Sunday, 5 May 2013

Hilleberg Akto VS. Wild Country Zephyros 1

Hilleberg Akto vs. Wild Country Zephyros 1  

                I`ve been agonizing over a decision for a little while now and on Friday I finally bit the bullet and bought myself a new one man tent, the Wild Country Zephyros 1, up until recently however I have been using the Hilleberg Akto, so why the change? And how do two compare?

                Firstly why the change, due to using the Hilleberg practically every day whilst working in Australia it received quite a lot of wear and tear, including breaking the pole twice and tearing the fabric a number of times. The reason I didn’t replace like for like was quite simply cost at £425 the Hilleberg Akto is expensive but is worth every single penny however I didn’t have that much to spend and so started looking for a cheaper alternative but of the same quality and similar specifications, a search of the internet produced several alternatives, ranging from the newer version of the Hilleberg through to the cheap (very cheap) Hi Gear Soloista, given the high specifications of the Hilleberg I quickly dismissed anything with less than a 3000 mm hydrostatic head or single skin design as well as 2 pole designs (nothing wrong with 2 poles it`s just personal preference) longitudinal poles or bivvi bags, (yes I’m a gear geek and a gear snob) this left a choice of four tents, the Akto, the Terra Nova Laser comp, another tent I`ve used, the Wild Country Zephyros 1 and 2 and the Jack Wolfskin Gossamer, the Hilleberg Akto was painfully dismissed as was the laser comp for the same reason, the Gossamer was dismissed for being bivvi bag, this left the two Zephyros tents and whilst a little bit of extra room would have been useful it would probably prove to be unnecessary so the Zephyros 1 looked like a sure fire winner, at least on paper, I don’t like buying outdoor equipment online and I don’t recommend it either (unless it’s a direct replacement),  although advertised in the Millets catalogue I know that it is very difficult to get hold of through this company, (I work part time for them), Go Outdoors were also advertising as not only having this tent but having an extra 15% off of it, double win! Or at least I thought, turns out that they hadn`t got either of Zephyros tents in stock. A quick call to the Cotswold Outdoors store 15 miles away not only confirmed they had the tent I wanted but that they would put it to one side for me, a quick drive across to the store and I had the tent I wanted, so how does it compare to the old tent?

(Zephyros 1 in local park)
(Akto in Australia)
On first impressions the two tents are incredibly similar in design and specifications, both are incredably lightweight, a very small pack size and designed around a tunnel shape, however there are major differences, primarily the way the tents are pegged out, where the Hilleberg uses 2 pegs at each end and a clever guy line system to ensure that correct tension is always supplied to the tent wherever the pegs are placed, the Wild Country uses up to 5 pegs and a conventional guy line system (note: I’ll probably change the pegs as they hurt my hand trying to push them in first time, I didn’t want to bend them if there was something wrong with the tent), out of the two peg and guy line systems used I do prefer the Hilleberg this is because of the way the guy lines work with the Hilleberg in keeping tension through fabric.  the other thing that’s different is the way the pole fits into the tents, in the Hilleberg the pole is made from DAC aluminium and fits in one side of the sleeve only, the other end being sealed with a plastic pocket which the pole sits in, in contrast the Wild Country uses a conventional system of open ended sleeves which is a little bit more useful in putting the tent up as the pole can be pushed through from either side, both systems have their advantages but for ease of use I do prefer the Wild Country.

                Moving to the inside of the tent the first thing I noticed was the fact that the Wild Country didn’t have a bucket or bath tub type ground sheet on the inner tent this could prove problematic in future use but could be overcome by careful pitching, the second thing I noticed is the way the inner is attached to the outer by buckles, different and it`s going to interesting to see how they last in future use, with ventilation holes at both ends of the inner tent there is more flow for air to move through compared to the Hilleberg (at least compared to the one I owned), the Hilleberg uses the more traditional form of loops and toggles to secure the inner to the outer tent. I`m not sure which of these fixings I prefer but I do prefer the deep groundsheet of the Hilleberg because of its better protection.

                Although there are a number of differences between the two tents I am looking forward to using the Zephyros 1 in the future and whilst there are things that I would change about this tent it does compare favourably to the Hilleberg, as a colleague of mine said “it may not be a Hilleberg but you did get it for a quarter of the price”

   As with all outdoor equipment personal preference is key to any decision you make.

Follow the link below to go to the Lone Wolf Mobile Bushcraft website.

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