The Hilleberg Akto needs little introduction, a one-person tent from the world-renowned Swedish company with a design that has been tested over the last 20 years in some of the harshest environments.
The Akto has been in my kit list for nearly 5 years and has indeed served me well; the aim of this review is to discuss in detail its real world issues, which make the Akto a slightly confusing piece of kit.
The first obstacle is to understand that it’s a tent not without flaws. Even though it has had slight revisions over the years these are only minor changes, the fact that the design has not really altered over this time is one issue that gives rise to many factors when used out in real world conditions.
Condensation can be an issue in the Akto and you can literally have drips from the underside of the fly sheet on some very still damp muggy nights. It is improved somewhat by using the foot print but it is not completely removed when faced with these conditions. That is not to say the condensation gets into the inner as the design keeps this in mind and so there is a substantial gap between inner and outer which helps keep the condensation away from you and the inner.
The three points of ventilation are the big vents at each end of the tent which can be opened from the outside only and the mini one at the top of the door which is covered by an awning like the ones at each end of the tent. With all three open and the Akto pitched into the wind, even a slight breeze, the condensation is well managed and seldom a problem.
The vent on top of the door leads to another problem which is where the rain can be drawn up the fabric that holds the zip and eventually starts to drip into the porch area. This goes unnoticed until you stick a footprint in there and then you wake up with some water in your porch. It requires the user to pitch the tent and apply some silicon seam sealer to this area to stop it happening, I am yet to do this as it only drips a small amount and has not concerned me so much.
For some of you reading this you will be wanting to find the perfect one-person tent in the Hilleberg Akto so keep reading because it does get better.
Well first and foremost the Akto is made from the best materials available. Its famous silicon nylon rip stop they call Kerlon, the DAC Featherlite NSL poles and the attention to detail in the use of quality durable components used throughout the tent makes the Akto shine on the quality side of things. These features all come together and helps in making the Akto a very stable and durable piece of kit but of course adds to the weight.
The term stable is highly subjective as its only a one pole tent and therefore is not a fully featured storm tent but can certainly take a beating. I have personally faced 40mph gusts on one particular night with the Akto and it was pushed around but it did not fail, there was so much rain that night that the pegs were partly submerged when I got out the tent the next morning, however the groundsheet kept the water out!
At 1.6kg its not the lightest one-person tent around, add a footprint and you are looking close to 2kg. So why carry this extra weight? I think its down to the extra reassurance that your shelter can handle a bit more if the conditions change and maintain a liveable environment whilst on the trail.
The Hilleberg Akto is a tent you really pitch twice each time. It happens in two stages, first you get the tent up and erect it. It is VERY quick to pitch and in bad wet conditions without wind this first stage is enough to just allow you to get out of the rain and happily spend a night.
However if you are faced with wind, planning on staying at a pitch location for a while, or have the time, then its highly recommended to walk around the Akto again and tighten and potentially reposition some of the pegs and guy lines. As the results will be well worth the time. This extra step in pitching allows you get the fly sheet extra taught and guy lines in the proper position for maximum wind stability.
At each end of the Akto there are two loops of guy lines connected to the mini fibreglass poles at each corner of the tent. This is such a well thought out approach as it gives strength without the need for discreet guy lines and pegs as each of the loops do the job of 2 separate guy lines. At 10 pegs in total, once they are all engaged and pegged out correctly the Akto takes on another form, one of solid performance in mixed conditions which includes a strong wind.
The Akto is pitch as one, the inner and outer are connected. This is an absolute life saver when pitching in wet conditions. The Akto can also be pitched inner only or fly only. Optional accessories also include a total mesh inner that replaces the nylon and mesh inner you get with the tent, this complete mesh offering would be for hotter environments.
Inside the Hilleberg Akto there is plenty of room for a very tall person (I’m roughly 188cm) in terms of length and width. The midge screen door is again very big to allow adequate internal ventilation. Sadly, the midge netting does not extend right to the base of tent as it would be nice to be able to lay there looking out at the view, if you want to do this then you have to have the inner open which could potentially let in insects.
Living in the Akto on extended trips is a pleasure even for a tall chap like myself! With one roomy internal pocket and space inside the inner for a large roll mat along with clothing and equipment it doesn’t feel cramped. The porch area is big enough to cook in and store your rucksack and boots again with space left over. However head room is an issue for me and I can’t sit up without my head touching the inner.
Having appreciated what the Akto can do in terms of providing a solid shelter in a wide range of conditions that is also very liveable and durable I can forgive its slightly heavy weight. If you are looking for a lightweight tent where weight is the only concern for you then look elsewhere (Hilleberg Enan) but the Akto gives so much more in a still relatively low pack weight.
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