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Hands-on Gear Review
Hilleberg Nallo 2 Review
Cons: Zipper pulls are hard to grab with gloves and rattle in high winds.
Bottom line: A spacious and strong model.
The Hillebeg Nallo 2 is world-class tunnel tent that falls awkwardly between the company's lighter three-season Anjan 2 and the heavier Antarctic exploring Nammatj 2. The Nallo performed well in high winds but not as well for snowloading. For real mountain winter conditions, our testers reach to stronger tents like the Nammatj and for three-season use we reach to tents found in the Backpacking Tent Review or Ultralight Tent Review. We feel the Nammatj is a much better value than the Nallo, but perhaps your ideal applications aligns well with the Nallo's capabilities.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Ease of Setup
The Nallo is very 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. You can use as few as four pegs to pitch it.
The Nallo uses 9 mm DAC Featherlite NSL poles, the best available, and also the same model used on the Hilleberg Anjan 2 and dozens of other tents from Hilleberg and other brands. In contrast, the Hilleberg Nammatj 2 uses much stronger 10.2 mm poles. We've found that the Nallo is capable of handling very strong winds. We know of only a few other double wall tents that weigh a similar amount as the Nallo and handle winds better. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for static strength; the Nallo performs only 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 important 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 tieouts.
The Nallo has several smaller features that also contribute to its weather resistance. (1) the outer tent extends all the way to the ground. This blocks wind, snow, and virtually reduces splashback from driving rain. (2) The poles sleeves can accommodate an extra set of poles, which makes the tent significantly stronger. We haven't used this technique with the Nallo or any other Hilleberg tent, but if we were to use the Nallo in serious winter conditions we would probably want to bring extra poles. (3) 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. (Hilleberg tents are the only ones we tested that come equipped with ground straps.) (4) The vestibule has a "door band," which keeps it in the proper shape and minimizes tension on the zippers. (5) all guy points are heavily reinforced; the vestibule adjusters are made of metal, not plastic. (6) The guy lines are made of a Spectra-polyester blend that doesn't absorb much water and doesn't stretch as much as cheaper nylon lines. The fact that they don't absorb water is key. With 8 guy points and 4+ ft. of cord at each point, wet lines can make a tent significantly heavier. With no sheath to separate from the core, Spectra is also more durable. The Nallo's guy lines come pre-rigged with camming adjusters. No, you don't have to spend an hour cutting and attaching lines!! The camming adjusters are super easy and very fast, too. We much prefer them to the trucker's hitch knot in cold temperatures.
The Nallo is the same size as the Anjan and 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 oz. 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. Not as well as the Nammatj, which has two vents, but better than the Anajan, which lets air enter by the sides and doesn't have any dedicated vents.
Unlike most similar 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. We appreciate these options.
The Nallo's fabrics are tougher than perhaps all 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 because they are less likely to collapse from snowloading.
Without stakes, the tent weighs 4 lb. 12 oz. and packs down reasonably small.
Removing the inner tent leaves a strong floorless tent for summer backpacking. This can be great, particularly because 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 archaic 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 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.
Best Application and Value
Although the Nallo is a spectacular tent, our testers often reach for the company's Ajan or Nammatj more than the Nallo. We feel the Nallo's best application is extended international bicycle touring, where you occasionally cross a high pass and windy desert where the solid nylon interior and performance in high winds can be useful. We feel the tent is unnecessarily heavy for backpacking and not burly enough for winter use in mountains.
In the video below the tent could have been pitched with considerably more lengthwise tension, which would have reduced the flapping considerably.
— Ian Nicholson, Chris McNamara
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