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

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

Postby pjclinch » 17 Apr 2019, 5:12pm

horizon wrote:
AFAIK, this tent is made from nylon, the disadvantages of which you have described above and include sagging when wet. However nylon does have advantages and is used (again AFAIK) in expensive tents.


Polyester and nylon are both used in cheap tents, expensive tents, and everything between.

Polyester stretches less and is much less prone to UV damage. Nylon (at least before it's been excessively UV damaged...) is, all else being equal, stronger at the same weight. You choose, you lose.

Just as with other materials (e.g. frame building steel for bikes), there are different qualities of polyester and nylon fabrics available (both the base fabrics and the quality and utility of the coatings). To some extent you can get around the problems by throwing money at them, but if you try and get around the UV thing with nylon, you could throw the same money at polyester and it would still do better there.

Unless I was doing something like camping during polar summer for weeks at a time I don't think I'd be particularly worried about nylon vs. polyester: either one used by a manufacturer with sufficient Applied Clue should be fine for my purposes. I'm far more interested in the layout once pitched, and how easy it is to pitch and strike.

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

Postby JackRabbitSlims » 17 Apr 2019, 9:27pm

Firstly, thank you all for the great replies!!

Some excellent insight there and obviously some very knowledgeable poster contributing far more than I expected....it’s much appreciated.

Just to clear a few things up:-
I’m a NZer currently on tour (Argentina right now) I’m having to return to NZ for a few weeks in June for some personal / admin stuff. During that time, I’m rebuilding my bike and restocking some of my kit before hitting the road again.

So, a new tent is high on the list, hence my OP :)
I’m currently on the 2nd MSR fly....the first one was stretched to being useless. The poles are also bent and the inner elastic cord has lost all elasticity....no effect on the tent pitch as far as I can tell??

When I approached MSR NZ with the problem with the original fly, their response was, “Well, we can sell you a replacement”

The cost of this stuff is offensive in NZ. I almost exclusively buy all of my gear / kit for my bike touring online and site unseen....I spend ages online reading reviews and doing my research before hitting the buy key. I’m pretty successful with this approach 95% of the time. As an example of this....the MSR Hubba Hubba goes for around $800 - $900 NZD depending on who is trying to gouge you. I bought mine, landed in NZ online for less than $400 over 3 years ago.

If I go with the Hille, I’ll buy that online through the NZ dealer, site unseen. Some of you probably think that’s crazy??

After lots of gear failure recently, I’ve decided that I’m going to spend good money on good kit that is made to last with good / great materials. Hille seems to fit the bill there. Half a kilo here or there does not bother me these days....my legs seem to do ok when I’m hauling 5-6 litres of water.....I don’t feel the difference from the normal 3 litres.
I can afford the tent(s)

Option B is to replace the MSR poles for a few hundred $$ and hope the Fly lasts the rest of this Tour?? On the upside, the footprint and inner are still doing super well :)

Thanks again for all the replies!!

Cheers.

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

Postby pjclinch » 17 Apr 2019, 10:27pm

JackRabbitSlims wrote:If I go with the Hille, I’ll buy that online through the NZ dealer, site unseen. Some of you probably think that’s crazy??


It's not always possible to see one in the flesh before ordering. It is, however, generally possible to send it back if it's not up to expectations, and writing off the postage is better than keeping a very expensive tent you're not actually that keen on.

It needs to be as-new to send it back, obviously, but you need to pitch it to see if it's right. If you can't find a suitable indoor space, pitch on a plastic sheet and use an old set of pegs. That way, if it's not up to hopes/expectations you can pack it completely clean and return it.

(Our Kaitum 3 was evaluated this way, nearest dealer stocking one was 4 hours away, though as it exceeded expectations there was no need to return it.)

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

Postby Sweep » 17 Apr 2019, 10:37pm

pjclinch wrote:
Sweep wrote:
Am sure they are well made but must admit that I have long been a bit doubtful of very expensive tents for bike use - not as if you are carrying it on your back.


Don't really follow the reasoning here. What you're paying for with a Hille isn't really about where/how you carry it.

What you're paying for is benchmark materials, QA, field testing and attention to detail (manifesting itself in ease of use from when you start pitching to when you finish putting it away). You can buy lighter, you can certainly buy cheaper, and if your particular requirements of design compromises don't happen to be in tune with Bo Hilleberg's it's quite possible you can buy something better suited to your needs, but there's nothing about Hille as a brand that doesn't fit with cycle touring.

When you're actually camping you're not on the bike, and it's when you're actually camping that the tent (excepting those made for extreme weight weenies) comes in to its own.

Pete.


What I meant was this - I have no reason at all to doubt the quality of design, materials and manufacture of Hille' tents.

But I do have the impression that you are paying for advanced materials that are strong but lighter than some.

Hence my reference to carrying on a bike rather than my back.

Often it seems to me cheaper materials are pretty damn tough and I can take the weight penalty (still moderate) that comes with it.

And I see some other posts since have pre-empted another point of mine I was going to make - that some sources of damage would damage any tent, however pricey its materials.

There is also the issue of UV damage, which can shorten lives. Are Hille's mofre resistant to this?
Sweep

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

Postby pjclinch » 17 Apr 2019, 10:53pm

Sweep wrote:Often it seems to me cheaper materials are pretty damn tough and I can take the weight penalty (still moderate) that comes with it.

And I see some other posts since have pre-empted another point of mine I was going to make - that some sources of damage would damage any tent, however pricey its materials.

There is also the issue of UV damage, which can shorten lives. Are Hille's mofre resistant to this?


Much of this comes down to silicone coatings on both sides of the fly. That is enormously stronger. If you've not done a tear-test yourself I doubt you'd realise what a huge difference there is between that and a PU coat. Sure, fall on a tent and you'll break a pole, and that pole might puncture the fly... but there's s big difference between a hole that doesn't go much further and spreading rip that destroys more than can be patched in the field.

Silicone coats also filter out significant amounts of damaging UV. You still don't want to over-expose them, but it significantly reduced the problem.

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

Postby rualexander » 17 Apr 2019, 10:56pm

Sweep wrote:
There is also the issue of UV damage, which can shorten lives. Are Hille's mofre resistant to this?


No, I don't think so.
My Hilleberg Stalon died from UV degradation after 18 years of maybe four weeks use per year plus a four month trip in NZ summer (high UV).

My 30 year old Saunders Jetpacker Plus is still going and although I rarely use it nowadays, it has probably had double the amount of use that my Stalon had, including around 12 months in NZ summers and Australia, 4 months in USA, etc.

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

Postby JackRabbitSlims » 18 Apr 2019, 10:25am

rualexander wrote:If you're buying in New Zealand, have a look at their Macpac tents https://www.macpac.co.nz/equipment/tents


Being a Kiwi, I have been a big supporter of MacPac gear.....especially 10-15 years ago.
It’s no longer a Kiwi company and now owned by some Aussie outfit.

Imho, lately they have changed their focus a bit and tend to market their gear towards the “street”.....I think The North Face did a similar thing years ago, but have pegged themselves back......slowly.

I’ve still got some their stuff hanging in the wardrobe at home.....big, heavy, but effective

2 friends rode through Europe last summer with a Minaret.....they hated it for various reasons and have since bought a Hubba Hubba.
The MSR is still a very popular tent.....most campgrounds I pitched in last summer where other bike tourers were around....at least another 3-5 Hubba Hubba’s’ there....it’s a good ice breaker to start a conversation :)

So, for me.....it’s either move to a Hille ( probably the Rogen) or replace my poles and stick with the MSR for another year or so.....I’m leaning heavily towards the Hille upgrade.

Cheers

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

Postby bikepacker » 18 Apr 2019, 11:58am

rualexander wrote:No, I don't think so.
My Hilleberg Stalon died from UV degradation after 18 years of maybe four weeks use per year plus a four month trip in NZ summer (high UV).

My 30 year old Saunders Jetpacker Plus is still going and although I rarely use it nowadays, it has probably had double the amount of use that my Stalon had, including around 12 months in NZ summers and Australia, 4 months in USA, etc.


The flysheet on the original Stalon GT was not nylon, it was a polyester material and in that it differed from the other Hillebergs at the time is was produced. Maybe that was why it degraded with such a short usage.

Bob Saunders was one of the innovators in the development and use of technical fabrics for tents, some of his older Spacepackers and Jetpackers still look good today. Met him at a Backpackers Club meet many years ago and his ideas were really ground-breaking.
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Re: Upgrading my Tent....looking at Hilleberg options.

Postby pwa » 18 Apr 2019, 12:08pm

bikepacker wrote:
rualexander wrote:No, I don't think so.
My Hilleberg Stalon died from UV degradation after 18 years of maybe four weeks use per year plus a four month trip in NZ summer (high UV).

My 30 year old Saunders Jetpacker Plus is still going and although I rarely use it nowadays, it has probably had double the amount of use that my Stalon had, including around 12 months in NZ summers and Australia, 4 months in USA, etc.


The flysheet on the original Stalon GT was not nylon, it was a polyester material and in that it differed from the other Hillebergs at the time is was produced. Maybe that was why it degraded with such a short usage.

Bob Saunders was one of the innovators in the development and use of technical fabrics for tents, some of his older Spacepackers and Jetpackers still look good today. Met him at a Backpackers Club meet many years ago and his ideas were really ground-breaking.

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.

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

Postby PH » 18 Apr 2019, 12:43pm

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.

I thought that was pretty standard practice with silicon coated fabrics, certainly the case with my Terra Nova tent, they don't guarantee the seams to be waterproof otherwise and offer the sealant for you to do it yourself if you chose. The reality is there's very little moisture comes through and the seams are placed in a way that any that found it's way through the fly wouldn't find it's way into the inner. In ten years use I've never sealed mine, bought a new fly last year hoping for another ten years use and won't be sealing this one either.
Last edited by PH on 18 Apr 2019, 1:03pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby PH » 18 Apr 2019, 12:46pm

JackRabbitSlims wrote:So, for me.....it’s either move to a Hille ( probably the Rogen) or replace my poles and stick with the MSR for another year or so.....I’m leaning heavily towards the Hille upgrade.
Cheers

That sounds like an itch that you're going to have to scratch, wouldn't be my choice for extended use, but it isn't my money! Look forward to your review of it.

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

Postby pjclinch » 18 Apr 2019, 12:47pm

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.

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

Postby pjclinch » 18 Apr 2019, 12:57pm

bikepacker wrote:
Bob Saunders was one of the innovators in the development and use of technical fabrics for tents, some of his older Spacepackers and Jetpackers still look good today. Met him at a Backpackers Club meet many years ago and his ideas were really ground-breaking.


I think he is generally credited with the first lightweight synthetic tent, and I think we can also thank him for the single hoop.

He was almost certainly first to use silicone coatings for tent flys in the UK. Hilleberg claim to have been the first users, but whoever was first to the crunch they were both pioneers in its use.

It was both a strength and weakness of Saunders that it was a cottage industry. When you phoned up with a query you were speaking to The Man Himself, but on the other hand there was never such a thing as a completely standard product so it was an awkward proposition for dealers.

(I still have, and use and love, a Spacepacker).

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

Postby rualexander » 18 Apr 2019, 3:54pm

bikepacker wrote:The flysheet on the original Stalon GT was not nylon, it was a polyester material and in that it differed from the other Hillebergs at the time is was produced. Maybe that was why it degraded with such a short usage.


My Stalon was not a GT version, and was definitely their Kerlon nylon (1800 I think at that time).

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

Postby pjclinch » 18 Apr 2019, 4:21pm

rualexander wrote:
bikepacker wrote:The flysheet on the original Stalon GT was not nylon, it was a polyester material and in that it differed from the other Hillebergs at the time is was produced. Maybe that was why it degraded with such a short usage.


My Stalon was not a GT version, and was definitely their Kerlon nylon (1800 I think at that time).


IIRC The original was pretty much along the same lines as the Saunders Galaxy, a transverse tunnel (sleeping parallel to the poles) for 2 in silnylon.

It went out of production and some while later the basic layout and name returned as a modular system where you could zip on extra panels (maybe inners too) to fettle the size as needed (much as is possible with the current (but rather bigger) Keron XL). That was made from silicone coated polyester, as was the Atlas at the time. They also did a modular transverse ridge (Muddus?), but I don't think either lasted very long in the lineup.

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