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 lower than average weight, (six pounds two ounces minimum weight and 7 pounds 1 ounce packed weight), the Jannu is our highest rated self-supporting dome tent. Made for high altitude climbing and mountaineering, it does have a few disadvantages: it is considerably less comfortable to hang out in than the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2, and at $975, it's one of the more expensive models in our review. (It's $250-$350 more expensive than many other comparable 4-season models.) 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, Mountain Hardwear Trango 2, or The North Face Mountain 25, which all have two doors and more headroom, as well as additional space inside to spread out.
Hilleberg Jannu Review
Cons: Not as comfortable as other mostly heavier models, zippers are small and slightly harder to grab, less headroom than other models
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Our Analysis and Test Results
If we were going to only have one four-season shelter for a wide range of trips and conditions, this would be it. The Hilleberg Jannu combines an excellent overall balance of livability, weight, and strength, and brings Denali and Himalayan level storm-worthiness at a weight you would consider using for summertime mountaineering. It didn't have the most headroom nor was it as packable as other options, but our review team loved the super easy-to-pitch design, various set-up configurations, and the top-notch ventilation options.
Ease of Set-Up
This model is one of the easiest tents to set up, taking only 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. Hilleberg uses a unique design, where the poles are on the outside of the entire unit. The inner tent connects to the outer fly via dozens of elasticized toggles. Both the inner and outer tents can be pitched by themselves.
The above chart shows how the other tents in our lineup fared in the Ease of Set-Up metric compared to the Jannu.
The Jannu's pitch-the-outside-first design is superior to traditional double wall tents. It's easier for one person to set it up, and you can even keep your gloves on. Since you're not setting the inner tent up first without the fly, it won't get wet if its raining or snowing out. Once you insert the poles into the sleeves they stand up by themselves, so you don't have to awkwardly try to balance one pole while setting up another. These details make the setup more straightforward 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.
Its primary advantage over the Hilleberg Nammatj 2, or several other single wall tents like the Black Diamond Eldorado or Mountain Hardwear EV 2 (which shares a similar pole design), is its strength, in addition to its lighter weight. 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 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. In high mountain conditions, wind patterns can be chaotic and unpredictable and, depending on your "campsite," might demand a tent with a stronger sidewall.
The Jannu is expedition-worthy and among the strongest in our review without being insanely heavy. It weighs 1.5-3 pounds less than most comparable models (in regards to strength), like the Hilleberg Tarra, The North Face Mountain 25, and Mountain Hardwear Trango 2. Compared to the Black Diamond Fitzroy, which is also similar in storm worthiness, it looks similar (packed weight 7 lbs 1 oz), but that's without the Fitzroy's vestibule, which adds another 1 lb 7 oz.
This is what makes the Jannu a fantastic option for both expeditions and alpine climbing in the lower 48. If you don't expect to encounter challenging four season conditions, where the Jannu's extra strength might not be necessary, our testers prefer the lighter Mountain Hardwear EV 2, or BD Eldorado. Those models are great for all-around North American mountaineering on peaks like Mt. Rainier or Mt. Shasta.
If you are moving up from those climbs to more technical routes in more regions or more classic expedition climbing, then the Jannu will serve you well. Its self-supporting design is also an ideal choice for base camping if you leave the tent unattended and aren't there to remove snow from it or check on the tie outs.
The two most significant characteristics that make this tent viable for terrible conditions are the aggressive pole design and use of top-tier fabrics.
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 low-profile shape also allows wind to pass over it easily. Other models that are taller 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 another set of poles to bolster the Jannu's strength further. The pole sleeve will accommodate two poles, and then you clip the right-facing clips on one pole and left-facing clips on the other. This makes for an insanely robust tent, though we feel it is rarely necessary. Even when using 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.
After pole design, fabrics are arguably the essential 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. (You can find the strongest on Hilleberg "Black Label" tents like the Nammatj and Tarra.) Sturdy fabrics are essential because if they get punctured by something like a broken pole or a crampon, they are less likely to tear.
Many other features make this tent even stronger. Three ground straps keep the pole arcs at the right tensions and height and can be used as guylines also. The guylines are a Spectra-polyester blend which doesn't absorb as much water as nylon. There are also camming adjuster included, so that you don't have to use a trucker's hitch to tension the guylines. Finally, the lines attach to the tent with a six-inch loop of webbing that can wrap around the pole once and transfer tension from the tie-out stitching to the entire pole. This too is a unique feature that we love.
The Jannu is top-tier when it comes to strength for its weight. However, it is considerably smaller and less comfortable than many other two-person double wall tents. The Hilleberg Nammatj 2, The North Face Mountain 25, and the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2, for example, are all much more comfortable both in its interior and vestibule.
The floor area (34.5 sq. ft.) is undoubtedly larger-than-average among our fleet. This specification is somewhat deceiving 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. The zipper hits the ground in two places, making a significant 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, while the center is best for loading up gear or for periods of good weather.
Ventilation is a key component of tent design; this model provides the best ventilation of any tent with a similar pole design. It 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 quickly 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 adverse conditions and, when coupled with a partially open door, effectively combats condensation. All testers were very impressed with its superb ventilation.
This model balances a tricky tradeoff between low weight and expedition durability. Our model has held up well after three years of use in the Lower 48, Alaska,, and Greenland. To some extent, we are glad that Hilleberg does not use their toughest, heavier fabrics on the Jannu; it's already tough 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 The 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 incredibly 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.
We give this contender the maximum possible score in this category, as you can remove the inner tent, which 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.
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 1 ounce, though it comes with far more than you need. We found we most commonly went with a packed weight of 6 lbs 14 ounces. 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.
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.
We weren't a fan of the small metal zipper pulls. Hilleberg intentionally does this so that you can only pull the zipper in the correct direction - a longer cord would allow you to pull it at different angles and reduce the lifetime of the zippers. They also don't use a reflective cord on their tie outs, claiming that their proprietary cord is more durable. These are about the only things we don't like about the Jannu.
This tent really excels when used for alpine climbing and high altitude mountaineering but is still light and packable enough that we'd consider it for summertime alpine climbing in the lower-48. Its also handles moisture and condensation well enough that we'd consider taking it on occasional backpacking trips (though there are much better options for those looking for a sturdy backpacking tent).
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.
This tent is not cheap; at $975, it's nearly the most expensive model in our review, with only the Hilleberg Tarra costing more ($1095). The Jannu offers an acceptable value in one aspect, as it provides a mega stormproof design with top-notch fabrics and materials. No model can offer the same combination of strength and low weight that the Jannu can. That said, it's still $200-$300 more expensive than several other models that are comparable in many ways. For people wanting a stormworthy tent that is less weight and is slightly more packable, we'd recommend the Black Diamond Eldorado or the Mountain Hardwear EV 2. While neither of these models are as spacious, bomber, or as versatile, they are close and are both over a pound lighter.
The Hilleberg 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. It is light enough to be considered for summertime mountaineering, though it's a little overkill if that's all you plan to do. The Jannu will give you a little more room than its competitors and will withstand the harshest of storms, lasting you many seasons of use.
— Ian Nicholson