When you are cycle touring, or going on a long expedition, you need a proper place to lay your head at night. A Tent is one of the of the most important pieces of your equipment to provide shelter from strange weather, a safe place to rest, and to store your gear. Finding the correct tent is a bit of an art, and what works for some people doesn’t quite work for others. I think all Bicycle Tourists can agree on a few things however -
- The tent should be lightweight – tent materials now a days are ultralight using new fabrics and technologies and there is simply no need to be hauling around gear that is too heavy. Less weight = happier cyclist.
- The structure should be able to blend in well enough into the environment – Sometimes cycle tourists are faced with the issue of having to setup camp in a non sanctioned area of land, known as “Stealth Camping”. An Orange tent is likely to stick out as a sore thumb when in this situation, and is surely to draw unwanted attention to you. Earth colours work best.
- It should be easy and fast to setup – This is a requirement I think for anyone on an expedition. When the weather is bad, you need to get this structure up fast to shield you from the elements.
- The tent should be roomy enough to stay inside for extended amounts of time – What if it rains for 10 days straight? Obviously cycling all of those 10 days is going to make for interesting moments, so being able to entertain yourself without being locked into one position for long amounts of time is ideal. Not only this, it should have enough room to be able to store your gear inside for quick access, as well protecting it from elements, or having it disappear randomly in the night.
I love my existing tent, the Hilleberg Nallo GT 2, it satisfies and exceeds all of my requirements, setting up in less than 3 minutes with 4 pegs, 3 poles, with additional stability using 16 other points should the wind be picking up. It’s a 4 season tent, designed for expeditions and very much the tent to use for those climbing mountains, with its inner tent it provides flexibility to separate the equipment fro the sleeping area while being spacious enough to leave all my gear in the vestibule, and even place my bike inside of it/cook if I so desired with its ample venting. Oh, and it’s green, so my fears of someone busting me from camping on their land are dulled a bit.
That being said – I’m selling my tent. Why? I’ve got the itch to try something new, and report back on my findings, and the fact that my next set of adventures don’t require such a heavy duty tent. I’ll be visiting hostels, hotels, and staying with people for the majority of the time, and want to cut back on the amount of equipment I’m carrying with me. In fact, I’m dropping my air mattress, and my sleeping bag as well! I have a few months of downtime to deal with this as I’m stationary in a safe place with a roof over my head so now is the time to start the purge. I’ll be buying yet another tent at the end of Africa to deal with Europe, Scandinavia, and the Middle East. So – without further ado- here’s my tent!
Information from the website detailing the Hilleberg Nallo GT 2:
The Nallo GT is the ideal all-around, all-season, ultralight tent.
They excel in any situation where the lightest possible tent is needed, but where true all season strength and reliability might be required. The tents’ tunnel tent design and ultra light weight make them ideal for mobile adventures, where you move your tent every day. And, because of their exceptional weight to space ratio, they are perfect for long distance endeavors where light weight is a greater priority than absolute strength. Certainly, they are suitable for exposed and/or above treeline use in all seasons, but because they are built using our ultralight Kerlon 1200, 9 mm poles, and lighter gauge zippers, they do not have the same strength as their Nammatj cousins. That said, Kerlon 1200, with its 12 kilo tear strength, is an order of magnitude stronger even than most so-called “expedition grade” fabrics, and so is easily robust enough to handle adverse situations well.
The Nallo GT’s salient characteristic may be their ultra light weight, but both are still fully able to handle all season, all weather adventures. This explains why these tents are the first choice of those needing the lightest weight tents that still offer all-season, all weather functionality. This includes wilderness photographers, professional climbers, hunters, and other adventurers who have to carry large amounts of gear, as well as long distance hikers, who want to get more out of carrying less. Globe-trotting trekkers often carry the Nallo GT, as it ensures they will have private accommodations wherever they go, and solo hikers love having near-palatial space without any real weight penalty. Families with younger children and those who hike with their dogs love the extra space – and, of course, the ultra light weight – the Nallo GT has to offer.
- Our tunnel design, with its single-opening, continuous pole sleeve construction and linked inner and outer tents makes the Nallo GT quick and easy to set up.
- Ultralight materials – Kerlon 1200 outer tent fabric and 9 mm poles – make for a supremely stable yet very lightweight tent.
- Pitching requires only four pegs, yet additional peg and guy line points – 16 on the Nallo GT – provide a myriad of options for increasing stability. Remarkably strong Spectra guy lines are attached at two points to all poles sleeves on both sides of the tent, and have two line runners each to ensure optimal tension. The front vent on the Nallo GT also has a guy line with a line runner.
- Both maximize interior space by having full sitting height closest to the front, where you need it most, as well as one vertical inner tent entrance, and, because of the tunnel design itself, near-vertical side walls.
- A single entrance and vestibule afford easy access and plenty of storage space, and this, along with our lighter weight Kerlon 1200 outer tent fabric and 9 mm poles produce an astonishingly light yet all-weather-strong tent.
- The GT’s extended vestibule boasts one entrance on each side, so that you can always situate one out of the weather.
- The entire front of the Nallo GT’s vestibule can be rolled away to create a tunnel-shaped opening which has full tent width and enough depth to keep all but the worst weather away from the inner tent door.
- The Nallo GT’s ventilation system functions regardless of weather conditions, since the inner tent fabric is highly breathable yet water repellent, and since the large front vent is not only situated high enough to keep air moving even if the tent is dug down into deep snow, but it is also backed by an adjustable snow-proof panel that is accessible from inside the vestibule, and which is air permeable even when zipped up. Inner tent venting comes from the adjustable fabric-backed no-see-um mesh panel in the rear wall of the inner tent. In addition, the inner tent door has a full no-see-um mesh panel covered with an equal sized, zipper-adjustable fabric panel, and the rear wall of the outer tent can be partially rolled up and guyed out for more venting options.
- The inner tent can be taken out and the Nallo Mesh Inner tents can be used instead.
My Experience with the tent
I used the tent throughout the spring, summer and fall of 2010 through conditions of Sun, Rain, Snow, and Frost. I encountered wind gusts of over 70km/h and every night, I remained dry from the conditions that mother nature threw at me. at first, I setup the tent every night minimally using the 4 pegs, and noticed that I had sub optimal performance in the morning with the outer walls of the vestibule sticking to the inside tent walls. Using the guy lines fixed this problem right away. I also found that packing up the tent during rainy days equated into frustrating moments when getting ready to unpack and setup for a new night. I neglected for the first bit to take out the inner tent and pack it separately causing this issue. Of course once you follow their recommended instructions in the manual it performs flawlessly. It dried quick and packed up light, and could pack up even tighter with a compression sack. I noticed that the poles segments froze for the last part of my trip, but this was easily solved by pouring a bit of water onto the poles before unpacking them to free the minimal ice. This of course caused the freezing in the first place, so.. The amount of space inside the tent was wonderful, giving me ample room to move around, live inside during wet days, and the extra large vestibule was enough to store all of my gear and my bicycle at some stages. The two doors and the extra venting capabilities ensured that I was comfortable at all times. I lost the bag of tent pegs along the way, but replaced with the same pegs only from MEC which have worked out well without issue. I carefully cleaned the zippers with a brush if they got dirty to avoid premature wear, and lubricated them regularly. Once, the zipper slipped so I used my Leatherman Wave Multi-Tool and applied a bit of pressure on each side of the zipper itself and the problem resolved itself.
Hilleberg offers a lifetime warranty on all of their products, so this is what sold me on the tent. I’ve been in contact with them regarding the zipper issue and they were prompt to reply, offering to send me replacement parts ASAP, or giving me the option to send the tent over to them if there were issues. This gave me good hope for further on down the road. I’d buy another Hilleberg, in fact, I think I just might after I tackle Africa.
I’ve cleaned the tent with a proper cleaner, taken off the inner tent, and groundsheet and packaged it all into its included stuff sack, not before lubricating the zippers one last time, so it is ready to go for your expedition. The manual went by the wayside a few months back, but you can download it off Hilleberg‘s website free.
I would like $475 for this tent, a very good deal for a sought after product. Please Contact me if you would like to buy this off of me, we can talk shipping or barter, or I can provide you with further photos and information on this kick ass tent!