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Hilleberg Jannu Review


Four Season Tent

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Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $935 List | $935.00 online  —  Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Strong sidewall, highly resistant to snow loading, pitches quick from outside, great ventilation, three color options
Cons:  Not as comfortable as other mostly heavier models, zippers are small and slightly harder to grab
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Hilleberg

Overview

The Hilleberg Jannu is the panacea for the worst conditions imaginable while mountaineering and alpine climbing. Due to its fast setup, bombproof storm protection, and slightly lower than average weight, (7 lb. 1 oz), the Jannu is our highest rated self-supporting dome tent. We highly recommend it for high altitude alpine climbing and general mountaineering; however, it is considerably less comfortable to hangout in than the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 and is roughly $285 more expensive. We feel the additional cost and decreased comfort is worthwhile if you need world-class strength for base camping or high altitude technical climbing.

If base camping is your primary objective, consider the Hilleberg Tarra, Trango 2, or The North Face Mountain 25, which all have two doors. See how the Jannu compares to all other tents tested in our Four Season Tent Review. Also consider a floorless tent our testers' favorite type of shelter for 99 percent of fast and light trips found in our Ultralight Tent Review.


RELATED: Our complete review of four season tents

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
Ian Nicholson
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Monday
July 18, 2016

Performance Comparison


Ease of Setup


Throughout our review, this model is by far the easiest tent to set up; you can set it up from the outside in four easy steps: (1) stake out the base of the tent, (2) insert the poles into color-coded, two-foot long sleeves, (3) snap the poles into alternating plastic clips, and (4) stake out the vestibules and guylines. 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 that suspends from the outer 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 can also serve as a lightweight and exceptionally strong floorless single wall shelter.

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The Hilleberg Jannu's pole structure is incredibly easy to set up, even with one person in high winds while wearing gloves. After staking the base of the tent out, the poles insert into partial pole sleeves (shown here) that stand up by themselves.

The Jannu's pitch-the-outside-first design is superior to traditional double wall tents because it's significantly easier to set up even with one person (you can also keep your gloves on); having the fly on top protects the inner tent from rain and snow and the poles stand up by themselves once inserted into the sleeves, which makes setup easier because you don't have to hold one pole while you try to set up another. These details make setup easier than nearly every other double wall dome tent we've tested. The difference is significant regardless of the conditions, but becomes greater as the weather worsens. Two people can have the tent pitched and tied out in super strong storm mode in under five minutes. See the video at the bottom of this page for setup instructions.

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The Hilleberg Jannu pitches from the outside with a combination of partial sleeves and reinforced alternating clips. This is the lightest available double wall tent with PHENOMENAL static strength.

Weather Resistance


Its primary advantage over the Hilleberg Nammatj 2, or several other single wall tents like the Black Diamond Eldorado or Mountain Hardwear EV 2, is its strength. This tent's web of intersecting poles makes it capable of handling severe snow loading and winds that batter it from all sides. The Nammatj's or MSR Dragontail's tunnel design performs phenomenally well in high winds, but primarily in winds that vary little in direction. In open areas, like on big glaciers and in polar regions, the wind tends to change little over the course of a night so the Nammatj does very well. In high mountain conditions, wind patterns can be chaotic and unpredictable and, depending on your "campsite," might demand a tent with a stronger sidewall.

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This product is one of the best all-around 4-season tents available. It finds a near perfect balance of being one of the strongest contenders in the review, but still maintaining a respectable weight and comfortable amount of room to hangout. Here we're testing on an extended trip to the IIulissat Ice field in Western Greenland in March.

Here's what we like about the Jannu: not only is it totally bomber, but it's expedition worthy and among the strongest tents in our review. What sets the Jannu apart however, is it weighs 2-3 pounds less than most comparable models (in regards to strength), like the Hilleberg Tara, North Face Mountain 25, Trango 2, and Black Diamond Fitzroy. This makes it a fantastic option for both expeditions and alpine climbing in the lower 48. If you don't expect to encounter as challenging four season conditions where the Jannu's extra strength might not be necessary, then our testers might prefer the lighter Hilleberg Nammatj, Mountain Hardwear EV 2, or BD Eldorado for an all-around North American mountaineering on peaks like Mt. Rainier or Mt. Shasta.

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This is truly an "all-conditions tent" and there are few places in the world we wouldn't consider taking it. Here strong pole design, steep walls, and tight pitch help the keep its occupants comfortable during an exceptionally windy day in the central interior of Iceland.

If you are moving up from those climbs to more technical routes in more regions or more classic expedition climbing, then we suggest this Editors' Choice award winning tent. Its' self-supporting design is also a better choice for base camping if you leave the tent unattended and aren't there to remove snow from it or check on the tieouts; these are situations in which the Jannu excels. The two greatest characteristics that make this tent viable for terrible conditions are its aggressive pole design and use of top-tier fabrics.

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The poles connect with a short pole sleeve at the bottom (not shown) and alternating pole clips that attach to a super strong nylon strip that runs the entire length of the poles. For terrible conditions two poles can be used.

Aggressive pole design
The vestibule pole is commonly the first thing to break on many mountaineering tents. Once that pole snaps, the front of the tent can catch wind like a kite and damage other areas. We've seen this happen on tents like the Mountain Hardwear Trango. Fortunately, this four season tent does not use an additional pole for the vestibule; it is much stronger and less likely to break as a result. This is another thing that makes the tent bomber. The tent's generally low-profile shape also allows wind to pass over it easily. Other tents that are taller and/or larger catch more wind and require many more poles or heavier poles to provide the same amount of strength.

If you are paranoid about the world ending, fear an instantaneous 10-foot snow dumping, or want to camp on top of Everest, you can add an additional set of poles to further bolster the Jannu's strength. The tent's combination of pole sleeve and alternating clips enables this (put both poles in the wide sleeve and use right-facing clips for one pole and left-facing clips for the other pole) and would make for an insanely strong tent, though we feel it is rarely necessary. Even when using the this contender on a backcountry ski expedition in Greenland, our testers did not bring extra poles. If you fear the worst, an extra pole set is available from Hilleberg for around $150.

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This product is super strong. Notice the many guy lines (made of Spectra), camming adjusters, removable roof vent cover, and how the fly extends to the ground. BOMBER!

Top-tier fabrics
After pole design, fabrics are arguably the most important part of a tent. Here too, this tent is world class. It uses a tip-top 1.47 oz./yd. silicone impregnated ripstop nylon with a 26.5 lb. tear strength. This is the second strongest fabric used on any of the winters we've tested. (The strongest is found on Hilleberg "Black Label" tents like the Nammatj and Tarra.) Strong fabrics are important because if they are punctured by something like a broken pole or a crampon, they are less likely to tear.

This award winner has a myriad of small features that contribute to its strength. (1) Three ground straps run perpendicular to the length of the tent and absorb stress during high winds and keep the pole arcs at the proper height and tension. They can also be used as guylines if needed (this is a unique feature found only on Hilleberg tents). (2) All tieout points are heavily reinforced. For example, the vestibule webbing adjusters are made of metal, not plastic. (3) Two strong metal clips remove stress from the vestibule zipper. (4) The guylines are made of a Spectra-polyester blend that doesn't absorb much water and doesn't stretch as much as lower quality nylon cord. The fact that they don't absorb water is key because moisture can dramatically add weight in wet conditions. The guylines come pre-rigged with camming adjusters. No, you don't have to spend an hour cutting and attaching lines; the camming adjusters are super easy and very fast and we much prefer them to the trucker's hitch knot when we are wearing gloves. (5) Its' lines attach to the tent with a six-inch loop of webbing that can wrap around the pole once and transfer tension from the tieout stitching to the entire pole. This too is a unique feature and we love it.

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Yet another brilliant feature. The Jannu's guy lines have a webbing extender that's designed to wrap around the pole once. This transfers some stress from the stitching to the pole.

Livability


The Jannu is a palace when you consider how light and strong it is. But it is considerably smaller and less comfortable than many other two-person double wall tents. The Hilleberg Nammatj 2, for example, is much more comfortable both in its interior and vestibule.

The floor area (36.6 sq. ft.) is the second largest of any two-person four season tent that we've tested. This specification is somewhat deceiving, however, because the low angle of the rear end and sides dramatically reduce interior volume. There is enough space to sit up in the front of the tent, but not in the rear. The 13 sq. ft. vestibule extends at a low angle above the door, providing storage space for gear or a small cooking area. The Nammatj has a larger vestibule that is easier to enter and exit and better for cooking. Again, there is a tradeoff between strength and livability; a vestibule with a dedicated pole would increase comfort but decrease strength. On the bright side, our testers love the vestibule's zipper design, which uses a continuous zipper that hits the ground in two places, making a large arc. The zipper starts at the lower left corner by the front left pole and curves up, around, and back down to the front right guy point on the vestibule. There are multiple configurations for opening; the left side is best for getting in and out quickly and the center is best for loading up gear or for periods of good weather. See the photo below.

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The Jannu's three different vestibule configurations. The middle is our testers' preferred option because it is easier to enter and exit. You can also roll the vestibule away completely!! (not shown).

Ventilation is a key component of tent design; this model provides the best ventilation of any tent with a similar pole design. Its has a large customizable top vent with numerous possible configurations; the inner tent's vent has both a solid nylon and mesh cover and the fly has a breathable solid nylon panel (not waterproof) above the inner tent's vent. Above that lies a large Kerlon 1200 cover (see photos), with all zippers accessed from the inside. The cover attaches with two toggles on one side and two hooks on the other, with the hooks allowing you to easily remove the vent for setup and take down (to allow access to pole clips). The vent cover is substantial in size and guys out on three sides. This provides excellent ventilation during bad conditions and, when coupled with a partially open door, effectively combats condensation. All testers were very impressed with the its excellent ventilation.

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The Tarra and Jannu share a large top vent. (The Jannu is shown here.) Note the webbing strip that reinforces the vent and the elasticized toggles that attach the inner tent to the outer tent.

Durability


This model balances a tricky tradeoff between low weight and multiple expedition durability. Our model has held up well after three years of use in the Lower 48, Alaska, and Greenland. We are glad that Hilleberg does not use their toughest, heavier fabrics on the Jannu; the tent is super tough already and the low weight is critical.

The major factor that makes this award winner so durable is the use of top-tier silnylon fabrics. The polyurethane (PU) coated fly fabrics found on most other expedition tents, such as the Mountain Hardwear Trango and North Face Mountain 25, are more susceptible to hydrolysis (chemical breakup of the coating) and last for far less time than silnylon. For example, the author used a Trango for 90 consecutive days in Patagonia and, near the end of that time, the interior PU started to flake off, thereby eliminating the fly's waterproof properties. The Jannu has been proven on many epic expeditions all over the world and we are confident in saying that it is wildly durable.

Luc Mehl et al. chose the Jannu for their 30-day, 370-mile UNSUPPORTED traverse of Mt. Logan (Canada's tallest peak, 19,551 ft.). That trip involved packrafting, skiing and mountaineering while carrying 130 lb. packs. Its reliability provides the confidence that enables trips likes these to happen.

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The Jannu (left) and Siavo (right) on an UNSUPPORTED 370-mile packrafting, skiing, and mountaineering traverse of Mt. Logan, Canada's tallest peak, 19,551 ft.

Adaptability


We give this contender three points in this category, the maximum possible, because the ability to remove the inner tent greatly increases versatility. Some of our testers like to remove the inner tent (saving 30.5 oz) for fast and light trips in all seasons. Due to its walls and vestibules that extend all the way to the ground, the tent is remarkably resistant to bugs. For this floorless setup, Polycro plastic is our preferred groundsheet because it only costs $10 and only weighs 4 oz. for a two-person size. You can buy polycro from Gossamer Gear and elsewhere.

Weight/Packed Size


This tent's default setup (inner tent + outer tent + poles) weighs 98.5 oz. or 6 lb 5 oz. This is extremely light considering the tent's strength. However most folks will find a packed weight closer to between 6 lbs 12 oz to 7 lbs. Here's a detailed breakdown of all components:
  • Inner tent: 31 oz.
  • Outer tent with guylines: 47 oz.
  • Three poles, including bag and extra pole segment: 24 oz.
  • 18 stakes + stake sack : 7.5 oz.
  • Stuff sack: 1.5 oz.
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Testing on a backcountry ski expedition in Greenland. Unlike tunnel tents, the Jannu's pole structure can handle significant slow loading, which allows you to leave it unattended for a day or longer.

Options for reducing weight
There are several ways to reduce the weight of this tent. The most significant is to use only the outer tent for a savings of 30.5 oz. The next most significant way to reduce weight is to upgrade the stakes. It comes with 18 DAC V stakes, which are good quality, but heavy all-purpose stakes. Upgrading to 12 Ruta Locua 9" Carbon Stakes saves 4.5 oz. and provides more holding power than the stock stakes. If necessary, the remaining guy points can be tied out with sticks, rocks, logs, etc. When camping on snow, we like to use ice axes, skis, crampons, snowshoes, poles and other things for stakes. Occasionally, we'll use a dedicated snow stake, such as the Hilleberg Snow and Sand Peg.

Features


Hilleberg does not use reflective cords on their zipper pulls because they find that the smaller and harder-to-grab metal pulls they use are more durable in the long-term (because cords can be pulled at different angles and may derail the zipper sliders). Similarly, they also choose not to use reflective cord for the tieouts because they claim that none are as durable as the proprietary cord used on their tents, and also because they say that reflective cord can cut through guyline attachments easier (such as a loop of cord used to extend a line). Durability!

Best Application


This tent really excels when used for alpine climbing and high altitude mountaineering.

Three Color Options


It is available in three colors: red, green, or sand. We have experience with all colors and prefer the red for winter use and other colors for three-season applications.

Value


The tent is a total steal if you need its world-class strength and durability, or just have the cash for the best. For most people, we feel the Hilleberg Nammatj 2 is a better value because it is nearly as strong and $190 cheaper.

Conclusion


The Jannu is our highest rated self-supporting tent. We recommend it for high altitude alpine climbing and mountaineering applications that demand the ultimate static strength.

Video



Other Versions


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Hilleberg Anjan 2
  • Cost- $630.00 ($295 less)
  • Weight- 3lbs 15oz (2lbs 14oz less)
  • 3 season tent
  • Tunnel design

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Hilleberg Nammatj 2
  • Cost- $735.00 ($190 less)
  • Weight- 6lbs 9oz (4oz less)
  • Good weight the strength ratio
  • Tunnel design

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Hilleberg Tarra
  • Cost- $1,045.00 ($120 more)
  • Weight- 9lbs 4oz (2lbs 7oz more)
  • Strongest dome tent design
  • Best use for harsh, demanding conditions
Ian Nicholson, Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: October 26, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (1)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Oct 26, 2016 - 10:59am
michel · Backpacker · EPINAL FR
I use it in winter,
The inner length 230 cms makes a lot of room to keep all stuff inside
Ventilation , pening the door helps a lot. needed anyway to get fresh air in.
I agree with all comments made so far, I rated 4 only mainly for
1:The top cover can be very noisy when stong wind comes back way
2:Connection of inner tent to the external tent at the four lower corners, the chord length is too short. I do not attach those 4 corners any more. chords should be made just a litle longer.I understand that too much long would not help to close the ZIP
At such price, this should be improved, more cover material at the back should be tested;

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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How to Choose the Best 4 Season Tent - Click for details
 How to Choose the Best 4 Season Tent

by Chris McNamara, Ian Nicholson, and Max Neale


Unbiased.