Hilleberg Niak 1.5
- Robust fabric and design
- Fast set up
- Solid weatherproofing
- Snug for two
Hilleberg is best known for its expedition worthy tunnel tents, but in the last couple years they’ve been trickling down that know how into three season tents. The Niak is a rare marriage of lightweight and bomber construction. It’s not a roomy two person tent, but for high mountain trekking right into the shoulder season we’d pick this over just about any other tent for its dependability in uncertain weather.
The 28-square feet of interior volume is just under average for a two person backpacking tent, but while most are going vertical with walls to increase volume, the Niak maintains the old school dome style. Sharp angles along the sides gobbles up usable space. The single door and vestibule are a good size, but the tent still feels cramped for two. Hence the 1.5 in the name. Hilleberg openly admits this is a snug tent for two men, suggesting it would be ideal as a solo tent or great for an adult and kid or camping with fido. Personally, I’d only use this tent for two adults if it was my wife or if we were going light and fast.
Weighing in at 3.7 lbs, this definitely qualifies as a super light tent. It packs small too.
Couldn’t be much easier or faster. The integrated fly and body and the two-pole, sleeve design is super fast to get up and take down.
This is where this tent differentiates itself from other sub-4 lbs. two-person tents. This tent feels on par with four season tents we’ve used, the only difference being far more mesh, particularly around the door. The Kerlon 1000 fabric is some of the best quality material used by any tent maker. It’s robust, with a high tear strength and solid waterproofing. The design sheds water like a labrador. Even with the fly wide open rain doesn’t land inside the tent. All this waterproofing could impact breathability, but Hilleberg is on this, too. Arcs cut into the shape of the fly’s sides help keep the tent from flapping and improves strength, while also directing venting breezes into the tent.
The object here was to cut weight to create a bomber shelter, not a palace with the kitchen sink. The interior is minimalist and clean. Thicker rubberized fly sleeves help with strength and ease pushing the poles in and out. Pull outs on the fly corners help with stabilizing the tent and weatherproofing. Other than that it’s very Spartan.
How We Tested It
The tents in this test were used over five months—they were soaked in Pacific Northwest storms, baked in the Baja sun, shoved into sea kayak hatches, and schlepped to the Himalaya. The most important factor was weatherproofing. Everything else is secondary to how a tent performs in the wet and wind. The testers honed in on other factors that take tents from good to great: weight, packability, ease of set up, features, creature comforts, and lay out.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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