User Review: Hilleberg Nallo 2
Design: four season tunnel
Ease of Setup: Very user friendly even in difficult conditions
Weight: five pounds
Price Paid: US $425
Where do you want to be if you're exposed in nasty weather? Try a Nallo 2.
After using this tent in varied conditions for about half a year, I'm ready to offer another glowing report on Hilleberg tents, following my experience with the one-person Akto.
The Nallo 2 offers superlative, total weather protection in extremely wet, temperate alpine environments, plus the convenience of a small packed size and a voluminous interior for two at a relatively low weight. Trail weight is 4 lbs. 15 ounces (round it off to an even five pounds for convenience), including 9 stakes, and modifications (see below).
This is a weatherproof tent. The fly is extremely strong and completely impervious to high winds and torrential, tropical rain (see my review on the Akto). When set up with a taut pitch (demands using the guylines and the stake out points), the Nallo will probably withstand whatever blows its way. Really. The first time I tried it was at 3,000 feet during a highly destructive typhoon (I know, it's not the smartest thing to do, but I couldn't resist!). The place I pitched was exposed, but the ground surface was pretty ideal soil for setting stakes deep and solid. The Nallo shuddered in the violent gusts that sent branches and other debris whizzing laterally, yes laterally, through the air, but the fly remained immobile, no visible wear on the seams, and no sense that the tent was about to slant over or get flattened. Probably more remarkable than that is the fact that the Nallo's tunnel design seems to facilitate set up in even the most difficult conditions. The Nallo also shrugged off the wet, sleety snow that falls in winter on the Alpine regions of Taiwan, but you occasionally have to shake off the sloping foot area of the rear of the tent which extends beyond the tunnel area of the two pole hoops.
The Nallo is a true tunnel tent. Both hoops of the tunnel are at the same height. This means that the interior of the tent feels much more spacious than the simple floor area figure would indicate. Most US-made tents have a larger floor space, but they don't necessarily feel as spacious within. The Nallo is the kind of tent that deserves to be tested for total interior volume rather than just floor area. This means that two people can sit together at the front of the tent, or one can sit near the rear pole of the tent while another sits at the front. Four people could drink tea and play cards inside.
In an effort to cut weight, Hilleberg took off the rear vent. There is only one vent on the front of the fly, not quite at the top. It lets in oxygen but will not prevent condensation on the full-coverage fly. In freezing temperatures, this produced morning frost on the inside of the fly. As with the Akto, I found that the inner fabric is breathable and impermeable to water. Hence, the condensation on the fly isn't an issue. I have seen postings about condensation in the inner of Hilleberg tents, yet I have never experienced this. What's up? I don't know, but perhaps the key is not to seal up the inner completely. If you do, it tends to get stuffy, and I imagine in various combinations of humidity and temperature (particularly if you have a lot of wet gear inside the tent) this will produce condensation inside the inner. I always keep the inner slightly open, but it does mean that in colder times some precious internal heat gets lost. The triple zip sliders give you numerous options in this regard. Ditto for the front door on the fly, which can be opened on either side of the vestibule in order to escape the wind and let in air. Additional ventilation could be produced by pulling out the tail of the fly or buy propping it up with sticks, but I never found the condensation bothersome, so it was unnecessary.
The exoskeleton design (poles in the fly) is a huge advantage allowing for great flexibility. In the first place, it allows for quick set up and protects the inner from moisture when setting up in a heavy rain. Second, the inner is attached to the poled fly by clips that easily undo. This allows one to create extra temporary space in the vestibule—great for cooking in the vestibule in foul weather or for shaking off snow and rain upon entering the vestibule from outside. Finally, this configuration also allows you to leave the inner at home for a very secure poled tarp for two set up that weighs around 3 lbs 5 oz.
The Nallo packs down to a very compact size, 6" x 15", the smallest I've seen for any tent with its amenities.
In my experience, the Nallo shines particularly in temperate climates with near-freezing temps and extended, extreme wetness. For the soggy alpine areas of Taiwan, it seems like the perfect tent. I haven't yet used it in temperatures warm enough to warrant using the inner alone (with four separate, optional pole holders that add about 1-2 ounces), but it will probably be equally adept at adapting to that. It is certainly robust enough to handle severe winter weather, but the condensation on the fly will freeze up. Perhaps the ideal combination would be to have a single wall tent for deep winter outings and use the Nallo for three season ventures--or else go with a Hilleberg Nammatj 2 for the ultimate all-season double wall abode. I have noticed another post on this site by someone else who uses the Nallo in winter (with the heavier poles) and has excellent results.
I replaced the metal zipper pulls and the attached guylines with triptease lightline. I assume this is why the trail weight of the tent is slightly lower than the manufacturer's gross weight.
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There are many hoop and tunnel tents, but none that I have seen boasts the strength, durability, amenities and light weight of the Nallo. Don't let the non-freestanding design put you off! Once you get over the mental obstacle, it's second nature--plus, it's ALWAYS a good idea to stake ANY tent down.
Repairs to another Hilleberg tent caused by sewing modification ineptitude were smoothed out with no problem. Hilleberg has a standard of craftsmanship, service and integrity that has to be a model for the industry.