Review Hilleberg Soulo

Alti plano Bolivia, altitude 4000 meter, 2016

Updated September 2017
The Hilleberg Soulo is a great one person’s tent. It withstand fierce winds, it ads about 4 degrees to the outside temperature and it has enough space not to feel imprisoned.
I feel cozy and warm in the Soulo. And I am not going to praise all the goodness but the minors, as the Soulo has those too. It’s an expensive tent so one may expect the very best.

Update September 2017:
The sliders have worn out again. Previously it were the inner door sliders, while now it are the outer door sliders. Since I had received a package with new sliders, I started the job to change the sliders.
Going to Fix Zipper

Opening the end, or beginning, is easy. Closing it is easy too. It need some wriggling with the new sliders, but it goes all quite easy.

Drawing The Zipper Position

I made a drawing to be sure not to replace the slider up side down.

Dental Floss Again

I use dental floss as threads, as this is super strong.

By seeing the difference in old and new sliders I am convinced that more cleaning is very important. So besides brushing the zippers daily, I also run a wet, clean cloth over the zippers. I have washed the tent too, something I can advise to do more often than once every 6 months!

A huge difference in new and old sliders. It is no wonder that the zipper derails!

Warm water wash without detergent. About 5 rinses, then dried and finished with a warm wet cloth from the in- and outside to clean it sufficient.

I have opened both sides of the zipper, but it is to advise to open only the upper sides, as there is less bulk to go through with a tower knife, or scissor. Closing the upper side makes the new stitches invisible from the outside.
Flaws
In the first 14 days of using the Soulo one of the stitches came loose. I fixed it with dental floss.

After about 3 months of intensive use it gathered 4 holes, which probably are due to packing and shaking of the content.

picsart_11-01-08-13-49

The fabric keeps flabby.
After 6 months the zipper derailed/split. BIG DISAPPOINTMENT! I hoped with buying a Hilleberg I would be well off for at least a few years (secretly; forever).

Auracania trees at 2000 meter altitude with incredible forceful winds coming from the Chilean ocean, Argentina 2017.

Atacama desert where is always a fierce wind, I had to stake the Soulo down with all 12 pegs, every day. Chile 1017

Unhandy
The zipper of the front inner door keeps biting into the green outer door fabric if you not tie the green outer flap securely with it’s elastic.
The zippers have none, but one, fortified holding to grip onto when closing the doors. This means you need to hold the tent fabric in order to close the zipper. You can just pull  it by the zipper, but this is not beneficial for the tent fabric nor the zipper.
The tent has rather much cords and differently designed straps which makes it stable but also a mess sometimes.
The zippers are strong and of good quality but need to be brushed regular in desert alike environments. The design of the door is shaped like an upside down T; Ʇ. The flaw with this is that there is a tiny opening at where the tree zippers come together. I contacted Hilleberg in Europe where they put me in touch with Hilleberg USA, and one of the best sorts of help, prompt and trustworthy, came my way.

The problem is solved and I got a set of new zippers, a personal note on how to maintain the tent, and many samples of fabrics in case something goes wrong.

A tip worth considering: when buying my tent I think it was used as a show model, as the fabric was flabby and the tent was definitely not in its original shape rolled into the bag. More so, check the tent thoroughly as seams are not always perfectly stitched.
And I brush the zippers every day!
Note: I was advised by Hilleberg team to rather have bought the Black Label tent-line instead, as they are better suited for a trip like the one I am experiencing.

 

14 responses to “Review Hilleberg Soulo

  1. Hi Cindy, this is really disappointing for such an expensive tent. Especially because I recommended it to you.

    I never had any issues and I am using it for the last 2 years straight. I never clean anything!
    I have a few holes too, but only because of an ant attack!

    What is the black-label tent line?

    Cheers Heike

    Like

    • I think there are 4 tent lines, they differ in strength/weight/functionality. We have both the 3th in line, while the 4th is the Black Label, for expeditions! I did not think I was on an expedition though ; )

      Anyway, I clean it every day with a brush! Isn’t it strange that we have such a different strength in tent zippers?

      X Cindy

      Like

  2. I heard of one other cyclist who had issues with the Hilleberg zippers…..
    I find this Black Label argument totally silly. Those tents which are among this category are even more heavy than the Soulo (I find the Soulo is heavy enough) and none of them are solo tents.
    A Hilleberg is a strong 4-season tent, no matter which one you chose. The material is much thicker than any light or UL tent of most other brands and that’s why I chose to buy it!
    What is an expedition? It is all relative. Sand and UV is the biggest enemy for a tent….I guess you are using some kind of footprint.

    Not sure why yours failed ! Cheers Heike

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. Maybe Hilleberg said this to ensure themselves, that I should have bought the very best and toughest tent in their assortment. But I think too, any Hilleberg is good, or that’s what I assume.

      I do love my tent and it surely has a lot of advantages over the tents I used. And mine broke in the Atacama, where sand and US are harsh. But I was of course disappointed.

      However, I was really happy with the replacement zippers and fabrics. I must say their help from such a distance is great.

      An expedition as I see it is a climb to Everest. Months in the Arctic. Or completely off the beaten track in a very rough natural surrounding for very long.

      I use a very sturdy footprint. Cut from building heavy duty cover material. Waterproof. Cut exactly in the shape of the tent. Self made.

      I think I had a bad luck tent…

      Like

  3. Thanks for the honest review Cindy. I recently purchased the Allak 2 person tent but have yet to use it. The Black Label material is stronger then their Red Label which is what I think you and I have, but it is still very strong. The Black Label also uses heavier poles which increases its strength. I’m planning a short tour in Spain this year and a month tour in Zimbabwe next year…so we’ll see how my tent manages those conditions. All the best to you on your adventure…Cheers Alan

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m absolutely sure your tent will perform great. Spain and Zimbabwe sounds calm enough if it comes to wind, sand and UV rays. And the Hilleberg is a good tent but mine was just an exception in their usual great performances, I guess. The zipper broke in the Atacama desert where harsh winds blow every day. Sand literally blows trough the zippers. So I guess this was to blame the derailing? Otherwise I do feel super secure. In hard winds I feel the tent withstand it and previous tents did not! Rain will not make me wet (condensation does) and my other tents were not so waterproof either. So all in all I am happy still 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. the zippers of the black label are of a higher, more stout grade, it should be mentioned. It add to the weight as much as the stronger thicker fabric, but holds up better in the harshest environments, such as those you enjoy.

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    • I did not do that much research, apparently, I just thought the tent I choose was really strong enough. I thought a Black Label tent is for expeditions, such as Everest or something. It is a good tent, anyway, way better than the North Faces I had before. And a Black Label tent doesn’t come in a one persons size, and I think it would be too heavy….

      Like

  5. Thanks for the review. I have a Soulo too. I find it to be very flappy and an absolute magnet for condensation. Water condenses during the night on the inside of the fly and the outside of the inner. As the wind blows and shakes the tent, drips from the fly hit the inner and I’m showered with moisture. This is not great for my sleeping bag either. I have always wondered about the gap where the 3 zips meet – did your replacement zips solve that problem? I don’t use the soulo much due to the condensation. Thanks.

    Like

    • Hi there,

      Condensation is a problem indeed. The tent is so small, and, I guess, there’s no air circulation possible.

      The opening at the top is not sufficient for circulation. Only for air coming in or out.

      I have no zippers replaced but only the sliders. The opening still exist between the point where 3 zippers come together. Worse is that the sliders derails AGAIN!! I placed myself a new slider on but when all seemed to work, and I stitched things together, it wasn’t. For an 800 euro tent this isn’t good!

      For sure I won’t buy a new Hilleberg when in need for a new tent!

      Like

      • Hi Cindy, I have the Hilleberg Akto. Same problems. Lots of condensation, even on my groundsheet (part of the innertent). When I put a dry pot in the tent, the next morning the bottom of the pot and the groundsheet are really wet. Now I have the zipper problems too. Now that I’m heading to the Himalaya. Looking forward to sleeping with open innertent in below zero temperatures 😉

        Like

      • Hi Trien, I must confess that the zipper problem is not really a failure of Hilleberg but really of the existence of zippers. Did you see the photo of both new and used zipper? The wear is incredible! And as with most zippers, they wear out before the tent or clothes wear out! A new invention for a zipper should be used. Try to have new sliders send to you if the zipper is not damaged. You can easily place new sliders on the zipper yourself. And the good news about being in India is that tailors there know how to replace the zipper if it has happened your zipper is in need of replacement too!

        Good luck!
        Regards Cindy

        Liked by 1 person

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