Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $570
Pros: Exceptionally spacious, durable, and weather resistant for its weight; top-tier materials; pitches easily from the outside; spectra guylines with camming adjusters; removable inner tent; reflective points.
Cons: 58 ounces can be heavy for backpacking, moderate quality stakes.
Best Uses: 3+ season backpacking and camping.
The Hilleberg Anjan 2 keeps coming back to the top of the heap each time we update our Backpacking Tent review, and once again it wins our Editors' Choice Award. Its versatility, durability, adaptability, and weather resistance are unmatched for its 3.6 lb. weight. Top-tier materials, poles, and a time-tested tunnel design quickly made the Anjan an all-star choice among our testers. If we were to have a single tent for all three-season trips, including backpacking, car camping, bicycle touring, kayaking, and more, the Anjan would be it. So far our testers have used the tent from Maine to Washington State, on bike trips down Mexico's Baja Peninsula, backpacking trips in the Sierra, and through India and Nepal.
For cutting edge, ultralight backpacking tents see our Ultralight Tent Review.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
After 40 years of making some of the best winter tents on the planet, Hilleberg jumped into the three-season market, creating a gigantic splash with the Anjan and Hilleberg Rogen. Both tents blow the competition out of the water. The Anjan is our highest rated backpacking tent, and though it isn't ultralight, it's stronger, more durable, and more comfortable than the majority of the other backpacking tents we've tested.
The Anjan uses a time tested tunnel design that provides the ultimate blend of strength, comfort, and low weight. It's somewhat surprising, or perhaps disappointing, that the radical integrated hub pole designs of the last decade still can't beat the good old tunnel tent design. If you are not used to pitching tunnel tents, it will take you a few times to get the hang of it, but once you know what you need to do you will be able to do it quickly! After testing three Hilleberg winter tunnel tents, we've been nothing but impressed with the company's designs, construction, and attention to detail.
The Anjan's design is very simple: two poles insert through sleeves, and tension from guy lines holds the tent upright. (So it is not a free-standing tent). The tent pitches from the outside, which is both faster and better than tents that require the inner tent be pitched first because it keeps the inner tent drier during rain. One person can easily pitch the Anjan in cold and windy darkness with gloves on. Result: you're happier because you can get in faster.
The Anjan's tunnel design creates a shocking amount of space for its weight. The inner tent has a 38-inch peak height, which will allow one six foot person to sit up by the door at a time, or two to sit hunched side by side. The inner tent slopes from the front to the rear, where it is 30 inches tall. This design allows two people to get in and out easily and provides enough space for moving around in the tent without feeling claustrophobic. The interior floor is 51 inches wide at the front door, 41 inches at the rear, and is 86 inches long. The Anjan is not as spacious as tents with two side doors, but among other positive benefits, it is significantly more comfortable than tents that weigh one pound less. The bright yellow interior walls add cheer. They also prevent you from seeing rain and wind hit the outer tent, which provides more of a homely indoor feeling. If you are taller than 6 feet you may have the experience of your feet/sleeping bag touching the end of the tent and getting wet from condensation. This is a common problem with tents of this shape that slope towards the back.
The Anjan's 14 sq. ft. vestibule is the largest of all single door tents we've tested. In comparison, many front entrance tents in the 35-45 ounce range have 6 sq. ft. vestibules that are more of a gesture than they are functional. While living out of the tent in campgrounds, our testers have fit two 60-liter backpacks, two 30-liter backpacks, and shoes inside the vestibule — there's a lot of space! The Anjan is luxurious compared to ultralight tents and shelters. This a significant advantage because it makes it more comfortable for car camping or basecamping. Like all Hilliberg tunnel tents, it has an adjustable clothesline.
The Anjan is the three-season version of Hilleberg's Nallo. We give the Anjan 10 out of 10 points for its weather resistance because it offers superb protection from all of the elements. We have spent many hours sitting out storms – it's even made it through a pelting hail storm with hail balls the size of nickels! It's a three-season tent with many features found on four-season tents.
Key points like the reinforced vestibule zippers and the tent's bathtub floor which comes up higher than most others to protect from splashback and spindrift add to this tent's weather resistance. Similarly, the inner tent is made primarily of a solid nylon fabric that blocks blowing sand and snow, and better sheds condensation that drips from the roof – a significant advantage over most backpacking tents that have mesh inner tent walls like the MSR Hubba Hubba NX. The videos at the bottom of this page shows the possible set-up configurations and Hilleberg's preferred method for pitching in high winds.
Hilleberg uses Kerlon 1000 for the waterproof rain fly on this tent and the Rogen. This fabric is a silicone impregnated ripstop nylon that's impressively strong for a three-season fabric; its warp break strength is 22 lb/in. (For comparison purposes, the 15D polyurethane/silicone coated nylon used on the Brooks Range Foray breaks at 7 lb/in, the SilNylon used on Mountain Laurel Designs tarp shelters breaks at 15 lb/in.) Thus, the Anjan employs the strongest fabric used on any backpacking tent we've tested. This means that the fabric is less likely to be punctured and, if it is punctured, it's less likely to tear – both good things. The Rogen's floor is also likely to be the most durable of any backpacking tent tested. Furthermore, its poles are the best available: 9mm DAC Featherlite NSL Green.
When going light on a strenuous trip or when insects are gone for the season, our testers often use a floorless tarp because it weighs less than a tent with a fixed floor and walls. The Anjan, the Rogen, and the MSR Hubba Hubba NX are the only three-season tents we've tested that can be pitched as a floorless tarp shelter. Unhook the inner tent (takes about two minutes) and leave it at home to save 21 ounces!
For numerous reasons discussed in our backpacking tent buying advice, we believe this design is far superior to "fast-pitching" with a footprint. One reason is it allows you to quickly create a floorless covered space, which we find useful when entering the tent soaking wet from walking in the rain all day. Unhook the first portion and roll it back to create an area to hang out, dry off, and perhaps make dinner. Just clip it back in when you want a floor and bug protection. We love the Anjan's adaptable design because it has so many incarnations (see video below); this is yet another critical feature that gives it an edge over the competition.
Weight and Packed Size
The Anjan is not the lightest tent in this review, but we think the weight is well worth it. It weighs 62.5 ounces, or 3 pounds 14.5 ounces, total.
Outer tent: 23.2 oz.
Inner tent: 21 oz.
Poles: 11 oz.
Stakes with stake stuff sack: 3.7 oz.
Stuff sack with extra pole section and pole splint: 1.5 oz.
Consider an ultralight tent that pitches with trekking poles for the fastest and lightest adventures. Or if you want the absolute lightest double wall tent and are willing to sacrifice a bit of weather resistance and durability, check out the Big Agness Fly Creek Platinum.
Like all Hilleberg's "Yellow Label" tents, the Anjan is available in two colors. Choose from bright red or stealthy green. We tested the Anjan in red and green, and our testers prefer green for three-season trips because its stealthier and congruent with Leave No Trace principles. Red looks better in photos, but green can increase your safety when traveling near urban areas, especially in foreign countries. We did find the inside of the green Anjan a bit dark feeling, but the sunny yellow inner tent helped brighten things up. We also like the light airy feel of the grey MSR Hubba Hubba NX and think grey is a relatively stealthy color for somewhere like the granite filled High Sierra.
Hilleberg's 40 years of experience building four-season tents for arctic and mountaineering expeditions is immediately apparent in the Anjan's design. By most standards, the tent is overbuilt for three-season conditions. This is a good thing. Of all the backpacking tents we've tested this is the only one that has no significant drawbacks. It represents what we believe to be the ultimate balance between weight, comfort, strength, and durability. Like all other tents tested in this category, people over 6 feet tall will find that the toe of a lofted sleeping bag brushes against the inside (and sometimes wet) rear inner wall of the tent. This is common with all backpacking tents and is more problematic, i.e. wetter, with lighter tents that shave off the bottom ends of the outer tent, such as on the Nemo Losi and the Terra Nova Solar Photon. Staking out the Anjan's center rear guy loop can help to reduce splashback on the inner tent wall and help to keep the bottom of a sleeping bag drier if you're taller than six feet.
Hilleberg omits a waterproof cover for the Anjan and Rogen's vestibule zippers. Despite numerous serious rain events, none of our testers have found that water enters the vestibule much more than it would normally-- sometimes small droplets seep through the zipper. The vestibule design is such that a very small amount of water falls on the zipper area, and water from other areas runs down the center of the vestibule, far away from the zipper. So, even though we would prefer a waterproof flap over the zipper, we don't believe tent's omission of this feature is a significant drawback.
The tent has four reflective points: two on the front pole sleeve and two on the back or the rear pole sleeve. Adding more to each pole sleeve would make the tent more visible at night.
The stakes included with the Anjan are arguably the tent's greatest drawback. Both the Anjan and Rogen ship with Tri-pegs, or triangular "shepherd's hooks," that are relatively heavy, have low holding power, and are harder to use when compared to the other top stakes we've used. For example, the top of the stake has a small surface area, which makes it harder to push into the ground with your shoe. There's no hole to add a loop of cord, which would make it easier to pull the stake out and help to prevent you from losing it. The stake's small diameter provides less holding power than larger tubular or Y-shaped stakes. We've believe that the included stakes are only suitable for use in compact soil, so our testers usually carry different stakes. Good stakes are very important; in our experience testing tents we've found that most damage results from a staking problem. Hilleberg could address the Anjan's weakest point (its stakes) by including a lighter and stronger stake, like their V Pegs.
Many other backpacking tents and ultralight shelters are designed for a very specific end use. The Anjan is just the opposite; its strength lies not in its ability to excel at one specific activity, but rather in its capacity to perform at a high level for just about every activity. If we were to have one tent for all types of three-season activities, from car camping to backpacking, climbing, bike touring, and kayaking, the Anjan would be our top choice. We might even take it on short, fast winter adventures if we're in a pinch.
At $595, the Anjan 2 presents a very good value. That's right, even though it's very expensive it's a very good value. In comparison, many other "ultralight" three-season tents, such as the $500 Big Agnes Fly Creek Platinum and the $440 Terra Nova Solar Photon 2, cost nearly as much but are weaker, less livable, less weather resistant, and much less durable. We plot tent scores and prices in a Price versus Value Chart, that illustrates how much bang each tent delivers per buck so you can see for yourself.
The Anjan 2 earned our Editors' Choice award due to it strong performance on multiple metrics, and its competitive price. While there are less expensive tents, we consider the $595 price a good value for the quality of tent provided. If we were to recommend just one tent to friends and family, it would be this one. Whether your interests include backpacking alone, or multiple activities like car camping, bike touring, or kayaking, the Anjan is one tent that can cover your needs through all three seasons.
Other Versions and Accessories
The Anjan is also available in a three-person model that weighs eight ounces more and adds 6.5 square feet of interior space, the Anjan 2 GT, $785. Extended vestibule, or "GT," models add a third pole and more than double the vestibule area. In general, we've found that extended vestibules provide more comfort and more strength than two-door tents with two vestibules. A footprint might be useful if you plan to use the tent for lots of car or basecamping, or travel through areas where punctures are possible (like the desert), but we believe footprints are generally unnecessary for backpacking. Make your own out of 2 mil plastic, found online or at the local hardware store for less than $5, and use the weight of your sleeping pad and bag, or body, to hold in it place.
The Hilleberg Nammatj 2, $695, is arguably the single most versatile tent we have ever tested and also wins our Editor's Choice Award. The Hilleberg Nammatj 3, $740, is the larger version of the Nammatj 2.
The Hilleberg Jannu, $885, is the panacea for worst-conditions mountaineering and alpine climbing, winning our Top Pick Award.
— Jessica Haist and Max Neale
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Most recent review: August 21, 2014
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