Design: Expedition Geodome - Suited for Summer as well
Ease of Setup: Very easy.
Weight: 8 pounds
Price Paid: Full Value from Petra
To put it in simple terms, this is the best tent I've ever seen for our needs. I have looked throughout the world at tent offerings, following even the faintest trails in search of an ideal shelter.
The only tent I found that could hold a candle to the Staika was the Allak; another Hilleberg tent and essentially the lightweight version of the Staika with a couple of design deviations.
Here are the attributes I've come to greatly appreciate, and have *only found together in the Hilleberg Staika*:
1) Very strong geodesic design. Utilizing 3 10mm poles of equal length.
2) *Completely* freestanding. It can be staked out (for really bad weather) but even the two vestibules are fully erected by the tent poles.
3) The entire tent goes up together. This keeps the inner tent dry even if the Staika is being erected in a downpour.
4) Long two-person inner tent body with two doors. 91" / 230cm long inner tent.
5) Fully adjustable venting through the tent body. Using no-seeum mesh/cloth panels that run overhead.
6) Plenty of storage area. Two large vestibules of equal size.
7) Venting right through the top of the tent body and rainfly, ***even in the rain***!
8) Directionally opposed doors allow for cross-flow circulation through the tent, regardless of if the wind is coming from the north, south, east or west. The lighter Allak lacks this feature, with both entries accessed from the same direction.
9) Incredible attention to detail and handmade by one person in Europe.
10) At under 8 pounds, the Staika is light given its size, heavy-duty construction and capabilities.
11) Great worldwide customer support by the family bearing the brand name themselves.
We've owned the Staika since the summer of 2006. This tent has traveled with us through Europe and remote Alaska. It's been heavily used in all kinds of pitch locations and weathered many storms. Equally at home in all four seasons. It seems to have a lifetime of use left in it and we have no complaints.
I've not been sponsored or been given a discount. I'd move onto something else if anything could beat the above list of design achievements. Not likely.
Design: Freestanding dome
Ease of Setup: Easy
Weight: 8 pounds
Price Paid: $600
What makes an initial good impression is this tent's free-standing quality and it's ability to be lifted and placed exactly where it needs to be for sleeping purposes. The 2 door vestibules are also part of the free-standing dome structure and therefore do not need to be staked out. As with nearly all Hillebergs, this tent has a suspended inner tent which is supported by the 3 poles clipped onto the outside of the silicone/Kerlon fly. Headroom is great and the interior space is perfect for one person. It is a big tent in some ways but in other ways it's total footprint is small and fits into most tent sites. The short pole sleeves and clip system is fast and strong.
The golden yellow inner tent canopy is one of my favorite things about the Hilleberg line of tents and I like the bright interiors on cloudy days like today. Another big plus is the 100 denier 3-coated floor which almost feels rubbery and you just know it'll keep out the snow and rain. WEIGHT: This one attribute(along with price)is the main reason this tent is not carried and used by more backpackers. I don't mind carrying an 8 pound tent, in my mind it is light when you look at what you're getting: A large 2 door, 2 vestibule strong 3-poled four season self-standing high tech dome tent with 36 cubic feet of living space. This tent is a well thought out piece of gear built by people who have improved it with years of evolution and next-generation additions. Unlike many tents I could mention, Hilleberg finds something that works and instead of discontinuing it, improves it.
Update: January 11, 2008
Here is a follow up report of the Hilleberg Staika after extensive use and many winter backpacking trips.
The main problem I found with this green dome 3 pole tent is the umbrella fly's attachment points. The fly connects to the tent using 6 plastic toggles which insert into 6 plastic rings, all beefy and strong. The toggle is connected to a short piece of webbing which is adjustable with a plastic ladder buckle. In warm weather this system works great, in ice-cold rain that freezes solid, this system is pitiful and nearly impossible to use.
The webbing freezes stiff so the ladder buckle won't allow adjustment, that's one problem. The other is that the webbing behind the toggle won't bend enough to let the toggle pass out of the ring. It's all one big complicated mess. And as far as I can tell, the umbrella fly must detach in order to remove the poles from their short bottom sleeves in the process of taking down the tent.
I emailed Hilleberg about this several weeks ago but have not gotten a reply. The only solution is to warm each point IN THE MOUTH to thaw enough to detach, or to use hot water in some way. I find such a problem to be ironic in a tent purported to be at home in the Arctic. I would be interested to see how the owners of other Hilleberg tents that use this system respond (Jannu/Saivo/Allak/Soulo).
Don't get me wrong, this is still a great tent and I'll continue to use it wholeheartedly as my main shelter.