Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $735
Pros: Very strong, lightweight, spacious, easy to setup, versatile, great ventilation, two color options, Spectra guy lines and camming adjusters.
Cons: Small metal zipper pulls are hard to grab with gloves and jingle in the wind.
Best Uses: High altitude expedition mountaineering to all-purpose all-season camping
The Hilleberg Jannu is the panacea for all-conditions mountaineering and alpine climbing. With its fast, easy setup and bombproof storm protection, the Jannu represents the best of both single and double wall tents. Three 9mm DAC Featherlite NSL Green poles (the best available), very strong Kerlon 1200 fly fabric, a burly seam taped bathtub floor, ground straps, numerous Spectra guy lines with camming adjusters, and the ability to reinforce the tent with three extra poles make the Jannu the second strongest tent weíve ever tested. While this exceptional strength make it ideal for exposed, above tree line terrain and high altitude basecamps, the Jannuís minimal weight, only 6.4 lbs., also make it suitable for adventures where saving weight is a primary concern.
As if it couldnít get any better, the Jannu is insanely easy to setup. Unlike most other tents, the fly is linked to the inner tent. This makes setup nearly as fast as a single wall shelter and, because the fly is always on top, the inner tent will remain dry even when pitching the tent in a downpour. The 36.6 sq. ft. interior is the second largest of all thirteen tents tested here. A large door, 13 sq. ft. vestibule, and two divided pockets also contribute to the tentís livability. Our only complaint lies with its clunky metal zipper pulls, which are hard to grab with gloves and rattle in the wind. Otherwise, the Jannu is our top choice for a do it all winter shelter. Whether itís alpine climbing or extended mountaineering trips, the Jannu offers exceptional strength and minimal weight; it fills the ultimate niche in the winter tents market.
See how the Jannu compares to the other tents tested in our Four Season Tent Review.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
We believe the Hillberg Jannu offers greatest strength to weight and space to weight ratios of any four-season, freestanding, double wall tent on the market. It is without question one of the highest performance tents weíve ever reviewed. A logical pole design makes it very easy to set up, even by one person, in high winds, when wearing gloves. From the pole design, to the materials, doors, ventilation, even the guy lines- this is a stunning tent. Itís best suited to mobile adventures in exposed environments where you both strength and weight are equal priorities.
Pole Design and Setup
The Hilleberg Jannu is radically different and, in many ways, better than most other tents weíve reviewed. The primary improvement lies in its pole design, but even minute details, such as the guy lines and stakes are better, too.
Like some single wall tents, the Jannu sets up from the outside. There are three easy steps: stake out the base of the tent, insert the poles into color-coded two-foot long sleeves, snap the poles into alternating plastic clips, and stake out the vestibules and guy lines.
Unlike most double wall tents, where the poles support the inner tent and the fly attaches on top, all Hilleberg tents have a built in inner tent. This connects to the fly with dozens of elasticized toggles and can easily be removed and pitched by itself with an optional kit. The outer tent (the poles and fly) can also serve as a lightweight, but exceptionally strong floorless single wall shelter.
The Jannuís three 9mm DAC Featherlite NSL Green poles (the best available) create an aggressive looking, angular dome tent. The floor area (36.6 sq. ft.) is the second largest of any four-season tent reviewed here. This provides plenty of space for two and can accommodate a claustrophobic third if needed. A large single door unzips in a wide arc and can stuff into one of four mesh side pockets. A 13 sq. ft. vestibule extends at a low angle above the door, providing storage space for gear or a small cooking area. The vestibule is not as high as other tents, such as the MSR Fury or Mountain Hardwear Trango which have a pole to elevate it, but the absence of a pole make the tent stronger. (Vestibule poles are usually the first to break).
Beyond rigid poles, many other features contribute to the Jannuís exceptional strength. The rainfly fabric, Kerlon 1200, is the second strongest of any tent weíve ever reviewed. It has a tear strength of 26.5 lbs., yet weighs only 1.47 oz/yd2. This is partially due to the fact that each side of the fabric is coated with three layers of 100% silicon, a coating far superior (and more expensive) than traditional polyurethane compounds used on most other tents. This is better because a stronger fabric is less likely to be punctured by a broken pole and less likely to tear if punctured. A better coating is more resistant to the sunís harmful UV rays and therefore will remain its water resistance for longer.
The Jannuís adaptable pole design is another reason for the tentís superior strength. As is, the Jannu is the second strongest tent weíve ever reviewed (the companyís Tarra wins first place). But it can get even stronger!! The short sleeve-alternating clip combination allows you to insert not one, but two poles into each sleeve and clip both poles into the tent (alternating clips allows this, see photos). This system makes for an insanely strong tent. Double up all poles if youíre pitching in extremely high winds. You can also opt for greater strength and less weight by adding just two additional poles- reinforcing the corner-to-corner poles would be best- an option that adds significant strength, but less weight than a second full set. While the Jannu is already very strong, we view the ability to add more poles as a key feature (unique to Hilleberg) that makes the tent worthy of being pitched anywhere in the world. Extra poles, available through Hilleberg, sell for $46 each.
The Jannu comes with a minimalist, lightweight stuff sack made of Kerlon 1200. This is designed to be light enough to come with you and can be filled and buried dead man style for an anchor point.
The stakes, too, are high quality. The Jannu includes fifteen DAC V-stakes. This is the exact number you need to stake out every point on the tent. (No other manufacturer includes the sufficient number.) These stakes have cord loops at the top that make them easier to remove and less likely to loose. When camping on snow or sand, larger and wider stakes are better. Hilleberg sells excellent sand and snow stakes that come with a line and clip attached so that you donít lose them.
Download the Jannu's Pitching Instructions here
While the Jannu is an exceptionally well-designed tent, itís not without flaws. We have two minor complaints. First, the Jannu has clinky metal zipper pulls that are small, hard to grab with gloves, and knock against each other in the wind, creating a high-pitched jingle. Replacing these with cord would make the zippers easier to find, the doors easier to open, and would eliminate the annoying jingle of metal zipper pulls. Second, the top vent cover wraps over the front of the tent and obstructs the vestibule zipper. While it provides important coverage for ventilation, it also makes it harder to open the vestibule. We suggest increasing the space between the cover and the zipper. Adding reflective guy lines would be another improvement. There are currently four reflective points on the top of the tent, but reflective lines would make the tent is easier to see at night. This is important because guy lines are notorious trip wires. Being able to see them at night reduces the probability of someone tripping over them. The North Face Mountain 25 uses a slightly thinner reflective Spectra cord. A thicker version of this would be ideal for the Jannu.
The Jannu is designed for alpine assaults where low weight and strength are of equal importance. In order to reduce weight the Jannu sacrifices some livability. It has a very large floor, but the walls are not as steep, or the peak as high, as the Hilleberg Tarra. Thereís still plenty of space for weathering a storm- much more than appears at first glance. Two people can mostly sit up, one in the back and one in the front, and play cards or cook. We believe the Jannu is sufficiently livable for all but polar crossings and extended base camps. While most tents sacrifice strength for weight, the Jannu strikes an excellent balance between the two and remains our top choice of the majority winter trips.
The Jannu costs $735, a hefty sum for a tent. The numerous points above suggest that itís far better than the majority of the competition. The question is do you need the super strong fabric, the ability to add extra poles, the Spectra guy lines with camming adjusters, etc., or can you make do with something slightly heavier and not as strong (MSR Fury)? Our opinion: we believe the Jannu is totally worth it for extended trips into remote areas.
High altitude mountaineering and basecamping.
The Jannu is an extremely expensive but very high quality tent. Itís worth every penny if your adventures demand the strength it provides.
Other versions and accessories
The Jannu is available in two colors!! (No other tent manufacturer gives you this option.) Choose either red or green. We prefer red for high visibility excursions, such as those on snow. The green, which is very successful at camouflaging the tent, abides by Leave No Trace principles. Take your pick.
Accessories include a footprint, extra V stakes, snow and sand stakes, extra poles, and a pole holder kit that allows you to pitch the inner tent by itself.
— Max Neale
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Most recent review: April 23, 2013
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