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Hilleberg Jannu Review

   
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  • Currently 5.0/5
Overall avg rating 5.0 of 5 based on 4 reviews. Most recent review: August 17, 2013
Street Price:   $885 | Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Strong sidewall, highly resistant to snow loading, pitches quick from outside, great ventilation, three color options.
Cons:  Less comfortable than Hilleberg Nammatj.
Best Uses:  Alpine climbing, high altitude mountaineering, expeditions.
User Rating:     
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 (5.0 of 5) based on 3 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (2/2) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Hilleberg
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ August 17, 2013  
Overview
The Hilleberg Jannu is the panacea for worst-conditions mountaineering and alpine climbing. Due to its fast setup, bombproof storm protection and low weight (6 lb. 1 oz.), the Jannu is our highest rated self-supporting dome tent. We highly recommend it for high altitude alpine climbing and mountaineering. However, it is considerably less comfortable than the Hilleberg Nammatj 2 and roughly $175 more expensive. We feel the additional cost and decreased comfort is worthwhile if you need world-class strength for basecamping or high altitude technical climbing.

If basecamping is your primary objective, consider the Hilleberg Tarra, which has two doors. See how the Jannu compares to all other tents tested in our Four Season Tent Review. Also consider a floorless tentóour testersí favorite type of shelter for 99 percent of fast and light tripsófound in our Ultralight Tent Review.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Performance Comparison
Ease of Setup
The Jannu sets 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 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 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.

The Jannuís pitch-the-outside-first design is superior to traditional double wall tents because itís 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 donít have to hold one pole while you try to set up another. These details make setup easier than with nearly every other double wall dome tent weíve 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.

Click to enlarge
The Hilleberg Jannu's pole structure is incredibly easy to setup 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!!
Credit: Max Neale
Click to enlarge
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.
Credit: Max Neale
Weather Resistance
The Jannuís primary advantage over the Hilleberg Nammatj 2, which wins our Editors' Choice Award, is its static strength. This tentís web of intersecting poles makes it capable of handling severe snow loading and winds that batter it from all sides. The Nammatjís 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 ďcampsite,Ē might demand a tent with a stronger sidewall.

When exactly might the Jannuís extra strength be necessary? Answer: Our testers prefer the Nammatj for North American mountaineering classics like Rainer and the West Buttress of Denali. If you are moving up from those climbs to more technical routes then we suggest the Jannu. The Jannuís self-supporting design is also a better choice for basecamping if you leave the tent unattended and arenít there to remove snow from it or check on the tieouts. These are situations where the Jannu excels.

The two greatest characteristics that make the Jannu viable for terrible conditions are its aggressive pole design and use of top-tier fabrics.

Click to enlarge
The Hilleberg Jannu's 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.
Credit: Max Neale
Aggressive pole design
The vestibule pole is usually 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. Weíve seen this happens on tents like the Mountain Hardwear Trango. Fortunately, the Jannu does not use an additional pole for the vestibule; it is much stronger and less likely to break as a result. This is one thing that makes the tent bomber. Another is the tentís generally low profile shape that 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 Jannuís strength. The tentís 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). This system would make for an insanely strong tent. We feel it is rarely necessary. Even when using the Jannu 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.

Click to enlarge
The super strong Hilleberg Jannu. Notice the many guy lines (made of Spectra), camming adjusters, removable roof vent cover, and how the fly extends to the ground. BOMBER!
Credit: Max Neale
Top-tier fabrics
After pole design, fabrics are arguably the most important part of a tent. Here, too, the Jannu 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 weíve tested. (The strongest is found on Hilleberg ďBlack LabelĒ 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.

The Jannu has a myriad of small features also 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 guy lines 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 guy lines are made of a Spectra-polyester blend that doesnít absorb much water and doesnít stretch as much as lower quality nylon cord. The fact that they donít absorb water is key because moisture can dramatically add weight in wet conditions. The Jannuís guy lines come pre-rigged with camming adjusters. No, you donít have to spend an hour cutting and attaching lines! The camming adjusters are super easy and very fast. We much prefer them to the truckerís hitch knot when we are wearing gloves. (5) The Jannuís lines attach to the tent with a six-inch loop of webbing 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.

Click to enlarge
Yet another brilliant feature. The Hilleberg 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.
Credit: Max Neale
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 Jannuís floor area (36.6 sq. ft.) is the second largest of any two-person four-season tent 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 Hilleberg 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 vestibuleís 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 Hilleberg 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).
Credit: Max Neale
Ventilation is a key component of tent design and the Jannu 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 tentís vent has both a solid nylon and mesh cover, the fly has a breathable solid nylon panel (not waterproof) above the inner tentís vent and above that lies a large Kerlon 1200 cover (see photos). All zippers are accessed from the inside. The cover attaches with two toggles on one side and two hooks on the other. The hooks allow 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 Jannuís excellent ventilation.

Click to enlarge
The Hilleberg 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 attace the inner tent to the outer tent.
Credit: Max Neale
Durability
The Jannu balances a tricky tradeoff between low weight and multiple expedition durability. Our model has holding 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 the Jannu so durable is its 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 flyís waterproof properties. The Jannu has been proven on many epic expeditions all over the world. We are confident that it is wildly durable.

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

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The Hilleberg 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.
Credit: Luc Mehl
Adaptability
We give the Jannu 3 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
The Jannuís default setup (inner tent + outer tent + poles) weighs 97.3 oz. or 6 lb. 1.3 oz. This is extremely light considering the tentís strength. It is 10 oz. more than the Hilleberg Nammatj 2. Hereís a detailed breakdown of all components:

Inner tent: 30.5 oz.
Outer tent with guylines: 45.5 oz.
3 Poles: 21.3 oz.
Pole stuff sack + extra pole section: 2.2 oz.
18 stakes + stake sack : 7.1 oz.
Stuff sack: 1.2 oz.

Click to enlarge
The Hilleberg Jannu 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.
Credit: Mark Thompson
Options for reducing weight
There are several ways to reduce the weight of the Jannu. 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. The Jannu comes with 18 DAC V stakes, which are good quality but heavy all-purpose stakes. Upgrading to 12 Ruta Locua 9Ē 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, weíll 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
Alpine climbing and high altitude mountaineering.

Three Color Options!!
The tent 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 theHilleberg Nammatj 2 is a better value because it is nearly as strong and $175 cheaper. If you want the best value consider the REI Arete ASL 2.

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

Chris McNamara and Max Neale

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: August 17, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

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

100% of 2 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (3)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
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   Apr 23, 2013 - 03:29pm
Mechanicalchris · Climber · Haverhill, MA
My girlfriend and I trust Outdoor Gear Lab and decided to invest in a Jannu. Without even being guyed out, the Jannu feels structurally more sound than most tents at full strength. We bring the Jannu everywhere because it is roomy enough to throw into a lean-to or car campsite for added luxury (rain/privacy/bugs) yet it fits in our 25 liter day packs and comes along on multi-pitch rock/ice climbs. Unless you're a long distance trekker obsessed with gram counting, its hard to see how this tent wouldn't make it to the top of any backpacker's list. We use the tent in summer and winter. It's a breeze to set up and half the time I don't even use stakes because the thing feels like a house. A huge time saver.

Of course this tent is much heavier and larger than a dedicated ultra-lite tent, so don't expect the unrealistic. At over 6 pounds it certainly takes up most of the bag. We used to have Fly Creek UL2 which packed to the size of a small umbrella. Still, this tent is a 4 season fortress packed into a 3 season weight/size. Even in summer, the added ease/strength is appreciated. Customer service is also extremely helpful.

Bottom line, if you sleep in this tent for 10 nights instead of a hotel/motel, it will have paid for itself. It truly is top-notch gear.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jul 1, 2013 - 07:57pm
Jaymboze · Camper · Sydney, Australia
Hi all,
After owning several cheap tents for general 3 season camping over the years, and after a lot of research ( especially on this site ), I decided the Jannu was the best option for my needs.
As I camp solo on my motorcycle trips, I wanted a tent big enough for me and some gear only, so a big tent was not needed.
The Jannu seems to fit this bill quite well. It is just long enough for me and my Exped downmat and Denali bag, with enought space left for gear inside, and boots and cooking gear in the vestibule.
As far a build quality, this tent, like all Hillebergs is impressive to say the least. It absolutely blows away the competition in all regards. Yes, they are expensive, but as always, you get what you pay for.
Setup is very easy and only take a few minutes to complete. Ventilation is great with the roof vent doing a great job at removing condensation, even in very humid and damp conditions.
I also purchased mine with the footprint which also covers the floor area in the vestibule, which helps to keep debris out of the tent.
My only negative comment would be the internal length of 235cm. Because of the slope of the internal walls at each end of the tent, some space is lost in the overall length.
Adding another 15cm, or 6" would give you just that extra space at the end of your sleeping pad so you bag does not touch the end of the tent, keeping it dry. Having said that I put my pad on a bit of a diagonal inside the tent which helps.

Overall, a great piece of gear which should keep you high and dry even in the worst possible conditions, and with a bit of care should last a long time.
Click to enlarge
Blowering reservoir<br>
NSW. Australia
Credit: Jaymboze


Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Jun 26, 2013 - 11:28am
 
Anyone have thoughts on the Hilleberg Allak as compared to the Jannu?
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Click to enlarge
Hilleberg Jannu
Credit: Hilleberg
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