Hilleberg Niak

I’ve owned the Hilleberg Niak for two years now, and it’s seen about 50 nights of use (including a 10-day sheep hunt in the Brooks Range), summer through winter, so it’s probably time I gave it a review.

Here’s what Hilleberg says about the Niak

THE NIAK expands on our concept of very lightweight yet remarkably strong three-season tents that we introduced with our one-person Enan. Ideal for two people who want to go as light as possible, the Niak is also a veritable lightweight palace for one person.

You can see it here.

Why I Chose The Niak

I’ve used at least a couple of dozen shelters (probably more) over the decades.  What led me to the Niak was a discussion with an outfitter who I had booked a Dall sheep hunt, still two + years out.  He told me about a strong storm (50-ish mph winds) that rolled into the Brooks Range during sheep season and wreaked havoc on several tents.  It was very uncommon for a storm of that magnitude, but obviously in the realm of possibilities.  With that in mind, I started looking for a more bomber tent than what I owned.  I did own a 4-season tent, but would be totally out of the question for an August hunt—single wall design with likely condensation issues and designed with snow in mind, not rain.

I wanted something that would be roomy for one, but could handle two in a pinch.  It needed to be relatively light (bomber almost always negates ultralight), but still on the bomber scale.  I’ve always been a fan of the tried and true two pole, cross pole design- free standing; strong and proven.  I looked at a lot of shelters, but the Niak kept jumping to the top.

Best Way To Save Money

Of course anyone who has perused the Hilleberg site, knows their shelters don’t come without a cost- a pretty high cost.  The MSRP for the Niak is now $845 (pro tip—Moosejaw, Campsaver, and others carry Hilleberg and will often have 20% sales. Also you’ll occasionally see a used one for sale on the Rokslide Classifieds!)

Niak Weight

I bit the bullet and purchased one.  I put it on the scale, and it weighed 3 lbs 11 oz, which matches their website.  This includes one section of spare pole and a repair pole sleeve, along with 10 stakes and guyout line.


The tent is very easy to setup; with a couple of practice runs- under 3-4 minutes.  The poles are well proven DAC 9mm aluminum, not a place I want to shave weight for a tent with rough weather in mind.  It also uses full sleeves for the poles- standard on almost all four-season tents- even though Hilleberg considers this a 3-season tent.


It’s a true double-wall design (outer fly with inner tent).  This alleviates concerns with condensation vs a single wall design.  Unlike most three season tents, the Niak doesn’t use an almost entirely mesh inner, rather a solid inner w/ a mesh front door.  This is more in keeping with 4-season tents, less mesh equals less snow spindrift.  It does come with an optional almost all mesh inner for summer use.  Also it’s important to note that the fly and inner are attached, meaning that can be setup as one.  When it’s raining (or snowing), this is a really important feature!

I should also mention that the yellow interior fabric really is nice as even on crappy, cloudy days- it looks brighter in the tent.

Niak Yellow Interior

Stakes And Guy Lines

The tent came with ten Y 6” stakes (similar to the MSR Mini Groundhog), good stakes, and I use them on several of my shelters, but replaced them with 9” nail stakes- simply because of more holding power.  The addition of the longer stakes was only an ounce weight hit.

The tent also came with light guy lines (2mm) and Micro Linelocs; again, I’ve used this same guy and attachment setup with lighter tents but replaced these with sturdier 3mm guys and the larger Linelocs.  I also lengthened the guy lines to make it easier to use with rocks, etc., where stakes aren’t an option- this change resulted in an additional 3 oz, which brings my shelter to 3 lbs 15 oz (4 oz heavier than shipped weight).

Tent Stakes

There are four stake-out points in the corner and then each upper corner has two guy lines coming off that can be staked with a single stake.  A small guy line at the rear and one off the vestibule for a total of 10 stakes needed.  If the weather is fair, I’ll often forego using the doubled up guy lines from the corners and just use the corner stakes.

Niak Set Up

Size And Space

The measurements of their website—length/width/height—are accurate.  It’s a bit deceiving in that it shows the floor as 86” long, which it is, but the tent curves from the outside taking up a fair bit of that of 86” of space.

Hilleberg touts this as a 2-person tent, which it is, as two twenty-inch pads do fit in.  I wouldn’t hesitate to use it with my wife, but it would be a bit creepy-cozy for two guys.

Niak With Two Sleeping Pads

Where it really shines is as a 1-person tent.  There is plenty of extra room for gear/rifle inside—this is with an Xtherm Large 25×77” pad.

Niak With One Person Setup

One Vestibule

There is only one vestibule (and door), another strike against it being a 2-person tent.  The vestibule is adequate, but I wish it were a little larger.  I can fit my pack on one side and boots/stove on the other.  The vestibule comes out 25” at the center but tapers quickly to the sides; I think the addition of just 5” at the center would be much better.

The vestibule can be tied back on one or both sides; it uses a plastic toggle with an elastic loop—a very simple-to-use design.  The mesh door can also be tied back as well with the same type of toggle/loop.

Door Tie

The tent has two mesh interior pockets, one on each end.

Interior Pockets

Room For Organizing

Holding Up To Weather

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve used this tent a lot and in all sorts of weather.  I’ve yet to encounter any condensation issues inside the tent; I have occasionally had condensation on the inside of the vestibule fly.  I can live with that.

The tent does a great job of shedding both rain and snow.  Occasionally in the winter if there is enough snow, a few pokes to the roof and it slides off.  Hilleberg doesn’t consider this tent a 4-season, but I do.

Late Season

It also does a great job with wind; I’ve been out with it with gusts that were in the 30-40-ish mph range and it held up just fine.  It’s never overly comforting inside the tent when you get winds like that, but I’ve had no issues whatsoever.

Niak In Snow

While I have lighter tents that also see a lot of use (possibly more), the Niak is definitely the tent I grab when the weather looks bad.  I think it does a great job of balancing robustness, weather protection and weight. Click here to order.

Comment or ask Mike questions here or continue reading the rest of our shelter reviews here.