First Look: Hilleberg Soulo Tent
A one-person tent that can do it all: from rugged, high-altitude alpine expeditions, to mellow backpacking trips.
BEST FOR: Everything from high-altitude alpine climbing to dirtbagging
Hilleberg is pretty much to tents as Harley Davidson is to motorcyles; the wares they produce are not cheap, but, man, oh man, are they top quality. With the Soulo—a one-person, any-season tent sturdy enough to withstand storms on high peaks, but versatile enough for a fair-weather romp in the flatlands—Hilleberg offers a clinic in tent-design, playing with unique features that even the most intrepid alpinists will tip their hat to.
The beauty of this tent is that, despite weighing in at a light 71 ounces, it is built to withstand harsh, alpine conditions. The 9-millimeter diameter poles—two lengthwise, one widthwise—fit directly into the outer-tent-cum-rainfly, to which the inner tent comes pre-connected via a series of toggles and plastic eyelets. The outer tent fabric is Kerlon 1200—a highly durable, ripstop nylon, treated to withstand intense sun and lashing precipitation. The inner tent is also ripstop nylon, but offers more breathability and ventilation. Finally, a lightweight, puncture- and abrasion-resistant nylon floor means that you’re unlikely to have something tear through your tent unless the Yeti or Freddy Krueger himself is roaming around at 6,500 meters.
A series of guylines emanate from all sides and are capable of keeping the tent fastened down in punishing winds.The edge of the outer tent, when staked out, sits flush on the ground, keeping the coldest gusts out, but the Soulo can also be pitched without stakes if your campsite is well-protected.
A vestibule between the inner and outer tents is ideal for stashing your pack during the night, or for cooking up a meal. The tent is really meant for one person, but in a pinch it would be a fine bivy for two.
The outer tent functions as a fly when the Soulo is pitched as a single piece, but can be pitched separately for more space. Likewise, the inner tent can be pitched independently, allowing more ventilation in warmer temps. After using the inner/outer tents separately, re-attaching them can be head-spinning (so many toggles!) and a task we would be loathe to attempt with even a breath of wind, but if you plan ahead it’s a cinch.
The Soulo also comes with an extremely welcome tentpole repair kit and instructions. Hey, even a Harley breaks down once in a while. (Though “Zen and the Art of Tent Maintenance” probably wouldn’t be a bestseller…)
Rock and Ice vigorously tests all gear it reviews for either 50 days or 50 pitches. This is a time-consuming process and limits the amount of new equipment we can present to our readers. Every year hundreds of new products hit store shelves, and most of these aren’t reviewed due to our stringent selection and review process. To better keep you more up to date on what is new, we present First Look. Gear in First Look has not always been field tested, but is gear we think you’d like to know about as soon as it is available. Some of the gear will be reviewed using our 50 days/50 pitches criteria, in future print and online editions of Rock and Ice. We have opted to use affiliate links in our gear reviews. Every time you buy something after clicking on links in our gear articles you’re helping support our magazine.