For families who want to do overnight backpacking trips or groups who need to set up a base camp, a larger tent is usually required. In both cases, this is a common scenario: the group carries their gear to a central location where a camp is established, from which day trips are launched. Tents used for this purpose are selected for their space, features, and comfort. They should be lightweight (if you are the parent you might have the whole thing in your pack), suitable for backpacking, easy to set up and enter/exit, and possess good wind stability, bug, and storm resistance. Tents in this category can also be used for car camping.
The Hilleberg Nallo 4 GT is a four-person, double-wall, four-season tunnel tent. The largest tent in the Nallo line, the GT designation of this tent means that it features an extended-length vestibule. The extra vestibule length is achieved by adding a third pole to the normal two-pole design of the Nallo series.
Although the extended vestibule and associated third pole add additional weight, the extra space has potential for creative use by families and large groups. On paper, the size and shape of the vestibule could - in a pinch - provide sleeping space for up to two additional people. For families with small children, the large porch area has the potential to be very beneficial for dealing with egress, gear, or cooking in inclement weather. Is the luxury of this additional space worth the extra weight?
|Year/Manufacturer/Model||2010 Hilleberg Nallo 4 GT|
|Style||Four-season, four-person, tunnel-style, double-wall, non-freestanding shelter, with front entry and vestibule.|
|Included||Outer tent, inner tent, poles, guylines, stakes, pole repair sleeve, pole storage bag, stake storage bag, tent storage bag|
|Fabrics||Outer tent: Kerlon 1200 (30 denier ripstop sil-nylon) 1.47 oz/yd2 (50 g/m2);
Inner tent: 30 denier ripstop nylon w/ DWR 0.94 oz/yd2 (35 g/m2);
Floor: 70 denier PU coated nylon 2.65 oz/yd2 (90 g/m2)
|Poles and Stakes||Three 9 mm diameter aluminum poles and twenty 6.3 in (16 cm) aluminum V stakes|
|Floor Dimensions||83 in (211 cm) wide at head end, 87 in (221 cm) long, front height 46 in (117 cm)|
|Features||Large vestibule with multiple entry configurations. High vent in vestibule, low vent
at foot. Multiple pitching options.
|Packed Size||19 x 9 in (48 x 23 cm)|
|Total Weight||Specified: 7 lb 8 oz (3.4 kg)
Measured: 7 lb 11 oz (3.5 kg) with inner tent 5 lb 8 oz (2.5 kg) floorless
|Trail Weight*||Specified: 6 lb 6 oz (2.9 kg)
Measured: 5 lb 12 oz (2.6 kg) with inner tent 3 lb 9 oz (1.6 kg) floorless
|Protected Area||Floor Area: 46.3 ft2 (4.3 m2)
Vestibule Area: 34.4 ft2 (3.2 m2)
Total Protected Area: 80.7 ft2 (7.5 m2)
|Protected Area/Trail Weight Ratio||14.0 ft2/lb (2.9 m2/kg) with inner tent 22.7 ft2/lb (4.7 m2/kg) floorless|
|Options||Tent footprint (covers entire tent area, including vestibule) $98
Mesh inner tent $160
Stuff sacks and bags (various) $4 - $55
Guy line $18.50
Tent stakes and peg sets (various) $20 - $70
Extra poles $38 ea.
Pole repair section and sleeve $6
Pole holders $0.75 ea.
What's included in the package.
Design and Features
The Nallo 4 GT is a three-pole tunnel design. Because it is not free-standing, it requires a minimum of four stakes (two at either end) and no guylines to set up. Additional stakes and guylines (all included) can be used to improve the stability and weather resistance.
The two main components of the tent system are the outer and inner tents:
- Outer tent: The outer tent is fabricated out of a product that Hilleberg refers to as Kerlon 1200, a 30 denier ripstop sil-nylon (1.47 oz/yd2, 50 g/m2). External pole sleeves are constructed out of a slightly beefier fabric and are designed to be wide enough to handle two poles each for extreme weather conditions (having the pole sleeves external to the canopy help prevent breaches of the tent wall in cases of pole failure). The outer tent has small loops on the inside, along the seams of the pole sleeves and at the tie-out points, for attaching the inner tent.
- Inner tent: The inner tent is fabricated out of DWR treated 30 denier ripstop nylon (0.94 oz/yd2, 35 g/m2) and has a bathtub floor consisting of 70 denier PU coated nylon (2.65 oz/yd2 90 g/m2). At the head end is a large circular zippered door. The interior fabric of the door can be zipped away and rolled down, exposing a lightweight mesh screen for additional ventilation and visibility. At the foot end of the inner tent is a small wedge-shaped arrangement of zippers that expose a mesh vent. The inner tent has elastic cords with plastic tabs that allow it to attach to the outer tent.
Left:The adjustable tie-outs have lightweight metal rings for the tent stakes.This is to help prevent the tie-outs from cutting on the stakes in windy conditions. Right:Tie-outs for guy lines are strategically placed in multiple locations around the tent.
Three optional accessories were also tested as part of this review:
- Mesh inner tent: The mesh inner tent is the same size, shape, and design as the regular inner tent except that it is constructed out of lightweight mesh instead of ripstop. This allows for better ventilation in warmer three-season conditions. The difference in weight between the ripstop inner tent and the mesh inner tent is negligible.
- Footprint: The tent footprint is fabricated out of the same fabric as the inner tent floor. It covers the entire tent area, including the vestibule. The footprint can be used as a groundsheet when in floorless mode, or as extra abrasion protection for the inner tent when car camping or otherwise.
- Pole holders: Pole holders are little pockets that attach to the bottom of the inner tent, allowing it to be pitched without the outer tent.
The standard way to pitch the Nallo is with the outer and inner tents attached. Pitching the tent in this fashion creates a robust, bug-proof, four-season, double-walled shelter. The outer tent can be pitched without the inner tent in floorless mode, and the inner tent can be easily added or removed without taking it down. Additionally, the inner tent can be pitched without the outer tent using the pole holders, creating a protected space from bugs while allowing for maximum ventilation. The outer tent cannot be pitched over an already set up inner tent.
Left: Outer tent pitched in floorless mode without the inner tent. Viewed through the vestibule door on the left side. Right: Viewed through the vestibule door on the right side.
Left: The front of the vestibule can be rolled completely back to form an open awning. Right: Five sleeping pads arranged in floorless mode with the front of the vestibule rolled back. Still room to spare.
Left: Outer tent pitched with inner mesh liner. Right: Five sleeping pads with the inner mesh liner. Things start to get cramped inside the inner tent.
Some other features worthy of note:
- The vestibule has a zippered door on either side.
- The front of the vestibule features a large vent that can be adjusted via a zipper.
- The front of the vestibule can be completely rolled back to make a covered porch.
- The pole sleeves are designed such that the poles are all inserted from one side.
- The foot of the tent features an adjustable vent where sections of the tent body can be unzipped and rolled away, allowing air to circulate between the outer and inner tents.
Left: External pole sleeves and plastic pockets are designed to handle an extra pole if required. Right: The adjustable vent at the foot of the tent can be rolled back in sections.
The basic set-up of the Nallo is relatively easy: stake out the back of the tent using two stakes, insert the three poles into the pole sleeves, then stake out the front using two more stakes. The pitch can be tightened by pulling on the adjustable tie-outs at each stake, and by tightening up the pole sleeves using the adjustable straps at the end of each pole. For additional stormworthiness, a stake can be added at the end of each pole and several guylines can be employed at various points around the tent.
For four people, the Nallo 4 GT is adequate, thanks mostly to the large vestibule. The main sleeping area has just enough room to hold four full-length sleeping pads. It is a perfect size if you have kids, but for four full-sized adults, it would be a little cozy. It would be spacious for three. If you want lots of space and comfort for four adults in this shelter, I would suggest that the fourth person sleep in the vestibule, or use it in floorless mode so that you have lots of room to spread out. For three people and gear, you probably wouldn't need the GT version.
When sitting up in the inner tent, headroom is at a premium along the sides of the tent. The center two people have decent room for sitting up, but the people on the sides have the sloped roof of the tent to contend with. The situation is much improved when also using the vestibule or when the inner tent is removed, as there is room for everyone to spread out.
Left: Headroom is adequate in the middle, but drops off quickly near the sides. Right: Dad cooking in the vestibule while the rest of the family are warm and cozy inside. This is the standard inner tent which is constructed out of a DWR ripstop nylon for colder conditions. The front door has a zip-away panel with mesh as can be seen in this photo.
We took the tent out on a fall weekend family backpacking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The weather was cold (dipping to the high teens at night) and windy, with some snow at higher elevations. The tent performed very well. The two-wall design ensured that everyone was warm and comfortable. Although the tent did make lots of noise in the wind, it was nice and stable.
While designed for four people, there was enough space for our family of five; the vestibule was big enough for me to sleep in a lightweight bivy sack while still leaving room for all of our gear as well as space to cook. The large vestibule also made entry/exit a breeze for the kids (who are known to be a little clumsy when dealing with their footwear) making camping in foul weather a very pleasant experience. We also liked having two zippered entry doors as it allowed us to select our entry point based on the weather conditions.
When it was time to break camp, we took down the inner tent and used the large floorspace as a gear packing area. Everyone stayed warm while we got organized. The final step involved a quick exit and takedown of the tent prior to hitting the trail. Weather resistance is superb. The tunnel design is very stable in windy conditions. Because the tent is pitched right to the ground, there is little wind or water that is able to find its way in around the perimeter.
In New England, it is common for backcountry sites to have tent platforms. Pitching shelters that are not self-supporting can be a challenge, especially when they are large. The Nallo was just big enough to set up on a large wooden tent platform. Because it only needed four stakes, set-up was a relatively easy task.
There are few other shelters on the market that are similar in design to this tent at this size. The only one that would be considered equivalent is the Stephenson Warmlite 5R.
The 5R, while similar in overall size to the Nallo, has a few important differences: The inner wall and floor are not removable, and thus the tent cannot be used as a floorless single-wall shelter. There is no separate vestibule space, the floor extends across the entire bottom of the tent. The double layer of fabric only exists in the main body of the tent, not over the ends (although this can be added as an option). The tent has a door at each end. At 5 lbs 10 oz, the Warmlite 5R base price is $850, and only a few ounces lighter than the minimum trail weight of the Nallo.
If I were to describe this shelter in one word, it would be versatile. While it isn't the lightest shelter in the lineup, it isn't bad at all when you consider all the different ways that it can be used: In four seasons, outer only (single-wall, floorless), outer with ground sheet (single-wall, floored), outer and inner (double-walled), and inner only (screened sleeping area), with a variety of vestibule ventilation and entrance options. The stock weight can be trimmed by using lighter guylines and fine tuning the stakes, using lighter models where appropriate. If Hilleberg were to offer carbon fiber poles as an option, the weight could be reduced even further without losing any functionality.
This tent is seriously engineered. Out of all the tents I have ever used, this one feels like an incredible amount of thought and design went into every detail, with performance and durability being of utmost priority. It is also engineered to withstand virtually any four-season weather most regular people would encounter. This level of design does have a cost (both financially and weight-wise). If you are looking for one shelter to meet all your needs no matter what the climate or the season, for the weight, there are few others out there that can match it.
- The vestibule is real usable space (including sleeping), not just storage space. We found this to be very useful as a family.
- The wide variety of pitching options.
- The ability to erect the both the outer and inner tents simultaneously.
- Full bug protection.
- Usable in four seasons.
What's Not So Good
- The headroom is limited near the sides of the tent.
- For its square footage, this tent is on the heavy side.
- Although it is listed as a four-person tent, the inner tent would be cramped for four full-sized adults.
Recommendations for Improvement
- If Hilleberg could figure out a way to make it possible to change between the regular vestibule and the GT vestibule while maintaining water-tightness and without additional weight, this tent would be truly stellar in its versatility.
- The weight of the tent could be reduced if an optional carbon fiber pole set were available.
Disclosure: The manufacturer provided this product to the author and/or Backpacking Light at no charge and is owned by the author/BPL. The author/Backpacking Light has no obligation to the manufacturer to review this product under the terms of this agreement.