Review: Naturehike Hiby Tent

Intro

The Naturehike Hiby is a fairly lightweight and versatile 2- to 3-person, 4-season tent. It offers a bombproof structure and a large vestibule, but this is not a tent for tall people.

Key Information

Price (at time of writing): R4399
Weight: 2900g (including the groundsheet and stuff bag)
Waterproof rating: Flysheet: 4000mm; Floor: 4000mm
Fabric: Flysheet and floor: 20D Silicone coated nylon
Structure: 3 poles with 4 intersections; freestanding
Poles: 7001 Aluminium

Design

The tent pitches fly-first, with the poles running the full length of the tent structure through external sleeves on the flysheet.

This full-length pole structure has two major benefits:

  • By tensioning the entire flysheet through the pole structure, including the vestibule, no part of the flysheet is reliant on pegs for its structural integrity. Usually, if a vestibule isn’t pegged down properly, it flaps around in the wind – with the Hiby, that tension is created by the poles. The poles are perfectly sized, leaving no slack – this results in impressive tension in the flysheet, which really inspires confidence in heavy weather.
  • The second benefit of having the vestibule as part of the pole structure is that is creates an arc in the flysheet over the vestibule, adding loads of extra space. This tent has the biggest, most liveable vestibule of any semi-geodesic hiking tent I’ve seen.
A 105L and 75L backpack inside the vestibule and still more than enough space to cook and get in and out of the tent.

The fact that the tent pitches fly-first also means you can pitch it in the rain without the inner getting wet – this is a major bonus for summer hiking in the Drakensberg. The inner is attached to the flysheet with toggles, which are easily removed, meaning the tent can also be used without the inner, as a quick shelter from the rain over lunchtime, or a lightweight camping option.

It is essentially a single-entry tent, but the vestibule opens on either side, allowing for some flexibility in the wind, or opening up entirely in warmer conditions.

The vestibule zippers can be opened from the top, allowing for sheltered cooking while maintaining ventilation.

What’s in the Bag

The Hiby comes fully equipped with pegs, poles and guy ropes, as well as a groundsheet, which will add years of extra durability to the tent floor. All the elements are supplied in a neat stuff sack.

Weight

Weighing in at 2900g, the Hiby is attractively light, even as a 2-person tent, which is most likely what it will be used for due to its dimensions, but more on that later.

Ease of Pitching

One of the few potentially negative aspects of this tent – pitching the Hiby is definitely a two-person job. Because the poles run the full length of the tent, they are extra-long. This, combined with the fact that they run through sleeves, makes it difficult to pitch on one’s own. I wouldn’t recommend the Hiby if you’re planning on using it is a 1-person tent.

Fortunately, the pitching time is negated by the fact that it pitches fly-first, so the inner won’t be getting wet during setup.

Inside the Tent

The inner tent walls are fabric up to about half-way and then mesh in the roof. The fabric portion does a great job at keeping drafts out and heat in, while the mesh roof allows for sufficient ventilation.

Storage is limited to 3 triangular pouches – one in the back and two in the front. However, when used as a 2-person tent, there is a fair amount of floor space left for a few bits and pieces inside the tent, but this shouldn’t ever be an issue because of the huge vestibule.

You could potentially squeeze three small people in there, but it’s going to be tight…

The Hiby is marketed as a 2- to 3-person tent. However, the dimensions of the tent floor limits it to three very small people. Practically, it’s more of a 2-person tent and even then, it has some limitations. I’m 1.86m tall and I was quite comfortable in the Hiby, but my head and feet were just starting to touch the ends of the tent, so anyone taller will start to feel a bit cramped when lying stretched out.

In contrast to the slightly limiting length, the tent is actually quite tall, allowing one to sit up comfortably – another important factor when trapped in your tent during bad weather.

Ventilation

All three air vents strategically point toward the back of the tent, allowing for maximum airflow when the tent is pitched with the vestibule facing away from the wind.

With two people sharing the tent, we experienced minimal condensation inside the flysheet, with none of it intruding into the inner tent.

Weather Resistance

While testing this tent, I only experienced medium winds and light rain. However, judging by the design and construction of the Hiby, and having used other, less sturdy Naturehike tents in hectic weather, I would gladly put money on this tent being able to handle 80km/h winds quite comfortably. The Hiby has 9 ground points, 6 guy lines and 3 poles that cross 4 times – it’s not going anywhere!

Pitched correctly, the elliptical shape of the tent further reduces wind resistance, allowing it to handle a lot more wind than most dome-style tents.

Conclusion

If you’re shorter than 1.86m, this tent is fantastic for 4-season use with a very liveable vestibule to comfortably sit out bad weather, or to open up on summer evenings. Fairly lightweight, bombproof and versatile.

This tent was provided by Naturehike for review purposes and can be purchase from their online store.

About Arno van der Heever 37 Articles
Co-founder of Hiking South Africa, Arno loves the outdoors and finds joy in sharing it with others. He is a qualified mountain guide, a keen rock climber and has a "thing" for technical backpacks and footwear.

6 Comments

  1. Thanks Ian!

    If you’re shorter than 1.86, the Hiby is way more “liveable”. It is a fair bit wider than the Helio, so more room to turn when sleeping and it’s taller, so you can comfortably sit up – I feel slightly cramped in the Helio. It’s also awkward getting in and out of the Helio and if you have two packs under the Helio’s vestibule, there’s not much room for anyhing else, unlike the Hiby, which feels like you have a second room attached to your tent.

    That being said, the Helio is cheaper, lighter and WAY easier to pitch and in very extreme situations, I would trust the Helio’s Polyester flysheet more than the Hiby’s Silnylon. Also, you can comfortably use the Helio as a 1-person tent (if you don’t mind carrying the whole tent), whereas pitching the Hiby alone is a schlep.

    Hope that helps.

  2. Hi Arno

    You partially answered my question above, but was just interested to hear how easy it is to pitch the Hiby? I have heard it is a bit of a nightmare to pitch with the very long cross-poles. This is likely a crucial piece of information for people interested in the tent.

    • Hi Gerhard, as mentioned in the review, pitching the Hiby is basically it’s only negative element (other than being a bit short) and can be a bit of a phaf if you’re trying to pitch it on your own, but I wouldn’t say it’s a “nightmare” – it just takes slightly longer than other tents. However, if you have another pair of hands, it really isn’t that bad. You forget all about the extra setup time when the weather comes in hard and you’re safe, dry and comfortable inside a solid tent 😉

      • Hi Arno

        Would you take this over the Vango Halo 300? I’m a big fan of the Fly sheet first set up and have been looking at the Halo for a while.

        The Nature Hike seems light and cheaper too

        Thanks

        • The Halo 300 is a true 3-person tent, so if you’d like to use it for more than 2 people, then the Halo is an easy choice.
          As mentioned in the review, the length of the Hiby’s sleeping area is an important factor to consider – if you’re taller than 1.86m, it’s not going to be comfortable.
          Both are a bit fiddly to pitch, with the Hiby being the trickier of the two, so no real winner there.
          Other than that, the Hiby is great. I think it’ll handle stronger winds than the Halo. It is also lighter and cheaper.
          However, if you want to compare apples with apples, check out the Vango Helvellyn 200 or 300.

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