Hilleberg Akto or Soulo

10:21 p.m. on April 6, 2008 (EDT)
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Camping mostly in tthe Canadian Rockies - March to October, I avoid the truly cold months.

I am looking at either the Akto or the Soulo but wanted some opinions from users as to why I would choose one over the other.

Stats: 6ft 1", 215 lbs. Consider myself a lightweight backpacker (not SUL). Thoughts?

7:35 a.m. on April 7, 2008 (EDT)
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I just went through this same selection process and chose the Soulu, I have had a lot of highend tents and used them all over B.C. and in the AB Rockies, in 44 years of backpack camping.

The Soulu I chose is my second Hilleberg, I bought a Saivo last year to replace my old North Face dome and I consider the Soulo the better choice here as it's easier to erect and, IMO, superior under snow load. HTH.

6:37 a.m. on April 29, 2008 (EDT)
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I'm 6'03", 200lbs, and just ordered an Akto today. I don't anticipate it feeling "palacial" but it should provide me with a bomber tent at 3.5lbs, and it might have a little better ventilation than the Soulo. I don't own either, so that's just a guess at this point.

9:02 a.m. on April 29, 2008 (EDT)
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It's gonna be tight, but, if you can handle the lack of headroom, it is about the best choice out there. I use an ID Mega Sola in OD for the same purposes, largely alpine hunting, that one would use an Akto for, even LESS headroom, but, more floorspace, even quicker to erect and build quality equal to Hilleberg.

Let us know how you find it.

1:34 p.m. on April 29, 2008 (EDT)
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I know the Akto's sleeping area floor space will be pretty "efficient," to say the least but it's got a pretty decent vestibule considering this catagory of shelter. And that really appealed to me for toughing out storms. I'd considered the ID MS, but see it more as a bomber emergency (read life saving) shelter, than something I'd want to use as my primary lean and mean home away from home for extended periods.

2:10 p.m. on April 29, 2008 (EDT)
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Yup, I agree and I might well buy an Akto for this very reason. The Mega Sola IS very much my alpine shelter when trying to hunt sheep here in B.C., but, it AIN'T my idea of a tent to stay in for more than a night or two.

An Akto is about the same weight and is higher, which makes it much more liveable, longterm.

12:30 a.m. on May 3, 2008 (EDT)
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Thanks for the replies. I actually went for the Akto. I am 6' 1" and although the headroom is a little tight, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The length is excellent. Vertical ends mean that my long bag still has about 8 inches to go before wall contact. There is also a lot of room inside the tent. Really bomber for the weight.

8:55 a.m. on May 3, 2008 (EDT)
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I AM pretty interested in the Akto and might yet buy one. I bought a red Soulo and one of my friends went nuts over it while I found that I prefered the green as in my Saivo. So, he took it home and I ordered another in green from bearriveroutfitters, should be here in about another week.

I am very concerned with snowload in much of the time where I actually use my tents and this influenced my decision here quite strongly. Another option is the Integral Designs MKI-Lite at about the weight of an Akto, but, while it has superior headroom, overall, it is too short for 6 ft. people.

I just ordered an Integral Designs Sildome and have an ID eVent South Col to team it with, this is a part of my search to find the lightest shelter that will withstand BC autumn weather and above timberline. Here, I am at 2 lbs. 15 oz. for a 8x5 shelter that "should" work much like an Akto under snow, wind, rain and this is for high country hunting in Sept-Oct.

Gone are the days when I used my old Fjallraven 6.5 lb. tent, 4.5 lb. down bag by BC maker "Pioneer" and Black's of Greenock full length waffle foamy, all carried on a Camp Trails Freigher plus Horizon bag or in my Fjallraven Expedition pack.....much better gear now, but, those dang mountains have grown higher! :)

1:12 p.m. on May 3, 2008 (EDT)
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I am a huge fan of ID (live in Alberta) and have a couple of their bivies. The Sildome was also on my shortlist - it might even do better than the Akto in really wet, heavy snow because of its more sloped sides; the sides of the akto are held up with carbon fiber struts which then mean unsupported fabric between the center pole and the struts. Nevertheless, it will be a 'warmer' tent than the Sildome, unless of course teamed with a bivy. I may still get one as a two person 'awning' with use with two bivies (i.e. just have the legs extended out). We have similar gear tastes!

6:13 a.m. on May 6, 2008 (EDT)
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I hope the Akto works out for you. I actually switched my Akto order mid-stream, and now have a green Soulo heading my direction instead. As soon as it arrives, I'm heading for the mountains and praying for a storm!

11:23 a.m. on May 8, 2008 (EDT)
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I actually ordered both, with the intention of returning one. The Soulo went back. On my scale it weighed 4 lbs, 12 oz compared to the Akto at 3 lbs, 5 oz. There was a bit more headroom, but less length, despite the specs. The ends of the Akto are completely vertical and I had about 8 inches more room than the Soulo. There wasn't much more room on the Soulo (that I could validate) but the vestibule was definitely smaller.

I think if you need the best in snow loading and if you need freestanding, the Soulo would be a better choice. But for my needs - a light and fast mountain tent I just felt the Akto was a better shelter.

On a different note - enjoy the Soulo!

5:03 p.m. on May 8, 2008 (EDT)
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My Soulo arrived yesterday and it was love at first sight. I love how easily it set up, the head and floor space, and the full half door netting. I can see where a little more vestibule space would be nice, but I'm willing to accept what's there in order to have the additional inner tent space.

For where I plan to hike, I'm glad that I'll have the additional snow load and wind strength, the additional ventilation and netting, and the fully freestanding design. I'll gladly make up the additional pound from somewhere else in my gear list. I wouldn't mind picking up an Akto at some point, but for now, I've got a tent that I can conquer North America with!

Now I just need some days off so I can get out and test it. Hopefull a good storm rolls too! :)

1:07 p.m. on May 10, 2008 (EDT)
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Akto:
"Stability in high winds and rain protection are excellent, but performance during heavy snow loads is poor. While you can bang the snow off the tent while you are inside (as you should with any tent), on numerous occasions (in blizzards that brought over 12 inches of snow) snow buildup on the large unsupported sides caused the tent to collapse. Keeping the Akto structurally sound in these conditions is possible but requires more effort than other designs. Snow load strength notwithstanding, the Hilleberg Akto provides an excellent balance of livability, storm protection, and light weight in a four-season tent. In fact, it is the best spring/fall and low-snow winter solo tent we've ever used." Ryan Jordan 2006 review Backpacking light

9:30 p.m. on May 10, 2008 (EDT)
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After discussing it with a number of guys, including a dealer I buy my ID and Hille. tents from, that was my impression and pix on the website also gave me this impression. I would say that the Soulo is the BEST solo winter tent I have ever seen or had and I have done a LOT of winter camping in regions where a 12" snowfall overnight is a mere skiff.

Very few tents impress me very much and especially in severe snow conditions. There are some famous brands that I have used that I hated so much after a number of deep winter solo camps that I won't use them anymore.

Oddly, my best snow tent, before I bought my ID MKI-XL and Hilleberg Saivo and Soulo was my old Early Winters Light Dimension Gore-Tex tent and it withstood some huge dumps of snow in various parts of BC, wlthough it was only rated as a "three season tent".

A similar but even tougher tent is my ID Mega Sola and, if I "had"to be trapped in a real blizzard and I have been, this would be my first choice, it is one SOLID little workhorse.

2:44 p.m. on May 11, 2008 (EDT)
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I'm anxious to see Mr. Jordan's review for the Soulo. I'm guessing it'll be the new "best".

12:49 a.m. on May 12, 2008 (EDT)
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Ryan Jordan made some comments on the Soulo already. Way too heavy for a solo tent and wobbly. Opinions may vary ; )

9:55 a.m. on May 12, 2008 (EDT)
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Jordan's reviews need to be taken with a grain of salt. For him weight is a larger priority than for most folks.

8:55 p.m. on May 12, 2008 (EDT)
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Well, I guess my impressions must be wrong, then.....probably should just toss my Soulo in the trash when it gets here and go with whatever Ryan Jordan tells me is best for B.C.-Yukon-N.W.T.-AB wilderness camping.

I "could" use my Integral Designs Sildome instead to make the correct weight, however, my experience tells me that this would NOT work as well as the Soulo....dang, I hate to contradict an "expert".

9:11 p.m. on May 12, 2008 (EDT)
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Yeah, if minimal weight is your only consideration, then a siltarp would win every shelter contest. IMO the Soulo is still light enough considering it's a true four season tent. I have no idea what he's talking about with "wobbly."

9:26 a.m. on May 13, 2008 (EDT)
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Everybody places different priorities on the features they look for in their gear. For Jordan and his type weight seems to be the number 1 criteria and he is willing to compromise other aspects of performance to save a gram. That's not my style, but my pack weighs more than his. Luckily I can still carry my pack.

11:28 a.m. on May 13, 2008 (EDT)
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Well, we all have different priorities. No doubt Ryan has a lot of experience with ultralight backpacking but consider that:

a.) I had both shelters in my posession and the Akto wins hands down in weight (24 ounce difference) and has a better weight to space ratio. I am 6' 1" and in my 'long' bag I touched both ends in the Soulo. I had over 8 inches more usable length in the Akto.

b.) The Akto packs down better.

c.) There is considerably more usable length in the Akto and the vestibule is bigger. The difference in interior space is not readily apparent. Honestly.

d.) The Soulo has much better static load ability. Duh, it is a three pole cross design.

e.) The Soulo was kind of wobbly in my opinion as well but it was not pegged down. All tents should be pegged down so yes, do take Ryan's comments with a grain of salt as I believe he only looked at it at the Winter Show in SLC.

f.) The Soulo has a fully backed mesh door but no available cross breeze. Early results indicate a lot of unmanageable condensation. In comparison, the Akto has more venting options.

g.) I spoke with Petra Hilleberg in length about that review. She chuckled and indicated that the Akto has been used in very extreme conditions in the North Pole and 3 camp Everest without issue and that double polling the shelter is also posible (as it is with the dome tents they sell as well).

So I see it like this. If you want a freestanding solo tent with awesome static snow load capability, go with the Soulo. If you want a much lighter (over 32% lighter) shelter that is more minimalist and excels in other areas then get the Akto. If you are looking for a dome tent for the winter there are double walled shelters that provide better space to weight ratio than the Soulo. The Mountain Hardwear Spire 2 comes to mind.

If you are an ultralighter, you would not even consider these shelters and would look toward one of the 'teepee' type floorless shelters that do so well in poor winter conditions.

2:20 p.m. on May 13, 2008 (EDT)
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Your notes regarding interior space bring up a good point, and often overlooked in my opinion. I 3 inches shorter than you at 5'10" tall. Consequently I do not need long sleeping bags and my bag would be less likely to touch the ends of the tent than a long bag. I find tent decisions hard to make for reasons such as this. It would be wonderful to have a football field full of tents to test, much easier than looking at specs on the web and hoping what you buy works out ok. Buying two and returning one, as you did, is an option but also a pita.

4:29 p.m. on May 13, 2008 (EDT)
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Especially costly for me, in Canada without a Hilleberg distributor close but I have made mistakes in the past and am willing to spend the shipping (etc) costs.

I reread my note and I should have also indicated that I was very impressed with the Soulo but just more tent than I need at this point (plus as you indicate Alan, the Akto just 'fit' me better).

Best regards

December 20, 2014
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