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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2011

Gear Review: Hilleberg Saitaris Tent

A mountaineering tent that costs as much as a mortgage payment, but delivers homelike comforts.

by: Kelly Bastone

Hilleberg Saitaris (BP Photo Department)
Hilleberg Saitaris (BP Photo Department)

When a tent costs as much as a mortgage payment, it better deliver homelike comforts. The four-person Saitaris does just that, providing fortress protection and castle space in punishing winter conditions. Its Kerlon 1800* fabric is six times stronger than typical mountaineering-tent materials (it better be, given the cost). Perched on an exposed, 12,000-foot summit in Colorado’s Park Range, “it barely shuddered in 30-mph gusts,” reports our tester. The freestanding, double-wall dome pitches with four poles of equal length (plus a shorter fifth pole supporting the front vestibule), making setup easy even in the dark, with wind howling.

The 49-inch peak height and 53-square-foot interior provide ample room for four sleepers; the 30-square-foot front vestibule easily holds four campers’ worth of winter gear with plenty of room left over for cooking, and the 15-square-foot rear area (accessible from inside the tent via a zipper at the foot) offers a garage for overflow. Multiple entry options also earned props: Place the vestibule’s arched door on the leeward side, and it prevents icy blasts from sweeping through the vestibule and into the tent; but when winds shifted, testers entered the vestibule via another door on the opposite side.

Ventilation is superb, thanks to two structured vents on the fly and two huge roof vents that can be unzipped in any weather (a beanielike vent cover keeps blowing snow or rain from sneaking in). With four occupants—at 20°F with snowfall and 87 percent ambient humidity—no condensation accumulated inside. $1,495; 12 lbs. 2 oz.

*Kerlon Developed and used only by Hilleberg, Kerlon is a lightweight ripstop nylon treated with three layers of silicone for excellent tear strength and waterproofness.

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