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Hilleberg Rajd Tent REVIEW

Lightweight single wall, two-person shelter with lots going for it: quality materials and construction, ease of set up, interior space and headroom, and storm worthiness – but it has one major problem.

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by Will Rietveld | 2006-11-14 03:00:00-07

Hilleberg Rajd Tent REVIEW

Introduction

Hilleberg calls the two-person Rajd (pronounced “ride”) “more than a tarp, yet not quite a true tent.” We call it a single wall tent. It’s made of Hilleberg’s superb Kerlon 1200, which is a high tenacity ripstop nylon triple coated with silicone. It weighs slightly more than standard silnylon, but is more durable and weatherproof. So, how does the Rajd perform under different field conditions, and how does it compare with its competitors?

What’s Good

  • Very lightweight two-person shelter, only 2.2 pounds
  • Quality materials and construction
  • Quick setup
  • Easy entry/exit
  • Two doors with beaks
  • Loads of headroom and usable space
  • Very durable and weatherproof

What’s Not So Good

  • Inadequate ventilation
  • Very prone to condensation
  • No vestibules or inside pockets

Specifications

  Year/Manufacturer/Model

2006 Hilleberg Rajd

  Style

Two-person single-wall tent with floor, side entry through two doors protected by beaks

  Fabrics

Proprietary Kerlon 1200, 30d high tenacity ripstop nylon coated on both sides with a total of three layers of silicone, 1.47 oz/yd2 (50 g/m2)

  Poles and Stakes

Requires trekking poles or optional aluminum poles; 10 aluminum alloy square stakes 6.25 in (16 cm) long, 0.35 oz (10 g) each

  Dimensions

Floor length 100 in (254 cm), width 48 in (122 cm), height 45 in (114 cm)

  Packed Size

10.6 in x 6.3 in (27 cm x 16 cm)

  Total Weight
As supplied by manufacturer with all included items

Measured weight 2 lb 3.3 oz (1 kg), manufacturer specification 2 lb 2 oz (964 g)

  Trail Weight
Includes minimum number of items needed to erect the tent

Measured weight 2 lb 2.5 oz (978 g), includes tent body and stakes

  Protected Area

Floor area 25.8 ft2 (2.4 m2)

  Floor Area/Trail Weight Ratio

11.9 ft2/lb based on 25.8 ft2 floor area and trail weight of 2.16 lb

  MSRP

$285

  Options

Aluminum poles $35, 9.6 oz (272 g); footprint $32, 8.8 oz (249 g)

Performance

The materials and construction of the Hilleberg Rajd are first-class. Hilleberg’s proprietary Kerlon 1200 tent fabric is a high-tenacity ripstop nylon coated on both sides with a total of three layers of silicone. It has a very high tear strength (26 pounds) and is very waterproof, yet it weighs only slightly more than standard silnylon (1.47 oz/yd2 compared to 1.3 oz/yd2). All seams are flat-felled and double stitched using treated thread, and do not require seam sealing. The 2 millimeter guylines are made of Spectra fibers interwoven with polyester fibers.

Hilleberg Rajd Tent REVIEW - 1
Views of the Hilleberg Rajd. Entry (top left) is through two side doors, each protected by a beak. The top width (top right) is the same as the floor width (48 inches), giving the Rajd loads of headroom and inside space. The top view (bottom left) shows the overall shape of the tent. The beaks (bottom right) have a center zipper, so the right side can be rolled up for easier entry and better ventilation.

Setting up the Rajd is as easy as a Tarptent. Lay the tent out in the desired location, stake the four corners of the floor, insert trekking poles set to 45 inches (115 centimeters, handles up) in pockets under the beaks and stake out the sides, and then extend the guyline system on the ends and stake it out.

The Rajd comes with ten aluminum alloy square pegs, each with a cord loop to pull them out. All ten stakes (four on the floor, two on the sides, and four on the ends), are required for a secure pitch. The tent can be pitched with six stakes (by not staking the floor), but the end walls do not assume their proper shape and wind can easily lift the floor. As an alternative to trekking poles, the Rajd can be pitched with sticks about 45 inches long, or can be tied between two trees. I was able to pitch the Rajd with 51-inch fixed length trekking poles by angling them out at the bottom.

On my first trip with the Rajd I pitched it on a slight slope and spent the night sliding around on its slick floor. I should have known better. I normally paint silicone stripes on an ordinary silnylon tent floor, and Hilleberg’s Kerlon 1200 fabric is just as slick as silnylon. After I applied the anti-slide treatment I had no further problems.

Hilleberg Rajd Tent REVIEW - 2
Outside features. The guyline system on the ends of the Rajd (left photo) is a zigzag affair that requires two stakes placed about 45 degrees from the corners. I found that it secures the tent very well and is easy to tension with its pinch adjustors. On the downside, it takes up quite a bit of space and is easy to trip on when walking around the tent. There is an “L” shaped zippered entry door on each side of the tent (right photo), protected by a beak that extends out 18 inches. The beaks have a center zipper so the right side can be opened up for easier entry, or tied back in good weather.

Hilleberg Rajd Tent REVIEW - 3
Inside features. Under the peak on each side of the tent (left photo) is a mesh ventilation panel that is well protected by the outside beak. The inside of the Rajd (right photo) has loads of headroom and usable space because of its wide ceiling width and steeper walls. It’s also very Spartan, there are no storage pockets, which I really missed.

The Rajd is very roomy inside because the ceiling width is the same as the floor width, making the side walls vertical. The end walls are also quite steep, so all of the interior space is usable. With 45 inches of interior height and 100 inches of interior length, the Rajd is an excellent tent for taller people. Its 48 inch floor width is a bit narrow for a two-person tent, but the side walls easily expand out and there is plenty of elbow room, so the narrow width is not really an issue.

Storm Worthiness

A fellow Backpacking Light Editor used the Rajd through two hailstorms and one snowstorm in the Montana mountains, and reported no damage or problems at all. The Rajd’s tough skin and secure pitch easily deflected dime-sized hailstones and took a 2-inch dusting of snow in stride.

In the Southern Rockies, I tested the Rajd in prolonged steady rain, some light winds, and some cold nights down to 22 F. I also had no problems whatsoever with the Rajd’s ability to protect me from the elements.

Our main issue with the Rajd is condensation. The Rajd’s ventilation options are very limited: a small mesh panel on each side, tying back one side of the beak, unzipping the doors and letting them hang in place, or tying the doors completely open. The first three options are inadequate, unless there is a good breeze from the side. The last option (door completely open) is only usable in good weather when bugs are not a problem. Bottom line, it’s hard to have good storm protection, bug protection, and ventilation at the same time in the Rajd.

Hilleberg Rajd Tent REVIEW - 4
Condensation, and lots of it. I had medium to heavy condensation inside the Rajd (left) every time I used it. In colder weather I had heavy frost inside (right).

In the field, there were no occasions when I didn’t have condensation (or frost) inside the Rajd. With the doors zipped, the mesh panels do not provide enough cross ventilation, and the Rajd is a condensation chamber. Even with the doors completely open on a still night, I still had a lot of condensation on the inside walls. I found that the beaks protected the doors enough in a steady rain so I could leave them open, but not with wind-driven rain. The doors are not designed so the top half can be folded down. Overall, condensation management in the Rajd is a good absorbent pack towel to wipe the walls.

Assessment

The Rajd is a dichotomy. On the one hand it gets very high marks for light weight, quality materials and construction, ease of setup, interior space and headroom, and storm worthiness. On the other hand it bombs on ventilation, resulting in more interior condensation than other single wall tents I have tested. My experience with the Rajd reaffirmed how important ventilation is in a single wall tent. A good single wall tent design makes major use of mesh in end and side wall panels for flow-through ventilation, and adds high vents to create a chimney effect. With some major design changes to improve ventilation, the Rajd’s condensation problem could be overcome, and it could be a strong contender in the single wall tent market.

What’s Unique

Hilleberg’s proprietary Kerlon 1200 fabric is only slightly heavier than standard silnylon, yet is stronger and more weatherproof.

Recommendations for Improvement

The Hilleberg Rajd uses quality materials and construction and is well-designed in all ways except ventilation. With some modifications to improve ventilation, the Rajd could be very competitive with other popular lightweight single wall tents, specifically:

  • Add mesh panels to the end walls under the flange that attaches to the guyout system
  • Add high vents near the ridgeline
  • Extend the side beaks so they function as vestibules, and use mesh for the entry walls

Citation

"Hilleberg Rajd Tent REVIEW," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/hilleberg_rajd_tent_review.html, 2006-11-14 03:00:00-07.

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Hilleberg Rajd Tent REVIEW
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Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Hilleberg Rajd Tent REVIEW on 11/14/2006 20:40:34 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Hilleberg Rajd Tent REVIEW

Charles Jennings
(vigilguy) - F - M

Locale: Northern Utah
Love the Hilleberg Rajd on 04/13/2014 21:59:39 MDT Print View

I have been using the Rajd in Spring and summer conditions in the dry climate of Northen Utah and have yet to experience condensation while using it in this area. We have really low humidity here.