9 years with a Hilleberg Akto

A few weeks ago I sold my Hilleberg Akto tent after 9 years hiking and camping with it. The last years it didn’t get much use anymore as by now I have become a fanatic tarper under 3-season conditions and I’ve been mostly using a Hilleberg Soulo for serious winter trips over the last two years. Despite the tent remained on the shelves for most of the time, I have been hesitating for two years before finally selling. After all those years I definitely had a bond with this tent.

Hilleberg tents are bomb proof and that’s what I like so much about them. You can rely on them in almost any weather condition. For example, have a look at Dave’s trip with his Akto in 130km/h winds in Lake District last September. The only drawback I’ve experienced with the Akto is its high amount of condensation you often get under certain conditions. The Soulo does a much better job in that respect and can handle a larger snow load.

To give honor to the Akto I made a compilation about the better bivouacs I have made with the tent throughout the years.

El Cilindro
Bivouac under El Cilindro in the Spanish Pyrenees, September 2003.

Grande Fache
Under Grande Fache in the Frensh Pyrenees, September 2004.

Bivak Estany Redon
After a hailstorm at Estany Redon in the Spanish Pyrenees, July 2005.

Bivak aan Lac de Fischboedle
At Lac de Fischboedle in the Frensh Vosges mountains, November 2005.

My first night in the snow in the German Eifel, December 2005.

Bivak Ibon Blanc de Lliterola
Between the boulders at Ibon Blanc de Lliterola in the Spanish Pyrenees, June 2006.

Sitting out the 31st thunderstorm on the trip through the Pyrenees in June 2006.

Latest night on a snowshoe trip on the mountain plateau of the “Dead Mountains” (Totesgebirge) in the Austrian Alps, April 2007.

Bivak in zijdalletje ten westen van Filli
On the GR57 long distance trail through the Belgian Ardennes together with Luc, May 2007.

Bivak Gressenstein
On a snowschoe trip through the Kitzbuheler Alps in Austria, February 2008.

Bivak Stanglhöhe
Spending the night on the summit of Stanglhöhe (2276m) in the Austrian Kitzbuheler Alps with Großvenediger (3662m) in the background, February 2008.

Vogezen 200811
One of my personal favorit bivouac places in the Frensh Vosges mountains, in front of Batteriekopf (1311), Rothenbachkopf (1316m) en Rainkopf (1305m), November 2008.

Dachstein 200902
Almost burried in heavy snowfall on a snowshoe trip on the Dachstein plateau in the Austrian Alps, February 2009.

Mullerthal 200905
On the Müllerthal trail in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, May 2009.

Schwarzwald 200910
Misty morning on Blössling (1309m) in the German Black Forest, October 2009.

Cantal 201012
On the mountain Puy de Peyre Arse (1806m) with view onto Puy Griou (1690m) in the Frensh Massif Central, December 2010.

17 thoughts on “9 years with a Hilleberg Akto

  1. I hope to have the luck to enjoy your Akto as much as u did. I sure will treat it the right way so it can give me many years of safe camping. Good luck with the tarping and maybe we meet on future hike.

  2. nice tribute to your old friend Akto 🙂

    As a late bloomer in all things light gear, we only tried tarping since last summer. After some tests in our garden, we went tarping last summer in Iceland and Greenland. Some people told we were crazy! We (and especially my wife) were quite uncertain on how this could possibly replace the safe heaven of a tent when it would go erratic out there.
    We set off tot the arctic with nothing but a tarp and we must admit it went very well with the tarp, not to say extremely well and we really really liked it (we had mostly friendly weather…). But as Rye mentioned some years ago in his blog, the choice between tarp or tent should not always be taken too lightly (what’s in a word).

    Altough our recent experience and your trips in Scandinavia and Greenland prove that tarping above the treeline could be quite hassle free, we still have our doubts for future monster hikes we plan to make in Lapland and Patagonia. What if the weather really gets nasty for multiple days and we are in the middle of the wilderness, days away from civiilization, would it not be “safer” in for example a Hillberg Nallo?

    The mental battle still goes on 😉

    To tarp or not to tarp…

    (i should put this on my blog :-))

    • Hi Steve,

      I understand your doubts. Tarping is fantastic in good weather. In nasty weather it’s all about searching a safe bivouac spot out of the strongest winds and where water cannot accumulate on the ground (unless you sleep on your inflated packraft mattress under the tarp). There are places on the planet where this asks a lot of effort, especially on vast open terrain and off course, one time you fail and you have to let your tarp battle against it. A tent can be safer indeed in such places and circumstances.

      But I think a lot of people often choose an uncomfortable bivouac spot just because one, they just don’t know how to recognize the signs that tell you there is a storm coming and two, when the wind is blowing many people just don’t seem to be aware where they can find the most sheltered places in complex terrain. If you don’t want to develop these skills and don’t like to spend the effort, I think you will more often risk uncomfortable nights under your tarp in places above tree line. At the end hiking succesfully with lightweight material is all about developing the appropriate skills and knowing the limitations of your gear and yourself.

      • I have as much trust in our trailstar than in our geodetic tent of Lightwave to be honest. Our tarp has a simple but good construction against the wind. It’s sometimes easier and faster to set up as well when things gets nasty. We already experienced it in Wales in June when wind, rain and must made us make camp in the middle of the day for a couple of hours. Next time we go to Iceland, we definitely will take our tarp. For winter conditions I still prefer the tent because it’s warmer.

  3. Hi Debbie,
    Nice to hear your trailstar has withstand fierce winds with ease. That confirms what many are saying about the trailstar. It’s the most storm worthy tarp design. Now the question remains, did you find it as comfortable in this situation under the trailstar (and I think you did just by knowing you)? Not everyone has the same comfort requirements causing many to lose confidence in a tarp.

  4. The biggest issue stays getting under the tarp when you completely close it to the ground. Especially when the wind comes from all directions, we close the entrance to prevent wind and rain to get in. You almost have to crawl underneath it, which can be a wet business. Also when I sleep alone underneath it, it makes me feel more secured when there is no entrance (just a psychological issue).
    For the rest, it’s comfortable enough for me. I have the protection I want. Only the midgets can get in… A bivy bag stays however neccessary, as well as a comfortable sleeping pad and bag. There I do not follow the lightweight philisophy (yet).

  5. Thanks for the mention in your blog you have some amazing photos well done and keep it up mate.

  6. I have camped on the exact same spot below el cilindro, beautiful bivouac spot with the north face of mt. perdido!

  7. Hi Dzjow,

    Amazing session of pictures!
    I have a question concerning the Akto. How tall are you? I’m contemplating to buy one instead of a lightweight two person tent to use by myself and the need for a light all-season trekking tent. My main fear is being so tall that my head or feet will touch the inner tent and cause my down sleeping bag to get wet. I’m 6″2 or 190cm tall, my mat is 196 long and 63cm wide. Problem is I can’t find an outdoorshop in my town that has it put up, so I’ll have to buy it online: where they sell it now with a 10% discount for the next three days (405 EUR), so I’ll have to decide rapidly. Do you think this is a legitimate concern?

    Thanks a heap, keep on doing your thing!



    • Hi Miro,

      I’m 181cm. I have a friend who is a bit longer then 190cm (don’t know exactly how long) and he uses an Akto. From what I remember of the Akto, I think laying down in the inner would be ok, but when sitting straight up I think your head will easily touch the inner. Hope this helps in your choice.


      • Thanks Joery,

        After a lot of inner debating I finally did go for the Akto. The person in the shop told me they couldn’t imagine it dissappointing me. Sitting upright might be a problem now and then, but the other pro’s of the tent convinced anyways.

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