Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Shelters > Tents > NEMO Dagger Tent > Test Report by Brian Hartman


INITIAL REPORT: March 4, 2018


NAME: Brian Hartman
EMAIL: bhart1426ATyahooDOT com
AGE: 49
LOCATION: Central Indiana
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 20 years throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and most recently in Western USA. In addition to backpacking I enjoy family camping with my wife and kids and being outdoors in general. I would describe myself as a mid weight backpacker. I use fairly light weight equipment and gear but still like to bring more than the bare essentials with me while on the trail.



Manufacturer: NEMO Equipment

Year of Manufacture: 2018
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US $499.95
Listed Weight: 4 lb 4 oz (1.93 kg)
Packed Size: 18.9 x 5.9 in diameter (48 x 15 cm diameter)
Peak Height: 42.2 in (107 cm)
Floor Area: 43.6 sq ft (41 sq m)
Floor Dimensions: 90.2 x 69.7 in (229 x 177 cm)
Vestibule Area: 11.4 sq ft + 11.4 sq ft (1.1 sq m + 1.1 sq m)
Measured Weight: 4 lb 3 oz (1.93 kg)


Construction and Materials:

Frame: 1 Hubbed Aluminum DAC Featherlite NSL 9.6 + 9 + 8.5mm pole
Canopy Fabric: 15D Sil/PeU Nylon Ripstop No-See-Um mesh
Floor Fabric: 30D PeU Nylon Ripstop (3000 mm)
Rainfly Fabric: 15D Sil/PeU Nylon Ripstop (1200 mm)
Color: Birch Leaf
Stuff Sack: Divvy Sack


As described on NEMO’s website, the Dagger “offers the best of both worlds: a tent light enough for ultralight backpacking, yet roomy enough to wait out a rainstorm without feeling claustrophobic.”  In practical terms, the Dagger 3P is a lightweight 3-person, 3-season, freestanding extended dome backpacking tent with two vestibules and two doors.



The Dagger 3P (hereafter called Dagger or tent) arrived on my doorstep in excellent condition in a very lightweight shipping box.  Needless to say, I was excited to see it show up as I had spent several anxious days researching and studying the tent online in anticipation of its arrival, as my wife can attest.  I’m a pretty practical guy and not normally an impulse or emotional buyer, but from the moment I saw the Dagger online I thought to myself, this is one good-looking tent and I’ve got to have one.  The birch-leaf green and grey colors are bold and the design concept, of maximizing floor space and headroom, is well-thought-out and in my opinion, very well-executed.

After opening the shipping box my initial reaction was excitement as I rushed to open the Divvy sack and dump its contents onto my family room floor.  The list of items contained within it included the following:

- Tent body and rainfly
- Main pole with multiple hubs and auxiliary poles
- 5 in (12.7 cm) pole-repair tube
- 8 aluminum stakes with small storage sack 
- 8 guy-out cords 
- Pole sack 
- Divvy sack for tent and rainfly

My measurements for the Divvy sack were 6 x 21 in (15.2 x 53 cm) and a mere 4 lb 3 oz (1.93 kg).  I remember those numbers well because, after hastily dumping the tent and its supplies on the floor, I had to repack everything in order to record the values.  The sack has NEMO’s logo on the outside along with a compression cord approximately half way up its length for compressing the tent’s contents.  The top half of the sack can also be tucked inside itself to reduce its size in half.  One reason for doing this would be if two people were sharing the tent and wanted to split its contents between them for hauling purposes.  Sewn inside the sack are two 5 x 5 in (12.7 x 12.7 cm) sheets of fabric.  The first sheet has drawings of the major constellations and the second sheet contains instructions for setup.  Finally, there’s a carrying strap on the bottom of the sack so I don’t have to hold the sack by its draw string when carrying it, nice touch!

As I unfolded the tent, I took a hard look at its construction to see if there were any loose threads, tears or rips in the mesh, or any marks on the tent body, poles or rainfly.   Given NEMO’s excellent reputation, I didn’t expect to find anything, but I did my due diligence nevertheless, and was happy to see excellent workmanship throughout the tent.  The stitching was precise and there were no loose threads or blemishes on the tent or rainfly.  All of the seams were taped, and the door zippers worked effortlessly.  The poles appeared very well constructed and I didn’t see any flaking or cracks on them.  Overall the workmanship appeared to be excellent and the tent exuded quality.  Time will tell, but I fully expect this tent to last many years, given its high quality.  Below are photos of the Divvy sack and its contents.


Materials and Construction: The Dagger 3P is a double-walled tent, consisting of an inner tent and outer rainfly.  The inner tent has a bathtub style floor that extends up the side walls for several inches.  The floor is made of 30 denier nylon and has a polyurethane coating on it that gives it a waterproof rating of 3,000 mm.  The 3,000 mm rating means that the fabric can withstand a 3,000 mm (9.8 ft) column of water pressure before it starts to leak.  In the real world, 750 mm is enough to be waterproof (think umbrella) but because tent floors are subjected to lots of abrasion as well as constant folding, the coatings are made thicker so that they last longer before additional waterproofing needs to be applied.  Interestingly enough, a seam runs across the middle of the tent floor; I don’t expect it to cause any problems as it is taped but I’ll keep my eye on it during testing.  NEMO Equipment offers two accessories for the Dagger that help increase the life of the floor.  The first is called a ‘Footprint’ and it’s used underneath the tent to protect it from sharp objects and rough surfaces.  The second is called a ‘Pawprint’ and it’s used inside the tent to protect it from punctures.  I am a fan of putting a ground cloth underneath my tents to protect them from abrasion.  In practice I always carry a sheet of Tyvek with me and it not only protects the floor from abrasion but also adds an extra waterproof layer between me and the ground.  One thing that I learned early on in Scouts though was it doesn’t do any good to put a waterproof layer under a tent if it extends beyond the footprint.

The upper two thirds of the inner tent, including the doors, consists of No-See-Um mesh.  The two doors are positioned along the length of the tent and both have dual zippers, so they can be opened from the top or bottom.  The fact that the upper two thirds of the inner tent is made of mesh, means it should have excellent air flow to reduce condensation and provide good ventilation in hot weather.

The tent has two 6 x 8 in (15 x 20 cm) storage pockets and two mesh light pockets, one on either end of the tent.  I’m curious to try out the light pockets as they supposedly use a special light-diffusing fabric to cast an even glow throughout the tent.  An optional center gear loft is available for purchase on NEMO’s website. 


Per NEMO’s description, the tent frame consists of a single Featherlite NSL DAC pole.  I would describe the frame as six lightweight, shockcorded aluminum poles that are permanently connected to each other via two Y hubs and a top swivel hub.  The ends of the four corner poles snap into Jake’s Foot attachments located on the four corners of the tent body for easy assembly, while the swivel hub pole attaches to Ball Cap connectors that are located directly above the side doors.   By incorporating the top swivel pole into their design, NEMO has created a tent with a high ceiling and steep, straight walls that has more livable space than alternative designs. The top pole pulls the sides of the tent upward to create additional headroom and shoulder area.  It also makes the tent stronger and more rigid.  Nine Swift Clips connect the rest of tent body to the pole frame to give it its final shape.  Below are photos showing how the tent poles are arranged and what the Jake's Foot attachments and hubs looks like. 



The rainfly is made of a 15D Sil/PeU nylon with tape-sealed seams for additional waterproofness.  It’s secured to the tent by snapping plastic clips that are on each corner of the rainfly to the end of the Jake’s Foot attachments on each corner of the tent.  In addition, the rainfly has ten guy-out points that can be used to secure it to the ground during rough weather.  When the rainfly is attached, it creates two vestibules on either side of the tent.  The two trapezoid-shaped vestibules provide a total of 23 sq ft (2.1 sq m) of covered space for backpacks, boots and/or the occasional stinky dog that refuses to get a bath before going backpacking with his owner.  Finally, eight 66 in (168 cm) lengths of cord were included with the tent for use as guy-out lines if needed.  Below are photos of the swivel hub, Swift Clips, and Ball Cap connectors.


For securing the tent to the ground, eight lightweight, 7 in (17.8 cm) aluminum stakes were included along with their own storage pouch.  They have a tiny notch in the side to secure cordage.  It’s my experience that these kinds of stakes work well as long as the cord loops are very tight; otherwise the cords simply slip off.  Although they’re not my favorite stakes for that reason along with the fact that they’re tough to push in and pull out of hard ground without gloves, I understand why they’re included and plan to test them throughout this series.  


Setup instructions are printed on a piece of fabric that’s sewn to the inside of the Divvy sack.  The instructions and accompanying drawings explain how to pitch the tent in five easy steps.  The instructions are well-written and easy to follow.  NEMO recommends staking down the tent before erecting the poles and pitching it.  I typically do this anyway with all my tents as it makes pitching in windy conditions much easier.  

In addition, three small hang tags were attached to the outside of the Divvy sack.  The first two hang tags provided info on the DAC poles and Jake’s foot attachments.  The third hang tag listed the tent specs.  I found information regarding care and maintenance of the tent on NEMO’s website.  Below are a few of their more noteworthy hints and tips:

After each trip, make sure the tent is completely dry before storing.  This is the most effective way to prevent mold and mildew from forming on the tent and to prevent damage to the waterproof finishes.

If the tent is going to be stored for extended periods of time, keep the tent and contents loosely stored in a breathable cotton storage bag; do not store it in its stuff compression sack. Store the tent in a cool, dry, and dark area, away from direct exposure to UV rays from sunlight.

If the tent is exposed to dirt or sand, wipe it down with a wet cloth.  For excessive dirt, hand wash the tent with Nikwax Tech Wash® or McNett ReviveX Synthetic Fabric Cleaner.  Do not wash your tent in a washing machine with agitators, as they can tear the fabric.  Hand washing and air drying is best. Do not use bleach and do not iron.

If you need to re-treat the DWR finish, you can use a spray-on product like Nikwax Tent & Gear SolarProof or McNett ReviveX Spray-On Water Repellent after the tent has been cleaned. Damaged seam tape can be repaired by using McNett Seam Grip over the damaged area by treating the exterior seams of the tent.

Fix a rip by using a clear Tenacious Tape patch by Gear Aid. Just clean the area and peel and stick the patch.


Pitching the NEMO Dagger was a breeze.  First I staked out the tent, then I assembled the main pole.  Even though the main pole is large, with multiple ‘branches’ coming off it, there is only one way to put it together and it’s pretty obvious.  Next, I clipped the four pole ends to the Jake’s Foot attachments and the top pole assembly to the Ball Cap connectors.  At that point, the tent was freestanding, and the only thing left to do was connect the Swift Clips to the tent poles and attach the rainfly.  All told, I had the tent up and the rainfly on in less than 5 minutes and would have finished sooner if it wasn’t so windy outside.  Now that’s quick!

Tearing the tent down went even quicker, as I didn’t bother to fold it up and put it back in its Divvy sack.  Instead I brought everything back in the house and set it up in my family room so I could look at it while writing this report (smile). 


The Dagger 3P is remarkably lightweight for a 3-person, 3-season tent, and yet it’s incredibly well built and roomy.  NEMO has included a lot of nice features with this tent like dual entry/exit doors, dual vestibules, and high side-walls for superior headroom.  I’m looking forward to the next four months of backpacking with it.

This concludes my Initial Report for the NEMO Dagger 3P tent.  


May 17, 2018


During the past two months I went on three multi-day backpacking trips for a total of seven nights in the NEMO Dagger.  My first trip was to the Hoosier National Forest where I spent three nights in the tent.  Temperatures ranged from 21 to 34 F (-6 to 1 C) and it snowed 6 in (15.2 cm) the day before I arrived making travel there precarious.  My second trip was to the Charles Deam Wilderness which is a 13,000 acre (53 sq km) area SE of Bloomington with 39 mi (63 km) of trails.  My final trip was to SE Indiana where I spent two nights camping and exploring the surrounding area.

Location: Hoosier National Forest
Type of trip: On and off-trail hiking
Distance: 9 mi (14.5 km)
Length of trip: Three nights
Backpack weight: 41 lb (18.6 kg)
Conditions: Snow then clear skies
Precipitation: 6 in (15.2 cm) of snow
Temperature range: 21 to 34 F (-6 to 1 C)

Location: Charles Deam Wilderness
Type of trip: On-trail hiking
Distance: 12 mi (19.3 km)
Length of trip: Two nights
Backpack weight: 38 lb (17 kg)
Conditions: Cool and windy.
Precipitation: Overnight rain.  0.3 in (0.8 cm)
Temperature range: 38 to 52 F (3 to 11 C)

Location: SE Indiana
Type of trip: Off-trail hiking
Distance: 6 mi (9.7 km)
Length of trip: Two nights
Backpack weight: 39 lb (17.7 kg)
Conditions: Partly sunny and warmer
Precipitation: Brief mist on the second morning
Temperature range: 66 F to 75 F (19 to 23.8 C)


EASE OF SETUP: The NEMO Dagger 3P was easy to set up.  On my first trip I pitched the tent and rain fly in just under six minutes, in 6 in (15.2 cm) of snow!  It was a simple job but having a friend help, which was the case on my third outing, made setup go even quicker. 

I found the easiest way to pitch the Dagger was to stake out the corners before inserting the four ends of the main poles into the Jake's Foot attachments.  Once the main pole was up, I attached the clips and ball caps, located on the tent body, to the main pole and that was it for pitching the tent.  Clipping the rain fly to the Jake’s Foot attachment was only slightly more challenging, solely because I accidently got snow in both parts which made them difficult to snap together.  On my first two trips I didn’t bother to secure guy lines to the rain fly, mainly because I was hurrying to set up camp before dark.  On my 3rd trip my partner and I pitched the tent on a ridge line where there were no trees or wind break and so we were exposed if the weather changed.  For that reason, we went ahead and secured guy lines to the rain fly.  Although I haven’t been through any extreme weather with this tent I suspect the guy lines would not only help keep the rain fly and tent secure, but they would also keep the rain fly from flapping and touching the main tent body in a downpour.  As mentioned in my Initial Report I’m not crazy about the tent stakes, although they certainly are lightweight and compact.  On all three of trips they were difficult to use, albeit for different reasons.  On my first trip, it was tough to secure the stakes in the snow and frozen ground.  On my second trip, the stakes went in ok after stepping on them with my boot, but they were difficult to remove, and the cordage didn’t stay attached to them.  On my third trip the ground was hard and so the stakes were difficult to drive in and remove.  Taking down the tent was easy and went quickly.  Despite my haphazard folding of the tent and rainfly, I never had a problem getting them back into the Divvy sack.


SIZE: During the first two months of Field Testing I used the Dagger 3P as both a solo and two-person tent and it worked well in both regards.  When backpacking alone, I had plenty of room inside the tent for whatever gear and supplies I wanted to bring.  I also found the vestibules to be more than adequate for keeping my boots and pack dry when conditions were wet.  Even with two average size (average height and weight) people in the tent we had no problem fitting our sleeping pads, sleeping bags, food, clothing and normal gear.

IMAGE 4While in the tent, I was easily able to get dressed and stretch out thanks to the tent’s high sloping walls.  I had plenty of headroom and could easily sit up without touching the ceiling.  The internal storage pockets came in handy for stashing my glasses and cell phone and there was a handy mesh shelf on the ceiling where I set my lantern.  On my third trip, when there were two of us in the tent, the second door and vestibule came in very handy.  We could get into and out of the tent without stepping on each other’s sleeping bags or gear.

WEIGHT: The Dagger 3P was lightweight for a three-person tent and once packed in its Divvy sack, it easily fit in my pack.  I considered getting the 2-person tent, but ultimately decided that I wanted the additional floorspace and headroom of the 3P.

DURABILITY: The Dagger performed well in terms of durability.  It withstood wind, rain, snow, and below freezing temperatures with no ill effects.  The tent poles showed no signs of flexing in windy conditions and the tent floor, which was subjected to sticks and other sharp objects on the forest floor, showed no signs of wear.  The tent fabric held up well and the zippers worked smoothly and not once did they catch the tent fabric.  

BREATHABILITY: On all my trips the Dagger breathed well, and I experienced no condensation inside the tent, even when it was occupied by two people.  On my last trip I opened one of the vestibules at night to let the breeze in and the mesh tent body allowed air to circulate around the tent, so much so that I doubt I’ll have any problems with condensation or heat this summer, although I will monitor and report back if I do experience anything out of the ordinary.

WATERPROOFNESS: Although it rained overnight during my second trip of this test period, there were no leaks in the tent floor or in the rain fly.  Also, my sleeping bag, which was touching the tent wall, stayed completely dry.  NEMO did a good job of waterproofing the Dagger and wisely incorporated a bathtub floor, which in my opinion is a necessity for every tent.  There was also no pooling of water on top of the rain fly when I woke up in the morning.  In fact, the rain fly stayed taut and from what I could tell water simply beaded up and rolled off it.


The NEMO Dagger performed well during Field Testing.  It was lightweight, easy to set up, and had plenty of floor space and headroom for two people.  Likewise, the two vestibules provided suitable storage for backpacks and gear.  I had no problems with condensation and the tent poles and rainfly easily withheld snow, wind and rain.  So far, the Dagger has proven itself capable of handling foul weather.

This concludes my Field Report for the Dagger tent.



July 8, 2018


During the past two months I used the NEMO Dagger 3P tent on two backpacking trips totaling four nights. The weather during this time period was mild with daytime highs near 75 F (24 C) and lows in the mid-60s F (18 C).

1. My first trip was to Hoosier National Forest in Southern Indiana. Daytime temperatures approached 76 F (24 C) while nighttime temperatures dropped to 66 F (19 C). The weather both days was mostly sunny with light winds. The terrain was hilly and trails were soggy from rain that had fallen a few nights prior, but I was able to pitch the tent both nights on relatively dry ground.  While at the park I hiked 12 miles (19 km) along scenic trails and even took some time to relax on a point overlooking Lake Monroe.  Elevations ranged from 550 ft (168 m) to 790 ft (241 m).

2. My second trip was to the countryside near Oldenburg, an old German town in Southeastern Indiana.  During this two-night outing I hiked mostly off-trail through woods and farmland several miles outside of town.  Temperatures ranged from 72 F (22 C) to 65 F (18 C).


On my first trip of this test period, I again shared my tent with a hiking partner.  Why not?  After all, the Dagger 3P has plenty of room for two or even three people, and sharing the shelter meant lighter packs for both of us.  In the parking lot near the trailhead we decided that I would carry the tent body and rain fly while my friend carried the poles and ground stakes.  After divvying up the gear and rearranging our packs, off we went.  After several miles of hiking we stopped for a snack and both agreed we'd made a wise decision, as our shoulders and backs were thanking us for having lighter packs, even though it was only a few pounds.  We stopped to set up camp around 6pm and pitched the tent in record time.  Having an extra set of hands to layout the poles, snap the ends into the fittings, clip in the tent body, and put on the rainfly, made setup go very quickly.  After the tent was pitched we had no problem getting everything inside, except for our shoes and packs which we left in the vestibules.  Having two doors and plenty of headroom made it easy for us to get into and out of the tent without tripping over each other.  I was curious about how much condensation would accumulate in the tent overnight, since two people were sleeping inside.  The next morning there was some condensation, but thanks to the mesh uppers and because we left the vestibules open, there wasn't nearly as much as I expected.

My second trip during this test period was a solo off-trail adventure.  In addition to testing the tent, I tried out several GPS apps for my iPhone to see how well they worked in comparison to a dedicated GPS unit with topo maps that I take with me when exploring new areas.  A few days prior to leaving, I created a hiking route with waypoints that I planned to follow during my trip.  Using GPS coordinates from Google Earth, I marked a stream, two small lakes, a clearing in the middle of a forest, and what I thought would be two good places to pitch the Dagger and call camp.  I had lot of fun trying out the apps and the tent performed great in both places I pitched it.  The first spot was by a small creek and waterfall, and the second was on top of a ridgeline, where there was a better nighttime breeze.  When moving camp on the second day, I actually waited until nightfall because I wanted to see how easy it was to pitch the tent in the dark.  Turns out it was very easy, as setup is straight forward.  The only issue I had this time was pushing the stakes into the ground.  I guess I could have gone back to the creek for a rock but instead I took off one of my shoes and used it like a hammer, albeit not a very good one as the stakes had a tendency to stick into the soles when I hit them hard.

I used the tent pockets both nights, filling them with my phone, glasses, pocket knife and various other things that were too fragile to leave on the tent floor in case I rolled over them while sleeping.  I also tried out the overhead 'light pockets' and they worked pretty well.  They're made of light diffusing fabric that helps spread out the concentrated beam of a headlamp or flashlight so that it casts a more even glow throughout the tent.  I was able to tear down the tent fairly early in the morning after sleeping in it the second night, since I was camped on a ridgeline and the sun and wind made quick work of the morning dew.  


I really enjoyed using the NEMO Dagger during the past four months.  It's a rugged, lightweight, and spacious tent that's easy to set up, even in the dark.  It had no problems protecting me from wind, rain and cold, and I wouldn't hesitate to take it  into the backcountry even in the winter.  The tent fabric, poles, and rainfly remain in great condition, and after four months of testing they show very minimal signs of wear.

This concludes my Long Term Report and this test series for the Dagger 3P.  Thank you to NEMO and for the opportunity to test this tent.


Read more reviews of NEMO gear
Read more gear reviews by Brian Hartman

Reviews > Shelters > Tents > NEMO Dagger Tent > Test Report by Brian Hartman

Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

All material on this site is the exclusive property of
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson