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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > NEMO Hornet Elite 2 > Test Report by Gail StaisilNEMO Hornet Elite 2P Ultralight Backpacking Tent
Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan
May 10, 2019
Name: Gail Staisil
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.
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
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 wrapping 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.
-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!
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
The 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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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, Michigan
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
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)
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.
The 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. 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.
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.
Thanks to NEMO Equipment, Inc and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity to test the Hornet Elite Ultralight Backpacking Tent. My long term report will be available in about two months.
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