Both Hilleberg and Helsport make tents utterly competent for any purpose and any place on the planet. If you’re wondering which one you should acquire for your camping adventures, you need to put a few questions to yourself: where will you go camping, when, and how often? Envisage your adventures into nature.
You won’t need a Hilleberg state-of-the-art expedition tent if you’ll do a couple of lakeside overnights a year, with your car and safety a few strides away. Or, if you’re dreaming about a few summer nights somewhere fairly high in the mountains, you definitely won’t survive only if you pack one of Helsport Basecamp models.
So, is it ridiculous overkill, buying a tent designed to keep you alive in a Himalayan blizzard or the Arctic freeze, neither of which you will ever face? Not really. How many Ferrari owners take their road rocket for a track day and make respectable lap times? And would a Mercedes driver actually shrivel in a budget Toyota?
Table of Contents
If You Want It, Get It. But Which One?
Both Scandinavian makers take pride in the product people used on daring expeditions. It is their calling card, and they still deliver equipment to the most demanding. But that isn’t a reason for anyone not to buy an expedition-grade tent if that’s what one wants. If you have the money to buy one even if your life won’t really depend on it – why not?
If you dream about camping in a pro adventurer’s tent, even if not far above the treeline, at least it will still cost less than one percent of a full-blooded race car. And definitely not too much for a dream. So, go for it.
Unless you have made your mind up for a purely emotional reason, which one to buy? A Hilleberg or a Helsport? To make this more illustrative, we’ve included the reviews of two popular Helsport/Hilleberg models: Helsport Svea Camp 4 and Keron 4GT.
Helsport Svea Camp 4
This year Helsport marks the 70th anniversary of the launch of Helliksen
Helsport tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, and other equipment went on extreme adventures to every corner of the world. Innovations, such as the tunnel tent design – quickly imitated by rivals – that is the staple on expeditions big and small, keep the brand at the top of the game all these decades later.
Svea Camp has become popular for its dependability, protection against the elements and space. The tent comes with double entries and vestibules and allows you to store your gear separately from the cooking/entry area.
AirflowII® ventilation provides a great line of protection against condensation. Numerous guy-line and peg points, as well as storm flaps, make Svea Camp a considerably sturdy tent in storm conditions.
- Stable and large
- Spacious inner room
- One big vestibule with side opening and mosquito mesh plus one smaller vestibule with entry/exit
- Storm flaps plus reinforced guy-line points
- 360° inner tent opening design, including zipper and full-width mesh vents
- More wind-resistant design
- New guy points
- Helsport AirFlowII® ventilation system
- Color-coded pole lengths
- A unique pole channel system
- Patented pole cup for easy pole attachment
- Weight: 4.6 kg
Hilleberg Keron 4GT
This year Hilleberg celebrates its 50th birthday. In the early years, the former professional forester Bo Hillenberg made a massive breakthrough with his first invention. It was a camping tent with its inner and outer layers sawn together. The simple, practical design disburdened campers from essentially having to set up two tents and was an instant hit that every other maker has also emulated.
The Keron 4 GT is a great combination of space, flexibility, strength, and comfort for four people.
- This is an extraordinarily durable and sturdy tent, due to Kerlon 1800 outer tent fabric and 10 mm poles.
- All season construction
- Tunnel construction provides maximum space to weight ratio. Great for mobile journeys.
- A lot of space for four people and their gear.
- Inner and outer tent are linked but separable so you can pitch them simultaneously. Both tents can be used separately.
- Thanks to its design, Keron 4GT requires only four pegs for pitching
- Single opening continuous sleeve and pole tensioner system make it exceptionally stable and easy to pitch.
- Double entrances and vestibules always keep one door out of the wind and provide more storage options.
- More gear storage and comfort with one standard and one extended vestibule
- An optional footprint covers the entire area of the outer tent, including the vestibules.
Great Customer Support, But Hilleberg’s More Universal
It’s impossible to say one is generally better than the other. Both have ranges for different weather and all demands. And they have similar customer support policies.
- Both Hilleberg and Helsport tents come with a lifetime warranty.
- Both companies are “green”. That means their manufacture is eco-friendly. Further, by selling products intended for a generational hand-down, they also claim to reduce pollution.
- Both companies will repair faulty equipment free of charge, naturally if the issue occurred due to a manufacturing error. Their only condition is to send thoroughly cleaned equipment back to them.
- Hilleberg and Helsport repair tents and other worn-out items for a fee.
There are differences, though.
- Hilleberg accepts a return with a full refund under the condition that you hadn’t pitched the tent outdoors, basically, if it comes back new.
- Helsport doesn’t ship outside Norway. The return policy will depend on the seller you bought it from. In fact, this policy is something campers, particularly non-European, often discuss in forums as discouraging. Buyers need to discuss the terms of support with local distributors, and those may be complicated.
Ranges For Every Scenario
Helsport offers lines for concrete demands. The 3-Season tents are for moderate weather, and 4-Season tents, obviously, are also intended for the cold weather. Expedition and Basecamp lines, as the name says, for extreme conditions, high in the mountains or frigid regions.
Further, the Swedes mark their tents depending on how many people can sleep inside. There are models “for solo adventurers,” but also those for “Family 4+” that clearly aren’t made for a hiker to lug. It is actually the “superlight” models that are the most popular, either single or for two.
Hilleberg labels their lines: Yellow, Red, and Black. There’s also the Blue Label, which groups specialized tents. Yellow are the lightest tents for warmer climate or weather and Black are the sturdiest, usable in the harshest weather. The company markets the Yellow category tents as best “where the lightest weight is the highest priority.”
The Red Label all-seasons tent users are people “willing to give up some strength and comfort for lighter weight.”
Intriguingly, Hilleberg approaches beginners only in the description of the expedition-level Black Label tents. The “easiest to handle of all our tents, perfect for both the new users and for highly experienced expedition teams.”
So, Which One To Choose – Hilleberg or Helsport?
Again, think about your dream and where it will take you, with the tent you decide to buy.
Will you strap it onto the back of your motorcycle for a road trip somewhere hot, in the desert, or along the sea in the summer? Maybe your thing is a week of camping and hunting in deep isolation in a snow-covered forest. Perhaps you want to conquer mountain peaks. Or none of the above, you want to finally buy the tent, as you always wanted, and pitch it on the shore across the lake hotel you visited a few years back, civilization in visible distance.
Will you go alone, in a pair, maybe as part of a bigger group? Do you plan to drive and pitch the tent not far away, or will you be trekking over several days?
The Scandinavian expert tentmakers laid out a product for every option. They even categorized their products, obviously for someone inexperienced, unsure what they need.
Across the forums, you’ll read opinions. Some say that Helsport is lighter and cheaper but less sturdy and less comfortable. Or vice versa, as well as one is more expensive than the other.
But it comes to the specific model. Did you make your mind up not to buy a Toyota among tents? Then you only need to decide which of the two names starting with an H will be printed somewhere on the fabric of your shelter from the elements.
The Price Of Happiness? There isn’t one
Be ready to fork out upward of $1200 dollars for Svea Camp 4. The all-season model is among the most popular from the Helsport range. Or $1440 + for the popular and competent Hilleberg rival Keron 4GT. That’s, of course, without any of the equipment you’ll need alongside the tent: the tent footprint, sleeping bag, tarp, ponchos, boots, ropes, and a ton of other accessories.
Then, even as you lay looking out of your H or H, seeing those hotel lights glittering across the lake a mile away, don’t lose any sleep because you paid two, three, or even seven times more than you would hand over for a budget tent. You did the right thing.