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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.
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Price:  $700 List | $524.96 at Backcountry
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  ⋅  Nov 1, 2019
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 20
  • 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 fairly lightweight model that offers more versatility than a majority of other 2-pole bivy-style tents. At first glance, it looks like most other weight-focused 2-pole mountaineering tents, but several subtleties make the Tenshi more user-friendly and livable. It's straightforward and pitches from the outside and 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, which 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

 
This Product
Nemo Tenshi
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $524.96 at Backcountry
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$699.95 at Amazon
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$990 List$449.99 at Backcountry
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$674.96 at Amazon
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Pros Included removable vestibule, ventilation system, innovative anchor point, robust, external poles clips are quick and easy to set upBomber, great durability, compact footprint, lighter than average weight, fantastic overall balance of strength, weight, and livability, best two pole model to get rained or stormed on in, ample guy pointsStormworthy, highly resistant to snow loading, pitches quick from outside, great ventilation, multiple setup configurationsVersatile, lightweight, double wall design works far better in rain than single wall models, handles condensation well, big vestibules, easy to pitchExtremely strong, spacious, bomber three-point self equalizing guylines, tight flap-free pitch
Cons Heavy, ventilation system is sweet but the canopy fabric itself is not as breathable as other models, okay internal dimensions, average pricePoor ventilation, slightly tricky setup, insufficient guylines includedZippers are small and slightly harder to grab, less headroom than other modelsIsn't as strong as other 4-season models, offers a good but not excellent packed sizeBulky for a single wall tent, low ceiling height considering the floor space and weight, harder than average to set up, so-so ventilation, expensive, no vestibule
Bottom Line A solid, lightweight model that offers more versatility than a majority of other 2-pole bivy-style shelters.All-around uses are this model's forte, but it's still robust enough for when the weather turns gnar.Built for the worst conditions but still light and packable enough to consider for summer mountaineering.This ski and summer mountaineering focused design isn't quite burly enough for full on expedition use but is perfect for any other trip you can dream up.Easily among the most bomber tents in this review; extreme storm protection at a respectable weight and its ToddTex ePTFE single-wall fabric handled moisture and condensation better than any other single wall model.
Rating Categories Nemo Tenshi Black Diamond Eldorado Hilleberg Jannu MSR Access 2 Black Diamond Fitzroy
Weight (27%)
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8
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5
Weather Storm Resistance (25%)
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7
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10
Livability (18%)
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6
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7
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8
Ease Of Set Up (10%)
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9
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5
Durability (10%)
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7
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9
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10
Versatility (10%)
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6
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6
Specs Nemo Tenshi Black Diamond... Hilleberg Jannu MSR Access 2 Black Diamond...
Minimum Weight (only tent & poles) 3.9 lbs (no vestibule) 4.5 lbs 6.17 lbs 3.80 lbs 6.28 lbs
Floor Dimensions (inches) 85.1 x 48.1in 87" x 51 in. 93" x 57 in. 84 x 50 in. 93" x 60 in.
Peak Height (inches) 42.6 in 43 in. 40 in. 42 in. 40 in.
Measured Weight (tent, stakes, guylines, pole bag) 5.88 lbs 4.9 lbs 6.87 lbs 4.1 lbs 7.06 lbs
Type Single Wall Single Wall Double Wall Double Wall Single Wall
Packed Size (inches) 16.2 x 9.1in 7" x 19 in. 6" x 20 in. 18 x 6 in 9" x 19 in.
Floor Area (sq ft.) 28.4 sq ft 31 sq. ft. 34.5 sq. ft. 29 sq ft. 36 sq. ft.
Vestibule Area (sq ft.) 10.5 sq ft 9 sq. ft. (optional) 13 sq. ft. 17.5 sq. ft. 9 sq. ft. (optional)
Space-Weight Ratio (inches) 0.38 in. 0.31 in. 0.31 in.
Number of Doors 1 1 1 2 2
Number of Poles 3 2 3 2 4
Pole Diameter (mm) 8.84 mm 8 mm 9 mm 9.3 8 mm
Number of Pockets Side: 2 Ceiling: 1 Side: 4 Ceiling: 0 Side: 4 Ceiling: 0 Side: 2 Ceiling: 0 Side: 4 Ceiling: 0
Pole Material aluminum DAC Featherlite Easton Aluminum 7075-E9 DAC Featherlite NSL Green Easton Syclone Easton Aluminum 7075-E9
Rainfly Fabric 3 layer ToddTex Kerlon 1200 20D nylon ripstop 3 layer ToddTex
Floor Fabric 40D OSMO waterproof/breathable nylon ripstop Unknown 70D PU coated nylon 30D nylon ripstop Unknown

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Nemo Tenshi is a classic 2-pole alpine tent with a lot of extras. This model is pitched from the outside using clips, making it one of the simpler bivy-tents to set-up. Like many bivy-tents, it is only 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 many bivy tents that place the poles inside the body (strong but more challenging to correct) or models that utilize 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, but 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 made to this model when it was updated, and a change all of our testers felt was for the better. This model is easier to set up than all of its closest competition like the Black Diamond Eldorado, MSR Advance Pro, or The North Face Assualt.

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. It also has two features not found on many other single wall models.

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.

The first is the vestibule has three holes around the pole sleeves, which doubles for reinforcing its tie-out loops. Though not necessarily designed for this, you can wrap the guyline around the pole once to help transfer tension from the tie-out stitching to the entire pole sleeve (see the photo below). This technique is used on some of the Hilleberg and The North Face models.

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.

The other is something 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 below that simulates this).

The Tenshi is one of the more weather resistant models we tested and was one of the best single wall models to use in the straight-up rain. The Tenshi 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 but weighs in at three pounds 15 ounces without its vestibule.

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.

For the extra weight, you get a roomy feel and excellent ventilation. It's just a touch under four pounds without its vestibule.

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.

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.

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. 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. Two pockets sit in the upper corners by the door and are more supportive and more extensive than those found on the vast majority of other single wall tents we've 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.

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. 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. 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 also 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.

We did find that Black Diamond's fabric used in the Fitzroy, Ahwahnee, and Eldorado handled moisture slightly better than the Tenshi's, but we feel its vaulted vents more than equalized any differences in fabric.

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.

Lastly, if nothing else, a unique feature of the Tenshi 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 that proved slightly better than average durability compared with 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. Also adding to its versatility is its included and removable vestibule, which, when left behind, keeps this tent at a pretty 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 most people commonly attempt where you camp at the base of a route and leave camp set-up while you go off for your climb. You can certainly 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.


Ian Nicholson