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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > NEMO Equipment Obi 2P tent > Test Report by Andrei Girenkov

NEMO OBI 2P TENT
TEST SERIES BY ANDREI GIRENKOV
LONG-TERM REPORT
February 10, 2012

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Andrei Girenkov
EMAIL: agirenkov[AT]yahoo[DOT]com
AGE: 31
LOCATION: New York, New York, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)

I have been backpacking for 6 years, mostly three-season weekend trips in the Adirondacks, and other parks in the Northeastern US. Additionally, I try to take at least one 5-7 day trip each summer to other destinations in Canada, Western United States and Central America. I use lightweight gear on a budget. My multi-day pack weight is around 20-25 lb (9-11kg). I enjoy sleeping comfortably and cooking a hot meal at night


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: NEMO Equipment Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.nemoequipment.com/
MSRP: Tent: $389.95, Footprint: $49.95

Listed Weight:
Minimum tent weight (just tent body, fly, poles): 3 lb 0 oz (1360 g)
Packed weight (everything included in the package): 3 lb 10 oz (1644 g)
Footprint: 8.6 oz (245 g)

Packed Tent
Tent packed in its compression sack.


Measured Weight:
Tent realistically packed (body, fly, poles, guy lines, stakes, repair kit, stuff sacks): 3 lb 6.6 oz (1605 g)
Footprint: 8.6 oz (245 g)

Listed Interior Height: 40 in (102 cm)
Listed Floor Dimensions 84 x 50 in (213 x 127 cm)
Verified Accurate

Listed Area: 27 sq ft (2.5 sq m)
Listed Vestibules Area: 18 sq ft (1.7 sq m)
Listed Packed Size: 7.5 in length x 6 in diameter (19 x 15 cm)
Measured Packed Size (after opening and repacking): 10.5 x 6.5 in (27 x 16.5 cm)

Fly / Vestibule Fabric: 20D Polyurethane Treated Nylon
Floor Fabric: 30D Polyurethane Treated Nylon
Footprint Fabric: 70D Polyurethane Treated Nylon

Manufacturer's Description:

NEMO bills the Obi tent as a lightweight, carefully designed, "finely tuned instruments." The company states that every piece of material utilized serves for a purpose, and not an extra ounce of weight was used to accomplish this task.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The package included 3 stuff sacks which contained the main NEMO Obi 2P Tent (hereafter called Obi 2P or simply the tent), the poles, and a footprint.

The first thing that struck me was the small size of the tent itself. As you can see from the photograph, the initial size of the compressed tent is about as long as a men's size 10 US (44 EU) shoe and about twice as wide. The tent poles came in an elongated stuff sack that physically clips to the tent's compression sack.

The manufacturer was kind enough to include a footprint as well in a separate mesh bag. This accessory normally retails for an additional $50. It weighs in at a hefty 8.6 oz (245 g) - a significant portion of the overall weight given the manufacturer's stated goal of not wasting a single ounce.

TRYING IT OUT

Hub and Clip
Hub and Clip

The Obi 2P uses a pole and hub system. The poles now are GREEN anodized DAC Featherlite NSL. DAC describes this as a new process for anodizing poles that minimizes the use of toxic chemicals. The center pole extends to a hub at each end. Two poles extend from each hub to the corners of the tent, forming an elongated X.

The poles end in a small metal ball which goes into a socket at each corner of the tent. Once the poles are erected, the tent clips to them with plastic twist clips. The twist makes it very easy to clip on, and the shape forces the pole into the deepest part of the hook so they don't slide down. Here is a photo of the initial tent setup and a closeup of a pole hub with an attached twist clip.


At each corner of the tent is a mechanism called a "Jake's Foot". It is designed to allow the poles, fly and footprint to quickly and securely attach to the tent. This is quite a handy mechanism once you know how to use it, however the instructions it comes with are limited to 4 pictures without any words, akin to IKEA assembly instructions. After about 10 minutes of fumbling about with the fly and the foot print I had to watch a video online to see how to use it.

The Jake's foot without any attachments is pictured below. The poles snap into the ball socket in the middle of the Jake's foot. Then the fly snaps into place with the little hook facing down on the outermost cross member of the Jake's foot. Then the footprint snaps in with the hook facing up on the innermost cross member.

Fully Attached Jake's Foot
Fully Attached Jake's Foot
Empty Jake's Foot
Empty Jake's Foot


The floor of the Obi 2P is made of lightweight 30D Polyurethane (PU) nylon. An optional 70D PU nylon footprint can be attached below. The walls are ultra lightweight 20D PU nylon for the first half up from the floor and then a switch to a No-See-Um polyester mesh. There are two wide D-shaped doors. NEMO provides a loop and toggle to secure each door so it doesn't flap in the breeze when open. There is a single very small storage pocket behind one of the doors.

The green rain fly is made of the same ultral ightweight 20D PU nylon as the walls. As mentioned above, it snaps to the tent via a Jake's Foot in each corner. The fly has two vestibules with D-shaped doors and storm flaps over the zippers. The Vestibules are very roomy, which I believe will come in very handy given the tight dimensions of this tent. The fly does not extend all the way to the ground on all sides. On the head end of the tent the fly stops half way down the walls, covering only the mesh portion. This allows the tent to ventilate. There are no other vents on the fly itself.

Set Up Tent
Initial Set Up

SUMMARY

NEMO set out to make a compact, lightweight and comfortable two-person tent, in which every detail serves a purpose. The initial impression is that they succeeded at least on the first two counts, particularly on packed size. The tent shaves a pound of weight and about 50% of packed size from my current ultra light tent that was state of the art when I bought it 6 years ago. The instructions for the new Jake's Foot system are not obvious at first glance. However setup became very simple and quick once I looked at an instructional video online. The jury is still out on the comfort of this tent. I hope to answer that question in the Field and Long Term Reports.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I took the NEMO Obi 2P Tent out on three weekend trips in late September and early October in upstate New York. One trip was to the Sawtooth Ridge in the Adirondack Mountains, the second to Minnewaska State Oark, and the third to the Catskill Mountains. The weather was mild and sunny on all three trips. Daytime temperatures were around 50 F (10 C). The temperature dropped below freezing on a single night during my October trip.

In order to minimize the weight of the tent, NEMO designers have eliminated material or substituted a lightweight alternative wherever possible. Case in point, more than half of the body of the tent is made from a mesh material. While this provides for great ventilation, and a beautiful view of the stars on a clear night, it also limits the temperature range when the tent can be used. I will take the tent out on a winter trip to confirm this observation.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Mesh walls
You can clearly see the foliage through two layers of mesh.
Let me start off by saying that for the weather conditions of my field test, the tent was just about perfect. It was extremely light and compact and very well ventilated. I carried it without a rainfly because of the fair weather. Sleeping in it felt very open - as if I was lying without a tent at all. The mesh disappeared into the night sky, and the moon and stars were my roof! This setup worked out very well for all but my last night outside, when the temperature dipped below freezing. Without a fly, it was very cold, even with a 20 F (-7 C) rated sleeping bag.

One aspect of this tent that users should be aware of is its compact interior space. This version of the Obi is advertised as a two-person tent. Two pads will fit into the tent, however you will get to know your tent mate very closely! Here is an overhead view of my regular-sized (20 in or 51 cm wide) Therm-a-Rest Neo Air which is centered inside the tent. When I sleep on my back, I occupy the entire width of the pad. I could just fit two of them inside the tent side by side, and sleeping on either one required touching the wall of the tent with my body. Without a fly this was not an issue. In a future test I will try such an arrangement with the fly on to see if condensation becomes an issue. With two people inside this tent there is no room for any personal items other than what will fit under your pillow or inside the single pocket.

The good news is that this tent is light enough to be carried on a solo trip. For a single sleeper, it felt like my own personal Taj Mahal. There was a lot of room on both sides of my sleeping bag for a flashlight, book, clothes and other personal items as well as plenty of headroom above me. On these trips I left my pack and shoes unprotected outside overnight. In my next test I would like to check if there is enough space in the vestibule to keep my pack, or if I have to sacrifice more internal space.

Overhead view
Single or double wide? You be the judge.
Inside View
A solo Taj Mahal!

SUMMARY

This is a very light tent. This advantage is enhanced even further by the ability to leave the rain fly at home and save another pound or so. In this configuration, there is great ventilation and no condensation whatsoever. Additionally, all the materials and construction are topnotch. There are no loose threads or seams, and the footprint, tent, and fly line up perfectly with each other for quick and easy assembly.

I do have a concern about the interior room if used as a two-person tent. It is spacious for one person, but becomes cramped if two people are sleeping inside. Additionally I would like to see whether this tent can be used in the winter with the fly pitched.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

In the fall, I used the Obi as a solo tent, and pitched it without a fly. My field review left several questions unanswered. During my subsequent trips I wanted to find out how the tent would perform with a fly in cold weather, whether condensation would be a problem, and how comfortable it would be for two-person use. This long term review answers those questions.

I carried the tent with me on a two-night snowshoe trip to the Rockingham Recreational Trail in New Hampshire in January. The round trip took me across approximately 52 mi (84 km) of 3 ft (91 cm) of packed snow. This is a rather flat trail that follows an abandoned railroad line. The elevation ranges from 250 to 400 ft (76 to 122 m) above sea level. The weather was clear to cloudy. Temperature ranged from 4 to 17 F (-15 to -8 C).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

For this trip I was accompanied by a hiking buddy. We pitched the tent with a fly and both slept in it. We used foam pads, with a four-season inflatable sleeping pad on top, and both slept in 0 F (-18 C) sleeping bags as well as in some winter clothing. We left our backpacks, boots, and snowshoes in the vestibule overnight.

The tent provided adequate wind protection, and we did not experience any snow drifting into the tent under the fly. Although the temperatures were quite low, our sleeping setup proved sufficiently warm. Neither one of us woke up from cold temperature in the middle of the night.

There was a fair amount of condensation in the form of frost that formed on the mesh overnight. This is typical of winter camping because the cold temperature caused exhaled moisture to freeze almost immediately. I cannot blame the tent in this case.

The biggest challenge for us was fitting all the winter sleeping gear into the tent, as well as finding room for snowshoes and backpacks in the vestibule. The cramped two-person sleeping conditions I described in the field review are only exacerbated by the need to carry bulkier winter gear.

SUMMARY

I would like to thank NEMO and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this tent.

The NEMO Obi 2P is the lightest, most compact two-person tent that I have personally had the pleasure of using. The setup is a breeze once you learn how to do it, and the packed size and weight leave very little to be desired. The tent is very well constructed and ventilated. Its only weak spot is the limited interior room. I would not hesitate to recommend it as a one or two person three-season tent. However I would not use it as a two-person tent in the winter given the extra space needed to accommodate winter gear.

Pros:
Lightweight.
Compact.
Two nice size vestibules.
Transparent mesh allows for great view of sky at night.
Easy to set up.
Very spacious for a single person.

Cons:
Cramped for two people.
Only one interior pocket.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

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