Two years ago when we climbed Iōdake (硫黄岳) and Akadake (赤岳) early spring with a friend, I had the occasion to spend a night in his brand new Hilleberg Allak. We had talked a lot about tents with him before he decide to go for the Hilleberg and I have to say that I was impressed. To the point that since then I keep borrowing his tent for all my winter mountaineering or snowshoe trips (like the Kita-Yokodake (北横岳) – Futagoyama (双子山) traverse or Jōshu-Hotakayama (上州武尊山) in 2011 winter). I needed to change my one person Vaude Hogan Ultralight Argon tent, as it is not a real free-standing tent and it is too complicated to pitch on snow or in a storm. Naturally I decided to go for a Hilleberg tent and I bought the Soulo tent. I propose you a review of it.
A completely free standing solo tent that is both expedition-ready and ultralight.
- Tent fabric: Kerlon 1200 (minimum tear strength of 12 kg/26.5 lbs)
- 3 x 9mm poles
- Minimum weight: 1.8 kg (3 lbs 15 oz)
- Packed full weight: 2.2 kg (4 lbs 14 oz)
- Very easy and fast to pitch (no more than 3 minutes)
- Completely free standing
- Lot’s of space for a one person tent
- Less easy to pack
Ease of Use
This is THE strong point of the Hilleberg Soulo. With the flysheet being fixed to the tent, the short pole sleeves and the clip system, the tent is as easy and fast to pitch as a single wall tent. It takes about 3 minutes to pitch it as shown in the video below.
Fully free standing it is easy to pitch on snow or a slab.
The drawback is that it is a bit harder to pack but nothing that is not manageable.
The tent is large enough for you and your gears. But you also have an abside with enough space for you backpack and your shoes. It is a comfortable 1 person tent.
Kerlon 1200 fabric is silicone-coated on both sides, which makes it very waterproof. In addition to this, according to Hilleberg, Kerlon fabrics are arguably the strongest, lightest tent fabrics available ; four to five times stronger than most so-called “expedition grade,” heavy duty tent materials.
The three poles, the profiled shape and the fabric’s strength gives the tent a good wind stability. It can be re-enforced by the guy lines already attached to the tent.
Ventilation is made through a zipper adjustable vent above the door of the outer tent. Covered by a “roof”, the ventilation can stay opened even in bad weather and it is fully accessible from inside the tent itself. In addition, one entire side of the inner tent door is a mesh panel covered with an equal sized, zipper-adjustable fabric panel. When you open the fabric panel and keeps only the mesh it gives you extra ventilation.
If the Kerlon fabric is as resistant and strong as Hilleberg says, this tent will follow you everywhere for a very long time if you take good care of it.
The price and the 2.2kg, compare to single wall tents, might discourage some of you. But with the Hilleberg Soulo, you have the ventilation/strength/protection advantages of double wall tents and easy pitching advantage of single wall tents. Why hesitate when you can have the cake and eat it too ? It is quite priceless in extreme conditions or place where the air is humid like in Japan.
If you don’t do anything extreme and don’t need a tent you can pitch fast and easily in a storm, then you might find lighter and cheaper elsewhere.