Hilleberg Unna 1 man tent – a review

Right,

I did mention that I would write a review after using the Unna and a couple of short trips later here it is.

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I bought the Unna as a multi-use tent for the majority of my camping and backapcking needs based on its strength and flexibility as I saw it. I wanted a tent that was outer first, free-standing, good headroom and able to put up with severe weather. The only trade off I could see at the time was the weight (The Unna weighs in at 2.1kg all in).

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The pitching of the Unna doesnt take very long, a couple of minutes, but there are a few caveats. Pitching is easier if the guylines are neatly banded up when the tent is packed away so that prior to the next pitching, they dont interfere with the spreading of the fly and the insertion of the poles. A small point but it does actually help (as with any tent), especially since Hillebergs do seem to have a lot of buckles, toggles, cinch straps and the like contained about their tents! Secondly, the tent is definitely quicker to pitch if the inner is not already connected to the outer. The outer fly goes up much smoother if pitched alone and then the inner can be inserted underneath and attached after. I guess the packing away of the inner/outer will very much dictate how easy it is to pitch all in one. Never really thought about this aspect with the laser Competition as there wasnt really the option to separate the inner and the fly. Here the Unna is very easily separated into inner and outer. Weather will influence my decision to pitch all in one or not as very wet weather will definitely see me opting for the outer first option.

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To erect the outer, the two poles of equal length feed through a continuous sleeve on the fly. There is then a short section of reinforced material in two corners on one of the fly side edges that receives the poles. Taking the free end of one pole, it is inserted into one of the plastic pole “cup” on the corner of the opposite fly side edge. The second pole is then inserted into its receiving plastic pole cup and in this action the shape of the fly fully erects into a dome. The poles are cinched down by the adjustment straps on the fly connecting the plastic receiving pole cups. At this stage the tent is taut and freestanding and it takes a few seconds to peg down the tent body. If it isnt windy there is no real requirement to peg out the guylines although as a habit I always do on mine.

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The inner is attached to the outer by a series of toggles and loops including the ground corners. This is easy to do hence my preference to separate the inner and outer for packing and pitching. The inner is the normal bright cheerful “Hilleberg yellow” and the groundsheet feels reassuringly tough and waterproof. One thing that I failed to notice until I was climbing in and out of the tent was that the entrance of the inner/outer is orientated for a left side sleeper. I am not sure of the %age split of side entrance tents on the market with reagrds to left or right handed sleeping but it is opposite to the Laser Competition I was so used to for the past few years. Its not a problem but did have me trying to work out why my sleeping position felt slightly odd to begin with!

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On the performance side of things I have had the tent in wet and windy conditions and very cold/still conditions so far. The Unna copes, as you would expect, very well with wind and rain. The inner dimensions of the Unna are bigger than the Laser Comp. and so this might affect the inner warmth on cold nights perhaps as there is more airspace to heat up. Its probably negligible and in fact the latest trip had the temperature down at -6 deg C and I was comfy inside the tent (the exped down mat did help :D). I will have to take the tent out a few more times and probably do a few exposed pitches to fully test out the capabilities and fathom out any quirks and best techniques for pitching it.

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The quality of the materials is as good as you would expect from Hilleberg. The pegs are solid and functional although I may replace one or two with larger V-pegs for the guylines and the corner ones with skewers to lighten the weight a bit. The guylines are extremely robust and solid and the poles too. As mentioned above the inner floor material is top notch and the inner body material water resistent. The outer fly material is strong and oozes quality.

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Overall, I have been pleased with the Unna but as with any tent there are a couple of very minor quibbles. The first of these is the lack of porch which was known prior to buying. The simplest answer is to unpeg one of the corners, peel back and create a “virtual” porch. This is ok but I feel that I might indulge myself and either make or commission a bespoke inner that is shallower than the supplied inner to create a better porch. The inside dimensions are quite generous for one person and so the loss of some of this space will not unduly affect the livability of the tent. I’ll have a think on that one to see if its an annoyance or not long term. Having said all that there is in fact a little bit of porch (about 6 inches of outer and inner separation) which is large enough to put your shoes in overnight which when the outside is very wet is quite handy to reduce dirt ingress. The other small thing to note is that the inner hangs quite loosely from the out fly attachement toggles and this actually makes the inner feel smaller than it should. Its easily fixed as I can shorten the elastic connectors or replace with 2mm line/line-loks. Again, I will use the tent a few times to see if this is an annoyance I can live with or not long-term.

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The last thing is to compare it with the Hilleberg Soulo which is a similar tent and one I have owned previously. I think all things considered, the Soulo is probably a slightly better designed tent with some clever features. The Soulo fly clips onto the poles rather than feeding through a fly sleeve like on the Unna. This might be a better bet in cold and windy weather. Secondly the presence of a porch and nicely fitting inner is also slightly better than the Unna’s arrangement (for the reasons stated in the previous paragraph). Having said that, I think the Unna is slightly more versatile than the Soulo because it the fly can be opened fully along the front edge giving superb access and views (the Soulo’s third pole slightly obstructs the access and views to/from the tent). Also the Unna has better headroom and is slightly lighter. I think where the Unna will score well in my eyes is the option to use it as a tarp tent (outer only) and then the improved access and room within will really tell.

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So to summarise, the Unna is a very well made, 4-5 season tent that is easy to put up and take down and has the flexibility to enable it to be used in a variety of ways. Its has a few niggles (what tent doesnt) but these arent showstoppers and can be solved in a variety of ways if it warrants it after more usage and testing. I look forward to using this in the spring and summer and especially when the opportunity arises to use a bug net or bivvy to lighten the overall weight.  The signs are good and I hope I will learn to love this as much as the Laser Competition.

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About Saddlebags and Backpacks - a brewer's outdoor adventures

I am a keen hiker, camper, cyclist and general all round gear addict..... I also manage to be a professional brewer in my non-spare time :->
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24 Responses to Hilleberg Unna 1 man tent – a review

  1. andy says:

    Very interesting review!

    Funny, I too considered whether to get the Soulo or the Unna then went for the Unna thinking you get more space inside, especially length-wise. Now that you say there’s actually more space in the Soulo all things considered you make me reconsider my choice!

    On the question of pitching the tent without the inner: I always pitch it with the inner and I never experienced problems. Silly question, but do you raise the upper pole first? I find that if you try to push the tent up by raising the lower pole first then it’s really hard. (by ‘lower’ I mean the one which sits below the other in the crossing. So in my setup, looking at the tent from the short side near where the door opens, the trick is to slide in the left pole first and then raise the right pole first.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      Hi Andy,

      dont reconsider your choice! The Soulo has issues too (obstructive 3rd pole, less living room in the inner and shorter length in the inner) but it all depends on what you are looking for.

      My little niggles are easily solved but they are my niggles and may not make any difference to others.

      The inner on the Unna is bigger and longer than than the Soulo so is more useful for living space. If you look at overall available space including porch then the Soulo has slightly more. Both tents, it has to be mentioned, are excellent and we are just comparing the finer points!

      Re the pole order I see what you mean so will try it both ways next time I take the Unna out.

      How do you like yours by the way?

      • andy says:

        Right ho! I read your review too quickly and I thought that by ‘nicely fitting inner’ you meant ‘longer and with steeper sides’! So it’s good that you’re indeed confirming the Unna inner is longer. Still, the Soulo is tempting nonetheless!

        I like the Unna a lot; I even got the Scandium poles for it which make it even stronger. I guess with the Scandium poles or even double-poled, the Unna will be as strong as the Soulo?

        I like the flexibility that the Unna gives (in wet weather, by detaching the inner you can cook inside, get changed, and the like) and the speed with which it goes up.

        I thought it would be more stable in high winds. I got caught in a winter gale and I didn’t get much sleep, the side really gave way a lot more than I thought. I suspect the guys are a bit too low on the short side, whereas the Soulo has got a guy point higher up which I’m sure helps keep it steadier. That’s why I’m still tempted by the Soulo!

        It’ll be interesting to see how you get on!

  2. -maria- says:

    Thanks!

    It looks like a nice tent – luckily I do not need a new tent right now (repeat: I do not need a new tent!), but it’s anyway interesting to learn new things about tents… ;-)

  3. backpackbrewer says:

    I know Maria, I always look at other tents but I really cant afford to get anymore. Besides which I dont expect to need any other tents as the Unna should cope with all my backpacking needs :)

  4. fred says:

    Hi,

    I have read your review with interest. I have ordered for a Unna on saturday. I Hope to receive it and test it next weekend. I own already many different tents and I have still not found yet the perfect tent but I believe the Unna can be the tent I am searching for (light : approx. 2 kg, 4 season, selfstandable and with a comfortable inner, no problem with strong wind and rain).

    Fred

  5. backpackbrewer says:

    Hi Fred,

    all tents are a compromise even the Unna, but I think that its going to be the best fit for what I need. Its that fact that it can be used in the deep winter as well as the summer that really appeal to me

    I hope you enjoy yours

  6. backpackbrewer says:

    Hi Andy,

    the Unna certainly has versatility to be sure. Not sure what the limit of poor weather the Unna wil cope with but I expect I’ll find out soon enough! The 3 pole design of the Soulo is more stable but the flexibility of the Unna is superior!

    You pays your money, you takes your choice

  7. I like my Soulo very much and looked at the Unna as well. As my summer tent is a Power Lizard, I went for the Soulo with the porch for winter/bad weather. But I can see the logic in your decision with the Unna- as bomber tarp style tent when pitching the outer only. If you want a tent with some versatility, then this is a good choice :)

    All the best.
    Mark

  8. backpackbrewer says:

    cheers Mark,

    I still love the Soulo by the way and the difference between it and the Unna in terms of my ratings are very small indeed. I think on reading other comments that maybe the Soulo will fare better in really bad wind (external not internal :)) but the Unna is slightly more versatile.

    Horses for course, both excellent tents

    Alas, I cant afford to have 2 different tents these days for my solo camping so have had to get the best allrounder for me.

  9. peter says:

    howdy-

    I’ve been following your blog about the Unna ever since I did a search a while back… there are not many (2 including yours if my count is right…) accounts / reviews – by owners – of this tent out there. So your blog is much appreciated.

    I just bought one as I anticipate being in spots where the freestanding nature will be important: rocky surfaces with few places to plant a stake. Also sold on its quick set up with the outer first. And most of all – being 6’3″ and wide shouldered – I thought long & hard about this tent vs the slightly shorter Soulo. And in this regard I have not been disappointed – roomy.

    The only real negative for me so far is the weight: 4.5 lbs for what is mostly a solo tent is way above other options.

    So – with this in mind – have you decided to go with the fibraplex poles? I figure they save you 6-7 ounces, but cost you $140 US…

    Anyway – thanks again, enjoy the blog.

    cheers,

    peter

  10. backpackbrewer says:

    thanks for the comments Peter, much appreciated.

    I am glad you like the Unna and although 10cm extra length may not seem like much, for someone of your height it makes all the difference!

    I havent gone for the fibreplex poles yet. I am more inclined to try either the bivvy instead of the inner option or getting a narrower mesh inner instead. When I get around to doing either I’ll let you know

    cheers, dave

  11. Denis Evans says:

    Just pitched my new Unna for the first time in my lounge room. Wow! This is a well made tent. It oozes quality. I have owned and own tents by MSR, BIBLER AND MACPAC. This Helleberg is in a different class for fit and finish. It also feels very strong. I’ve never seen poles this well made and well fitting, ever before. Head room (interior) measured at 101cm is just adequate for me. Length and width are generous for one. Weight is very good for a 4 season tent – one kilo less than my Bibler. Set up is the easiest of any tent I own – I own 4! Yes I know…….

    Highly recommended! The height inside the Soulo would not have worked for me.

  12. Denis Evans says:

    Thanks for your blog.
    That Unna tent is VERYwell made like the Soulo. The Hubba is just a summer tent. I bought the HP inner from the UK. No one in Australia or the US could sell it to me. The HP inner probably saved my life. But I needed a stronger 4-5 season tent. My old Bibler Awhwanhee would have been fine but it is pretty heavy and I am not getting any younger (61).

  13. Denis Evans says:

    I hike exclusively in the highest mountains in Australia. I usually camp well above tree line (1850m) at 2100m+. Afew small meters makes a lot of difference.

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