Hilleberg Nallo 2 Review

Hilleberg Nallo 2 in Scottish Highlands
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Hilleberg Nallo 2 in Scottish Highlands

SUMMARY:

A solid choice for those who need an expedition quality tent that is spacious and reasonably light, but not ideal for cycle touring in warmer climates.

GOOD:

  • Lots of space.
  • Quick and easy to pitch.
  • Huge porch.
  • Tough materials.
  • Four season use.

BAD:

  • Rear wall has very shallow angle so not much foot-room.
  • Can get very hot inside.
  • Luminous strips not good for stealth camping.
  • Needs good ground to pitch well.
  • Flappy in strong winds.
  • Stitching may need seam-sealed to prevent leaking.

I spent a long time choosing a tent for cycle touring and hiking. In the end I chose the Nallo 2 more because of the weakness of the competition than the Nallo’s own strengths. There really aren’t any other 4-season tents easily available in the UK that have the same build quality, strength, space, low weight and ease of putting up as the Nallo.

However, the Nallo isn’t perfect. It’s a tunnel tent, which gives it a good space to weight ratio but also means it has no real internal strength, so good ground is required for pegging into. You can use rocks but they need to be pretty heavy to get good tension. This of course is the same for all tunnel tents but it’s worth bearing in mind. If you’re going to be camping in snow or areas with poor ground a free-standing tent would be a better bet.

The Nallo is a very long tent (particularly if you go for the GT model) but that doesn’t mean it is suitable for tall people. I am 5’10” (178cm), so of medium height, yet found my feet brushed against the rear wall, a result of this being at a very shallow angle rather than the tent being too short. In cold and damp weather this could be a problem when condensation builds up inside the tent. I presume the shallow angle of the Nallo is to provide stability and protection from the wind, but it does look like it could do to be a bit steeper. I do have quite large feet though so this might not be a problem for others.

Hilleberg Nallo 2 in snowy moorland

The rear of the Nallo is at a very shallow angle.

Considering the cost of the Nallo you might expect it to be completely waterproof, and Hilleberg’s marketing indicates that it is. However, the porch of my Nallo leaks quite badly. Sealing the seams helped but not for very long. I contacted Hilleberg about the leak and this was their response:

All our tents are made in nylon fabrics with silicone coatings on both sides. These fabrics are made for us to our specifications, and our Kerlon 1800 and Kerlon 1200 are the best materials available at the moment. They are very waterproof and have the highest tear strength for their weight possible.

However, silicone does not accept taping. Often this is compensated by other brands with buying fabrics that are coated with polyurethane on the inside – however this takes down the tearstrength of a fabric considerably. So we have to rely on using a flat fell seam (where the sewing thread is going through four layers of fabric) and treated threads for waterproofness. This is hardly ever a problem in our standard fabric Kerlon 1800.

In our ultra-light range we are using Kerlon 1200, technically identical to our Kerlon 1800 but in a clearly thinner and lighter version. This fabric has a stronger tendency to stretch under tension. As a result it can sometimes draw out stitching holes which in their turn can become potential sources of leakage. Therefore our ultra-light tents in Kerlon 1200 are at times in need of seam sealant.

So there you go. Hilleberg have compromised waterproofness to give greater fabric strength. You won’t see this advertised along with their tear test but it’s worth bearing in mind. I should point out that it is only the porch of my tent that has leaked. The main tent area has shown no leaking at all, even in torrential rain.

leakage in Nallo porch

The Nallo’s porch showing leakage – this is not caused by condensation.

The Nallo is apparently designed to have a certain amount of give, which makes it less likely to fail in very strong winds. It does, unfortunately, mean the tent flaps about quite a bit which might keep you awake some nights.

Another niggle is that the tent has several luminous strips so it can be found in the dark. These are stitched in so can not be removed, and are not easily covered. For those who like to camp discreetly this could make the Nallo virtually useless as the tent will be highly visible to any passing car that shines its headlights onto it. On the other hand they will be useful for trying to find the tent at night.

The Nallo is less than ideal for hot weather. The walls are very thin so sunlight pours into the tent making it very hot inside. The walls go right to the ground and this, combined with the tunnel design, (the long porch in particular) means little ventilation gets into the tent. You can fold the porch back, but as the porch holds the tent up this weakens the stability. You can also fold up the rear of the tent but again this will mean less stability.

I also found the zips quite sticky and fiddly. I think this is probably due to the shape of the tent rather than the quality of the zips.

On the plus side the Nallo is spacious compared to any other tents of a similar weight I’ve seen. It is extremely quick and easy to put up. There are quite a few nice details like the sleeves that the poles slip into and the tensioning straps. The colour of the inner tent is also just right, bright enough to feel light inside but without getting easily dirty.

However, the main strength of the Nallo really is the poor competition it has for lightweight one and two-person tents. On so many essentials they fail. I haven’t seen a single 4-season one-man tent that has enough headroom for an average-sized man to sit up, though this may be down to the UK’s poor distributors. Far too many two-person tents pitch inner first which is useless in the wet. The Nallo is a solid, lightweight, spacious, good quality, dependable tent that is really quick and easy to put up and take down. However, it has room for improvement and it would be good to see some other manufacturers giving Hilleberg a run for our money.

For cycle touring an extra kilo won’t make a great difference so I would go for a heavier semi-geodesic tent with two doors. It will be more comfortable inside and you should be able to find one much cheaper. The Nallo is really an expedition tent and probably overkill for most cycle tourists. You really should ask yourself whether you need the strength of the Nallo and are willing to pay for it, as a cheaper tent may actually be more comfortable for moderate use.

If you really need a top quality tent expedition tent and are ok about spending lots of money I would consider spending a bit more and getting one of Hilleberg’s semi-geodesic tents, although these are a bit heavier.


If you absolutely need a lightweight, spacious, expedition-quality four-season tent, and don’t mind spending a fair bit of cash, then the Nallo is a good choice. But for most people’s needs I think it is overkill.

7/10 (This score ignores price. Learn more about these reviews.)

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