Q:

Which four-season tent is sturdy enough to provide years of use?

My son and I winter cp, and we want to buy a new tent that will last many years and survive his solo trip to Alaska. Would you recommend the Hilleberg brand? Van Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Feb 7, 2008
Outside
Outside Magazine
Hilleberg Kaitum 2 Tent

Kaitum 2 Tent

A:

I do recommend Hilleberg tents (hilleberg.com), and I should do so more often. Hilleberg is a fairly small tent company based in Sweden but with an office in Seattle. They make a range of extremely high-quality, sturdy tents that also are quite light. Except on the wallet. But this is a case of getting what you pay for.

For you, I'd suggest the Hilleberg Kaitum 2, a light (five pounds, eight ounces) all-season, two-person tent. With 31 square feet of interior space it's quite roomy, more so because each end has a door and a spacious vestibule, so it's easy to get in and out without waking your tent partner, and there's plenty of room for stowing wet boots and other gear.

Hilleberg follows European tent traditions, and Euro-tents often have hooped/tunnel construction, meaning the Kaitum’s three poles, one at each end and one in the middle, form a barrel shape. The tent is staked out at each end, and you're in business. Many guy points can be employed in severe weather. This is an extremely strong design, and the minor inconvenience of putting in four solid stakes is worth the simplicity and weight savings. Also, Hilleberg tents dispense with popular American add-ons such as windows.

The Kaitum is not cheap: $675. But materials and construction are top-notch, and you won't be sorry you have one.

Your best bet in a domestic tent likely would be something such as Marmot's Thor ($475; marmot.com). It's a big, tough tent with 38 square feet and a big vestibule. But, it also weighs about eight pounds, so that's a bit of drawback. Still, it’s a fine winter tent.

The 2008 Winter Outside Buyer’s Guide is now online. From snow sports to trail-running to camping, get reviews of more than 300 new gear must-haves.

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