User Review: Hilleberg Akto
Design: solo 4 season
Ease of Setup: 4-10 pegs
Weight: 2 lbs 12 oz minimum
Price Paid: $340
I posted this on the lightweight backpacker site and thought others might be interested. Since I posted this, I thought I would add that the tent is probably not suitable for dry, very warm, buggy conditions. That said:
I bought an Akto from Sweden about two years ago. Have used it extensively in the Japan Alps, the French Alps, and in the alpine mountains of Taiwan, where I live. It's excellent and makes camp a real pleasure.
The real key to it is the fly fabric, three-times silicone coated both sides ripstop nylon. If you go to the Hilleberg web site they give you a run down. I think the fabric is made by Carrington, in the UK, or it is equivalent to that.
In France the Akto weathered extremely high winds (over 100m/s) and here in Taiwan it has been through torrential sub-tropical downpours. It's a tent that makes you feel secure, especially important, I think, when you're going solo in deep backcountry.
I outfitted the Akto with an additional hefty .433 pole, recommended for winter use. Given the possibility of a sneak typhoon here, I thought it would be best. I once sat out a typhoon in a Marmot Bastille--a true bomb shelter but with a trail weight of 4.5 kg, too much.
Condensation in the Akto: even with the vents open, or again, even with the vestibule door open, there is always some condensation. Sometimes when I sit up in the tent my head would brush against the inner and touch the fly, but the water doesn't pass through the inner. Hilleberg says that you could carry water in the permeable inner fabric. So condensation has never been a problem. I just like to wipe the inside of the fly with a cloth before packing so that I don't carry a little extra water weight.
Inner: The fabric quality and gold color of the inner make a pleasant place to lounge around in. With the exoskeleton design (one pole in the outer fly), the inner can easily be quickly detached to create a little more space or air if you need. (If it's a very warm day, the inside is hot).
Vestibule: big enough for all your gear and cooking. and if you want more temp room, just undo the inner.
I modified the tent by adding a small rain flap over the outside door. Hilleberg people balked and said it was unnecessary, but I find it allows me to keep the outer door zipped open at the top, allowing for a bit more ventilation in the tent since the two vents are both placed low. In addition, I changed all the zipper pulls, taking off the metal pulls that come with the tent and putting on triptease pulls that look nice with the gold of the inner and don't jingle.
You can use the outer alone as a low weight reliable tarp for two, but there wouldn't be room for gear.
Before i bought this tent I considered other solo tents including the Mountain Hardwear Solitude and Microswift (really just roomy bivies), as well as the various single pole solo tents.
Exped Equipment in Switzerland (www.exped.com) makes a very light solo tent that looks like Eureka's "solitaire gossamer" better made and might even sleep two. But the Akto offers more "livable space" since you can sit up. And unlike the NF Canyonlands and other one pole solo tents, it could be much more reliably weatherproof and *durable*.
Since i go alone in some occasionally nasty country, i want a tent that is reliable and weatherproof. (This is why I shy away from tarps--after having been caught in part of a typhoon in a tarp--but does anybody have any recommendations on how to use them in high winds and heavy rains?). Akto gives me that PLUS a low weight. I think if you take confidence from your shelter, this is a great one to have.
Hilleberg's service is excellent and your tent bears the name of the person who sewed it. Plus, now you can order directly on-line.
Friends, I want reliability and durability, not just excellent space-to-weight ratios. I wonder who agrees with that?
Liked this tent so much that I bought their Nallo 2 (net weight 4.3 oz) and the luxuriously spacious Nammatj 2GT (6.3 oz). Everybody who has seen the Akto--except frustrated mosquitoes--has been impressed by their function, light weight, and reliability.
You probably need to seal the seams on the floor at least. On the floor there are no major seams, just little circles at the five corners where the inner attaches to the outer. I sealed mine and have never had a leak, even in torrential day-long downpours.
Akto compresses to a very small size, something like 5" x 15" or less.