We really like the way Hilleberg Tents combine wind performance and reasonable weight in their double wall tents (which can be converted to single wall, breathable, for super lightweight travel at high altitude.) The Nammatj 3 and 3GT seem to be what we’re after for our three week Denali camporee. They’re simple, quick to set up, and have beefy poles combined with confidence inducing construction details.
Our favorite design feature is the huge vestibule of the Nammatj 3 GT, which once combined with a snow pit would provide a comfortable cooking space for two people, or a place to dress while standing up. The vestibule also works as a double door “spindrift trap” system that could make for a much nicer environment during a raging storm as people enter and leave the tent for their chores. The regular model 3 vestibule is also quite nice, but significantly smaller.
Our dilemma is how to tent the best with the least weight — not an unfamiliar mental exercise to anyone who’s ever planned this sort of trip. It’s tempting to just sprawl out our eight guys and their toys in four of the larger Nammatj 3 GT, and with the extra tentage we could leave one in a cache or set up at 14,000 feet if we decide to overnight up at the 17,000 foot camp and ski a circuit from there (which requires leaving some sort of camp set up down at 14,000). On the other hand, we could just take two Nammatj 3 GTs and one regular model 3 (without huge vestibule), for quite a bit less weight but a lot less versatility and comfort. I have a feeling it’ll be the former plan, but we’ll get the boys over here talking about it and see.
Claimed weights are 6 lbs 13 oz for the 3 and 8 lbs 7 oz for the 3 GT, so the weight penalty isn’t all that great for the larger tent. Besides their simplicity, another reason these tents are light is their mitered back end takes less fabric, but may cause the tent fabric to touch the foot of your sleeping bag. Correct pitching of the guy lines prevents this, and since this is a double wall tent, touching the sides while you’re sleeping is not a big deal.
Like everything else we’re taking with us, if the Hilleberg tents make the cut we’ll be doing a more detailed product review during this winter’s on-snow testing and eventually from up on the Kahiltna Glacier. For now, this is just a glimpse into our ongoing planning and decision making process.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.