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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