Hilleberg Akto / Opinions

8:35 p.m. on June 28, 2009 (EDT)
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Well, I'm ready for a smaller, lighter tent. I've read a good bit of reviews, and am considering the Akto as my next solo shelter.

I would welcome any opinions from owners of this tent, or from anyone who has used or stayed in one. I am most concerned with condensation management.

I will be using the tent for solo treks in the Southern Appalachians, lot's of humidity & precipitation.


11:55 p.m. on July 1, 2009 (EDT)
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I've read a lot of good things about it. Pretty good flame war going on on the Backpacker forum, between it and the Tarptent Scarp. Maybe it was Whiteblaze.

7:54 p.m. on July 2, 2009 (EDT)
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Thanks for the reply, I can't do the whole flame thing, I think it's childish, I don't care how knowledgeable the people involved are.

I feel like telling them: Let it go man, who cares!?

8:47 p.m. on July 2, 2009 (EDT)
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That is my least favourite Hille. model, but, this is due to my own preferences based on my personal uses. I just do not like that long, tensioned single pole and much prefer an ID MKI-Lite in that weight class. Some other guys are totally nuts about their Aktos, so, as usual, each to his own.

For an "all-around" tent, one that will handle about ANY conditions you will encounter in North America, my two choices are the ID MKI-XL with the optional rear "mini-door" for far superior ventilation and the Hille. Alak, again, with two entrances. The other option is a variation on the ID-MKI-XL called "The Yukon" and with it's capacious "large" vestibule, this is high on MY list of tents I would like to have.

What is your desired weight for any tent you buy? You may of heard that Integral Designs is supposedly bringing out an eVENT "shelter" this coming month, to weigh just over 3 lbs. We heard this last year, as well, so I am not going to get too excited until I SEE one for sale.....but, this could be an excellent option if you are interested.

9:29 p.m. on July 2, 2009 (EDT)
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Thanks Dewey,

Conditions I will be in are:

West coast marine climate, lots of precipitation, humidity, fog. Elevation not expected to exceed 8000' Temp range usually +20 deg F. to +90 deg F. with occasional winter storms consisting of freezing rain / sleet / snow with nightly lows near 0 deg F.

Solo trekking but I need some room for gear, I don't like a shelter that is too tight.

I would like to stay under 3 lbs. but need a well built tent I can trust to hold up with real use.

I'm keeping my options open for now, the Atko is on my short list but I have no firsthand experience with Hilleberg, therefore my inquiry.

The single pole is a concern to me as well. The inner tent of the Akto does not seem to have any high vents or sections that can be zipped out, I guess this is because it is a true 4 season tent? Or just the chosen design for this tent? I understand from the Hilleberg specs that the inner is made from a highly breathable fabric, I am still worried about ventilation/condensation though.

I am also looking at the Mountain Hardwear Stiletto which is similar in design to the Akto, but the inner of the Stiletto is all mesh which makes me feel better about ventilation which is my biggest concern. The Stiletto is a three pole hoop design, but the large main pole is still the mainstay of the tent.

I will look at the ID MKI XL & the Hille Alak. A large vestibule would be a plus for me as well.

Thanks for your help!

10:25 a.m. on July 3, 2009 (EDT)
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Hi - I own an Akto and have used on the West Coast of Vancouver so am familiar with your conditions. It is a wonderful shelter:

-Tall enough for me to sit up in at the centre (I am 6'1")

-Very long so no issue of a 'long' bag brushing the ends.

-Very easy to set up with excellent side entry. Unlike the MK1 series, you only have to thread the pole through an outer sleeve and stake out - awesome in the rain. There is no need to open the door to the inner and stick poles in - a major disadvantage of the ID in anything other than snow.

-Huge vestibule. The ID does not have a vestibule. Adding one pushes the weight to almost double that of the Akto. Plus the design of the vestibule is an afterthought.

-The ventilation is actually the best of any Hilleberg model. There are three dedicated vents - one on the door and two at the ground at the sides. Withe them open I have never experienced condensation on the inside of the inner. The nice thing is if you do have condensation on the inside of the outer, you can unclip the inner and pack it separately (although not necessary - the DWR is very impressive on the Inner). It is the easiest of all Hillebergs to unclip. Also, because the inner is offset from the outer, you can even leave the door open in moderate rain.

-The pole is not that long - shorter than the long pole on a Soulo. With the guylines it sets up rock solid. It simply will not shake.

-There have been some commentary on the snow issue. Wet snow could post a problem but the tent accepts double poling or an additional larger 10mm pole from Hilleberg. Remember that the Akto has been used on the North Pole with great sucess. At under 3 pounds.

-I have a few shelters (including UL ones) and this is the only shelter I have that I would really trust in windy, rainy, crappy conditions.

-Proven design that originally came out in 1995. Hilleberg has worked out all of the bugs.

11:43 p.m. on July 3, 2009 (EDT)
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Thank you CWF,

So do you think the breathable inner of the Akto works as well as having a high vent?

10:30 a.m. on July 4, 2009 (EDT)
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It really seams to. The two side vents and top vent provide a decent chimney effect and allow warmer air to escape between the outer and inner. If you get condensation it will most likely just be on the inside of the outer, which will happen to any tent in the right conditions. It is a warm tent, however, so there may be better options in truly warm conditions. On the other hand, I use it in the Rocky Mountains where temps drop very quickly at night.

I really like it, given the combination of light weight, ease of set up, bomber proof construction and stability, room, and durability.

I also have a Hubba solo and I really like the headroom. However, it is narrower than the Akto and is not as long. There is no chance of condensation on the inner because it is mesh although you can get condensation on the outer. Because the fly does not go down all the way the ventilation is overall better, but also cooler. A better shelter in warmer conditions, but not as stable in the wind and a poor choice if it gets truly cold.

8:16 p.m. on July 4, 2009 (EDT)
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I looked at the hubba, it is too tight for my tastes and I am a small person 5'6" and 150 ibs. I would like to have what is essentialy a 1.5 person tent. I like the room and layout of the Akto, and the Stiletto by Mountain Hardwear.

So are you saying that there is a high vent in the Akto? The inner I mean.

11:59 p.m. on July 4, 2009 (EDT)
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No upper vent on the inner of the Akto, but there is a secondary 'door' on the main door backed by mesh (i.e. a third door) that you can leave open to vent the inner.

Have a look here:


12:12 a.m. on July 5, 2009 (EDT)
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Thanks for the help and link to the photos CWF.

7:35 a.m. on July 5, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm a bit confused here as you first posted that you would use this tent in the Southern Appalachians and then that you would use it in a West Coast Marine environment and up to 8000 ft?????

CWF is very pleased with his, I have other preferences and do not like any non-freestanding tent; as I said, everyone has their preferences. I am a little unclear about his using his on ...the West Coast of Vancouver... as this would be in an area with the densest human population here. Could this be a typo and "Vancouver Island" be the area in question?

Anyway, ALL Hilles. are GREAT tents and you cannot really go wrong with one.

10:12 a.m. on July 5, 2009 (EDT)
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Sorry for any confusion Dewey,

Let me clarify, parts of the Southern Appalachians are considered West Coast Marine climate, and have also been called Sub-tropic Rain forest. Areas along the Blue Ridge Escarpment can have very nasty weather with high winds and heavy downpours. The area is however very challenging & rewarding in terms of terrain with a huge diversity of flora & fauna.

Here is a link to a web page that discusses weather patterns in the Southern Appalachians:


The Unaka Mountain Range Northwest of the Escarpment has 13,000 acres of Boreal forest at the higher elevations. I like to backpack a lot there. Some very nasty weather there as well at times.

These areas have the second highest rainfall in N. America after the Pacific Northwest, it's just something you have to contend with in order to experience these areas, well worth it in my opinion! This also makes it possible for people like me (who live in the Southern US) to have a chance of enjoying some snow at the higher elevations in the coldest winter months.

As far as my mention of using the tent up to 8,000 ft. that is the maximum altitude I would ever expect to use the tent unless circumstances allow me to to travel out West. Highest peak I would expect to tent on any time soon is around 6,700 ft.

Winter conditions are relatively mild with snow fall generally not exceeding 3 ft. but we can have cold snaps with freezing rain and ice, winds at the higher elevations can push the wind chill temps down to zero degrees and have caught backpackers off guard.

Non-freestanding tents, I am not fond of them either.

I am interested in Hilleberg because of their reputation, same for ID, and I have also been impressed with the functionality & performance of my Mountain Hardwear tent.

Thanks for your help Dewey.

11:37 a.m. on July 5, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm a bit confused here as you first posted that you would use this tent in the Southern Appalachians and then that you would use it in a West Coast Marine environment and up to 8000 ft?????

CWF is very pleased with his, I have other preferences and do not like any non-freestanding tent; as I said, everyone has their preferences. I am a little unclear about his using his on ...the West Coast of Vancouver... as this would be in an area with the densest human population here. Could this be a typo and "Vancouver Island" be the area in question?


Anyway, ALL Hilles. are GREAT tents and you cannot really go wrong with one.

Nuts - you caught me. Sorry I meant the West Coast of Vancouver ISLAND. To be exact, the West Coast Trail.

It set up perfectly on the sand. No need whatsoever for a freestanding tent that would have only added weight. Heck, Nallos have been used at basecamp Everest without issue.

1:18 p.m. on July 5, 2009 (EDT)
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I stopped using non-freestanding tents after a couple of experiences in the South Chilcotin, when I could NOT pound stakes into the frozen ground....in Sept. and October.

But, I am usually solo and tend to approach my gear choices from that perspective where it is harder to adapt a marginal tent, etc., to the ambient conditions.....and, I am a guy who has both scope and peep sights on all of his serious hunting/work rifles, so, I guess I am a curmudgeon.

I have lived alone at that elevation in prefabbed tiny shacks flown in by chopper and one CAN experience some VERY interesting weather, no question. For weight, the Akto seems best and the quality is a "no brainer", so, the options seem to be the ID MKI-Lite and the Akto, maybe buy BOTH!!!!!

There might be a new ID eVent shelter out this month, worth a look at that, too.

7:29 p.m. on July 16, 2009 (EDT)
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ID and Hilleberg will be on top of the list for north america, but I would say you may want to look at lightwave. the T0 ultra xt will be a bit more then 3 lbs but 2 skins 4 seasiens with a lot of room for your gear...great tents


9:14 p.m. on July 16, 2009 (EDT)
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Man, this is a great thread! "Nomenclature And Differences Of The ID MK And Hilleberg Akto Tents." Sounds like a doctoral disseration but I just made it up.

CWF: I like your vestibule quote for the ID tent, designed as an afterthought. I agree totally. When you say the Akto might have the best ventilation of all the Hillebergs, well, I have to disagree. The tent in my profile pic is a Hilleberg Staika, and though heavy it's my favorite shelter and vents great. You should see the venting options with this tent.

Here's one caution with the Hilleberg tents: Though perfect in nearly every way, their yellow inner canopy material is very thin and sheer and of very light denier, allowing outside gales to enter into the tent and blow thru. This is noticeable if your're used to using tents with a heavier taffeta style canopy. I studied this problem for several years and just couldn't figure it out, and then I did a trip and used an old Mt Hardwear Hammerhead tent with the usual thick canopy and it dawned on me. Take a look at the Hilleberg canopy sometime and you'll see how thin it really is. Wind just blows right thru.

As far as the Akto goes, I'd definitely get one with the 10mm pole, beefier than the usual 9mm. It's too bad they don't make the Akto with the 1800 Kerlon fly and the beefier triple coated 100 denier floor. It would be heavier but stronger and more wear resistant.

The Akto is very small and it wouldn't work for me, but the Allak on the other hand . . . . . .

9:11 a.m. on July 18, 2009 (EDT)
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I am driving up to NC today to help out a friend with repairs on his cabin. He has two Hilleberg tents and an ID as well. He has agreed to set them up and let me have a look.

I still haven't ruled out MH, especially the Stilleto or the Sprite 1.

I appreciate everyones input very much, if you have anything else to add please feel free to do so.

8:56 a.m. on August 11, 2009 (EDT)
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So did you like what you seen at your friend?

6:25 p.m. on August 11, 2009 (EDT)
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I got to see a Hilleberg Nallo 2 and a Jannu, the craftsmanship seemed to be top notch, I like the Nallo 2, but wish it had a decent vestibule.

I also got to see an ID MK1 lite, liked it a lot as well.

I am still wanting a roomy one person shelter after seeing these tents, although all three of them are lighter than my older MH tent. Maybe I'm worrying too much but i really want to stick with a double wall tent if possible. I've got till this fall to make up my mind I guess. I want to do a winter solo trip, either just before Christmas or after.

9:30 a.m. on August 13, 2009 (EDT)
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You should also look at the Scarp 1 from Tarp tent. I have a lot of friends in the UK who use an Atko but are switching over because the scarp is lighter weight and less prone to internal condensation. I own one myself but haven't gotten to field test it yet.

1:28 p.m. on August 13, 2009 (EDT)
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After thinking about it for very long I end up with a Lightwave G1 Ultra...It's small 2 man so big for one guy, it will stand the winter and weight 2.15kg. I am planning a year of hiking in Central Asia and the Himalayas and want one tent that will do it all and the same like you, not single skin...I think that Lightwave just got it right. I haven't used it yet but I know few people that used it and I also know the guy that owns the company, high end gear!

4:47 a.m. on August 14, 2009 (EDT)
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I do not consider the Tarptents to be equal to Hillebergs as a winter tent and would not want to use one in winter conditions, not here in B.C. or any other region of Canada, at least.

The Lightwave tents look pretty nice, but, like many other British brands, i.e., Rab Gear, they are made in China. I will not, by choice, ever buy gear or anything made in China, until after they leave the sovereign nation of Tibet.

I have used Chinese-made gear and find that it is not equal to the best, such as Hillberg and Integral Designs, which are the finest serious tents I have used/seen.

Why, cheap out on something that you want to use for many years? Buy top quality gear that is made in North America or imported here by the family that manufactures it and you have product backup, if you need it.

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