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With a history of tent-making that dates back to 1973, Swedish brand Hilleberg is one of the longest- standing tent manufacturers on the planet. In the 46 years that have passed since Bo Hilleberg made his first tent and set up the company that would blossom into the world-renowned brand we know today, the name Hilleberg has become virtually synonymous with top-notch quality for outdoors-goers everywhere.
But just what it that Hilleberg tents offer that those of other brands don’t? And how do Hilleberg’s tents measure up against the home-grown competition? And, finally, is the Hilleberg Enan really the uber-practical, bombproof, holy grail of lightweight backcountry accommodation that its various users have led us to believe?
In the following article, we aim to answer each of these questions with our in-depth review of the Hilleberg Enan Tent. Before we get down to that review, however, let’s first take a look at the characteristics and features you should be looking for when in the market for a tent for your backcountry adventures.
The specs and characteristics that different campers need in a tent vary greatly, of course, depending on their activity type, the number of sleepers they intend on sharing their tent with, and also when and where they envision doing most of their camping.
However, the fact that you have landed on this page and are reading this review tells us you’re likely in the market for a well-made, one-person, three-season, ultralight tent for backpacking, mountaineering, and other backcountry pursuits. With this in mind, the most important features to consider when weighing this tent and others up as options include weight, spaciousness, weather resistance, materials, ventilation, and ease of set up.
The tent market is now blessed with such a wide array of lightweight and ultralight tents that there is really no reason to purchase a tent weighing more than 1.5 kg/3lbs 3oz per sleeper unless you happen to be car camping or looking for a palatial basecamp tent for long-term occupancy.
When buying, however, we highly recommend taking the terms ‘ultralight’ and ‘lightweight’ with a pinch of salt while surveying product listings. While manufacturers are held to certain regulations in listing tents as ‘waterproof’, the same does not apply, for some reason, to a tent’s weight. In practice, this means that the marketing people of various tent brands try to push sales of certain tent models by listing them as either of the above when, in reality, they are nothing of the sort.
As with capacity ratings, the solution is simple: bypass the product title and head straight to the specs!
It’s also worth bearing in mind that a tent’s ‘trail weight’ may be significantly different to its ‘packed weight’—another ruse used by the marketers to make their tents seem lighter than they actually are. Unlike packed weight (which is an all-inclusive measurement of the tent and all its components), trail weight refers to the bare minimum needed to set up the tent—the tent body, poles, the minimum number of stakes or pegs, and often not even the fly!
Getting a handle on your parameters with regard to the weight of your tent can be facilitated by asking yourself a few simple questions:
If in shoulder seasons or winter, plumping for a slightly heavier tent that offers better weather resistance may be well worth it.
While the answer may be an unequivocal ‘yes’ if you are a weekend warrior or one-nighter, if you plan on spending longer periods on the trails (thru-hiking, for example), then an added ounce or two of weight might be a small price to pay in return for few more inches of elbow and headroom.
If the latter, portation is not an issue and you can afford to choose a heavier tent.
If the former, just how steely are your calves?!
Tent manufacturers tend to abandon their scruples when it comes to assigning a capacity rating to their tents.
This often plays out in scenarios similar to the following: we read ‘3-person tent’ in the online product description, click ‘buy’, eagerly await the arrival of our brand-spanking-new, three-person palace, then suffer great confusion, frustration, and no small amount of rage when the tent turns up looking altogether more diminutive than expected, with the ‘persons’ referred to appearing to be gnome-like or newborn in character rather than adult humans.
Only use seller-given capacity ratings to give you a ballpark idea of how spacious a tent will be.
For a more accurate impression of the tent’s ability to comfortably host you and your sleeping companions, hunt down the tent blueprint or dimensions and do a few quick calculations.
Here’s how those calculations are done:
As a rough guide, the average amount of square footage required for full-grown adults is around 15/16 square feet per person. However, this can, of course, vary by a few square feet in either direction depending on your own dimensions, how much gear you plan on taking into the tent with you (and bear in mind that this might be significantly more in winter months), and how much elbow room you prefer to have inside your tent.
The following figures offer a rough guideline for the amount of square footage required per number of adult sleepers:
Number of adult campers
Beyond a tent’s overall square footage, it’s also a very wise policy to check that the tent’s width and length will suffice to accommodate you, your sleeping partners, and your camping equipment. Tapered ends in tents often mean that, for example, the 7-foot length quoted in the product description only applies to the longest section of the tent, which may be a fairly narrow strip at center rather than uniform across the breadth of the tent at both the top and bottom, thereby leaving one or more sleepers with a faceful of tent fabric to contend with while they sleep.
The same applies to a tent’s width—curved, tapered, or angled corners can make it impossible or very tricky to squeeze in sleeping mats and, thus, lead to serious logistic problems trying to accommodate all of the tent’s would-be occupants.
To get around this problem, pay close attention to the tent’s configuration and design and, if possible, get your hands on the tent’s blueprint to check that length and width measurements suffice to accommodate taller sleepers and wide or rectangular sleeping matsImage: A tent blueprint—very handy for gauging overall livability and spaciousness.
Another hugely important consideration with regard to a tent’s overall livability is its peak height. This refers to the height of the tent at its highest point and, simply put, is the greatest contributor to that oh-so-desirable attribute that is headroom.
But just how much peak height is enough?
As with width, length, and overall square footage, this will again depend on the size of the sleeper(s). However, as a general guide, we suggest than tents with a peak height of around 35-40 inches are generally not too claustrophobic for users under six feet tall, though it’s worth bearing in mind that this height refers to the tent’s highest point and is likely to be much less at either end or side, particularly in traditional v-shaped tents.
If you happen to be over six feet tall or just prefer more headroom, we’d recommend shooting for a tent with a peak height closer to 45 inches, particularly if you intend to use the tent on multi-day trips—while a little bit of discomfort may be tolerable for a day or two, in the long run a lack of headroom can provide a serious test for your sanity! Even though a 45-inch peak height won’t allow you to stand up inside the tent, it will let you shift around the tent on your knees without having to duck and, for most, sit upright in the tent comfortably.
Wherever you happen to be in the world and whatever season you anticipate doing your camping in, reliable weather resistance should be somewhere very near the top of your ticklist of must-have features in any tent. Even if you happen to be a fair-weather camper, we are all aware that fair-weather forecasts can often be wildly wrong (!) and, moreover, having any doubts about our tent’s wet-weather performance can seriously restrict us when planning future camping trips.
All tents come with very handy and usually functional repair kits. However, attempting to use these kits when slap-bang in the middle of nowhere on a stormy night ranks up there with kicks in the genitals, paying taxes, and dental visits as life’s least enjoyable experiences. Doing so repeatedly, moreover, leaves our tent looking more like a patchwork DIY-job than our dearly loved safe haven for backcountry adventuring.
To ensure your tent isn’t one primed for such a shoddy appearance shortly down the line or liable to leave you in any such bind, we recommend looking for a model with tough, ripstop fabrics that can deal with a bit of rough treatment both in and out of your pack and survive the odd scrape with items inside your tent.
This usually means choosing a model with a high denier count (this measures the thickness of the tent’s fabric) and ripstop fabrics in both the tent body and rainfly. This is particularly important if you plan on using the tent in mountainous terrains (think rocky surfaces!) and windy conditions.
While a tent body with a denier count in the region of 7-10 with probably be perfectly adequate, we recommend opting for a model with 12 to 15-denier fly and a 20 to 30-denier footprint, particularly if you happen to be wild camping, slightly clumsy, and/or envision having any potential ‘rippers’—ice axes, snowshoes, crampons, dogs, etc—inside the tent with you.
These days, more and more manufacturers are including ‘tear strengths’ in product listings. If you should happen to find these in any product description, the following offers a rough guide to how the figures translate into performance.
Thankfully, this component of a tent’s composition and performance is industry regulated, meaning manufacturers can’t get away with throwing the term around without their tents having met certain standards in industry testing.
But there’s a ‘but’…
At present, the legal minimum hydrostatic head rating required for a tent to be listed as ‘waterproof’ is a rather lowly 1,000 mm. While tents with this hydrostatic head rating will keep you dry in light and short-lived showers, in a downpour or when exposed to sustained precipitation they’re likely to spring a leak a two (at best!).
Again, the hydrostatic head rating you require from your tent will vary depending on the conditions in which you plan on doing your camping and may result in a slight trade-off with regards to weight.
As a general guide, we’d recommend opting for a tent fly with a hydrostatic head rating of:
In addition to the tent fly, the hydrostatic head rating of your tent’s groundsheet is also of vital importance. The floor of your tent is subject to the most pressure on the fabric (applied by gear and the tent’s occupants). As such, a higher hydrostatic head rating is required to ensure groundwater doesn’t seep through and soak sleeping mats, sleeping bags, stray knees, and other equipment. For fair-weather campers, we recommend looking for groundsheet with a HH rating of 2,000 mm or above and, for shoulder-season or winter campers, a rating of at least 5,000 mm.
A poorly ventilated tent can be the cause of as many frustrations as a ripped or otherwise poorly made one. And while a tent that’s short on waterproofing or has leaky seams will only leave us wet when it rains, one that scores low in the ventilation stakes is sure to leave us at least partially soaked no matter what the overnight weather conditions may be.
In short, ventilation is a characteristic that deserves your pre-purchase attention and consideration as much as—if not more than—any other.
While gauging how breathable a tent may be often coming down to reading user reviews, a few features in the tent can also help to give you an accurate impression of its ability to shed the moisture vapor responsible for the buildup of condensation on a tent’s interior.
Some of these features you should look for include:
A tent’s finer details are fare more than gratuitous bling or luxury add-ons and can have as much an impact on the tent’s performance and livability as seemingly more substantial factors like size, weight, and materials.
The bottom line? Even if your tent ticks all the boxes in terms of waterproofing, capacity, and weight, if its smaller features aren’t up to task its practicality, comfort, and convenience can take a serious nosedive.
The most notable of these features include the following:
In addition to providing a means of ventilating your tent (see above), having a duo of doors will give you two points of entry/exit. While this might not seem like a big deal while reading from the comfort of your home, after a few days (or weeks!) on the trail it can make a huge difference, particularly if you are sharing your tent with other campers. Not only will a double-doored design give both sleepers personal vestibule space for gear storage, but also ensure you don’t have to clamber over one another when getting in and out of the tent.
Again, these are unlikely to make or break a tent’s utility, but a larger vestibule area will give you more storage space for wet, dirty, and/or sharp gear and leave more living space inside the tent.
Having a few decent-sized pockets in which you can stash clothes, maps, headlamps, toiletries, and other items that you want to take into the tent with you at night can help to both optimize organization and free up a lot of floor space, and, therefore, significantly increase your tent’s comfort and livability. Look for large pockets in the tent walls and, ideally, a gear loft—these tend to be the most commodious storage spaces and are also handy spots to place lanterns or headlamps for lighting.
Very few campers are lucky enough to go through their entire career as a backcountry adventurer without suffering extreme exasperation and being made to look very silly by a tent that simply refuses to be put up.
A few design features can help you avoid such a fate, namely:
As with all features of a tent, your choice of a single or double-walled model will come down to how you plan on using it.
Single-walled tents, as you might expect, use less material and, thus, typically tip the scales at a much lower weight than their double-walled brethren. In most cases, they are also easier to pitch and have much smaller footprints, which allows you to pitch them in tighter spaces. These benefits, however, most often come at a cost to ventilation, weather protection, and storage space.
Double-walled tents are favored by the vast majority of campers—whether backcountry adventurers or campsite comfort-lovers—for several reasons. First up, they provide superior weather protection and insulation by placing two layers of fabric between you and the elements. Secondly, they ventilate better and are far less prone to condensation on account of the air pockets between the fly and the tent body, which permit airflow around the sleeping space. Finally, two-wallers usually offer superior durability and ruggedness owing to the fact that a tear in the rainfly is not terminal to the tent’s utility (most rainflies can be bought separately and, thus, replaced). If the same happens with a one-waller and the tear is beyond repair, then you’ll have to buy a whole new tent.
The bottom line? If weather protection, livability, storage space, and ventilation are high on your list of priorities, then we’d recommend choosing a double-walled tent, but if you’re a diehard gram-counter willing to sacrifice the above in return for weight savings or envision pitching your tent on narrow mountain ledges, in dense forest, or anywhere else where space is at a premium, then single-wallers are an option perhaps worth looking into.
Still with us? Great! In that case, now that we know the features and factors that go into the making of a great tent, let’s get down to our review of the Hilleberg Enan.
At 1.2kg/2.1 lbs, the Enan is a fraction heavier than many other ultralight, three-season, one-person tents on the market. However, in the words of Hilleberg:
“We knew that we could have made the Enan even lighter, but we also knew that doing so would yield less than “true Hilleberg” durability and function.”
And this pretty much sums up all we need to know about the Enan. While the vast majority of its competitors that tip the scales at under two pounds make serious sacrifices in terms of quality of build and weather-resistance, this is possibly the most well-made and waterproof one-person backpacking tent on the market.
The Enan is designed for those who like to travel fast, light, and don’t require too many bells and whistles or expect their backcountry ‘digs’ to be palatial in their dimensions. That said, the dimensions of the Enan might be deemed by some solo campers to be a touch on the skimpy side.
With a total square footage of 18.3 feet, 84” length, 37” width, and a peak height of a mere 36”, the Enan is slightly smaller than many of it’s one-person competitors. The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV1, for example, offers just over 20 square feet of floor space and an extra few inches of width, length, and peak height, and weighs in at 4oz. less. The trade-off in this case, however, is in durability and weather resistance, in which the Enan comes up trumps.
We’ll get straight to the bottom line: the Enan is one of the most reliable three-season tents we’ve ever come across when the foul weather comes to town.
With a hydrostatic head rating of 5,000 mm in the rainfly, a DWR-treated tent body, and a 50-denier, double-coated polyurethane floor rated to 12,000 mm hydrostatic head, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more resilient, weather-blocking backcountry bolthole on the market without venturing into the world of alpine four-season tents.
The Enan’s double-walled construction and large mesh door both contribute to making this tent a very high performer in terms of ventilation. That ‘good’, moreover, becomes ‘outstanding’ when when we take into account the tent’s air-permeable and highly breathable inner tent fabrics—a feature that represents a significant upgrade on those found on cheaper models of tent and which make it a true standout as regards its ability to provide a drip and puddle-free environment inside your tent in the morning, even in the most humid conditions.
To give you an idea of how the Enan stands up compared to other one-person ultralight tents, take a quick look at the following table:
Waterproofing (hydrostatic head)
18.3 sq. feet
Floor: 12,000 mm
1 lbs 13 oz
20 sq. feet
Rainfly: 1,200 mm
22.3 sq. feet
Rainfly: 1,200 mm
3 lbs 8 oz
19 sq. feet
Rainfly: 1,200 mm
While specs and stats never tell the whole story, the table above is very revealing as regards the main benefits of spending those extra few bucks to get your hands on a tent like the Hilleberg Enan…
…and, for some, why those benefits might not be worth the trade-off.
In terms of weather resistance, the Enan is the hands-down winner, even compared to alpine tents like the MSR Access 1, but by casting our eyes a little to the left we quickly discover why the Enan isn’t the go-to choice for solo adventurers everywhere—not only does it weigh a whack more than both the Fly Creek and the Nemo Hornet, it also offers considerably less in the way of elbow room.
The take-home from these figures is fairly simple: for lightweight livability, the Enan is far from the best option out there, but for those who like their weather resistance to be of the bombproof variety and are willing to put up with a few added ounces of pack weight and only slightly undersized dimensions to have it, this hardy little tent just might be your guy/gal.
Want to see the Enan ‘in action’? Check out this video from Cotswold Outdoors!:
The Enan’s greatest attributes—its outstanding overall quality and weather resistance—and greatest downside—it’s price—pose something of a problem to the potential buyer, but also make the bottom line for those who might be considering purchasing this tent very clear: if you want a rock-solid, lightweight, superbly weather-resistant tent that offers outstanding quality in every stitch and minute detail, then you have to pay a pretty penny.
In short, there are cheaper and lighter tents out there that will appeal to the serious gram-counters, those working on a tighter budget, or those who are likely to use their tent only sporadically. However, if you want a true ‘lifer’ of a tent that will serve you well whatever the weather throws at you and also makes up for its (very few) flaws with peerless across-the-board performance, the Enan is well worth loosening the purse strings for.
Kieran James Cunningham is a climber, mountaineer and writer based in the Italian Alps. He’s climbed a handful of 6000ers in the Himalayas, 4000ers in the Alps and loves nothing more than a good long-distance wander in the wilderness.