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Hilleberg Allak 3 Camp Tent

Four-Season freestanding camping tent

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MSRP: $1160

BEST FOR: Camping in all weather

One of my more fun trade-show moments, last summer when Hilleberg introduced its Allak 3 tent, new for 2019, was obediently doing their ripstop-nylon test—trying and failing to tear a patch of nylon into which someone had pre-cut a tear. (The Kerlon 1200 fabric has a tear strength of 26 pounds.)

Not saying the tent is that light—this “minimum weight” 7-pound package is like holding a healthy newborn—but as Petra Hilleberg, CEO and daughter of the founders, will tell you, “We don’t do flimsy.

“Everything”—by which she meant tent components—“has a purpose.”

Ease of use and durability are this company’s mantras, as is comfort, with weight way down on the list. The Allak 3 is a larger version of the stalwart decade-old Allak 2. Ninety-one inches long and 63 inches wide, the Allak 3 fits three (including six footers), although two and a lot of gear would be nicer for many situations.

For a big tent with a lot of components, it sure is easy to set up, with all elements already integrated. The three 9-mil DAC Featherlite NSL tent poles are all the same length, so no sorting needed. Each goes into a color-coded (thank you) sleeve on one side and inserts on the other side into a corresponding colored sleeve, with just clip hooks (big stonker ones) in between. Already attached, the fly spreads itself out, as does a top canopy, so the roof vents are covered against precipitation. With a waterproof bathtub-style floor, the tent could be thrown down on the snow without soaking your stuff.

The Allak 3 is four-season and freestanding, with the outer walls all reaching the ground and plenty of stout guy lines. To me it seems more a base-camp or car-camping tent than a backpacking one, although you certainly could use it for that, and in bad weather you’d be very glad to have thrown down for such a sturdy tent. The interior feels roomy, with max headroom.

Best of all may be the two doors and two vestibules. Aside from considering the convenience for two or three Allak 3 dwellers, I have never forgotten the words of Timothy Treadwell, the “Grizzly Man” who spent 13 summers living among bears in Alaska, and said in a slide show at MountainFilm, “Many, many times a bear has come in one door and I’ve gone out the other.”

Hilleberg, of Redmond, Washington, is a 48-year-old family-owned company, with everything made in house. The company has also taken on causes, partnering with Leave No Trace; a Swedish forestry company, V-Skogen (“For every tent we sell, they plant a tree”); and Veterans Expeditions, supporting a self-guided VetEx men’s expedition to Denali in 2015, and with a self-guided women’s Denali trip planned for May.

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Rock and Ice vigorously tests all gear it reviews for either 50 days or 50 pitches. This is a time-consuming process and limits the amount of new equipment we can present to our readers. Every year hundreds of new products hit store shelves, and most of these aren’t reviewed due to our stringent selection and review process. To better keep you more up to date on what is new, we present First Look. Gear in First Look has not always been field tested, but is gear we think you’d like to know about as soon as it is available. Some of the gear will be reviewed using our 50 days/50 pitches criteria, in future print and online editions of Rock and Ice. We have opted to use affiliate links in our gear reviews. Every time you buy something after clicking on links in our gear articles you’re helping support our magazine.