Gear Review: Hilleberg Kaitum 2

For those of you unfamiliar with the world of insanely expensive tents, Hilleberg, a Swedish company, has been making absolutely bombproof tents since 1971. They have earned a stellar reputation and have been used in some of the most inhospitable environments in the world, from the Arctic to Antarctica. For the last few years their Kaitum 2 has been my go-to tent and they will be the only brand of tent that I will ever buy.

The Kaitum 2 is part of Hilleberg’s Red Label line of tents, which are designed to be 4 season tents that can stand up to the most demanding conditions, surpassed by their truly bombproof Black Label tents. It’s an incredibly spacious and luxurious 2 person tent that features dual vestibules and entrances, 39″ of headroom and 3 m² of livable space. Weighing in at 6 lbs. 13 oz. it’s very manageable for 2 person trips and can easily be carried along for solo trips if you want or need the extra room, although many would complain about its weight (I don’t; if you can’t handle an extra 3 lbs. backpacking probably isn’t the sport for you).

I have used this tent on for trips now for a total of probably 20 or so nights and have used in in conditions ranging from 5°C nights in the summer to well below freezing nights during November. The only conditions I haven’t used it in are particular bad conditions such as heavy rain, snow, and stiff winds.

The primary reason for me upgrading to a Hilleberg was due to the condensation buildup I experienced in my previous tent, a single wall North Face with inadequate ventilation options that gathered condensation in it like there was no tomorrow. Unlike the North face the Kaitum 2 is a double all design with the inner and outer tents linked together with loops and toggles, meaning the outer tent can be pitched alone without the inner, both can be pitched together at the same time which is great for when the weather is inclement, or you can buy an additional pole holder kit that allows you to pitch just the inner tent in conditions where precipitation isn’t an issue. Also unlike the North Face, the Kaitum 2 has plenty of ventilation options and in using it thus far I have never had a single drop of condensation in the inner tent, even when using it in sub-zero temperatures.

The Kaitum 2 has 3 different ventilation options on each end that can used separately or together. The first is a zip open vent on the outer tent above the vestibules. It can be open partially or open fully and rolled up and stored using loops and toggles. A generous overhang keeps the weather out. The next option is on the door of the inner tent, which features a zip open panel that reveals a no-see-um mesh door. Again, this panel can be partially opened or full opened, rolled up, and stored using loops and toggles. For ultimate ventilation the entire door assembly can be fully unzipped, rolled up, and stored using loops and toggles, leaving the entire end of the inner tent exposed. Due to the fact that the inner tent material is water resistant but not water proof, this method is not recommended unless precipitation isn’t in the forecast. The interior features are no slouch either. Each corner of the inner tent features a generously sized storage pocket and there is a clothesline running the length of the tent. You are protected from ground by a generously sized bathtub floor as well.

Pitching the Kaitum 2 is incredibly easy and it can be pitched fully using only 4 pegs, although I would never pitch this tent without pitching the guy lines as well. I do recommend pitching this tent before heading out with it your first time to get the hang of it. It can seem a bit overwhelming once you get all 3 poles in and it starts flopping around, but it’s very easy to get the hang of and you can get it up in no time at all.

The Kaitum 2 comes with some nice extras as well, including an extra pole section and repair sleeve, extra v pegs, and separate bags for the pegs, poles, and tent. What I will say about the pegs is that if you do a lot of camping in windy conditions or on hard ground I would recommend upgrading the pegs either to one of Hilleberg’s offering for tougher ground or to another brand (Easton is one that gets tossed around a lot).

All in all, despite the little amount of time I’ve spent in my tent, I really like and would not hesitate to get another Hilleberg tent (I plan on buying their one man Akto for solo backpack hunting soon) or any of their other products. The Kaitum 2 has been very good to me so far and has proved to be extremely comfortable for my friend and I who both end up bring way too much stuff along with us for the hike. It’s also worked great for hunting season where we drive in and set up base camp. There’s lots of room for a small duffel bag or gym bag inside and the ample amount of interior pockets allows me to easily keep essential gear stored and organized. I really do love this tent.