Review: Long term review of Hilleberg Enan (yellow label)

The Hilleberg Enan is a one person tent in Hilleberg’s yellow label series of tents. These are tents that are designed for three season use, primarily meaning that they are not designed for any sort of snow loading. The Enan is a tunnel design tent with a single pole, similar to Hilleberg’s iconic Akto, which is the four-season version of the tent, or Fjallraven’s Abisko Lite 1.

Let’s start with a few statistics. The tent weighs 1.2kg without a footprint. There is a footprint that fits both the Enan and the Akto, that I have purchased for my tent. This increases the weight, but gives a clean area in the vestibule to store equipment and may reduce the risk of condensation arising from wet ground below you. The outer fabric is Kerlon 1000, which is a 20D ripstop nylon fabric. This is lighter than used on the red or black label tents, but still very strong. The advertised tear strength is 8kg. There is a single 9mm pole (the same as supplied on red label tents) to provide the structure, with small fibreglass rods at each end of the tent (which remain in place when packed) to increase the room at the ends. The inner is also made of a lighter material than the red or black label tents and the door on the tent is mesh only. The vestibule in this tent is actually bigger than the much heavier Hilleberg Soulo’s vestibule and a more usable shape in my opinion, being slightly wider, decreasing the risk of packs, boots, and poles touching the fly sheet when stored.

The tent is available in red, a dark green (almost black) and sand colours. I chose the sand, which is a very stealthy option and blends well with most landscapes. I have, for example, used this on the South Downs, an area where discretion is definitely required.

For ventilation both ends of the flysheet are mesh, to provide some airflow. There are small covers that can be brought down from the inside in poor conditions, although I have never had cause to use them. The main door also can be opened from the top to leave a gap near the top of the tent for ventilation. There is much written about condensation in the Enan being a major issue. My experiences having used it in a variety of situations and conditions is that it is no better or worse than any other tent I have used. I have woken with next to no condensation and also woken with quite a bit on the inside of the tent. There is a widely-shared fallacy that ventilation alone will solve the condensation issue. This is not true. As an example, here is a picture of my Enan pitched next to my MLD Cricket tarp in Wales. The Cricket could not be better ventilated – it’s got a great big hole where the door should be! However both the Enan and Cricket had condensation by the morning.

The interior of the tent is comfortable enough. Some may find it a bit claustrophobic, but one person can fit comfortably with all their equipment. I do find that sleeping bags can touch the inner, especially if using a thick sleep mat, and this can increase the risk that the bag gets wet if you have suffered any condensation overnight. This doesn’t seem to happen to the same extent in the Soulo, which has more vertical walls on it’s inner than the Enan. There are two mesh pockets to store phone, wallet, head torch, etc. The mesh used is the same as on the doors, and feels quite robust.

As mentioned, the vestibule is roomier than the Soulo, and I have cooked in it (with the footprint rolled back) when I’ve been forced to by the weather, although I absolutely do not recommend cooking in your tent! I have found as the tent gets wet, it does start to sag a bit. This is to be expected given the relatively large area of unsupported fabric in a tunnel design and I experience it also on my Hilleberg Kaitum. It doesn’t materially impact the performance of the tent as far as I have experienced. You can see this in the photograph on the right, taken at Sandwood Bay after a night’s camping.

Ease and speed of pitching is a definite positive of this tent. Each end of the tent has two metal rings, into which you insert a peg. You then slide the single pole into the pole sleeve, tightening using the ‘cup and strap’ system used on all Hilleberg tunnel tents. Then stake out and tension the four guy lines and….that’s it! I can pitch this tent extremely quickly, which is a definite bonus if the weather is bad. The inner and footprint stay connected and the tent goes up as one, which is also a plus in poor weather. The supplied pegs are quite small and feel a bit lightweight. I generally use MSR groundhogs for a more secure hold, although this is just my personal preference. The guy lines themselves are thinner 2mm lines with smaller line loks than used on the red label tents, which have 3mm lines. They still perform perfectly well and do not absorb any water.

When it comes to bad weather performance, this tent does a pretty good job. You do, however, need to remember what this tent is designed for and be cognisant of the limitations of a single pole design. This is not a tent designed for gale force winds nor heavy snow loads. Having said that, I have been caught out with some high winds in the Lake District, and although the tent was a bit bent out of shape at the time, it didn’t fail me. At each end of the tent there are two additional loops for securing additional guy lines, which may increase stability although I haven’t seen cause to use them. In terms of rain performance, this tent will definitely keep you dry. The mesh ends may concern you, but they are at an angle that means rain falling vertically will not enter the tent, and the mesh does a surprising job of blocking the majority of driven rain as it is quite fine. I have been out in some fairly heavy rain and have never had cause to close the vents at the end of the tent. The vent covers are indicated in the third photo below with a red circle.

Continuing with the bad weather protection, the zip is covered with a heavy duty flap that keeps the rain out, and the zip fits under a small hood to prevent it from being unzipped by, and making a racket in, the wind.

Packing the tent takes a little more care than with other Hillebergs that I own. The reason is the fibreglass struts at the ends of the tent. Although removable, most people will leave them in and this does mean you can’t really stuff the tent, as you can with say, the Soulo. It needs to be rolled with the struts inside to try and protect them from damage. Fortunately the bag is plenty big enough to get the tent back into, so this isn’t really an issue and doesn’t involve too much swearing! The tent and pole bags are made of the same material as the flysheet. They do not take well to abrasion and my pole bag is already looking a bit worn. I’ve purchased the tougher XP bags for my other hillebergs, but it defeats the object somewhat for a lighter weight tent. I have taken to putting the tent inside a dry back when in my pack now to reduce abrasion damage and that seems to be working fine. As with all Hillebergs, the tent comes with a pole repair sleeve and instructions.

Summary

The Hilleberg Enan is a solid one person tent for three season use. I would not intentionally take it into severe weather, but it will cope fine with a reasonable level of wind and is perfectly capable of keeping the rain off. There is enough space for one plus gear, and it doesn’t weigh too much considering the strength of the materials (some ultralight tents really are not made to withstand UK weather). It should not be used in heavy snow, and condensation can be an issue under some circumstances, although in fairness not excessively more than any other tent I have used. If you are tall you may find it a bit cramped. I am 5′ 10″ and I find it suits me fine. All in all, this is a great tent provided you keep within the conditions it is designed for.

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