Size | 2 Person
Seasons | 3-4
Material Fly | 40D Nylon
Material Tent | Polyester
Material Poles | Aluminum
Footprint | No
Doors | 2
Windproof | Yes
Waterproof | Yes
Brand | Hillman
Weight | 5.06 lbs
Country of Origin | China
Warranty | Unkown
Price | $64.97
Price Paid | $54.97
We picked up the Hillman 3-4 season 2 person tents, one of the most affordable tents available. We figured at such a low price we’d put it to the test, and give you our honest opinion. Is it a good tent, or a hard pass?
The tent comes in a decent bag, that is decent and incorporates two compressions straps to keep things secure, as well as keep the size down.
Also, to our pleasant surprise, there are no interesting odors produced by the tent or materials. Whether that’s unusual or not with imported fabrics, we don’t know, but we are experienced with unboxing things like rotomolded plastics, and machined parts covered in packaging oils carrying distinct smells. The two person tent doesn’t smell, and we are glad it doesn’t.
In The Field
The Hillman 2 Person Tent does not include a footprint, so we set up the tent directly on top of ice and snow, during a snowstorm.
The tent is as straightforward as any to set up. The aluminum pole segments are connected via a typical bungee cord, extend and lock easily, and it is obvious where to insert the poles into the tent.
Once erect, the tent exposed stitch quality, material quality, the volume of mesh to fabric, and two very large doors with two-way #8 zippers. There is a seam that runs the full length of the bathtub-style tent floor, and while it is seam taped, it doesn’t instill confidence that it wouldn’t eventually leak if the tent is set up in too low a spot during a heavy downpour. The materials and treatments used to construct the tent and bathtub floor aren’t clearly stated by the manufacturer, but in our opinion, they could be heavier or have a heavier polyurethane treatment. The extra couple of ounces would have been worth the waterproofing security.
The two large doors, leaving only a very small section of material to hinge the door, as opposed to the D-shaped doors used by many tent manufacturers. Hillman extended the zippers almost the full circumference of the doors, which makes them very easy to enter and exit, which we liked. The manufacturers stated width and length of the floor don’t make a lick of sense. Two people about 5 foot 7 inches could comfortably sleep in the two person tent, but anybody approaching 6 feet or taller, might find it to be a bit of a squeeze.
Storage is lacking inside the tent. It is a no-frills design, with no gear loft, no pockets, and no pouches. So plan on a DIY project to add your own storage solutions, or expect to leave things like a headlamp loose on the floor or in your pack.
The Tent Fly
The fly is like any other fly, it includes two #8 zippers, one for each door location, and additionally has some velcro patches along the zipper which are convenient for keeping the door flap in place without having to zip or unzip every time.
The fly also attaches to the corners of the tent with buckles and can be cinched tight, which is pretty standard amongst tent manufacturers. When staked, and attached to guy-lines, the fly doesn’t provide much of an air gap around the tent, and there is no real vestibule. There is about enough room to put a pair of boots and keep them out of the elements.
There are two large vents on top of the fly, which are held open with a stiffened piece of webbing and velcro but don’t have much of an overhang to provide adequate protection against rain. Looking at the seam sealing at the location of the vent support, revealed pinholes where the light was shining through, indicating spots that are not actually waterproofed.
Weathering the Elements
After sitting out in the wind and snow for a couple of hours, the inside of the tent was as dry as when we started. None of the seems leaked, but then again temperatures stayed below freezing, so there was not much of an opportunity for snow to melt and things to get wet, versus just icing over. The vents did build up with snow, and while the mesh kept the snow out of the tent, it certainly wouldn’t keep water out during a windy rain event.
The Hillman tent is surprisingly decent and performed better than we expected. The large vents would benefit from a larger overhang or lip, some of the materials could be better, the fly could provide more covered space at teh doors, and waterproofing details and treatments could be better, but overall we were pleasantly surprised with its performance given the price.
While we did not test the 4 season tent, we tested the 3 season tent in the snow, because the only meaningful manufacturing difference between the two is a skirt at the base of the fly, which adds another 6 to 8 inches.
Our opinion is that the Hillman tent is suitable for many camping conditions, but not something you’d want to rely on during a heavy rain event or snowstorm in the backcountry, where it is your only protection from the elements. It is relatively light at 5 lbs and could be a good 3 season backpacking tent when split up and carried between two people.
It will satisfy the needs of most people, and at such an affordable price, it is hard to argue against purchasing one. You wouldn’t lose much in terms of an investment either, should it wear out, or break after a season or two of normal use.
The Hillman 2 Person 3-4 Season tent is not a serious mountaineering tent, like the MSR Advance Pro 2 Person Tent. It also isn’t the best tent out there, but we have to admit we were surprised that it is as good as it is, for the price. If you have reasonable expectations for the Hillman, it can be a really good value proposition, at around 65 bucks.