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 NEMO Hornet Elite 2P Ultralight Backpacking Tent 
Author on Lake Superior

Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan

Initial Report - May 10, 2019
Field Report - July 9, 2019
Long Term Report - September 23, 2019 

Initial Report:

May 10, 2019

Tester Information
Name: Gail Staisil
Age: 66
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 160 lb (73 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com

For the last 20 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a Tarptent camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.
Product Information

NEMO Equipment, Inc 
Model Hornet Elite Ultralight 2P Backpacking Tent
Elite Marigold and Charcoal Gray (Blue accents)
2 Person (Maximum Dimensions 85in (216 cm) X 50 in (128 in) X 37 in (94 cm)
Black No-See-Um Netting, 7D and 10 D Nylon, Aluminum DAC Featherlite NFL Green Poles (see below for more details on materials)

Tested Weight  2 lb 1.3 oz (944 g)
Manufacturer's Weight
Packed weight on website: 2 lb 1 oz (935 g), Packed weight on hangtag: 2 lb 3 oz (992 g), Minimum Weight: 1 lb 11 oz (779 g)
$499.95 US

Initial Impressions and Product Description 

The arrival of the NEMO Equipment Hornet Elite 2 P Tent was filled with anticipation. I couldn't wait to assemble the tent. My first impressions were in awe of the ultralight weight materials and attention to detail. I do try to keep my pack weight light so this will help by at least a lb (452 g)! What surprised me the most is that the tent seems fairly roomy and the head space more than adequate. In fact according to the manufacturer the new Hornet Elite compared to the previous version is "the iconic choice for extreme minimalists, now has 10 percent more volume without adding any weight".
I would describe the NEMO Equipment Hornet Elite 2 P Tent as a three-season tent made with ultralight materials. The tent is partially free-standing in that two of the corners lock into anchors and the other two corners have to be staked (the center pole on that side is also anchored). The tent arrived in a stuff sack with an accompanying hang-tag that denotes features, stats and accessories. I found no imperfections when assembling the tent. The workmanship is very neat.

The included accessories are (My stats for accessories are included):
-Divvy Sack dual-stage stuff sack 0.6 oz (17 g)
-Stakes/Sack 4 oz (113 g)
-Guy-out cord 0.5 oz (14 g) 
-Repair kit (consists of  pole connector and 2- Type A (approximately 1 in/2.5 cm by 1 in/2.5 cm clear patches) 0.3 oz /8.5 g

Manufacturer's Stats
Minimum Weight: 1 lb 11 oz (779 g)  Minimum weight refers to tent, and poles (no stakes or accessories)
Packed Weight: 2 lb 1 oz (935 g) -website; 2 lb 3 oz (992 g) -hangtag
Height at Maximum 37 in (94 cm)
Head End: 50 in (128 cm)
Foot End: 42 in (107 cm)
Length: 85 in (216 cm)
Divvy Sack Packed Size: 19 in X 4.5 in (48 cm X 12 cm)
More stats that are notable are the floor space which is 27.3 sq ft (25 sq ft) and each vestibule is 6.5 sq ft (0.6 sq m)


-Body or Inner Tent Materials. As aforementioned the materials used in this tent are of ultralight weight. The body of the tent is fabricated with floor material of 10D Sil/PeU Nylon Ripstop (1200 mm). The bathtub floor wraps up the head end quite a distance (21 in/53 cm) with other sides just Inner tentwrapping a lesser amount (a few inches/5 cm on the long sides, more on the foot end). The main body of the tent is fabricated with Black No-See Um Mesh. Stress points inside the tent are reinforced. Two opposing D-shaped doors have large openings measuring approximately 24.5 in/62 cm at the widest and 33 in (84 cm) at the highest. There are toggles to secure the mesh doors if needed on a no-bug day or night (ha!). The doors have blue lightweight zippers with narrow-width cordage loops for pulls. I had no problem using them with bare hands so I will have to try them with gloved hands during the field test. The loops do measure about 3 in (8 cm) in length to get a grasp on them. Another feature on each door is a clip which can be fastened to the fly to increase interior room. Clips are located on the top seams for attachment to the poles including the patent-pending Flybar (see below for more

-Pockets. Other features on the body include a neat trapezoid-shaped light pocket on the interior of the tent so that I can place my lit headlamp inside it: 4.5 in (11 cm) in height with the top opening being 9 in (23 cm) and the bottom edge measuring 13 in (33 cm). It does have a caution tag for proper usage (basically don't use a headlamp that puts out too much heat). There are also two pockets (6 in/15 cm deep and top opening of 8 in (20 cm) located near the respective doors (one on each side). They are small but would be good for quick-to-grab items. Located on one of the pockets is a safety tag for warnings about using the tent. (No stove, etc near or in tent, maintain adequate ventilation in tent to avoid suffocation, anchor tent properly to reduce loss or injury to occupants and chose a proper campsite to to avoid hazards or injuries from tree limbs, lightening, floods, strong winds and avalanches). 

-Corner Anchors and Triangulated Guy-outs. The two poles of the head end insert into anchors before staking and the foot end is staked with triangulated-volumizing guyouts. This gives the foot corners of the tent more space as one end of the guyout is placed further up on the tent wall billowing out a bit more room. The fly is also attached to the same anchors on the head end and onto the same stakes at the foot end.Anchor

-Tent Fly. The tent fly is fabricated with ultra-fine 7 D PeU Nylon Ripstop (1200 mm) The silicone coated material is water repellent. The fly has full-length covered-zippers with two-hooks and-loops for both vestibule entrances. It also has loops for three guy-outs and cordage loops with tensioned clips for staking.

-Poles- One of the features of a lightweight tent is minimal pole structure. NEMO is right on this with a One-hubbed Y-shaped pole. This pole is designed using Aluminum DAC Featherlite NFL Green 8.7mm poles. The Green designation is given to the anodizing process which uses less toxic chemical/ less water with less harm to nature according to the tag accompanying the poles. There is a light (0.2 oz/6 g) pole bag provided. The poles and sack together weight 7.7 oz (218 g)

-Stakes. The six aluminum Y-shaped stakes provided were easy to use while set-up. They are each 7 in (18 cm) in length and have a 3 in (8 cm) long corded loop on them. They appear sturdy enough for most conditions. There are 6 stakes total so if using the guyouts I will bring extra or tie them off to an object like a rock. A lightweight stake bag is provided weighing approx 0.2 oz (6 g).

-Divvy storage sack. The lightweight sack is dual stage so if I want to hand off part of the tent to a partner and reduce the volume of the sack, I could by pulling a drawcord in the center of the sack making it half the size. As described earlier the sack has a built-in tag with assembly instructions for the tent but also has a tag with glow-in-the-dark Major Constellations on it if one wished to stargaze thru the see-thru netting at night (no fly of course). The glow feature would be activated by a headlamp first!

First Set-Up

As soon as I got the tent I set it up outside. With any tent, I am careful to place a ground cloth underneath to protect the bottom of tent. I usually prefer to use Tyvek or a lighter PolyCro Cloth (clear window type) but there is also an available footprint that can be purchased through NEMO which I will consider. Anyway I looked at the directions (in English and French) that were located on a tag attached to the stuff sack (very convenient). Six easy/basic steps including a few pointers. Very helpful but I don't think it would be hard to figure it out without them for a lot of people.

My summation of the six steps include:

1) Lay out the inner tent and lock the two head end poles into the anchors on color-matched end; insert the foot end pole into the anchor at center of that end 
2) Attach the body of tent to the poles using clips and the Flybar
3) Stake the foot end of tent with the two triangulated guy-outs
4) Cover the tent with the fly attaching the corners with the same anchors and guyout stakes
5) Secure the fly with the (three) pole wraps (attaches the poles to fly), stake the vestibules and tension them, add guy-outs
6) Connect hooks on inner tent to rain fly to increase room near doors

Patent-pending FlybarThe most interesting feature in the set up was the integrated patent-pending Flybar Clip. This is located on the very top of the tent body and is about 8.5 in (22 cm) in width. It actually clips unto the center pole but reportedly increases the volume of headroom significantly (4X). The Flybar pulls the mesh canopy from both sides adding the headroom. It also relieves tension on the fly.

As with many products, weight savings have to come somewhere. Part of the savings here is that the fly doesn't cover all of the tent. On the head side it ends about 18 in (46 cm) from the bottom in sort of a half-circle cutout. On the other sides it is the regular length. On the head side there are two guyouts which might be necessary to use in rainy conditions so that the partial fly doesn't touch the inner tent. I do have a few worries about this during heavy rain/condensation.

The tent like all NEMO products has a lifetime warranty against defects in workmanship and materials. It does NOT cover doing the wrong thing with the tent! The warranty is only for the original owner with the proof of purchase.

Fun Fact: NEMO is an acronym for New England Mountain (Equipment) located in New Hampshire, USA.


The NEMO Hornet Elite Ultralight Tent appears to be a well-thought out design with high tech materials. I will be taking this out solo for a night this weekend but next week I will be sharing it for a few nights. It will be a good pre-test for an eleven-night shared trip next month. What is so cool to me is that even though it is a two-person tent, it is lighter than either of my one-person tents (and one is a single wall!). And by the way this tent is also available in a one-person model even shaving more weight.

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Field Report:
July 9, 2019

USA Locations and Conditions

During field testing I have taken the NEMO tents on four backpacking trips totaling sixteen nights. Two trips were solo and two were with a partner. The settings include boreal forest and lakeshore. Elevation ranged from above 600 ft (180 m) to almost 2000 ft (610 m). 
Location of Trip #1: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, MichiganIsle Royale
Length of Backpacking Trip: 2 days, 1 night (May 11-12) 
Distance: 10 mi (16 km)
Pack Weight: 20 lb (9 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Partly sunny and partly cloudy
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 56 to 27 F (13 to -3 C)

Location of Trip #2: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
Length of Backpacking Trip: 3 days, 2 nights (May 16-18)
Distance: 20 mi (32 km)   
Pack Weight: 21 lb (9.5 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy
Precipitation: Some rain 
Temperature Range: 61 to 33 F (16 C to 1 C) 

Location of Trip #3: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
Length of Backpacking Trip: 3 days, 2 nights (May 23-25)
Distance: 15 mi (24 km)  
Pack Weight: 21 lb (9.5 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Partly sunny, partly cloudy
Precipitation: Light rain  
Temperature Range: 60 to 45 F (16 to 7 C)

Location of Trip #4: Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior, Michigan
Length of Backpacking Trip: 12 days, 11 nights (June 11-22)
Distance: 66 mi (106 km)
Pack Weight: 28 lb (12.7 kg); One re-supply so pack weight varied
Sky and Air Conditions: Partly sunny, partly cloudy
Precipitation: Rain; Four episodes but not severe
Temperature Range: 63 F to 34 F (17 C to 1 C)

Trip Talk
   Tent at PIctured Rocks National Lakeshore
During the field test period I have used the NEMO Hornet Elite 2P Tent on several backpacking trips. After receiving the tent I quickly planned a one-night backpacking trip for its maiden journey. It was a solo trip so the tent was plenty roomy. I cut and used a piece of heavy-duty window film for its ground cloth. The forest floor was packed dirt and leaf litter. 

Head end of tent with shorter flyThe tent is so easy to set up and tension. One thing that I think is easier to do when setting up the tent is to put the fly on before staking which is the opposite of the manufacturer's directions. Otherwise the stakes are in the way of securing the anchors, etc. The tent did have some condensation but this is very normal for any tent in the spring-like conditions. I didn't have any problem getting in and out of the tent as the doors are wide and tall.

On my next trip I shared the tent. There was only light rain on the trip but we didn't get wet. With two people the only things that could go inside the tent except for small items in tent pockets were the sleeping pads, camp pillows and sleeping bags/quilts. The pads were a 25 in (64 cm) wide Sea to Summit and a 20 in (51 cm) wide REI Flash. With the maximum head width of the tent being 50 in (128 cm) at the very top, the pads wanted to overlap at their widest parts so I had to play around with them to position them right.

The overhead pocket held my headlamp and the side pockets were useful for one small item each (buff or hat). The vestibules are designed well so that we could put our packs in them holding all our other gear/clothing (one pack in each vestibule). The packs were not in the way of entering/exiting the tent! The doors on the tent are certainly large enough to exit/enter but when two people are in the tent it does take some maneuvers to get the first person out. My partner humorously remarked that one has to be a yoga instructor to exit (we are both in our 60's so that may have something to do with our flexibility!). It is interesting to share a tent because some of the issues that I didn't experience by myself were a little apparent for him. For example I had no problem with the very minimalist hook-and-loop attachments to the poles, tiny toggles, etc but my partner has bigger hands and it was more of a struggle for him. He also had trouble reaching the vestibule zipper pull with two people in the tent as he couldn't maneuver to reach very well. However this is a mere inconvenience because we both realize that the tent is minimalist and its features are necessary to make it light in weight.

My next trip was solo and did include some rain. Again no issues with that as I stayed dry. I still kept my pack in the vestibule but brought in much of its contents as there was room.

The final trip was a long one to Isle Royale National Park. One thing I came to realize on this trip is that I love using the tent with the vestibule doors open. On my other trips they were closed due to rain or the possibility of it.Pack in vestibule  With still chilly nights at Isle Royale, I put the fly on the tent but kept the vestibule doors open on the clear nights. Can still watch the night sky due to each vestibule having a zipper opening that goes nearly to the top of tent. The angle is just right for viewing.
Tent with two sleeping pads
There was condensation on all trips with the tent. With the dew point/humidity/varying temps this was absolutely normal. In some cases the head end of the fly that is shorter stuck to the inner tent. The condensation was not an issue. The fly was just wet and anything left outside had the same issues including food bags that were hung and of course all the surrounding vegetation.

I have continued to use a piece of window film for my groundcloth with the tent. All of the tent pads or areas that I used were impacted meaning that it was hard ground with no surface rocks. After all of these uses so far I have held the tent up to a light source and I see no imperfections/holes in bottom of tent. The stakes have worked well too; they often had to be pushed in with my boot as the ground was very impacted.

So far I am really loving this tent. Even though the tent space is tight with two people, I can still sit up without touching tent walls or ceiling. Of course the weight of the tent is absolutely wonderful to transport. I have been separating the poles/stakes from the main body/fly. I carry the poles/stakes in my side pocket of my pack and the tent body/fly inside my pack. During the long term period I have a few overnights and an extended trip planned. Even though I do have trail partners for the latter, I will be using the tent solo. I am really looking forward to hogging the tent space.



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Long Term Report:
September 23, 2019

USA Locations and Conditions

During long term testing I have taken the NEMO tent on three backpacking trips totaling 21 nights. The settings include northern boreal forest and lakeshore in the states of Michigan and Minnesota. Elevation ranged from above 600 ft (180 m) to almost 2000 ft (610 m). 
  Grand Island National Recreation Area
Location of Trip #5: Hiawatha National Forest
Length of Backpacking Trip: 2 days, 1 night (August 8-9) 
Distance: 10 mi (16 km)
Pack Weight: 20 lb (9 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Partly sunny and partly cloudy
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 71 F to 60 F (22 C to 16 C)

Location of Trip #6: Grand Island National Recreation Area
Length of Backpacking Trip: 2 days, 1 night (August 13-14)
Distance: 21 mi (34 km) 
Pack Weight: 21 lb (9.5 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, Sunny
Precipitation: Some rain 
Temperature Range: 69 F to 52 F (21 C to 11 C)

Location of Trip #7: Superior Hiking Trail
Length of Backpacking Trip: 20 days, 19 nights (August 31-Sept 20)
Distance: 180 mi (290 km) plus many other miles to overlooks, etc
Pack Weight: Varied with re-supply but usually around 24-26 lb (11-11.8 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Partly sunny, cloudy, lots of rain/fog
Precipitation: Rain (lots)  
Temperature Range: 69 F to 36 F (21 C to 2 C)


Trip Talk
During the long term test period I have used the NEMO Hornet Elite 2P Tent on several backpacking trips. The first two trips were of the overnight variety. The weather was good being partly sunny and cloudy. During the first trip I didn't use the fly as it wasn't needed. The bugs were horrible so it made an excellent mosquito shelter. I enjoyed looking at the stars through the mesh ceiling. On the second trip since my camp site was located in an area with complete tree coverage. I did use the fly as normal. 

My third trip was an extensive one of twenty days. The weather was mostly humid with a lot of rain. Thankfully most of it occurred during the evening into the night. The big problem however was that it was hard to dry the tent out. Each morning I would go thru a tedious period of wiping the tent down before packing up. My microfiber-type cloth absorbed some of the water but the tent still was very wet. The fly had condensation on the entire inside as well as the outer surface from the rain. The headend of the fly does not extend down to the bottom of tent so the inner tent head end was also full of condensation. I had to make a conscious effort several times during the night to not let my head or sleeping pad hit that end of tent or my hair/pad would get wet.

Now on to the real concern. I used a ground sheet under the tent to protect the very light fabric of the bottom. Since I was using the tent solo I usually tried to be in the middle of the tent although it wasn't always possible with the slope of the camp sites. Rain would sneak in after awhile and pool over the ground sheet in low spots under the tent. This water would seep into the tent almost every single time it was raining. The water was usually confined to the area under my sleeping pad where there was pressure so I tried to never move it. Packing up inside the tent was always a mess but tried to pack the pad last otherwise I would be sitting on a very wet surface. I have analyzed this a million times and I wonder if part of the problem was that the tent wasn't occupied by two persons so the edges of the tent were slightly lifted and the water could more easily invade the top of the ground cloth. I am not totally convinced however that it was all of the issue. The floor of the tent in my opinion is not waterproof and needs to be of a fabric that won't allow all this moisture to go through. Superior HIking Trail camp site - rare non-wet day

Typical morning wet messThe other issue or non-issue that I have had is that when the tent is wet and packed the surface of the material sticks to each other making some pleats. I had to pull the pleats open and every time I wondered if it would rip or compromise the material. It looks normal so I hope not. Yesterday I gently hand washed the tent fly and inner body parts with Nikwax Tech Wash as recommended by the manufacturer. I placed them on my deck rails in full shade. As they were drying I would check on them every hour or so. It was apparent there were tons of pleats where the fabric stuck together again as it was drying. I gently pulled them apart. Although this happens on both fabric weights, it is much more prevalent on the floor material.

So my recommendations are these even though I know the tent would end up heavier in weight: 1) A better material for the bottom of tent,  2) The headend fly needs to be extended to the bottom to avoid condensation issues on that end,  3) The materials used in the tent always pleat or fold over and stick so that it has to be pulled apart but that may be eliminated with a thicker fabric,  4) Use the tent where humidity/condensation/rain is not a normal thing.

Although there were so many times during this trip that I wished I had a different tent for the conditions I experienced, on the plus side the tent is very easy to set up over a variety of surfaces and easy to get the tension taut on the corners and vestibules. I still find the tent to be a good option for conditions that are mostly dry as my earlier trips were. I would certainly use it for trips in the arid mountains or desert. It is very roomy for one and do-able for two to save weight. It is easy to get in and out of the tent with good headroom and nice size vestibules. The zippers have worked flawlessly and the tent appears in new condition even though it has been through weeks of adverse conditions. The ground stakes have worked well even in very rocky impacted sites.


  • Very light
  • Easy to pack in provided sacks
  • Internal storage (ceiling light pocket and two side pockets)
  • Wide entrance doors and vestibules
  • Flybar adds more headroom


  • Tight fit with two people but it is do-able!
  • Floor material lets in water if there is any pressure on it
  • Headend of tent could use a longer fly to prevent condensation


Tester Remarks 

Thanks to NEMO Equipment, Inc and for this opportunity to test the Hornet Elite Ultralight Backpacking Tent. This completes my reports for the series.

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