A 2 lb, bomb-proof, solo backcountry tent?
The Hilleberg Enan.
Aug 29th, 2015.
The night before opening day.
I’m 5 miles in, 9,500 ft, sitting on the top of my favorite ridge, glassing up a decent 6×6 bull who is pestering a small herd of cows. Not the biggest bull obviously, but not one i would pass on either. In the bowl to my left are 3 smaller bucks and one old bruit. As last light passes, I’m thinking to myself that I couldn’t be camped in a better spot for opening day morning.
I find a nice flat spot and set up the tarp that has been working great for my early season scouting trips. The ground is a bit rocky, so I end up tying off 2 corners to a couple large rocks that i find nearby. As I get settled in I know it’s going to be hard to get to sleep. I’m just too darn excited about tomorrow. Should I hunt the high mountain muley, or the young bull?
Around 2 am I wake up to find that my tarp is flapping in the wind and most of my gear is getting soaked. The large rocks I used to tie down my tarp have been pushed around by the wind and caused the stakes to come loose. Long story short, I spend the rest of the sleepless night doing my best to keep my gear dry and my tarp from flying away. Had I brought my Hilleberg Enan, I would have slept through the night and been fresh for opening morning.
If you haven’t heard of the Hilleberg Enan, keep reading. Think solo tent, super-lightweight, affordable (for a Hilleberg) and best of all its bomb-proof.
Hilleberg is a Swedish company known for making truly top of the line expedition quality backpacking tents for over 40 years. Their tents are more expensive, but in this case you certainly get what you pay for. Hilleberg uses their own ripstop (ripstop describes fabric that has one very strong thread occasionally woven in to stop rips from growing) Nylon 66 fabrics (strongest in the industry) treated with 3 layers of 100% silicone, and they named it Kerlon. It ranges in weights/strengths from the Kerlon 2000 at 44 lb tear strength to Kerlon 1000 with a 17.5 lb tear strength. Each tent is sewn together by ONE person, and carries that person’s name inside. Talk about pride of workmanship!
When designing the solo 3 season Enan, Hilleberg started with the sturdy single 9mm pole design, from the Akto, then reduced weight by using lighter fabrics. 2015 Enan tents used Kerlon 600, but have now been upgraded to Kerlon 1000 to adhere to REACH regulations aimed at protecting their seamstresses and factory workers. The good news here, is that the Kerlon 1000 is much cheaper allowing Hilleberg to drop the price of the Enan $40 for 2016.
The Enan weighs anywhere from 1.6 lbs to 3 lbs depending on how you use it.
All weights include tent bags, pole, and stakes.
- Outer tent + Inner tent + footprint = 3 lbs
Outer tent + Inner tent = 2.4 lbs
Outer tent + footprint = 2 lbs
The living space while small is more than adequate for one person. And there is plenty of vestibule space for all of your gear. Measurements inside the tent are about 2 ft by 7 ft, and mid tent the 2 ft width turns into just over 3 ft. Sitting up in the middle of the tent is not ideal, just 36 inches. However i have found that if you shorten the cord that runs under the tent connecting the two ends of the pole, it will raise ceiling a small bit. Also when sitting up facing the door, I like to disconnect first two links that connect the top of the inner tent to the outer tent just above your head. This allows the inner tent to fall down behind you, adding another 2 or 3 inches to your headroom. And of course running without the inner tent, you’ll have ample headroom when sitting up.
I have found a couple of variations on pitching the tent.
Outer and Inner tent. The most common way to pitch the Hilleberg Enan is with the outer tent, and the inner tent as it was primarily designed. Obviously this is the most common use and offers the most protection from weather. If it’s early or late season, or if there is rain and or strong winds likely, especially if i am going in above 8,000 ft, this is my setup. The Enan is not rated as a 4 season by Hilleberg standards, and if you’re looking for a similar tent that is, you should look at the Akto, the 4 season burly brother to the Enan. Adding the footprint gives you even more protection and keeps the gear in your vestibule clean and up off the dirt. The Footprint is only $58 and well worth the money in my opinion. I have even used it to carry meat off the hill.
- Weather protection
- Seems to be better at retaining warmth
- Less room to move around
My favorite way to use the Enan, is without the inner tent. This can be done with or without the footprint. Adding the footprint to the outer tent is a great way to reduce weight while adding a couple of inches to the usable headroom both when laying down and sitting up. You can also forgo the footprint and just lay down a contractors garbage bag (which you can also use to carry your meat after a successful hunt). Or you can use a bivy sack like the 6.5oz Jimmy tarps Summit Bivy.
- Lighter weight
- More head room, and overall usable space
- Less weather protection
Overall I have been very happy with the Hilleberg Enan. The investment was tough to justify at first. And just like high-end optics you buy once, cry once. Meaning you ONLY CRY ONCE. I am one of those guys who used to buy what i could afford, and then sell that item to upgrade to the next, then sell that item to move up yet again. Looking back on that I have to laugh, because I end up spending twice as much. As far as my experience with the Enan, it’s been all good. I remember one night that I didn’t use the inner tent and found a small amount of condensation on the inside of the tent. Totally normal, and all moisture that would have made its way to the floor would have landed to the outside of my footprint. I have been simply amazed at the weight and the design. The Outer tent fabric is like nothing i have ever touched before. Honestly it feels like something from the future, super lightweight, super thin and very strong. Imagine unbreakable Saran Wrap. Very cool.
If you are in the market for a bomber solo backcountry tent, you should take a serious look at the Hilleberg Enan. Think of is as 2 pounds of backcountry insurance.