Our tents – the Strong vs. the Light

After we had been travelling for 1,5 years with a Hilleberg Keron 3, we decided to purchase a new tent. The Keron 3 is incredibly strong, but we never were in a situation where we really needed its bomb proof construction. Therefore we started looking for a much lighter tent when we arrived in Australia and finally bought a MSR Mutha Hubba NX.

Both are 3 persons tents, but the MSR is only half the weight of the Hilleberg Keron.

Hilleberg Keron 3

Hilleberg Keron 3

  • Outer dimensions: 430 x 175 x 115cm
  • Inner dimensions: 220 x 160 x 105cm
  • Weight: 4170g

MSR Mutha Hubba NX

MSR Mutha Hubba

  • Outer dimensions: 375 x 180 x 120cm
  • Inner dimensions: 213 x 172 x 112cm
  • Weight: 2160g
 

The Strong

Hilleberg’s Keron 3 is a classic 4 seasons tent. It’s flysheet goes all the way to the ground. This construction makes it very stable to strong wind and helps to keep the inner temperature warm. It also prevents rain and snow to be blown below the flysheet.

We usually use tents with two apses. First of all it is nice to have the additional space, where you can also store some of your equipment. Even more important is the fact, that tents with apses on both sides provide larger inner space. Tents without an apse become very low at the bottom end, so you are not able to sit there anymore.

The Keron 3 provides extremely strong 10mm tent poles. If this should be still not strong enough for you, there even is the option to use two poles in one pole channel to make it absolutely bomb proof.

The fabric of the flysheet is called Kerlon 1800, a very strong Nylon which is silicon coated with a total of 3 layers. This treatment makes the nylon fibres extremely smooth and is the secret that makes this material very special. If your flysheet gets accidentally pierced, you have a high chance that it doesn’t destroy your fibres and just pushes them to the side instead. In that case, you can usually close the puncture by rubbing and squeezing the fabric.

Hilleberg offers optional pole holders to be able to pitch the inner tent only without the flysheet. Although it is nice to have this option for warmer climate, it only makes sense, if you can be sure to have no rain for a few days. Otherwise the convertion is just too much effort.

The Light

MSR’s Mutha Hubba NX is a light 3-season tent. It is a mixture of a tunnel and a dome tent. The flysheet is not going all the way to the ground. Therefore this tent has a very good ventilation, but also becomes cold quite fast in windy and chilly conditions.

The Mutha Hubba also has 2 apses. The inner space is a little bit smaller than the Keron’s, but it still offers enough space for 2 persons and equipment.

MSR uses 9,3mm poles and are all connected with rubber cords, so they are mounted very quickly. Although you have to pitch the inner tent first before you can cover it with the flysheet, the installation is as fast as for the Hilleberg.

In the beginning we were not convinced, if the Mutha Hubba will survive the strong winds in Patagonia. Luckily it is strong enough, but needs some additional cords, that don’t come with the tent, to stake it down properly.

The Mutha Hubba’s inner tent is made of fly mesh in the upper part. This makes it way more breathable than the Keron. Especially if you only pitch the inner tent in very warm nights. It is also very nice to be able to watch the stars like that, before you fall asleep. On the other hand, you can easily notice the temperature dropping much faster in chilly and windy conditions, compared to the Keron.

MSR also uses Nylon for the flysheet. The outside is siliconised while the inner side is polyurethane coated. Because of that, they can seam tape the inner side, what wouldn’t be possible with a silicone coating like you have on the Keron. The fabric also doesn’t stretch as much when wet, compared to a purely silicone coated one.

Conclusion

Both tents are very good and reliable. We never got wet in one of them and we also never had a broken pole. It was very nice to have the Hilleberg Keron in Pakistan, where we had 20cm (8 in) of snow and -10°C (14°F) one night. We also had some nights in Patagonia, where we were not sure, if the MSR will make it until the next morning. It didn’t break, but we missed our Keron in these situations. However – since you usually travel with the seasons on a motorcycle and you prefer nice weather anyway, we would recommend the much lighter MSR Mutha Hubba for a trip like we did.

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