The Hilleberg History
In 1971, Bo Hilleberg, a professional forester, founded his own company, Hilleberg AB. That same year, while on a ski vacation in the Austrian Tyrol, Bo met Renate Neuner. After a couple of years, the two had fallen in love, married, and she had moved with him to Stockholm, Sweden. Their marriage was the final, necessary ingredient in the mix that has become Hilleberg the Tentmaker.
Before Renate, Bo’s fledgling company was primarily a forestry equipment concern, with tent making as a hoped-for sideline. An avid, lifelong outdoorsman, Bo was terminally frustrated with tents that required pitching the inner tent first and then covering it with a loose rain fly that usually displayed the same properties as a kite in the wind. He envisioned a tent that had an outer and inner tent that pitched together, simultaneously – but he didn’t have the necessary sewing skills. With Bo and Renate’s marriage, conjugal and commercial became one: Renate took charge of the sewing while Bo handled design and sales, and with their combined efforts, the company flourished.
Today, family and business are still inextricably linked. Bo is Chairman, and is still in charge of design and development; daughter Petra handles all company business outside of Europe; and Bo, Renate, Petra and her brother Rolf make up the governing board of directors – clearly, family synergy continues to beget success.
Bo Hilleberg establishes his company, Hilleberg AB, and, on a skiing trip to Austria, meets his future wife, Renate Neuner.
Hilleberg introduces the Keb, the first commercial tent to have a connected inner and outer. The simultaneous pitching of both elements of the tent make it an immediate success.
Bo discovers that a certain type of silicone coated fabric is six to seven times stronger than nearly any other tent fabric, and adopts it for all Hilleberg outer tents. Dubbed Kerlon 1500, it has an exceptional tear strength of 15 kg/33 lbs.
Bo redesigns the linked inner and outer tent design so that the two pieces can be disconnected, and incorporates this into a tunnel tent design.
The introduction of the Keron, then and now the company’s signature tent.
Hilleberg begins making dome tents. Pictured is a multi-color Staika prototype produced in 1989 for a South Pole expedition.
The Akto, a roomy, very light, solo tent with true all season function, is an immediate hit upon its introduction.
The original Saivo debuts, and showcases the new short pole sleeve and clip system, which makes pitching tents with multiple pole crossings simpler and quicker, especially in windy conditions.
2000 & 2003
In 2000, Petra Hilleberg founds Hilleberg, Inc., the US subsidiary in Redmond, WA. In 2003, Rolf Hilleberg becomes Managing Director of Hilleberg the Tentmaker in Sweden. Bo Hilleberg continues as Chairman of the Board.
2005 - 2011
Hilleberg adds models in all categories, including the Atlas and Altai group tents; Kaitum and Kaitum GT tunnel tents; fully freestanding Allak and Soulo dome tents; and the Saitaris and redesigned Saivo dome tents, both built with a new pole system and designed for the most demanding conditions.
Hilleberg classifies all tents into one of four Labels – Black, Red, Yellow or Blue – each representing a grouping by components and/or construction. Göran Svensk is named Managing Director of Hilleberg, AB, the Swedish headquarters. Bo Hilleberg continues as CEO.
Hilleberg introduces the Enan one-person tent in the Yellow Label line. Built on the Red Label Akto design, the Enan is a very light, remarkably roomy three-season solo tent.