The Hilleberg family have been making tents for over 25 years, based in the Jamtland area of Sweden. They have a reputation for making the some of the finest tents in the world.
The Jannu was conceived as the "ultimate high altitude mountaineering assault tent". Whilst I haven't been able to test the tent in true winter conditions or in the Alps or Greater Ranges yet, I have had the chance to use a Jannu several times in the UK over the last six months.
A recent trip to the Highlands in early spring involving a 9 hour drive and 4 mile walk-in, meant that by 3am it was definitely time to get some rest. This being where features like the inner tent and fly being linked together and both going up as one means you'll appreciate the ease of pitching. This design is not often seen on mountain tents and in nasty weather helps to keep the inner tent as dry as possible. Great for typically wet, UK conditions, or in situations when you need to get shelter as quickly as possible.
Short pole sleeves are combined with clips on the outside of the fly - simply slide the colour coded poles into the appropriate sleeve and clip the rest of the fly on. Pitching the Jannu is when you can really feel the quality of materials used. It's almost as if each component is lubricated with Swedish massage oil; everything slides into place so easily.
Stability of the overall structure is greatly improved by multiple guying points. The poles are on the outside of the fly and strategic guying points have an extended loop that you can wrap around the pole before guying out. This is a pretty nifty feature which definitely adds to overall stability in high winds.
Internal floor space is surprisingly good in a tent that weighs comparatively little. It's certainly more spacious than expected. At 235cm long the inner tent should give enough room for even the tallest user and the internal walls are all fairly steep so usable head room is well utilised. Width is also generous and 3 people could squeeze in if need be.
The total weight of 2.9kg is extremely good for such a stable and relatively spacious tent. 1.45kg each for a party of 2 even compares well with most standard 2 man tunnel tents. The Hilleberg Nallo 2, for example, would be 1.1kg each. The Jannu's design is significantly more stable that a tunnel shape, yet its weight is very low when compared to a traditional geodesic mountain tent.
Minimising condensation build-up means generous roof vents on the inner and the fly which can be closed. The vents are backed with mesh panels to prevent insects getting in and are protected from the elements by a ‘cap' of fabric over the roof. This ‘cap' has guys to add extra stability and extends to a lip over the front door, which stops water from dripping into the tent if the inner door is open for ventilation in bad weather.
The tent seemed to ventilate best when using the roof vents in conjunction with the main door venting. The flysheet does extend all the way to the ground which increases performance, but does limit airflow between the fly and the inner. I did experience some condensation inside the tent, but no more than should be expected in a mountain tent in average conditions.
Porch size is good - there's enough space for a couple of big packs and still room left to cook. Many people find a small porch and/or entrance to the rear to be a useful feature on a mountain tent, but the omission of one on the Jannu does save a little weight, which is fine by me. The front door is actually asymmetric in shape - helping to keep one side sheltered depending on which way the wind is blowing. There are also multiple zips on the front door which makes getting in and out nice and easy.
As mentioned, with the total weight being 2.9kg, this makes the Jannu one of the lightest mountain tents out there. Both the Crux X2 Storm and Terra Nova Superlight Quasar are similar in terms of weight, but neither quite match the Jannu when it comes to internal space. Both the Crux and Terra Nova models have an extra pole on the Jannu, possibly adding a perceived advantage in stability. However, I think the extra guying points, combined with the Jannu's incredibly high quality of materials, create an equally taut and stable design.
In terms of the fabrics used, Hilleberg use two different types of materials for their flysheets; an ultra light Kerlon 1200 nylon and a heavier Kerlon 1800 nylon. With the Jannu they opted for the Kerlon 1200, which isn't quite as durable as the 1800, but significantly lighter. As the fly is silicon coated, the seams are not taped, but the silicon coating adds strength, water repellancy, and reduces sagging when the fly is wet.
Overall the Jannu is a brilliant tent that would work for anyone looking for a lightweight product that is suitable not just for alpine climbing and mountaineering, but also 4 season backpacking, in all conditions. In many ways I think the Jannu manages to combine the best properties of a tunnel tent, i.e. good space to weight ratio, with the best properties of a traditional mountain tent i.e. strength and stability. Yes it's an expensive bit of kit, but for me the quality of craftsmanship combined with the performance and versatility it offers makes for an unbeatable combination.
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