy with it. The tent looks and functions pretty much like it did when I first received it. It has made a good shelter for a week in the Tetons, (Wyoming USA) in Thailand, as a base for exploring Italy's coastal regions, and of course for numerous higher altitude expeditions in the Alps. It is really a tent that can function in every situation. It does have some condensation issues, although I have never slept in a tent without some condensation, and it is not the lightest tent available. It also has a large footprint, and requires staking out.  However all of these issues are inherent in the type of tent, not only with this actual Nammatj.

As a summary I would like to briefly list my perceived pluses and minuses of the Nammatj 3 GT.

I like:

The all weather protection

The beautiful construction

The vestibule

The cozy secure feeling that I (and my wife and son) have when sleeping in it.

I like less:

The condensation issues

The price (although I would definitely buy another)

The weight, although very light for what it provides, is still a little high.

On the whole, I would without hesitation recommend this tent to anyone who wants one tent to do everything, and does not mind a small weight penalty (compared to some of the ultralight offerings out there) in exchange for true four season protection and a cavernous vestibule.

Read more reviews of Hilleberg gear
Read more gear reviews by Seth Quistad

Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Hilleberg Nammatj 3GT > Owner Review by Seth Quistad

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