It was about time, due to the pitiful warranty issues with North Face, and those issues caused me to take a serious look at my first Hilleberg at Barney's in Anchorage.
Honestly I should qualify that by saying I did more than look, I paid retail price for a 2 man Kaitum and took it straight into the field on a sheep hunt with a client, and I have never looked back.
The Kaitum is a perfect fit for two guys with enough room for two normal 20" wide Thermarest sleeping pads and there is still about a one foot of length left above or below a 6' man.
The width is such that two guys are pretty much shoulder to shoulder, which is perfectly fine, but the extra length gives the individual a little extra room for personal gear that one doesn't want left in the vestibules.
The vestibules by the way are fantastic and they are probably my favorite feature.
The tent is 31 sq.
ft inside, but the vestibule adds 13 sq.
ft on each end which is plenty enough room for your entire pack, boots and even enough room to still cook with the Whisperlite if you need to.
Mind you, the company warns against cooking in the vestibule, and I do to, especially if you don't really know how to light a mountaineering stove properly...
but that's another story altogether.
Tent weight is listed as minimum 5 lbs 5 oz.
and 6 lbs 6 oz packed.
The difference of course is the minimum weight does not include stuff sacks and stakes, etc.
You can set the tent up of course without the stakes if you are in the right place and you can tie off, or use stones, but this is not a freestanding tent, so I prefer to carry the stakes.
By now I have spent a heck of a lot of time in my Kaitums and I continue to add to the collection, and I have to say their performance in extreme wind, coupled with the light weight and the roomy vestibules are the reason I have to rate them five stars.
I have rode out 4 days of whiteout conditions on a 3,000 exposed ridge in the Alaska Range in April with sustained wind of 50 mph+ for almost the entire 4 days, and this ordeal culminated with winds pushing 90 mph for the crescendo, and yes we survived.
Two Kaitums and a Hilleberg Nallo 3GT got us through, though I did have a zipper come of track on one of my primary doors while I was trying to crawl out in an 80 mph breeze.
Hilleberg later repaired the zipper without any problem, and I thought this was possibly my fault by forcing the issue under such extreme conditions.
The Kaitum has plenty of headroom in my mind and for those not familiar with the Hilleberg tent design, the fly is attached to the main tent body via rings and hooks and it is left attached unless there is some reason to remove it.
This does away with having to install the fly every time you set the tent up and it still has around 3" to 4" of clearance between the fly and the tent body proper, which allows for pretty good air circulation.
If there are any drawbacks to the tent it would probably be the long imprint that it needs to be set up, which can be an issue in boulder piles, but it is the price you pay for the dual vestibules.
Apart from this it is very difficult to find anything to complain about and most all of my guides have the tendency to favor this particular tent.
A final word about Hilleberg, they do have an incredible guide program that offers a really nice discount (for qualifying professional guides) on all their tents as well.