Some years ago I was the owner of a Haglöfs Genius 23. A heavy tent which was amazing during windy conditions. I used it mainly during kayaking trips where the weight didn’t matter. For hiking trips the tent was heavy, for solo hikes even too heavy. The look for a lighter tent started, focusing on the tents of Hilleberg. I choose a Hilleberg Soulo and now after a few years, I think its time to wright a review.
Hilleberg is a tentmaker from Sweden. Their tents have been used during many expeditions and when hiking in the Swedish mountains it is probably the brand you see most. The quality of the tents is without doubt the best on the market.
Three specifications should be met. It should be a freestanding solo tent with a weight below 2,5kg. At the moment I was choosing the tent, the Soulo was quite new. It was love at first sight which made the decision process quite short.
The Soulo is a freestanding tent which is perfect for both hiking and kayaking. Because it is freestanding, it can be placed kind of wherever you want. With a netto weight of 2kg (2,4 with all stuff sacks etc.) it is easy to carry and doesn’t take that much space in a backpack. I use the tent both during summer and winter which is possible due to the amazing construction. The tent is extremely stable, both during storm and with heavy snow loads.
My backpack gets a place in the spacious vestibule where there is place for cooking as well. A ground sheet is not provided which makes that a backpack always will lay on the ground, but a rain cover solves this problem.
The inner tent is made of a yellow nylon. This color makes it nice to be inside, even for a longer period. The two pockets on the inside provide some space for a headlight or some other small equipment. Mounted in the roof are multiple loops which in combination with a line can be used as a washing line or something. I mostly use it for hanging my Spot during the nights. Absolutely best with the inner tent is the possibility to open the front side completely. Especially during bad weather, it is great to have some extra space.
The outside is made of Kerlon 1200, a high quality nylon with a 12kg tear strength. It doesn’t sound a lot, but I never experienced the need for more. On top of the tent is a small piece of fabric that covers the ventilation opening in the door and prevents rain from coming in. When closed, this ventilation part is covered in a snowproof fabric. At the corners there is a piece of strong fabric, creating a place for sliding in the tent poles. This is just around 20 cm, but the rest of the pole is connected to the tent by making use of hooks. No matter the weather, it is always easy to put up the tent and it has always been waterproof. There has been made a kind of rain channel above the door, extremely simple but extremely effective. Water is almost never dripping inside the tent when opening the door.
The tent has many advantages, and I honestly think it is a tent that is hard to beat. The inner tent is connected to the outer tent so that you always can raise the tent at once. Especially during bad weather this is great because besides it saves time it also prevents the inside from getting wet.
The many guy lines and points to attach pegs make that the tent is extremely stable. I have experienced many storms and both with and without the guy lines the tent never had any problems. During winter, snow has never been a problem. Due to the construction you can put the tent almost everywhere, and trust me, that’s amazing!
Ventilation possibilities are quite good. Especially during moderate and warm weather I almost never experience condensation. During rain and during winter time it is a complete different story, mostly due to the waterproof nature of the nylon. Even though you open the ventilation opening, condensation will always be there.
Inside the tent is a lot of space. The length is good and there is enough space to put all your stuff inside. The front side of the inner tent can be opened completely creating a nice living space and easy entrance to your backpack. During bad weather there is enough place to cook even though it can be quite dangerous with a stove inside the tent.
Some point of critique
Condensation, especially when its wet or cold is normal. Luckily the inner tent stands most of the water. But even inside the inner tent condensation appears at the bottom. It is almost never that much that my stuff gets really wet, but now and then my sleeping bag gets quite moist.
The ventilation point is snow proof, but absolutely not waterproof. When it is really windy, the rain blows against the fabric and comes through. Especially when it is raining for a longer time, this creates a constant dripping of water inside the vestibule. So, when you expect rain, never put your shoes underneath the door, otherwise there is a risk of shoes filled with water.
At the left side of the tent, the fabric is cut a little bit too long. If you are not using a guy line, the fabric almost always touches the inner tent. In this way condensation can come through the fabric of the inner tent with a logical result…
The inner tent is connected to small rings at every corner. If you have a really lucky day, this connection stays. But normally you have to attach the inner tent again after every time you put up the tent. Mostly just at one or two corners, but sometimes more. Very irritating.
The Hilleberg Soulo is a perfect tent for solo hiking in every season. The weight is quite low and the quality extremely high. I have used the tent for a few years now and it never disappointed me. Of course, there are some points of improvement. But this tent is amazing!