Hilleberg Nallo 2 Review
Cons: Zipper pulls are hard to grab with gloves and rattle in high winds, needs a larger area to pitch and can be more challenging to setup in rockier terrain
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Hilleberg Nallo 2 is the lightest double-wall model in our review. It finds a nice balance between strength and weight and is storm-worthy enough for a majority of summer-time mountaineering trips in the lower-48. It has a relatively spacious interior and a decent-sized vestibule. It needs a fairly big area to pitch but is easy to set up on snow or in established campsites. However, it's quite versatile and handles condensation and moisture better than all the single wall models in our review, yet is comparable in weight to the most versatile of those shelters.
Ease of Set-Up
The Nallo is reasonably quick to set up as long as you are in an established site, on snow, or good anchoring options exist. Simply peg out the ground level guy points, insert the two poles into the pole sleeves, and peg and tighten the guylines. You can use as few as four stakes to pitch it. Like many of Hillebergs double-wall models, the Nallo pitches from the outside, and the inner body is suspended. This aspect of pitching this tent makes it one of the simplest and easiest to erect in our review.
However, when camping in more alpine environments in the lower-48 or Southern Canada, it can prove challenging when camp spaces are limited. It has a smaller footprint than Hilleberg's other non-free standing models the Nammatj 2, but it can be pitched when larger flatter areas don't present themselves. For example, a lot of "alpine" campsites that aren't on snow are often on rocky moraines or tucked between boulders, and this can be the most challenging terrain to pitch it in. It isn't that you can't pitch it most of the time, but it certainly takes more effort in less open spaces.
The Nallo uses 9 mm DAC Featherlite NSL poles, which are easily some of the best available, and also the same as dozens of other tents from Hilleberg and other brands in our review. These are pretty strong poles but not the strongest, for example, the Hilleberg Nammatj 2 uses stronger 10.2 mm poles.
The Nallo is capable of handling powerful winds. We know of only a few other double-wall tents that weigh a similar amount and stand up to strong winds better. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for static strength; the Nallo performs moderately well at resisting heavy snow loads and nearly broke during one night of testing; see the photo below. In such a storm, it's essential to attentively knock snow off the roof and vestibule, and clear it away from the sides of the tent. If it's dumping, we suggest setting an hourly alarm and going outside to remove snow from the vestibule and walls and check on the tie-outs.
The Nallo has many attributes that contribute to its strength and durability. Perhaps the most important is its outer tent fabric, Kerlon 1200, which is likely the third most robust woven fabric found on any tent we've tested. It has a tear strength of 26.5 pounds, yet weighs only 1.47 oz/sq.yd. This impressive performance is because the fabric has three layers of 100% silicon. Silicon is more expensive, but also a superior product, to the polyurethane (PU) that is typically used.
Additional features help make it more resistant to weather than other tents. (1) The outer tent goes down to the ground, which blocks wind, snow, and limits most splashback from driving rain. (2) The poles sleeves can accommodate an extra set of poles, which makes the tent significantly stronger. (3) Ground straps are oriented perpendicular to the tent to take stress off the poles and keep them at the right height. They can also be used as guylines if needed. Hilleberg is the only manufacturer to include this feature. (4) The vestibule has a "door band," which keeps it in the proper shape and minimizes tension on the zippers. (5) Reinforced guy points and the adjusters are metal and not plastic. (6) Spectra guylines that don't absorb water or stretch. The Nallo's guylines also have camming adjusters.
The Nallo is slightly smaller than the Nammatj. The author has spent more than 40 nights in the Nallo and can attest to the fact that it is very comfortable for its weight and weather protection. But the extra 11 ounces to step up to the Nammatj 2 bring more interior volume, more space to sit up, and a vestibule that is better for cooking in. Ventilation is a key component of tent design, and the Nallo does well at managing condensation.
Unlike similar tents from other companies, the Nallo's vestibule has a continuous zipper that hits the ground in two places, making a significant 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 reach one of the two down by the floor. We appreciate these options.
The Nallo's fabrics are tougher than most other double-wall tents that weigh a similar amount, but the tent is significantly less durable than the Hilleberg Nammatj 2, which uses tougher fabrics all around. If you consider durability to include pole design, then many freestanding single wall tents are more durable than the Nallo since they are less likely to collapse from snow loading.
Without stakes, the tent and poles weigh 4 pounds 12 ounces; however, most people will find their useable trail weight to be around 5.3 pounds with guylines, pole bag, etc. This model packs down reasonably small, as well. There are lighter options in our fleet, as well as heavier.
You can remove the inner tent for summer backpacking.
This is an excellent option because even though there is no floor, the tent walls and vestibule extend to the ground and create a reasonably good seal to prevent insects from flying inside.
Hilleberg should ditch their old clunky metal zipper pulls and replace them with two colors of reflective cord (one color on the inside, another color on the outside) and replace all the lines with a reflective cord. We've wanted them to do this for years. Most other companies do. It would make the tent much easier to use and perhaps lighter, too.
This tent is not cheap and is certainly on the more expensive side of those included in this review. With that said, it offers enough advantages that we still find it a solid value for several reasons. One of the biggest is its versatility across a wide range of climates. It also boasts a below-average weight and is one of the most long-lasting models in our review.
The Hilleberg Nallo 2 is a solid performing tunnel-style tent that performs fairly well across a range of conditions, though its set-up can be cumbersome. It is one of the lighter tents that we tested and the lightest overall double-wall four-season model. It handles condensation like a champ, making it suitable for occasional three-season use, though it's not incredible for harsher four-season conditions.
In the video below, the tent could have been pitched with considerably more lengthwise tension, which would have reduced the flapping.
— Ian Nicholson