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Nemo Tenshi Review

A solid, lightweight model that offers more versatility than a majority of other 2-pole bivy-style shelters
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $700 List | $699.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Included removable vestibule, ventilation system, innovative anchor point, robust, external poles clips are quick and easy to set up
Cons:  Heavy, ventilation system is sweet but the canopy fabric itself is not as breathable as other models, okay internal dimensions, average price
Manufacturer:   Nemo
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 15, 2020
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 13
  • Weight - 27% 8
  • Weather/Storm Resistance - 25% 8
  • Livability - 18% 6
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 9
  • Durability - 10% 7
  • Versatility - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Nemo Tenshi is a solid and relatively lightweight model that offers more versatility than a majority of other 2-pole bivy-style tents. At first glance, it looks like most weight-focused 2-pole mountaineering tents, but several subtleties make it more user-friendly and livable. It's straightforward and pitches from the outside. It also sports one of the more comprehensive ventilation systems. It's decent in moist three-season environments and lower elevation use and comes with a removable vestibule. The vestibule makes using this model as a "base camp" on weekend or rainy trips much more pleasant. For the majority of users, its extra weight is worth the versatility.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Nemo Tenshi is a classic 2-pole alpine tent with a lot of extras. It's pitched from the outside using clips, making it one of the simpler bivy-tents to set-up. Like many bivy-tents, it's a single wall design. However, it sports a ton of ventilation options to help its inhabitants manage condensation. It's also on the more spacious side of similarly designed tents.

Performance Comparison


The Tenshi is a rad tent. It simply strikes a rad balance of weight and packability  alongside comfort and versatility  and is calibrated well for the types of trips most people go on.
The Tenshi is a rad tent. It simply strikes a rad balance of weight and packability, alongside comfort and versatility, and is calibrated well for the types of trips most people go on.

Ease of Set-Up


The Tenshi is one of the easiest bivy-style tents to pitch; unlike most weight focused tents that place the poles on the inside the body (strong but more challenging to construct) or models that utilize external pole sleeves, the Tenshi uses external plastic clips that make setting this model up a breeze. Its single wall design adds to its ease and speed of pitching.


A lot of double-wall models use similar plastic clips, but then you need to add and secure a separate rainfly. With the Tenshi, you pretty much clip the poles, and you're ready to go.

This model was the easiest and quickest single wall model to pitch. Its external pole clips give it the additional advantage of minimizing the chance of them being damaged while erecting the tent in windier conditions.
This model was the easiest and quickest single wall model to pitch. Its external pole clips give it the additional advantage of minimizing the chance of them being damaged while erecting the tent in windier conditions.

The external poles were one of the biggest changes when it was updated, and a change all of our testers felt was for the better.

This model was the only single walled design to pitch entirely from the outside with pole clips.
This model was the only single walled design to pitch entirely from the outside with pole clips.

Weather Resistance


The Tenshi is a strong two-pole single-wall tent. It has the traditional four mid-level corner guy points and reinforced ground-level points. This helps it hold up in moderate to stronger winds and snow loading.


This model offers tons of options for guying it out  helping what is otherwise a simple two-pole design to stay put in the wind.
This model offers tons of options for guying it out, helping what is otherwise a simple two-pole design to stay put in the wind.

It also has two features not found on many other single wall models. The first is the vestibule, which has three holes around the pole sleeves, which doubles for reinforcing its tie-out loops.

This is the Sleep Tight Anchor Transfer" (STAT) which enables the user to pass the cord through the inside of the shown piece of fabric so that you can create an anchor to clip yourself without having to leave a door open.
This is the Sleep Tight Anchor Transfer" (STAT) which enables the user to pass the cord through the inside of the shown piece of fabric so that you can create an anchor to clip yourself without having to leave a door open.

Nemo terms a "Sleep Tight Anchor Transfer" (STAT) that improves upon the traditional fabric loop anchor. Instead of tying rope, slings, or cordalette to the outside and feeding something else through the inside loop to your harness, Nemo's setup lets you tie the tent — and yourself in — tightly against an anchor, with minimal slack in the system. The exterior point can also serve as an additional tie-out point in high winds (see the photo that simulates this).

The Tenshi proved to hold its own for moderate wind and snow loading and perfect for alpine climbs in remote ranges or weekend use for mountainous adventures in places like the Cascades  Sierra  Tetons  or the Canadian Rockies. Here the Tenshi is pitched with the North Face of Forbidden Peak in the background.
The Tenshi proved to hold its own for moderate wind and snow loading and perfect for alpine climbs in remote ranges or weekend use for mountainous adventures in places like the Cascades, Sierra, Tetons, or the Canadian Rockies. Here the Tenshi is pitched with the North Face of Forbidden Peak in the background.

The Tenshi is one of the more weather resistant models we tested and one of the best single wall models to use in the rain. It held up well in heavy snow and strong winds and is a model we'd consider taking to the greater ranges, lower 48, or Southern Canada.

The Tenshi isn't quite as compact as the tiniest bivy-tents but remains one the more compressible end of 4-season tents on the market.
The Tenshi isn't quite as compact as the tiniest bivy-tents but remains one the more compressible end of 4-season tents on the market.

Weight and Packed Size


The Tenshi isn't the lightest or most compact in our fleet but weighs in at an impressive three pounds 15 ounces without its vestibule, which is still one of the lighter tents on the market.


The stuff sacks that most tents come with are basically meant for storage and to be left at home when you leave on your trip. While we generally prefer to not use a compression sack for our tent and use it to fill open spaces in our pack  we must admit that the highly water-resistant compression sack included with the Tenshi was functional  and a nice addition overall.
The stuff sacks that most tents come with are basically meant for storage and to be left at home when you leave on your trip. While we generally prefer to not use a compression sack for our tent and use it to fill open spaces in our pack, we must admit that the highly water-resistant compression sack included with the Tenshi was functional, and a nice addition overall.

This is where it fills an interesting niche. It is on the heavy side of the weight-focused 2-pole bivy tents but is also roomier with better venting options and thus likely worth the marginal weight for its comfort and versatility. It's just a touch under four pounds without its vestibule. This starts to put it close to "softer" more weight focused double-wall tents, which are bulkier and less strong but are roomier and even more versatile across 3-season conditions.

The 28.5 square feet of interior space is more than average; when combined with its 42" peak height  it's one of the roomier tents in this category. We could easily fit two full-sized pads (shown here) with a little bit of room to spare.
The 28.5 square feet of interior space is more than average; when combined with its 42" peak height, it's one of the roomier tents in this category. We could easily fit two full-sized pads (shown here) with a little bit of room to spare.

Livability


The tent has 28.5 square feet of interior space and a 42" peak height. These measurements are slightly larger than average for a bivy tent.


The ability to add the vestibule is a nice feature that is useful for short term base camping (like hiking into a route and then leaving camp to climb a route the next day) or advanced camps at higher altitudes.

Its above-average specs are easily noticed with two people as the Tenshi is slightly larger than average among 2-pole bivy style tent designs; something that most people is worth the marginal weight penalty. However for a little more weight yet it there are a number of double-wall models that are more spacious and more versatile but come at an even greater weight and size penalty.
Its above-average specs are easily noticed with two people as the Tenshi is slightly larger than average among 2-pole bivy style tent designs; something that most people is worth the marginal weight penalty. However for a little more weight yet it there are a number of double-wall models that are more spacious and more versatile but come at an even greater weight and size penalty.

The window on the vestibule is a nice touch and can be excellent for monitoring conditions and increasing morale when you're stuck inside all day. There's a small reflective strip beneath the vestibule window that can help you find the tent at night.

This photo shows the zipper that attaches the vestibule to the tent. It's clever  effective  and quite stormproof.
This photo shows the zipper that attaches the vestibule to the tent. It's clever, effective, and quite stormproof.

Two pockets sit in the upper corners by the door and are more supportive and extensive than those found on many single wall tents we've tested. The Tenshi's finest attribute might be its ventilation system, which is one of the best of any single wall tent we've ever tested.

One of the sweetest features of this tent was its included removable vestibule. Bring it for stormy or extended trips or leave it behind for sunny weekend adventures to save a pound and a half and a little bit of space in your pack.
One of the sweetest features of this tent was its included removable vestibule. Bring it for stormy or extended trips or leave it behind for sunny weekend adventures to save a pound and a half and a little bit of space in your pack.

This is critical to comfort and safety because no PU coated tent fabric is as breathable as we would like. The Tenshi has four vents; there are two on each side, a small one on the front, and a huge one in the rear.

Joey Thompson gets ready for the day while instructing an AMGA Advanced Alpine Guide Course based out of a Nemo Tenshi.
Joey Thompson gets ready for the day while instructing an AMGA Advanced Alpine Guide Course based out of a Nemo Tenshi.

The vents are marvelous because they allow you to customize airflow based on environmental conditions. For example, you can close the front vent if the wind is hammering from that direction and leave all of the others open. The rear vent is so large you can use it as a mini door to put things in the tent.

The Tenshi features an impressive amount of ventilation. Besides a mesh window on its front door  it has two large  vaulted room vents as well as a second "half" door/escape hatch that also has a screen  and a vault to promote better airflow. While the Tenshi's fabric just offered so-so breathability  all the venting options more than made up for it.
The Tenshi features an impressive amount of ventilation. Besides a mesh window on its front door, it has two large, vaulted room vents as well as a second "half" door/escape hatch that also has a screen, and a vault to promote better airflow. While the Tenshi's fabric just offered so-so breathability, all the venting options more than made up for it.

Bonus — the vestibule has two vents that help circulate air while cooking. This makes it more comfortable to cook inside the tent because you may not need to open the door. Ventilation is the crux of single-wall tent design, and Nemo aced it with the Tenshi.

A closer look at the twin roof vents. These vents could be zipped shut to help seal out the elements or unzipped from the inside and vaulted open to promote airflow.
A closer look at the twin roof vents. These vents could be zipped shut to help seal out the elements or unzipped from the inside and vaulted open to promote airflow.

An external view of the roof vents with them vaulted open. Vault refers to the stiffeners that help the vent to more effectively stay open.
An external view of the roof vents with them vaulted open. Vault refers to the stiffeners that help the vent to more effectively stay open.

If nothing else, a unique feature is its included removable Condensation Curtain, which is a thin piece of fabric that you hang inside the tent. It can help keep moisture vapor from your breath in one area and direct it out the door, keeping the other side drier. Our testers disagree about whether this is worthwhile to carry and fiddle with; some liked it, and others found it a little too gimmicky.

The Tenshi sports three nicely placed pockets. This is the largest and is near the roof of the tent  while the other two are smaller and located near the front door.
The Tenshi sports three nicely placed pockets. This is the largest and is near the roof of the tent, while the other two are smaller and located near the front door.

Durability


The Tenshi is built with 40-denier ripstop nylon, which offers more durability than many other 2-pole bivy-style tents. Its body is slightly more durable than others, and the DAC Featherlite aluminum poles are solid (which are the identical poles used in the Firstlight).


A view of the back "half" door on this model. We liked this feature  as it acted as an "escape hatch"; it also facilitates a large amount of air circulation.
A view of the back "half" door on this model. We liked this feature, as it acted as an "escape hatch"; it also facilitates a large amount of air circulation.

Versatility


The Tenshi is reasonably versatile; because of its extensive ventilation options, its bigger than the tiniest bivy tent size.


Adding to its versatility is its included and removable vestibule, which, when left behind, keeps this tent at a respectable weight. When brought along, you'll have a lot of space to cover your gear.

This model is one of the most versatile shelters we tested. It's light enough for most summertime mountaineering and even the occasional carry-over style route.
This model is one of the most versatile shelters we tested. It's light enough for most summertime mountaineering and even the occasional carry-over style route.

Value


The Tenshi is one of the more expensive contenders in our test but does come with a removable vestibule. The Tenshi is a solid, but not exceptional value, as its middle-ground pricing is balanced with solid performance and a host of sweet features.

The Tenshi is an awesome tent  particularly for the type of routes most people commonly attempt. You can certainly buy a lighter tent  but this tent adds a fair amount of comfort and versatility for just a little more weight.
The Tenshi is an awesome tent, particularly for the type of routes most people commonly attempt. You can certainly buy a lighter tent, but this tent adds a fair amount of comfort and versatility for just a little more weight.

Conclusion


The Nemo Tenshi is an excellent alpine climbing tent, particularly for the type of routes people commonly attempt, like camping at the base of a route and leaving your camp set-up while you go off for your climb. You can buy a lighter tent, but the Tenshi adds a fair amount of comfort and versatility for just a little more weight. We appreciate the vents, additional interior space, and optional vestibule — for only a small weight penalty.

For folks wanting a 4-season shelter that is light but is slightly more versatile than the simplest and lightest 2-pole bivy style tents. The Nemo Tenshi strikes a fantastic balance of low weight while offering slightly more versaility than most 2-pole bivy tents with only a small weight penality.
For folks wanting a 4-season shelter that is light but is slightly more versatile than the simplest and lightest 2-pole bivy style tents. The Nemo Tenshi strikes a fantastic balance of low weight while offering slightly more versaility than most 2-pole bivy tents with only a small weight penality.

Ian Nicholson