When you come to think about a perfect summer pastime with family or friends, camping may be a good idea. It may be the campground that appeals to you or just the base camp for nearby activities, but you’re certainly facing the tough decision. What kind of tent best suits your needs and your level of activities?
Or you may be an avid backpacker, hiker, or camper. And yet, you’re facing the same decision. Needless to say, there’s weather and terrain and a bunch of other factors you need to consider when picking a perfect tent.
Warmlite (formerly known as Stephenson’s Warmlite) has been producing high-quality lightweight tents for more than 50 years. Hilleberg, on the other hand, is a relatively little-known company, providing tents of superb quality and extreme strength. Which one of these manufacturers will largely depend on your preferred level of activities and your preferred season(s) for camping
Maybe you have a Warmlite, and no doubt, it’s great. You may also be super happy with your Nallo 3 GT as a base camp tent. But what makes each of them a ten of choice? In this article, we give you the pros and cons of both in many details. Yet, this decision is only yours to make.
Table of Contents
- 1 What to Consider When Choosing the Right Tent?
- 2 Warmlite vs Hilleberg
- 3 Warmlite Tents
- 4 Hilleberg Tents
- 5 To Sum Up
What to Consider When Choosing the Right Tent?
When choosing your tent, you need to think about different aspects that make it the right choice for you. You need to think about the number of doors you need, but also their shape and orientation. For family camping, you should opt for multiple doors, like cabin-style tents. They help you avoid unnecessary climbing over each other for bathroom breaks during the night.
Here’s the list of issues you need to consider before picking a tent. Of course, there are more factors to rule in, like tent floor length, tent poles, rainfly, tent materials, vestibules, ventilation, or loops and pockets. We consider size and seasonality the determinants of choosing the right tent.
Size of a Tent
Your group’s size dictates the model of the tent, as well as the need for additional space for an extra companion, pets, or gear. However, there’s no industry standard relating to per-person tent dimensions. The best you can do is assume a close fit.
For more room, upsizing your tent capacity by 1 person will work just fine, especially if you or your tent companion(s) are claustrophobic or large. Or if you’re restless sleeper(s) or bring a dog or kids.
Depending on your specific needs, you can try with 3-season tents. This widely popular type is a lightweight option, made for temperate spring-fall conditions. They typically come with ample mesh panels to provide airflow and keep out insects.
If you pitch them adequately with a tight rainfly, 3-season tents will help you make it through downpours. Still, they may not be a good choice for heavy snow, harsh winds, or severe storms. On the other hand, they do protect you from insects, provide privacy and keep you dry in rainy weather or light snow.
Conversely, 3-4 season tents (extended-season tents) are designed for prolonged usage. You can use them in summer, as well as early spring and late fall, and feel completely safe even with moderate snow. The key advantages of these tents are strength, warmth-retention, and ventilation.
Extended season tents usually come with 1 or 2 more poles and have fewer mesh panels than 3-season models. It makes them warmer and stronger. These tents are great for frequent campers and exposed high-elevation destinations. Still, they are not fully fit for harsh winter weather.
Finally, 4-season tents (mountaineering tents) are designed to endure in conditions of harsh winds and massive snow loads. Their primary function, though, is to withstand the severely hostile weather, mainly in winter.
Given their sturdiness, these tents have more poles and are made from heavier fabrics. A rounded dome design eliminates snow collection. Besides, 4-season tents come with few mesh panels and a rainfly going close to the ground.
As a result, it can get warm and stuffy inside. Still, these tents make a great shelter in the face of foul winds.
Warmlite vs Hilleberg
Now that we’ve given the key aspects of picking a proper tent, let’s move to the advantages and (potential) disadvantages of using Warmlite vs Hilleberg tents. To make the comparison more illustrative, we will do the same thing we did when we compared Hilleberg with Helsort tents. We have selected two representative models of both manufacturers – Warmlite 2R and the Hilleberg Tarra.
The Stephenson’s Warmlite is a specialty tent manufactured in Fort Collins, Colorado that comes with a variety of customs options. It is spacious, provides a lot of space for storing your gear, and ideal for those keen on lightweight options. Although it is easy to pitch on snow and considerably durable, it can be a bit challenging if you pitch it in rocky terrains or tight areas.
Warmlite 2R (two-person tent) is a lightweight (3 lb. 4oz.), non-freestanding, commodious, and a sturdy tunnel tent. Known for top-quality materials (but thinnish diameter poles), this tent provides a spacious shelter provides lots of space. If pitched tightly, it can withstand foul winds.
This Warmlite has three tie-down points, with no guy-out points. In 50+ mph winds, it means you need a solid stake, like a buried ice ax or a ski to ensure a rather high lengthwise tension. You need this to make the sidewalls drum tight.
Given its easy and quick set-up, low weight, and solid performance in the harsh wind, this tent is a good choice for light winter applications, like ski touring or multi-day backpacking. If you’re up for multi-day backcountry ski tours, this tent will win over other tents because of its low weight and remarkable packed size.
Its weight and small size do not make it less comfortable. There’s a lot of room for the loftier sleeping bags and additional clothes. Ultimately, you can easily stake it firmly with your skis or poles.
Pros of Using Warmlite 2R
- Ease of set-up on snow
- Capable of handling very high winds (especially if supported by “wind stabilizers”)
- Above average for UV resistance and substantially water-resistant
- Spacious interior
- Weight/Packed Size
- Solid durability
- Decent ventilation
Cons of Using Warmlite 2R
- The stakes need to be bomber to get the whole structure taut
- You may need to pile rocks on top of the stakes to keep the tent bomber in very high winds
- Despite the impressive floor area, there’s no room to sit up in all of the tent.
- Relatively small standard door
- Thin walls susceptible to damage
- Lack of attention to detail in cutting and stitching of fabrics
- No bug mesh door
- Difficult to set up in rocky campsites
- A bit too pricey
The Hilleberg Tarra is considered one of the sturdiest two-person tents available. It is designed to perform great in harsh conditions and extreme environments.
This tent pitches quickly and sticks tightly to the ground. It’s been tested in 60+ mph winds and performed amazingly. You should use the Hilleberg Tara for base camping in very exposed terrain or an extended stay in extreme conditions and need more space (as compared to Hilleberg Jannu).
It comes with some extra weight, but it’s definitely worth it! The Tarra is perfect for extended expedition trips. Especially those where special strength is needed. Substantially comfy interior and double vestibule design make it a tent of choice, despite its weight.
The Tarra comes with a higher-level design in comparison to the traditional setup. You can set it up really easy and quick, even if you’re the only person around. You can even keep your gloves on as there are no grommets. The ease of setup is additionally ensured by the tent’s design that sets up from the outside.
More About the Hilleberg Tarra
Whereas in most double-wall tents the poles support the inner tent, all Hilleberg tents have an inner tent built-in. Moreover, in other tents, the fly attaches on top, but Hilleberg tents have the inner-tent connected to the fly with dozens of elasticized toggles. You can easily remove the inner tent and pitch it by itself with an additional kit. Or use the outer tent as a lightweight and tough single-wall shelter for fast trips in all seasons.
The fact that it always has a fly on top allows for protecting the inner tent from rain and snow.
Ultimately, the setup has been made even faster because the poles stand up by themselves once you insert them into the sleeves. Basically, you don’t have to balance or hold one pole while you’re struggling to set up another.
Pros of Using the Hilleberg Tarra
- One of the most-durable two-person tents
- Strength of a fortress (tear strength of 40 pounds)
- Weather/storm resistant (higher-quality coating makes it more resistant to UV rays and extends its waterproof capabilities)
- Easy to set up
- Two doors
- Two decently sized vestibules
- Proper ventilation
- Solidly versatile/adaptable to both summer backpacking and winter trips
Cons of Using the Hilleberg Tarra
- Heavy and bulky
- Lack of interior space for the weight
- Relatively small vestibule space
- Very expensive
To Sum Up
The Stephenson’s Warmlite is a pretty good, yet specialized, 4-season tent. You’ll get the most interior space for the weight. Moreover, you’ll have a great time if you’re camping on snow or backpacking in established sites because it pitches easily in no time with three anchor points.
The Warmlite can be used on an extended alpine traverse, but it requires some effort on rocky alpine and sub-alpine terrain in less established sites. However, the space you’re getting with this model is definitely worth the effort.
The Hilleberg Tarra, on the other hand, is one of the sturdiest, most-durable models on the market. It’s a great choice for base camping and extended mountaineering expeditions. If you’re looking for a lightweight, the Tarra wouldn’t be your first choice – it’s about durability, spaciousness, and strength.
If you’re planning to log in to an extreme environment for an extended period and need two doors and two vestibules, this tent’s weight is something you can put up with.
Ultimately, the choice is yours to make and will largely depend on your preferred level of activities and your preferred season(s) for camping. But also, your expected level of comfort and the company.