Author Topic: Faded and holed silnylon, split DAC poles, saggy elastics and general durabity  (Read 353 times)

Many of us have invested much hard-earned money into expensive Hilleberg tents but I was wondering, as a near 20 year Hilleberg veteran, what thoughts the panel might have on durability.  I will start:

Our first Hilleberg was a Nallo 3 GT.  A great combination of spacious living and light weight almost perfect for two cycle tourists.webought it in 2002 and it came to grief on an exposed hill top in force ten winds on an island in Shetland in 2010.  The flysheet gave way between the door zip and front pole and before I could intervene the zit worked it's way round about 3/4s of the tunnel flowing the line of the pole sleeve almost perfectly.  During it's life I had noticed that the elastics that attached the inner to the fly had somewhat sagged but it never leaked and we never had a broken pole.  I met numerous Nallo owners who complained of split poles.

Lastly on the Nallo:  the entrance zip skipped three or four teeth for some reason very easy on in our ownership.  Despite this it continued to work very adequately and most people would probably never have noticed the slight misalignment.

We replaced the Nallo 3 GT with a slightly heavier but more robust Nammatj 3 GT.  Weighing nearly a kilo more but having a stronger flysheet and slightly larger diameter poles we have been using the Nammatj 3 GT since 2011.  On our trip to Silverdale last week we noticed that there are a few small holes in the fly mainly near the top.  We have noticed birds trying to land and stand on the tent and wonder if these holes are from the birds or from degradation.   Also, almost all of the elastics supporting the inner have gone floppy and are almost useless.  Over the years I have had to replace three cracked pole sections.  It was cheaper to buy a complete fourth pole and cannibalise one of the broken poles for spare sections.  I have a nice surplus of pole sections for future repairs.

Now the big question is, is the fly going to give way like the Nallo fly did or is there enough life left in it for me to justify sending the inner off to have all of the elastics replaced?  I was also wondering whether I need to do anything about the holes or will the ripstop fabric hold good.  The holes are too small for leaks.  Surface tension is a wonderful thing.

I'm interested in both experiences of tent woes as well as repair or replace advice please.

I owned a Unna for about 8 years.  The elastics suspending the inner got saggy after about 6 years or more, to the point where I tied knots in them to shorten them and eventually replaced quite a few.  I cracked a pole through mishandling.  No issues with the fly.

I replaced it with a Niak, which I have owned for about 5 years.  Nothing to report.  The lighter materials stand up to my summer time use very well, and have survived serious torrents of rain.

I've been using an Akto since 2008.
No damage other than a bit of abrasion damage to the groundsheet, taped over with either Gear Aid or Tenacious tape (much the same).

The failed Nallo outer sounds like UV damage, which will be worse/quicker if you use the tent as a base camp than it will if you move on daily, with the tent packed away whilst the sun is at its most intense.
Going saggy is a normal problem with elastics. I've had no problem with my tent that I've noticed, but have it with most head torches after a few years.

Poles should be assembled section by section by hand, rather than letting the elastic snap the sections together, which Hilleberg warn against on their instruction videos. I've a vague memory of Hilleberg having a bit of a rush of tent pole problems a number of years back, of the type that would be a QC problem at the DAC factory.
Small pinpricks is something I've not come across. Birds sounds unlikely - their claws aren't all that sharp, there's little weight behind them, and they would mostly land on the pole rather than the flat fabric. Thistles whilst the outer is laid on the grass drying?  A nearby farmer spraying some noxious pesticide/fertiliser, which reacts with UV? Mosquitos etc will sometimes bite through clothes, and could have been confused.

The tent does sometimes remain in situ for two or three days at a time.  I just cannot find any resource which might indicate that the fabric loses strength.  It certainly fades and is a dull matt green now.

My theory on birds is because most of the holes occur in pairs or clusters.  They are small holes and are close to the pole sleeves.  We have also seen from inside of the tent a bird try to land and thus scrabble on the fly.   Mossies is an interesting theory though.

I have always been very careful with the poles thus we had no issues with the Nallo poles.  I was surprised to see issues with the Nammatj poles so now carry a coue of spare sections as well as the supplied temporary repair sleeve.

I might have to email Hilleberg for their thoughts.  Previously I have found them to be of little help to be honest.

My original Nallo 2's fly sheet failed and ripped in a few places. I think it was mostly sun damage. I sold it for spares or repair on ebay for a good sum. I thought it hadn't lasted as long as it should for the price really, but the Nallo 2 GT is still going strong, although getting few outings at the moment.
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Did you try to do any repairs to your Nallo fly and with any success Butterfly?

Our tent has had just 2 outings during the covid years.  One night in 2020 and 3 nights in 2021.

We need to get out more!   😒

Yep it is uv or mould that does for nylon tents. Store in cool dry and dark place if possible.

Did you try to do any repairs to your Nallo fly and with any success Butterfly?

Our tent has had just 2 outings during the covid years.  One night in 2020 and 3 nights in 2021.

We need to get out more!   😒

I didn't, but the person who purchased it put patches on it, including on quite a large split, and put it back on ebay!
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

I purchased my first Hilleberg tent in 1996 it was the original version of the Nallo 3 with two same size poles. Since the I have owned 9 different Hillebergs but the one I used the most was my first Nammatj 2GT. I spent 1087 nights in that tent and used it for all my solo tours until 2012 when at Oban a crow pecked a large hole in the flysheet. I figured that was the time to trade up to a newer model of the same tent but it never felt the same. The only time I ever had a pole problem was when I tried out some carbon fibre poles, one set broke on me the second day of use.

I once met Bo Hilleberg at a Field and Trek open day, long before they were taken over by Sports Direct. When helping to pack up some of their display tents he gave me a bit of a lecture in how to fold up the poles the avoid breakage and over stretching the shock cord. Since the day I have always used his method and never had a problem.

Most of the tents faded over time but the worst was the Nallo 2GT I took on my E2E of Ireland. That was the 2012 model and for some reason it faded very quickly. The one I took on my last trip to Ireland was the one with the much darker shade of green and that retained its colour until I sold it a couple of years later.

Most people tip-toe through life hoping the make it safely to death.

Since starting this thread I have discovered that silnylon repair patches and tape are now available.  My plan therefore is to send the inner away for new elastics and to erect the tent flysheet only on a cool but dry day in the local rec* and wash, dry and apply some patches.  The distressed look is fine by me.  😀

*  We are lucky in that our garden is big enough by size but there is no clear patch anywhere near large enough to erect the tent.