Gear Review – Hilleberg Anjan 2 Backpacking Tent
I had the pleasure last year to test out and use the new Hilleberg Anjan 2 backpacking tent on a handful of backcountry hunting trips. After spending more than 20 nights in the tent over the course of 6 weeks I can honestly say it is without a doubt the nicest backcountry hunting tent I have ever used. I know there is a little bit of sticker shock at the price of $570 and you could absolutely get by just fine with a tent half the cost. However if you are looking for a tent that will last you for 20+ years and will take the abuse and punishment that backcountry hunting puts on your gear I do not think there is a better option and that initial investment will pay for itself 10 fold.
You can probably guess by the title of this website that I am a lightweight junky and every ounce of weight I can take off my pack and gear I will. I feel that by going as light as possible and being able to move quick makes me a much more effective hunter. When that monster bull bugles two ridges over its never a thought of “if” we will go after it, the decision is always what is the best route over there and how fast can we cover the ground. This is where the Hilleberg Anjan really shines for me – at a mere 3lbs 3oz for a two-man shelter, you are talking about just over 1.5lbs per person for a full-on tent that will protect you from every environmental condition that can be thrown at you. You’ll be hard pressed to find any shelter on the market when broken down per person in weight is in that category. Most lightweight shelters you are doing good at around 2lbs per person and though you can go lighter you start giving up a lot of things. Another advantage to a two man shelter for me is the added warmth that is provided by an extra body in the tent, I have found that I can get away with a 32 degree bag in temps well into the low 20’s.
Breaking down the specs of the tent its 52″ wide by 87″ long and 40″ tall interior dimensions which is just about on par with other two man tents. An area where the Anjan really shines is the extra large vestibule that is nearly 4′ long. Being able to pile up all of our gear inside the vestibule is a great added bonus and keeps your backpack, boots, bow, etc nice and dry and also close at hand in case you need something in the middle of the night. With the multitude of guy line attachments and places to stake the tent off it can be pitched just about anywhere and nice and tight to prevent any flapping in the wind. The quality of the fabric used in the tent from the rain fly to tent floor is second to none. Hilleberg uses Kerlon 1000 which is substantially stronger than the nylon ripstop that other companies use, its one of those things that when you look at and feel you can instantly tell the quality difference. The inner tent is made of a combination of mesh and lightweight fabric that does an exceptional job of ventilating and condensation was always at a minimum compared with other tents I have used. In fact my hunting partner and I were always extremely impressed at the lack of condensation while at the same time being an extremely “warm” tent.
There is also what seems like an infinite number of pitching options for the tent, you can actually totally forego the inner tent and just have a shelter with no floor, you can pitch the inner tent as a stand alone shelter for nights when there is no chance of rain, you can roll up the rain fly in the front or rear for added ventilation and you can adjust the rain fly so that it comes all the way to the ground on the windward side for added protection.
The cons of the tent, as with all lightweight backpacking gear it has its pros and cons, is that I am not a huge fan of the single entrance front door. In a solo shelter this isn’t that big of a deal but getting two grown men in and out can be a little bit of a process. Also, the Anjan is not a freestanding shelter but to be honest I thought this was going to be much more of a problem than it was. Some of the Idaho high country that I hunt can be extremely rocky but in the couple instances where this showed up there was always a rock or tree to tie the guy lines to and it became a non-issue.