Which tent to choose Hilleberg Keron 3 (or 4) or Black Diamond Bombshelter

12:20 p.m. on April 9, 2012 (EDT)
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So, I need a tent that is reasonably light (not more than 4,5 kg), and can endure all kinds of temperatures and weather, easy right?

If I go alone I use another tent that works OK for me so we are talking 2 persons, and 3 persons most of the time. In special circumstances fitting in a 4th person would be nice. By experience, normal 3 person tents does not work well for 3 in the winter. It must be a real big 3 person tent or a small 4 person tent at least.

So, I narrowed it down to two main options:

Hilleberg Keron 3 (or 4) (maybe 3 GT but we're pushing the weight limits a bit):

I've slept in one of these some back in 1999, but have trouble remember them as anything special. Generally I know that tunnel tents has a big issue with condensation if not stretched properly due to the layers touching each other (in the mountains in the summer finding a good place to stretch a tent that is not just stone and not really wet ground can be difficult). Does anyone have experience with that? Maybe materials have evolved a bit since then.

Black Diamond Bombshelter:

I've actually slept in this quite a bit, but do not own one myself. I have only positive things to say about it. Only one layer tent is really convenient, and setting it up once you got the technique is quite fast. Good space for 3 big persons in winter.

We've used this in winter, it's cold at night, but not much condensation and you need a real sleeping bag anyway. I've also used it in summer and in rain, but not in prolonged rain and humid weather so I wonder how it will hold up in other conditions than winter, snow and high mountains? Breathable material also sounds like they might loose their ability function right after a couple of years, anyone got experience with that?

Some questions I have is about the packed size, how do the two alternatives compare (if you compress the tent, and carry the poles on the side).

Weight and price is comparable between Keron 4 and the Bombshelter.

What do you guys think?

12:55 a.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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I personally own the Hilleberg Keron 3GT and like the space, as well as the storm-worthiness of it.  Very strong tent, strong zippers, 10mm poles, rugged floor material, huge vestibule, etc.

Issues are that it is a very LONG tent, so one has to be careful when considering tent placement.  I love the hoop design - I can (and have) set this up FAST, in the middle of the night, in wind, with mittens on.

Not had an issue with condensation, except in the dead of winter with no wind.  Even then it was slight.

Keep in mind that I am very biased towards Hillebergs, as I am a retailer for them. :-)

1:02 a.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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IMG_0932.jpg

Inside the Keron 3GT, looking towards the vestibule.

4:10 a.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi, ant thanks for the answer. I know the Hilleberg are straight forward and really good tents.

Have you had problems if you couldn't strech the tent out properly? How good does the least amount of plugs need to be fastened for it to function and prefent the layers from touching? How few plugs can you do with and still have a nice tent given that it is not a lot of wind (there will always be some in the mountains, so it must tolerate a little wind)?

I know the GT models are really long, so I'm leaning towards Keron 4 vs Bombshelter - those are most comparable, but I wonder about the packaged size of both.

My general concern is that summer in high altitude or mountains, it can be difficult to get a really good place to fasten the nessecary 4 plugs (5 cm of moss), or a stone in one of the ends for example. The Bombshelter would not be fastened good either, but would stand perfect, sleep would be good and condensation properties of the tent the same. I fear that the Keron might be falling down in light wind or the inner and outer tent touching creating a lot of condensation.

 

9:13 a.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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I have two tunnel tents. A cheap one that I have to play with to get tight. The other is an old SW that is very good that sets up tight from the get go. I think as far as condensation is consurned the Hille is a double wall while the BD is single walled. I go with the double wall everytime. But thats just me. But I would think that the Hille would be better in the summer months.

9:28 a.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Least amount of stakes to have a taut pitch? 6 total.  4 for the corners and two at the vestibule vents.  BUT... I always try to guy it out as well in case high winds hit in the middle of the night.  Bo Hilleberg himself taught me to do that.

Some people like the internal poles but I don't.

The Bombshelter looks like a really nice tent, and has some really good reviews.  You will still need to stake it out though, so it doesn't blow away.

11:58 a.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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I had a Bibler, an original one and better than the BD production of which I have checked out many. I liked it, but, found my Integral Designs (Canadian-built) SW tents to be much better.

I have three Hilles.and consider them the best overall tents I have  ever owned/used and that is quite a number. I prefer their dome models to the tunnel designs and would suggest a "Saivo"for your uses, I love mine.

I live in BC and would not choose a Keron for the densely forested,steep terrain here as it is difficult, as you say, to find space to erect it.

1:00 p.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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BDB

5:08 p.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi, and thanks for the replies.

I have one tip for Keron, one tip for Saivo and one for BDB.

Right now I'm checking out the Saivo, it might seem to be the perfect mix. A bit on the heavy side though, but if that weight is quality it might be acceptable.

Right now, the comparison is:

BDB: Bigger space - lighter tent, but some reviews also gives a bit warning. In one user review the tent got a bit wet and when packed, the fabric froze together and was damaged. One review for the BD Fitzroy (same ToddTex fabric) expressed fear of ripping a hole in the tent when setting up the internal poles. Don't know it that is realistic though.

Saivo: Better ventilation (at least reviews say a lot of good about it), less space, heavier. Vestibule on both sides, but smaller than the large one in BDB. Two layer - fabric famous for it's durability, warmer. Best from both worlds?

11:52 p.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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I agree with Dewey...I think that the Saivo would be a great alternative for you, comparable to the BDB.

In talking with Petra Hilleberg, the Saivo has been used in the Everest camps above base camp with positive results.

The Saivo sure wouldn't require the space that the Keron would to set up.

6:08 a.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi, and thanks for the great insight. Specially that you actually have direct contact with "the Hillebergs" weighs in a lot. I somehow have a good feeling bying from a family company known for quality.

Tomorrow I will check out the Savio and the Keron 3 GT (comparable in weight and packed size but with distictive differences) but both great tents.

For summer and for some winter uses the Savio is better in many of the places I camp, but generally in winter the Keron 3 GT whith the big vestibule adds a lot of versatility that normally is lacking in other tents for the same use. As long as there is snow a good pitching of the tent should be less of a problem.

To put it in a different perspective: For all but the worst conditions, there are a lot of cheaper selv-standing tents that would work just as well as the Savio in the summer (and one of the guys you go out with would probably have one of those), for winter use there is not much differentiating it from the TNF EV-25, BDB and so on.

The Keron GT 3 with vestibule is a bit lighter, but has a distinct advantage and allows relatively safe cooking in the vestibule (that would be a lot less safe in the Savio judging by the pictures).

For winter use I would think that fitting 3 in a Keron 3 GT is actually possible due to the vestibule especially with a footprint covering also the vestibules (tight but possible), but I'm not so sure about that in the Savio.

I'll have to make a decision tomorrow. Waiving back and forth between them. I really appreciate all your thoughts on the matter. Thanks.

9:49 a.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Based on ownership and lots of use in the winters of BC, where some serious cold, i.e., -40*F and major snowfalls are commonplace, I must strongly disagree.

The NF tent and BCB ARE NOT equal to the Saivo and, after years of using a NF tent, I would not have another as a gift---other than the '70s-80s "Pole Sleeve Oval". The Saivo is THE BEST heavyduty, winter shelter I have ever seen and nothing in it's weight range comes even close.

The newer version, with the larger vents, etc. is as good for summer use as any other tent and even mine, from 2008,when set up the summer I bought it, was not overly hot in direct sunlight and it is a green one.

Yes, I AM emnthusiastic about this tent as it is the first one I have had/used where I felt totally secure and the relative ease of setup is a huge bonus on a dark,windy and snowy afternoon, when alone, miles from any other human or assistance in the event of an emergency.

 

1:41 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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OK, I realize that comparing them like that was a bit too easy.

Two questions regarding the Savio:

- Can you fit 3 persons in the tent in winter and still be comfortable?

- Do you feel comfortable cooking in the vestibule?

I realize I can't have it all here. To met it's down to Savio vs Keron 3 GT right now.

4:07 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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FYI, I have used my Kaitum 3 in zero degree temps with thee adults. It did fine, but the middle occupant was faced in the opposite direction as the outside sleepers. I mention this because I think that the Kaitum is not quite as wide as the Keron 3 and it worked okay for three people.

Understand that these are 4 season tents and ate not designed to have tons of extra space. The fit is snug, but adequate, the inner tent temps are higher of course, due to the three warm bodies inside.

12:51 p.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
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So I ended up with the Hilleberg Saivo after a lot of back and forth. Main decision point was that it really looks like the most solid tent I've ever seen. Lot of good ventilation for summer use, and I can camp wherever I want for the most.

There is space for 3 persons (the guy giving me advice said the size would count as 4 person tent from some manufacturers).

I'm very happy. Looking forward to try it out.

Thanks for all the good advice. If I hadn't posted here I wouldn't even have thought of the Saivo, so thank you both Dewey and vigilguy!

1:59 p.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
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I would say it's a wise decision to have changed your mind on buying a tunnel tent. Three reasons. Tunnel tents are not know for their abilities in regards to snow load and they are not free standing and this my be very important in setting your tent up quickly. It can be hard to set them up properly on uneven ground as well. They are a tent that needs ground that has the same pitch the entire length of the tent where as free standing dome tents are much mor forgiving in this regard.

In the original post your questions made it appear that you were more interested in this tent for non snow uses, am I correct in this assumption? What about later uses? Snow?

Thru out the years I have been an advocate of free standing tents, not that non free standing tents don't have their merits. I have just found that for me, free standing tents to be much easier to set up and they will not collapse if any of your guy lines are compromised for reasons such as bad ground or insufficient stakes, bad line, broken line, tripping over lines. Aince you will have mulitiple people using the tent it's much more likey that some one will trip over a guy line. I would guess it would not be much fun if someone tripped over one or more of the tent guy lines at night or during a storm and having part or all of the tent going down. One can set up a free standing tent in a pinch, (such as fading light and or bad weather) and then add guy lines later if necessary, but guy lines are not necessary for basic stability or setup. It is recommended that one never leaves an unattended free standing tent alone without at least a few guy lines holding it down.

Since you have decided on the Black Diamond Bombshelter (formally the Bibler Bombshelter) and the Hilleberg Saivo I myself would have a number considerations.

Comparing how steady each tent is. I would consider both to most likely be equal with out having tested each side by side. Though I have never used the Saivo I do own the Bombshelter and have found it to be the strongest most secure 4+1 pole 4 person tent that I have ever used. I have not use this tent in high altitude snow situations but enough people have over the years that I would have no qualms taking this tent up any mountain if it fit my needs. I would guess the same thing about the old Saivo, but for the most part the redesigned Saivo is untested. They say it's better vented. Is it? It will be interesting to see if it is in fact better vented and if the redesign is in fact just as good or better in other regards. It has been reported that the old version of the Saivo had problems with the inner tent sagging reducing the available space in the tent. Has this been fixed? So far I've heard nothing about that and I would be leery to be the first one to find out. Do you want to be? I never buy a tent when it first comes out or when newly redesigned. I let other’s test it out and read extensively on if the tent can cut the muster. I hate being the guinea pig in regards to spending large sums of money only to find the product does not live up to the standards it was suppose to. To investigate the sagging problems more go to the top left of your Trailspace page and use the words “Hilleberg sagging Saivo” and “Hilleberg sagging”. I would also look up “Hilleberg venting” and “Hilleberg condensation”

Venting. I would say that if your going to stuff the maximum people (4 in the Bombshelter and three in the Saivo and gear) you will have venting problems in both tents. Think of it like this. Just cause you can stuff 4 Gerbils in a Folgers Coffee can because it has the "floor" space does not mean it will vent well once you put the top on and make it rain proof so that it will stay dry inside the can from water or snow from out side sources, no matter how well you ventilate it. The same goes with a tent. Just cause the floor space allows you to stuff it full of human bodies, does not mean it can handle the venting needs of that many people. I have found the Bomb shelter to be a great two person + gear tent and I would think it might be ok with 3 people+gear in a pinch. I would guess that the Saivo would be great with 2 people+gear but pushing it with 3 people + gear. I would guess that stuffing both tents with the number of people the manufacture say’s they can handle is a uncomfortable situation waiting to happen. As quality as both these tents are, I cannot imagine either venting well with this many people in either one. Proper venting of any tent will make or break the usefulness of any tent. Hardly ever is it necessary to totally batten down the tent so that there is no ventilation available. Always leave as much of the tent open when possible for the best ventilation.

Weight wise the Bombshelter wins as it is 50 sq feet while the Saivo is rated at 40 sq feet with the Saivo being a bit heavier than the Bomb Shelter by 1-1.5 lbs . The Bomb shelter wins hands down weight wise if you compare the two regarding weight to sq ft ratio. One must remember that the Bombshelter is a single wall tent while the Saivo is a double wall tent having twice the surface area material.

Vestibule wise they are comparable with the Saivo having 28 sq feet total while the Bombshelter having a smaller 20 sq ft. total

Both have 4 interior tent poles with the Bibler having a 5th pole for it's larger than rear front vestibule.

It would be a fun do a side by side test with these two tents in different conditions.

The Black Diamond winds hands down cost wise. $719 new on line at Moontrail ( http://www.moontrail.com/bibler-bombshelter.php ) while the Saivo costs $995. There are many "As New" or very lightly used Bombshelter’s on the market for far less than $839+/- new price tag at Blackdiamond. It is highly doubtful that you will find any used Saivo's used, and it is even more doubtful that you will find any of the redesigned models “as new” or used. Per sq ft the Bombshelter is much cheaper. There is a "seconds" older model Saivo on the Hilleberg site if your interested for currently for $597 if you click on there specials on the left side of the page.

For 3 people and maybe adding a 4th sometimes as you stated, I myself would opt for the Bombshelter with the information you have provided us. But even then I feel 4 people is too many for the Bombshelter unless it is an emergency.

You asked if anyone has expertise any degradation in breathable materials regarding tents. I’ve had a number of single wall tents from the late 1970’s to the present that use breathable materials and have never had any problems myself. It seams that one does want to take care to keep the material clean so that it does not start wetting out. Just as it’s important to clean down products properly it is very important to clean the various breathable materials used by the different manufactures properly so that the material retains it’s waterproofness and it’s ability to breath properly.

The only other advice I can give is if you go with the Bombshelter then it is of the utmost importance that you seam seal it correctly. Just as with any single wall tent esp. if one is to use it in rainy situations.

3:47 p.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi, and thank you for the thorough response. 

Last time I made so much research for a purchase was my last car, so I've been thinking quite a bit about it. I just set up the Saivo when I got home. The vestibules seem a bit smaller than I thought, much due to the new vents that lower the space for i.e. cooking. It might be that i could not stretch them good enough indoor.

A tip I read was to just clip off the first row of clips on the inner tent and suddenly I had more than enough space for cooking - very easy to do, took only a few seconds and did not take to much inner space.

My perfect tent would be the Saivo, with a smaller version of the Keron 3 GT vestibule (but bigger than the BDB one), and the weight of the BDB. 

Since I've used the BDB a bit in the winter there is one consideration regarding space. If you happen to sleep so tight that the outer persons touch the tent wall you will get wet if it is cold winter - the condensation will not have time to breathe trough the walls (my guess at least) and get your sleeping bag quite wet on that side. My solution was to put some gear in between as a buffer - but certainly reduced sleeping space.

Vestilbule space can be deceiving judging by square feet. If it is too low it is not much use for anything.

I love the BDB - think it's a great tent, but there are no retailers here in the country stocking them so I have to rely on foreign Webshops, which is ok, but a bit cumbersome if something brakes and I have to return it (just sending 4 kg is a cost) - and I must say that was also something that ended up to be a factor - I could go on with pros and cons forever I think so it boiled down to minor details.

I got the Saivo 20 % of on a special sale today. There are more and bigger vents on this than the BDB, TNF EV-25. There are also a lot of possibilities for adjusting ventilation - so I would be surprised if it does not work quite well.

One thing to note however is that it packs bigger than the Keron 3 GT, quite a bit actually. For my sake there are two things that I need to test more before making a judgement: how the vestibules actually work out regarding usable space - and the weight/size for Hiking - 5 Kg is heavier than 4,2 kg (the BDB).

Good to hear the fabric of the BDB works well with time.

Otherwise I don't feel all to well in the guinea pig role, but I guess I ended up in one here so I'll just have to wait for some real life experience before I judge - if I don't like it I'll make sure to post it here and there will at least be one discounted used Saivo 2011 available ;)

Meanwhile this review is quite good at least:  

www.hilleberg.se/news/saivo-backpacker-magazine

3:51 p.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
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An outstanding post from a real gentleman and I totally concur, but, will always take a Hille.over ANY other tent if I can only choose one.

The ...gerbils in a Folger's can... is about the funniest comment I have ever read on the 'net, that is just classic, Brian, good on ya, bud!

4:21 p.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
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An outstanding post from a real gentleman and I totally concur, but, will always take a Hille.over ANY other tent if I can only choose one.

The ...gerbils in a Folger's can... is about the funniest comment I have ever read on the 'net, that is just classic, Brian, good on ya, bud!

Hey Dewey,

Glad you like the Gerbil comment. It was the only way I could think of describing it while getting my point across. I don't know why but gerbils are much funnier than rats or mice. It seems to me that if people only did basic math that they would figure out how many people can really fit in a tent. If you take the Black Diamond Bombshelter that Black Diamond rates as 4 person tent and divide the amount of people by the 50 sq ft...............you have a whoppin 12.5 sq ft per person. So take a 6 ft sleeping pad that is 21 inches wide you will come up with 11 sq ft. 11sq ft. x 4 = 44sq ft.. That leaves a grand total of 6 sq ft in the body of the tent (and not all in one spot) for all the other things you may need with you . Imagine climbing over each other in the middle of the night to take care of business. Imagine not only waking up the amount of times you normally do in a night but waking up every time every one else does as well. I think not. 11 sq ft is just enough room for a normal width person to lay there in the mummy position with out touching any other people in the tent. Even my smallest Bivy is larger than this, sq ft wise. This is also assuming that no one is over weight or just a larger than normal person. Imagine such nonsense in a weather emergency for any length of time. No thanks. That is one of a number of reasons I don't share tents with others.

5:52 p.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi, and thank you for the thorough response. 

Last time I made so much research for a purchase was my last car, so I've been thinking quite a bit about it. I just set up the Saivo when I got home. The vestibules seem a bit smaller than I thought, much due to the new vents that lower the space for i.e. cooking. It might be that i could not stretch them good enough indoor.

A tip I read was to just clip off the first row of clips on the inner tent and suddenly I had more than enough space for cooking - very easy to do, took only a few seconds and did not take to much inner space.

My perfect tent would be the Saivo, with a smaller version of the Keron 3 GT vestibule (but bigger than the BDB one), and the weight of the BDB. 

Since I've used the BDB a bit in the winter there is one consideration regarding space. If you happen to sleep so tight that the outer persons touch the tent wall you will get wet if it is cold winter - the condensation will not have time to breathe trough the walls (my guess at least) and get your sleeping bag quite wet on that side. My solution was to put some gear in between as a buffer - but certainly reduced sleeping space.

Vestilbule space can be deceiving judging by square feet. If it is too low it is not much use for anything.

I love the BDB - think it's a great tent, but there are no retailers here in the country stocking them so I have to rely on foreign Webshops, which is ok, but a bit cumbersome if something brakes and I have to return it (just sending 4 kg is a cost) - and I must say that was also something that ended up to be a factor - I could go on with pros and cons forever I think so it boiled down to minor details.

I got the Saivo 20 % of on a special sale today. There are more and bigger vents on this than the BDB, TNF EV-25. There are also a lot of possibilities for adjusting ventilation - so I would be surprised if it does not work quite well.

One thing to note however is that it packs bigger than the Keron 3 GT, quite a bit actually. For my sake there are two things that I need to test more before making a judgement: how the vestibules actually work out regarding usable space - and the weight/size for Hiking - 5 Kg is heavier than 4,2 kg (the BDB).

Good to hear the fabric of the BDB works well with time.

Otherwise I don't feel all to well in the guinea pig role, but I guess I ended up in one here so I'll just have to wait for some real life experience before I judge - if I don't like it I'll make sure to post it here and there will at least be one discounted used Saivo 2011 available ;)

Meanwhile this review is quite good at least:  

www.hilleberg.se/news/saivo-backpacker-magazine

 

I'd not give to much thought regarding being a guinea pig. As Hilleberg's are expensive tent's I would guess that a bad review would not be a good thing for a redesigned tent. I'm glad you were able to save 20% on it. I would guess if they did their job and made the tent better by fixing the problems the previous one's had then you will have a great and fun tent to live in. Hilleberg is a great company and this will be the test of if they still make a superior product. It will be interesting if, with 40 sq. ft., it will be able to handle 3 people in times of cold and or high humidity. Please let us know what your thoughts are on it after you use it and again after you have some time with it. Good luck on your journeys and be safe.

6:21 p.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks. Will do, but it will take some time to test under different weather conditions. Take care, and thanks for the help.

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