Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $625 - $720 | Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros: Spacious and strong for its weight, top-of-the-line poles and fabrics, easy to set up, poles insert from outside, inner tent is attached to outer tent, great hi-low ventilation, spectra guy lines with camming adjusters, inner tent is removable and creates
Cons: Zipper pulls are hard to grab with gloves and rattle in high winds.
Best Uses: lightweight four-season applications
The Hillebeg Nallo 2 is a lighter version of the company's Nammatj. It packs 30 sq. ft. of interior space , 14 sq. ft. of vestibule, top-of-the-line poles and fabrics, and numerous small design features, into a meager five pounds. The Nallo 2 is a tent for serious wilderness travel in exposed areas. It’s capable of everything from bike tours that cross continents to backcountry skiing, climbing, and even casual summer backpacking.
Several other Hilleberg models compete fiercely with the Nallo. In general our testers prefer the Anjan for summer use and the Nammatj for winter use. The Nallo walks the fine linek between them; the best one will depend on where and when you camp.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Nallo is a well-refined, high performance, lightweight four-season tent. This is Hilleberg’s lightest four-season model. It weighs five pounds one ounce, which is impressive not because of its weight, but because of the amount of strength and space the tent provides. The Nallo 2 packs 30 square feet of interior space, a 14 square foot vestibule, two walls to protect you from the elements, top quality poles and fabrics, and numerous well-designed features into these five pounds. The result is a remarkably versatile and livable tent that excels at mobile applications in all conditions. Whether it it’s biking across Asia, backcountry skiing, alpine climbing, or summer backpacking, the Nallo excels at all activities that demand low weight and four season functionality.
The Nallo is a tunnel tent; it’s quick to set up. Simply peg out the ground level guy points, insert the two poles into the pole sleeves, and peg and tighten the guy lines.
The rainfly fabric, Kerlon 1200, is the third strongest textile found any tent we’ve ever reviewed. It has a tear strength of 26.5 lbs., yet weighs only 1.47 oz/sq.yd. This is primarily 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 also more resistant to the sun’s harmful UV rays and therefore will remain its water resistance for longer. Our testers immediately noticed the difference between the Hilleberg fabrics and those of competing tents. The Kerlon 1200 has a slick, thin, crinkly feel, where polyurethane coated fabrics feel rubbery and thick. Even after three months of continuous use water beaded up and rolled off our test model much better than it did on other fly materials.
The tent’s vestibule is also well designed. Unlike most tents from other companies, the Nallo’s vestibule has a continuous zipper that hits the ground in two places, making a large arc. There are four zipper pulls that provide multiple configurations for opening the door: open from the left or the right, or pull both zippers down if you can’t easily reach one of the two down by the floor.
The stakes, too, are high quality. The Jannu includes sixteen 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 sand and snow stakes that come with a line and clip attached so that you don’t lose them.
The Nallo holds another strong suit: versatility. Removing the inner tent leaves a strong floorless tarp tent that light hikers and backcountry skiers will love. While the tent is already light enough to carry backpacking, the tarp tent leaves the Nallo’s best attributes intact while shaving weight. Of all the four-season tents we’ve reviewed, the Nallo is the most versatile and it’s low weight makes it the best for summer use.
The Jannu comes with a minimalist, lightweight stuff sack. This is designed to be light enough to come with you and can be filled and buried dead man style for an anchor point.
Tunnel tents are not as strong as freestanding tents. They’re best for mobile applications where you move camp everyday and use your tent primarily for sleeping. Freestanding tents, on the other hand, are best for applications that demand high static strength and snowloading capacity. A freestanding dome tent, like the vast majority of the models tested in our broader four-season tent review, excel at basecamps, where the tent may be left standing for days at a time, often unattended. For example, high altitude mountaineers establish high camps by stashing supplies in a pitched tent for a later summit attempt or to come use later to acclimatize. Such an application require a strong, freestanding tent that can withstand being buried by snow and relentlessly pummeled by wind. Tunnel tents excel at mobile applications where weight savings supersede sheer strength. Most, including the Nallo, are plenty strong for terrible storms, they just need someone to be inside the tent to knock off snow and to shovel it away from the tent as it accumulates. The other drawback to tunnel tents is their larger footprint and non self-supporting design. Freestanding tents are better for pitching in tricky conditions, such as in rock fields, small ledges, or on steep snowslopes where you need to chop out a platform.
This author was in the Nallo during an early winter storm that dumped 8” of wet, heavy snow overnight. Roughly 4” of snow fell before he awoke in the middle of the night. This heavy load made the Nallo sag down in the middle and bent the poles significantly (see photo below). In such a storm it’s important to attentively knock snow off the roof and vestibule, and clear it away from the sides of the tent.
The Nallo costs $625, a hefty sum for a tent. The numerous points above suggest that it’s 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, not as strong, or not as stormproof ? Our opinion: we believe the Jannu is totally worth it for extended trips into remote areas.
Although the Nallo is a spectacular tent, our testers often reach for the company's Ajan (lighter) or Nammatj (heavier) more than the Nallo. The Anjan is one of our top scoring three-season tents and the Nammatj is the single most versatile tent on the planet. See our Four Season Tent Ratings to compare the various tents we've tested. If the Nallo best suited your intended application, it will be an excellent value.
Other versions and accessories
The Nallo is available in three colors!! (No other tent manufacturer gives you this option.) Choose red, green, or sand. 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. Sand blends in well in the desert. Take your pick.
The Nallo is also available in two, three, and four person versions, all of which also have extended vestibule versions (*GT) that nearly twice the vestibule area.
Accessories include a footprint, extra V stakes, snow and sand stakes, and extra poles.
— Max Neale
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: February 19, 2012
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