Mountain Hardwear Nimbus UL 2 Review
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Mountain Hardwear Nimbus UL 2
|Price||$419.99 at Evo|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$499.95 at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$539.99 at Amazon|
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|$540 List||$329 List|
$329.00 at REI
|Pros||Lightweight, packable, overhead pocket||Massive storage pockets, sturdy vestibule shape, dual-tone privacy mesh||Two large double doors, good headroom, excellent balance of interior space and weight||Lightweight, high peak height, excellent storage pockets, detachable kickstand vents||Spacious, affordable, included footprint|
|Cons||Single door, less livable volume, average stakes||Comparatively narrow, expensive, difficult to get into stuff sack||Expensive, delicate materials||Expensive, shorter length, thin rainfly||Heavy, bulky poles|
|Bottom Line||A backpacking tent large enough for two people to snuggle in and light enough for one person to carry on their own||This tent is an exceptional balance between weight and comfort features with one of the best shapes around||This tent balances the key aspects of a backpacking tent and performs admirably in all of our metrics||With two large side doors and plenty of headroom, this lightweight tent is a great balance between comfort and weight||This inexpensive tent is spacious enough for laid-back car camping and light enough for short to moderate backpacking trips|
|Rating Categories||Mountain Hardwear N...||NEMO Dragonfly Osmo 2||Big Agnes Copper Sp...||SlingFin Portal 2||REI Co-op Half Dome...|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Ease of Set-up (10%)|
|Packed Size (10%)|
|Specs||Mountain Hardwear N...||NEMO Dragonfly Osmo 2||Big Agnes Copper Sp...||SlingFin Portal 2||REI Co-op Half Dome...|
|Packaged Weight||2.29 lbs||3.29 lbs||3.09 lbs||3.18 lbs||4.82 lbs|
|Floor Area||28.1 sq ft||29 sq ft||29 sq ft||27.45 sq ft||35.8 sq ft|
|Packed Size (length x diameter)||12 x 6 in||19.5 x (5.5 x 3.5) in||19.5 x 6 in||14 x 5 in||20.5 x 7 in|
|Dimensions (length x width x peak height)||86 x 52 x 41 in||88 x 50/45 x 41 in||88 x 52 x 40 in||85 x 51/42 x 44 in||92 x 56 x 42 in|
|Vestibule Area (Total)||7.7 sq ft||10 sq ft||18 sq ft||8.4 + 8.4 sq ft||22.5 sq ft|
|Peak Height||41 in||41 in||40 in||44 in||42 in|
|Number of Doors||1||2||2||2||2|
|Number of Poles||1||1||1||3||1|
|Pole Diameter||8.7 mm||8.7 mm||8.7 mm||8.7/9.3mm||2 mm|
|Number of Pockets||3||4||3||7||6|
|Pole Material||DAC Featherlite NFL aluminum||DAC Featherlite||DAC featherlite NFL||DAC Featherlite NFL, NFL||DAC featherlite NFL aluminum|
|Rain Fly Material||20D ripstop nylon||0D OSMO Ripstop||15D 1200mm silicone nylon ripStop||10D Nylon 66 Ripstop Sil||40-denier ripstop nylon/20-denier nylon mesh|
|Inner Tent Material||15D nylon mesh||10D Nylon Ripstop||[Body] 10D polyester mesh, [Floor] 20D nylon ripStop||15D Nylon mesh||40-denier taffeta nylon|
|Type||Semifreestanding||Two door freestanding||Two door freestanding||Two door freestanding||Two door freestanding|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Nimbus UL 2 stands out for its lightweight. The 15-denier tent and 20-denier rainfly are thin but packable. With an easy setup, this tent will have you covered in the backcountry in no time.
For everything there is to like about the Nimbus, its comfort is not at the top of the list. Its 86-inch length already makes it one of the shorter tents. Its peak height also only exists as a narrow strip down the center of the tent. The sidewalls quickly slope inward from there, so fitting two people while sitting up or sleeping is an exercise in getting cozy.
The single vestibule is also rather tight for two sets of gear and shoes. The front-end door is easy to open and close but a little annoying for the other person if you need to get out in the middle of the night. The two side pockets and third overhead pocket are nice additions that provide extra storage in a tent with small dimensions.
The Nimbus will keep you dry, but it's not a foul-weather fortress. The fly is made from 20D ripstop nylon. It flares out far away from the tent to more effectively shed precipitation and clips to the sides of the tent so that it doesn't blow off-kilter in strong wind. A flap over the vestibule zipper prevents rain from dripping through, and the vestibule itself provides enough coverage to keep a pack and shoes dry in a storm.
On the downside, this ripstop nylon seems to have some extra stretch to it. Though this makes it easier to pitch, it is also susceptible to sagging when wet, meaning that in a strong storm, you will likely have the fly brush up against the tent walls.
At 2.29 pounds, this tent is one of the lightest in the category, making it a great option for deeper backcountry travel when you still want a tent with dedicated poles. If you are hiking with a partner, splitting the weight makes for an extra light load.
With light weight comes delicate materials. The thin tent floor benefits from an additional layer of protection from a ground cloth. With a minimalist Y-shaped architecture, the poles also have quite a bit more front-to-back bend than a model with additional segments.
Having said that, many of the materials are more substantial than other models in the same two-pound weight range. The metal coins at the corners and end of the tent that hold the poles in place are minimalist and strong, and the nylon cord loops that secure the tent to the poles also do away with plastic clips that can get stepped on.
Ease of Set-Up
The simplicity of this model also makes it very simple to pitch. Shock cord holds all of the pole segments together, and they are color-coded to match the grommets on the tent, which makes it possible to orient everything very quickly. It has a somewhat atypical system for connecting the tent to the poles. Cord loops on the main body attach to G-hooks on the poles that stay securely in place.
To go along with its weight, this tent has some of the smallest packed dimensions of any model. It comes with a drawstring stuff sack, but we opt to leave it behind to take advantage of the packability. We also like the low-profile hardware. Combined with an absence of hooks, there aren't any parts to get caught on the body and mesh of the tent, which sometimes happens with other models when unpacking them at the end of the day. The fly is also small enough that you could stuff it in an exterior pocket if it was wet (instead of mixing it in with the rest of your gear).
Should You Buy the Mountain Hardwear Nimbus 2?
This tent is all about minimizing weight. It is quick to pitch and packs down small. It has a couple of standard storage features like pockets and a vestibule that add to its overall comfort. If shaving ounces is your top priority, this is certainly a contender. However, there are similar models that have superior weather resistance and better comfort features at around the same price point.
What Other Backpacking Tents Should You Consider?
If the Nimbus is a tent you are considering, the Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2 Solution Dye is another lightweight option worth a look. It's just slightly heavier, but it has two double doors and offers additional headroom, which are big upgrades in our experience. The Nemo Hornet Elite Osmo is another similar model that is even lighter. Its weight is closer to that of the models found in our ultralight fleet. The Nemo Dragonfly Osmo 2 and Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 are heavier but offer exceptional space-to-weight and are superb all-around options.
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