Upgrading my Tent....looking at Hilleberg options.

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pwa
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Re: Upgrading my Tent....looking at Hilleberg options.

Postby pwa » 19 Apr 2019, 9:39am

pjclinch wrote:
pwa wrote:I have a Saunders that is very good in some respects, but I was astounded to find that the maker did not seal the seams! You were expected to do it yourself. Which I did. You can't do that in today's market. It must work straight out of the pack.


It's not that simple. Bob Saunders didn't seal the seams because he (like Bo Hilleberg) figured that having the strongest possible fabric at the weight was more important than seam taping, and a silicone coating on the underside meant that the seams wouldn't take a tape (vauDe and Lightwave now ship silicone coated flysheets with seam tape, but this doesn't appear to be a generally available process like the hot taping used on PH coats).

So for your how much? investment in a Hilleberg you get a tent with no seam taping. How could they? Rather than use seam tape, which adds weight, bulk and (at least with typical hot-taping) heat ages and weakens the seams, Hille invested quite a lot in sewing machines (and staff) that minimise heat damage from needles, and carefully make a fairly elaborate double-interlocked seam which typically doesn't leak even without taping. It can't be guaranteed watertight, but it usually is, and if it isn't a few minutes with some seam goop solves it. Personally, I'd much rather have that than seam taping with all of its downsides. (Neither of my Hilles leak, even without seam sealing, I did seal my Saunders tents but as a "just in case" rather than proven leaking, but Bob's seams weren't generally the neatest on the planet).
Most marketing departments seem to agree with you that it must be guaranteed waterproof out of the bag first time, but Hille don't, and nor do people that buy them because they want a strong flysheet more than they want the seams taped at the factory.

Pete.

I don't care how it is done so long as it works. My Hille doesn't leak and if they achieve that without taping, great. My Saunders did leak, a lot, so I applied silicone sealant. Point is, if someone sells tents they know are not going to keep the rain out without fettling they are selling an unfinished product and they will go out of business if they continue doing that.

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leftpoole
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Re: Upgrading my Tent....looking at Hilleberg options.

Postby leftpoole » 19 Apr 2019, 9:42am

My choice is Anjan 2 or Niak (2)
John

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pjclinch
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Re: Upgrading my Tent....looking at Hilleberg options.

Postby pjclinch » 19 Apr 2019, 12:03pm

pwa wrote:I don't care how it is done so long as it works. My Hille doesn't leak and if they achieve that without taping, great. My Saunders did leak, a lot, so I applied silicone sealant. Point is, if someone sells tents they know are not going to keep the rain out without fettling they are selling an unfinished product and they will go out of business if they continue doing that.


In practice Hille's seams typically don't need sealing, but sometimes do, and the chance of "sometimes" goes up as the tent ages and the seams are stressed. Making one untaped seam waterproof isn't a big ask, making a whole production schedule that way is. While I can understand the attractions of a fuss-free product, sometimes putting in some extra effort (e.g., bothering to clean the zips and washing salt off poles at the end of seaside trips etc.*) means you end up with a better product in use.

If your reasoning on "unfinished products" really held sway at the expensive end of specialist markets then those chancers at Bianchi etc. flogging bikes with no pedals would have gone under years ago, yet they manage to get by somehow...

Pete.

* yes, really. A pal had his Quasar poles fail under not much strain and TN refused to replace them free because of salt corrosion. An altogether more rubbish experience than a few minutes with some warm water at the end of a trip
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JackRabbitSlims
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Re: Upgrading my Tent....looking at Hilleberg options.

Postby JackRabbitSlims » 21 Apr 2019, 6:21pm

leftpoole wrote:My choice is Anjan 2 or Niak (2)
John


Thanks John,

Rogen and Anjan 2 are on the shortlist.
Being a freestanding tent, I think the Rogen will win out in the end :)

Cheers.

willem jongman
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Re: Upgrading my Tent....looking at Hilleberg options.

Postby willem jongman » 15 May 2019, 11:22am

Much depends on th environment you want to use the tent in. For north western Europe with its sometimes cold and wet weather, Hilleberg and Helsport are the best. They are outer first tents where the inner is attached to the outer, so you pitch them in one movement, and keep your inner tent dry. If next morning the fly is wet, you just take out the inner first, put it in a separate bag, and then take down the wet and perhaps dirty rest of the tent. The fly also reaches down to the ground, so you are well protected. We love our Namamtj 3gt for this purpose, and I don't think there is anything better.
The downside is that these are warm and potentially very warm tents. This summer we will be touring in Italy, so we bought an MSR Zoic 3 for that. This is a US style inner first tent with lots of mesh for excellent ventilation. That it is an inner first tent does not bother us very much because the chances of serious rain will be slim. It is also much lighter (and cheaper) than the Nammatj. I will not be surprised if it does not last as long, and having pitched it in our garden I know I would not use it when I can expect really nasty weather. It is just not as stable as a heavy duty Hilleberg.

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Re: Upgrading my Tent....looking at Hilleberg options.

Postby JackRabbitSlims » 16 May 2019, 9:41pm

willem jongman wrote:Much depends on th environment you want to use the tent in. For north western Europe with its sometimes cold and wet weather, Hilleberg and Helsport are the best. They are outer first tents where the inner is attached to the outer, so you pitch them in one movement, and keep your inner tent dry. If next morning the fly is wet, you just take out the inner first, put it in a separate bag, and then take down the wet and perhaps dirty rest of the tent. The fly also reaches down to the ground, so you are well protected. We love our Namamtj 3gt for this purpose, and I don't think there is anything better.
The downside is that these are warm and potentially very warm tents. This summer we will be touring in Italy, so we bought an MSR Zoic 3 for that. This is a US style inner first tent with lots of mesh for excellent ventilation. That it is an inner first tent does not bother us very much because the chances of serious rain will be slim. It is also much lighter (and cheaper) than the Nammatj. I will not be surprised if it does not last as long, and having pitched it in our garden I know I would not use it when I can expect really nasty weather. It is just not as stable as a heavy duty Hilleberg.



Hi willem,

Thanks for your input.

As I said in my OP, the MSR has done a good job over the last few years and in good to fair conditions, it really is a great tent!

When conditions have been rough, it has been OK, but I just feel that it is coming to the end of its life cycle and I would like to explore options for something a bit more durable and able to withstand some more challenging environments.

As above, I’ve met many Hilleberg owners in my travels and they always speak so highly of their tents and where they’ve taken them on their tours etc.

The next stage of my tour has me in some quite remote and extreme locations.....in July, I start riding from Tuktoyaktuk (you’ll have to google map that one) and will ride to LA, then I plan to fly to Santiago, Chile and continue riding south to Ushuaia.

No definite decisions have been made regarding the new tent....I’m still faffing around trying to get myself to Santiago :)

Cheers.

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horizon
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Re: Upgrading my Tent....looking at Hilleberg options.

Postby horizon » 16 May 2019, 10:15pm

This would be my choice of Hilleberg:

https://gb.hilleberg.com/EN/tent/black- ... matj-2-gt/

It's rugged and roomy and even comes in a choice of colours. I'm inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt and consider it well worth the money especially if made in the EU. I would certainly buy one if I had the cash. Instead, I have one of these:

https://www.robens.de/en-gb/shop/outdoo ... oyager-2ex

It comes in at a quarter of the price (though I bought mine for much less, £170, new). The Nammatj is listed at £1000. Robens also do another, lighter tent:

https://www.robens.de/en-gb/shop/outdoo ... osprey-2ex

but even this one comes in at just over half the price of the Hilleberg (about £540).

My feeling (and experience) with the Robens is that it is completely up to the job so I struggle to see what the Hilleberg offers. However, I have the greatest respect for good equipment and believe it money well spent. But I would still quite like to know what others think about the Hilleberg and why or if it is worth so much extra.

PS That's really a rhetorical question as I know it has been covered above. But the Robens is now being got ready for a trip so it brings it all to mind again.
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

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pjclinch
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Re: Upgrading my Tent....looking at Hilleberg options.

Postby pjclinch » 17 May 2019, 1:05pm

horizon wrote:My feeling (and experience) with the Robens is that it is completely up to the job so I struggle to see what the Hilleberg offers. However, I have the greatest respect for good equipment and believe it money well spent. But I would still quite like to know what others think about the Hilleberg and why or if it is worth so much extra.

PS That's really a rhetorical question as I know it has been covered above. But the Robens is now being got ready for a trip so it brings it all to mind again.


£1000 on a tent is a lot of money, especially when you can get one that does much the same for half that.

OTOH...

£1000 on a bike is a lot of money, especially when you can get one that does much the same for half that.

Depending on your particular outlook you will either be happy with that level of expenditure, or you won't. If it turns out you are then that'll probably be down to some level of "well I've got the money... and I just really want this shiny thing" and you can post-rationalise how it represents really good value.

Where there's a really tangible difference between an expensive bike and a cheaper one it'll usually be the case that if you're not e.g. a professional racer then you can make do with the cheaper one, but the more expensive one is just nicer. There isn't a properly quantifiable way of pricing "nicer", but you'll know when you come across it whether it's in your budget or not.

On a cycling forum this tendency to over-buy will naturally apply more to bikes than tents. But it's the same principle.

I find Hilles nicer mainly in how easy it is to put them up with one pair of numb hands, and how all the little things have been thought about and minimise fuss. It's certainly not necessary, but then neither is the whole gear range on my touring bike.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

JackRabbitSlims
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Re: Upgrading my Tent....looking at Hilleberg options.

Postby JackRabbitSlims » 17 May 2019, 10:30pm

^^
I enjoyed reading the way you explained your position here!

Sometimes, buying top quality, well made, highly reputable kit just make sense!

I’ve learn’t my lessons the hard way on my current tour......imo, leave home with the best, highest quality gear you afford...especially in developing nations where access to good gear / kit and knowledgeable/ skilled mechanics does not exist!

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horizon
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Re: Upgrading my Tent....looking at Hilleberg options.

Postby horizon » 17 May 2019, 11:44pm

JackRabbitSlims wrote:^^
.imo, leave home with the best, highest quality gear you afford...


I certainly do that and the tent comes out at less than £200. Tents that cost £1000 exist in a different world from mine. I don't blame people for buying them, it's just that for me that they are unaffordable. A good second-hand one OTOH might be feasible.
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

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pjclinch
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Re: Upgrading my Tent....looking at Hilleberg options.

Postby pjclinch » 18 May 2019, 9:19am

JackRabbitSlims wrote:^^
I enjoyed reading the way you explained your position here!

Sometimes, buying top quality, well made, highly reputable kit just make sense!

I’ve learn’t my lessons the hard way on my current tour......imo, leave home with the best, highest quality gear you afford...especially in developing nations where access to good gear / kit and knowledgeable/ skilled mechanics does not exist!


The key point there is the degree to which you're off-grid and/or the potential for failures to be genuinely dangerous is high. I'm a tent-fetishist by way of winter mountaineering and sea kayaking, where having it all go the Way of the Pear gives you a very real chance of death by hypothermia, and I'm only at the dilettante end of the scale. Cycle touring in the UK and much of continental Europe isn't generally a game where this is an issue, but if I've got the tent for the more serious stuff, might as well use it for the cycle touring too and keep the other advantages.

"leave home with the best, highest quality gear you afford" is something that is wise to apply to a serious expedition, but for a lot of trips is just a way of spending a lot of money you don't need to. So weeks of touring through developing countries, or a long polar ski trip, absolutely. An overnighter in a glen with a good forecast... probably doesn't matter if I forget the tent!

horizon wrote:I certainly do that and the tent comes out at less than £200. Tents that cost £1000 exist in a different world from mine. I don't blame people for buying them, it's just that for me that they are unaffordable. A good second-hand one OTOH might be feasible.


You're not missing that much, most of the time. Think of it as the difference between a top-of-the-range groupset and a merely very competent one. The gears are still there, they generally change as asked. Also bear in mind that lots of very serious expeditions have been entirely successful with tents considerably less good than the ones presently stored under my bed. If your existing tent does what you want/need then it doesn't need "upgrading", any more than you must have electronic Dura Ace to change gears.

Pete.
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horizon
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Re: Upgrading my Tent....looking at Hilleberg options.

Postby horizon » 18 May 2019, 10:53am

pjclinch, JackRabbitSims: this has been interesting. The kind of camping I do doesn't justify the extra cost, even if it would be nice. The tent I have, I'm really impressed with. Where it falls down is where any tent, even a £1000 one, falls down in that it is still only a tent, not a hotel room. But I am still on side with the idea that good equipment is a sound investment: the "best you can afford" is a good maxim even if for many people that means second-hand or budget. I'm still wondering though whether there is a line when tents go from being not really fit for purpose to more than completely adequate. But I also believe that good practice and pitching has an important role to play: although they were budget tents, those that I saw left at campsites last year after heavy rain were totally fit for purpose. But how they were used left something to be desired. Maybe modern materials haven't quite yet obviated the need for old-fashioned "campcraft".
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

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pjclinch
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Re: Upgrading my Tent....looking at Hilleberg options.

Postby pjclinch » 18 May 2019, 11:50am

horizon wrote:pjclinch, JackRabbitSims: this has been interesting. The kind of camping I do doesn't justify the extra cost, even if it would be nice. The tent I have, I'm really impressed with. Where it falls down is where any tent, even a £1000 one, falls down in that it is still only a tent, not a hotel room.


Where it doesn't fall down is occasions like this, where they literally don't fall down.
Image

horizon wrote:But I am still on side with the idea that good equipment is a sound investment: the "best you can afford" is a good maxim even if for many people that means second-hand or budget.


The usual caveat exists here: first define "best". And if you start off with something as complex and multi-faceted as a cycle tour that's actually hard. If you spend a very substantial chunk of your budget on exotic camping gear you might not be able to afford the train/ferry etc. to go somewhere worth camping, and so on. And while the ability to put up your tent easily in the sort of conditions shown above makes a tangible difference worth spending money on if you're in a place like that, it is of little or no consequence to most cycle tourists most of the time, so from that perspective is it really something they'd count as "better"?

horizon wrote:I'm still wondering though whether there is a line when tents go from being not really fit for purpose to more than completely adequate. But I also believe that good practice and pitching has an important role to play: although they were budget tents, those that I saw left at campsites last year after heavy rain were totally fit for purpose. But how they were used left something to be desired. Maybe modern materials haven't quite yet obviated the need for old-fashioned "campcraft".


You're quite correct here. Successful camping under awkward conditions is far more about process and management than stuff, and if you don't treat the inner as somewhere that must be kept as dry as possible at all costs in a week of blustery rain it doesn't matter if you're in a £50 Eurohike dome or a £1,000 Hilleberg: you're going to be wet and miserable by the end of it. The Hille will make it easier to keep things dry, but it's not magic and you've still got to make the effort and develop the smarts to do that.
But is there a difference between "good enough" and "better"? Yes, of course, and it's just like bikes. Back when we had six speed derailleurs with downtube shifters we found them quite adequate, and they were. Can we do better? Yes. On a paddling trip once I had my Tarra up while the chap with the Quasar next door was still faffing about trying to get the poles in with the fly over the top to try and keep the inner dry. Look at the track record of the Quasar and it's clearly a good tent, but at that place, at that time, it wasn't as good as mine... though 10 minutes later, it didn't matter much.

Pete.
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