Hands-on Gear Review

Nemo Obi 2 Review

Nemo Obi
By: Chris McNamara and Max Neale  ⋅  Jan 12, 2014
Price:  $390 List
Pros:  Lightest two-door double wall tent.
Cons:  Shortest tent tested, Jake's Feet are less reliable than grommets, single wall ends are more prone to condensation and make it so you can't pitch with fly, poles, and footprint in rain, other lighter tents have better ventilation.
Manufacturer:   Nemo
43
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Livability - 20% 4
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 4
  • Durability - 10% 5
  • Adaptability - 10% 0
  • Weight - 20% 4
  • Packed Size - 10% 7
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Our Verdict

Discontinued
While this tent is no longer made, we have many picks of top backpacking tents in our up-to-date, side-by-side, tent shootout.

At 3 lb. 9 oz. the Nemo Obi 2 is the lightest two-door double wall tent we've tested. It saves weight with a small inner tent that's cozy for two people and by using a single waterproof wall at the ends. Our testers appreciated the Obi's two vestibules but found the tent to be among the least comfortable we've tested for those approaching or over six feet tall.

See how the Obi compares to other tents in our Best Backpacking Tent Review.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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Livability


The Obi's two door design makes backcountry travel with a double wall tent more comfortable than single front entrance tents. Being able to enter and exit through your own door is less disruptive to your adventure partner than single entrance tents. It's also nicer to have your own vestibule space. The Obi's 40" peak height lets you sit up in the front and the pole design provides slightly more support than tents with three ground level pole connections.

Nemo lists the Obi's width as 50 in., which we measured as the width of the front exterior. The interior width is 48 in. at the widest point, 42 in. at the shoulder area, and 40 in. at the foot. There's enough space inside for two 20 in. wide pads with a couple of inches to spare on the sides at by the front of the tent and on extra space at the foot. Our testers' most significant complaint with the Obi was its length. The interior measures 80 in. from the center front to the center rear. This wouldn't be too bad except the bottom front of the tent is made with a single waterproof fabric that's prone to condensation. One of our 5 ft. 8 in. tall testers said that she wouldn't want to be one inch taller. In a lofted sleeping bag the author, at 6 ft. 1 in. tall, touches both ends simultaneously, which forces him to curl up in order to not get wet in the rain.

The Obi's two vestibules are roughly as small as many other lightweight tents and provide enough space to cover a pair of shoes and a small pack. One side pocket and ceiling pocket make it easier to find a headlamp at night. Clips attach the inner tent to the outer tent to increase interior volume. The two small vents at the top of the door may help slightly to combat condensation.

Nemo Obi pole structure
Nemo Obi pole structure
Nemo Obi 2 inner tent. One tester said she wouldn't want to be taller than 5' 8". Also note that the waterproof sidewalls end at the door  which can be a drawback in heavy rain because splashback can hit the doors.
Nemo Obi 2 inner tent. One tester said she wouldn't want to be taller than 5' 8". Also note that the waterproof sidewalls end at the door, which can be a drawback in heavy rain because splashback can hit the doors.

Weather Resistance


The Obi's double wall construction provides protection from all of the elements. As mentioned above, the shorter interior length and single wall ends make it relatively easy to get the bottom of a sleeping bag wet when it's raining. The Obi has wonderfully high waterproof side walls everywhere except on the doors. But splashback doesn't discriminate. One tester reported that in heavy rain on compact soil dirty splashback hit the mesh door and water seeped into the tent. Expanding the waterproof wall to include the bottom of the door could help to address this problem.

The Obi's thin low profile design helps it to shed wind. Our testers pitched the Obi and Losi side-by-side in a fierce High Sierra thunderstorm that blew the larger Losi away. The Obi's small size is a considerable advantage in serious three-season storms. Two other female testers (5' 5" and 5' 7" tall) hiked the length of the John Muir trail with the Obi and found that the tent held up well to the winds and one thunderstorm on their trip.

Nemo Obi along the John Muir Trail.
Nemo Obi along the John Muir Trail.

Weight and Packed Size


The Obi weighs just under 57 oz., or 3 lb. 9 oz., with stakes. In comparison, the lightest double wall tent tested weighs 24 ounces or 42 percent less than the Obi. The Obi comes with an alpine style stuff sack that separates the inner and outer tents from the pole, a design that we see more often with four-season single wall tents like the Mountain Hardwear Direkt2 and Black Diamond Firstlight. It's very good at compressing the tent body. Some companies such as Hilleberg and Warmlite argue that tents last longer when rolled up around the poles, but, as far as we know, there's little evidence to support that theory.

92 oz Nemo Losi  left  and 58 oz. Nemo Obi  right.
92 oz Nemo Losi, left, and 58 oz. Nemo Obi, right.

Adaptability


The Obi is one of several tents that receive a score of zero in this category. The tent can be "fast-pitched" with the poles, fly, and an optional footprint, but for reasons stated in our Buying Advice Article we do not believe this is a viable setup for backpacking. Plus, the gaping hole on the Obi's front end would let wind and rain in. Therefore, it must be pitched in the exact same way every time, which can be a drawback for long distance hikers or anyone forced to camp in sites that don't allow an optimal pitch.

The Hilleberg Rogen and Anjan (left) are the only tents that pitch in a floorless configuration  which increases versatility and reduces weight  and is much stronger  lighter  and more weather resistant than "fast pitching" (right).
The Hilleberg Rogen and Anjan (left) are the only tents that pitch in a floorless configuration, which increases versatility and reduces weight, and is much stronger, lighter, and more weather resistant than "fast pitching" (right).

Limitations


The Obi lacks a clip at the vestibule door. Adding one would help to relieve stress on the vestibule zipper. We don't believe that the Obi's use of DAC Jake's Feet on the four corners results in a net benefit. These are slightly easier to use but not as reliable as traditional grommets. See the photos below for details. It's also important to note that Nemo is the only company that we know of that allows you to swap out the bottom part of the Jake's Feet. This could be useful if one was to break, but we still prefer grommets.

The clip that connects the inner tent to the outer tent lies high up on the inner tent wall (at the corner of the waterproof fabric and mesh). In high winds we found that this reduces tension on the inner wall and can make it flap around violently in the wind and smack you in the face if you're daring to go close enough. Other tents that have the same feature put the clip lower on the wall, which we prefer.

There's only one Velcro closure to connect the fly to the inner tent. Adding many more would greatly increase the Obi's strength in high winds because the outer tent needs to connect to the poles. The strongest tents tested here use continuous sleeves to connect the poles to either the inner or outer tent. Adding more closures, would make the system stronger. Nemo uses lots of excellent closures on its Tenshi tent (a bomber single wall shelter winter climbing). Using the same closures on the Obi would further increase its ability to handle three-season storms.

The Neo Obi's door has no mechanism to take stress off the zipper. Most other tents have a clip or snap that connects both sides of the vestibule.
The Neo Obi's door has no mechanism to take stress off the zipper. Most other tents have a clip or snap that connects both sides of the vestibule.
The Nemo Obi's small top vents.
The Nemo Obi's small top vents.

Best Application


Lightweight backpacking with people that are around or less than 5' 8" tall.

Value


The Obi is one of the most expensive tents tested in this category. We plot retail prices and our scores for each tent in a Price versus Value Chart.

Other Versions


Obi Elite 1
Nemo Obi 1 Elite
  • Cost - $419
  • Single person version
  • Trail weight - 2 lbs 7 oz
  • Floor area - 21 sq ft
  • Peak height - 40 in

Nemo Losi 2
Nemo Losi
  • Cost - $320
  • Weight - 5 lbs 12 oz
  • Floor area - 32 sq ft
  • A wonderfully spacious tent for three-season adventures
  • Features steep walls and a tall peak height (46 in)

Accessories


Nemo Obi 2 Footprint
Nemo Obi 2 Footprint
  • Cost - $40
  • Weight - 8.6 oz
  • Adds longevity to your tent

Chris McNamara and Max Neale

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: January 12, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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  • 5
 (4.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Backpacker

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   Jan 28, 2013 - 02:05pm
KouleKafe · Backpacker · London

Used this tent on my own for a couple of days now in wet and windy conditions, temperatures just above and below freezing.

PROS
  • Light, very small pack size, beautiful design in all the details, quick to set up, sturdy in wind, nearly self-standing, nice to look out doors, sitting height just about OK, decent vestibules - no rain in tent when opening outer.
  • The 'jakes foot' design is great, in my view. So is the zip design. Single pole is easy to use.
  • ventilation in summer should be excellent and is OK for winter
  • A beautiful real tent with a tiny weight and pack size.

CONS
  • short (I am 1.80m and it's just about OK with mat and sleeping bag)
  • narrow, inner walls sloping in (for 2 only if on good terms, not large, and zero baggage inside)
  • condensation: the lower third of the top end is a single-wall and the hood of my sleeping bag was really wet in the morning from there; also a bit wet at the foot end
  • comes with 6 nice pegs, but needs 8 (the guy-out at the top end is necessary to keep outer and inner from touching in rain) [3 side alu pegs would be better than 4 side ones]

Design flaws:
  • gap of inner to outer too large on the side and top (despite connection), sides sloping too far in, wasting inner space. Gap on head end too small - OK with guy-out.
  • 'single wall' at top end, and (to a lesser degree) foot end - if only the outer would come down some 30cm at the top and 10 at foot end! In wet and cold conditions, condensation (from the ground and from you) will run down the inside of an outer tent. With a single wall construction, you get this *inside* the tent, even with good ventilation. (I'm so glad I didn't buy a Black Diamond HiLite!)
  • the small 'vents' on the top can only be used if rain is excluded
  • the plastic hooks that connect inner and outer are very hard to open



Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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