There are some items of kit I’ll opt for cheap stuff to save some pennies because in reality there’s little difference or it simply doesn’t matter. However for a lot of kit I am a bit of a gear snob but not because I get the trendiest stuff but because I use kit a lot and I don’t treat it that well along the journey. If it breaks or doesn’t perform I can be in a lot of trouble, brands that stand for quality normally do so for a reason and Hilleberg are one such brand and I was excited to test their classic Akto tent out.
For riding in winter in Kyrgyzstan I need a good winter tent. Markus Stitz from Bikepacking Scotland (click and have a look) kindly lent me a Hilleberg Akto 1 man tent, he took pity on me when I mentioned I might be using a bivy bag at -20! I am sure glad he did.
It weighs 1.6kg all in. It is purely a 1 man tent and it is rated 4 seasons. There is good space for kit but not another person except for emergency use.
It packs to 58x17cm. The poles and pegs fitted in my frame bag side pocket nicely. The fabric rolled up plenty small enough to go in my large Apidura saddle pack along with a sleeping matt from Exped and my clothes.
It is a single hoop across the middle with 4 short upright poles in each corner. It needs the guy ropes pulling out and pegged to give it structure. On frozen ground the pegs needed to go into the soil or it won’t stand up. Once up it is amazingly good against the wind and the strong outer fabric is quieter than cheaper tents. It is as waterproof as you’ll find, I had no issues.
In the extreme cold the fabric remained remarkably similar to normal above freezing conditions, which was surprising given at below -20 most things had gone crackly.
The whole thing says quality. The fabric feels robust and you can see why the weight is more than some 2 man tents.
How does it stand up?
The first time I put the tent up was in the middle of nowhere n Kyrgyzstan I had no instructions and yet it was up in a matter of maybe 5 minutes, a bit more to re-adjust all the guy ropes.
It has vents at the ends and side, with the two way zip opening up more space. It was good for condensation in what was very cold conditions. My breath froze as soon as it left my mouth at night but that wasn’t the tent’s fault. The condensation was actually better than I expected it to be with end vents closed to preserve warmth. A white icy coating above my head and on my sleeping bag but the outer was pretty clear.
The pole slides smoothly into the sleeves and an end pocket means you just have one end of the pole to deal with when putting it up. Simple idea but save the hassle of running around to clip the poles in at both ends. It has few more simple ideas that work; like the two zips that meet not one continuous that would be weaker or the two point guy ropes that pull the outer evenly.
Warm, waterproof, strong in all conditions but not the smallest nor lightest. The cost is pretty high for these too. All around probably the best winter condition bikepacking tent I have seen and there’s no reason it is a classic, if you know of anything better put it in the comments below.