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NEMO Aurora 2 Review

This spacious tent has a lot of headroom and is great for car camping or weekend backpacking
NEMO Aurora 2
Photo: NEMO
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Price:  $250 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Two-tone mesh, lots of headroom, large doors
Cons:  Odd fly tension, single zipper on doors
Manufacturer:   NEMO Equipment
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 24, 2021
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 14
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Weight - 25% 6
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 5
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 7
  • Durability - 10% 7
  • Packed Size - 10% 4

Our Verdict

The NEMO Aurora 2 is a versatile tent. It feels spacious enough to take on a car camping trip or any time you want to spread out while also staying light enough that you could take it deeper into the backcountry. It has large side doors, storage pockets for each sleeper, and thoughtfully incorporated mesh for privacy. This tent is easy to set up and comfortable even for two taller sleepers. For those who are looking for a single tent that is capable of pulling double-duty, this one is well worth having on hand for a variety of adventures.

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NEMO Aurora 2
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NEMO Aurora 2
Awards  Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
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$139 List
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$159 List
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Pros Two-tone mesh, lots of headroom, large doorsLots of headroom, large vestibule, easy to pitchTwo side doors, easy to pitch, large vestibulesHeadroom, large tent doors, ventilationLightweight, easy to pitch
Cons Odd fly tension, single zipper on doorsPoles pinch together under fly tensionHeavy, not so stable in high windHeavy, unsteady in high wind, cheap stakesSmall interior, single door and vestibule
Bottom Line This spacious tent has a lot of headroom and is great for car camping or weekend backpackingThis inexpensive tent is just a good as a 1P as it for twoThis basic tent is easy to set up and provides comfortable nights of camping on a budgetThis spacious tent makes the most of its dimensions and offers plenty of features that will have you camping in comfortA budget tent for those who want to minimize weight and don't mind sacrificing a fair bit of comfort
Rating Categories NEMO Aurora 2 REI Co-op Passage 1 REI Co-op Passage 2 The North Face Stormbreak 2 Big Agnes C Bar 2
Comfort (25%)
8
8
8
9
4
Weight (25%)
6
6
6
4
9
Weather Resistance (20%)
5
7
7
8
7
Ease Of Set Up (10%)
7
9
9
9
8
Durability (10%)
7
8
8
8
7
Packed Size (10%)
4
5
5
4
8
Specs NEMO Aurora 2 REI Co-op Passage 1 REI Co-op Passage 2 The North Face... Big Agnes C Bar 2
Measured Packaged Weight 5.46 lbs 4.21 lbs 5.23 lbs 5.89 lbs 3.96 lbs
Floor Area 31.8 sq ft 20 sq ft 31 sq ft 30.5 sq ft 28 sq ft
Packed Size 7 x 23 in 7.5 x 17 in 8 x 18 in 7 x 22 in 6 x 19 in
Dimensions 88 x 52 in 88 x 36 in 88 x 52 in 87 x 50 x 43 in 86 x (52 x 42) x 41 in
Vestibule Area (Total) 9.2 + 9.2 sq ft 9.5 sq ft 19 sq ft 19 sq ft 7 sq ft
Peak Height 44 in 40 in 40 in 43 in 41 in
Number of Doors 2 1 2 2 1
Number of Poles 2 2 2 4 2
Pole Diameter 8.5 mm 8.5 mm 8.5 mm Not provided Not provided
Number of Pockets 2 overhead + 2 door stash 1 2 4 3
Gear Loft No No No No No
Pole Material Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum DAC pressfit aluminum
Guy Points 8 4 4 4 7
Rain Fly Material 68-denier polyurethane polyester Polyester Polyester 68D lightweight polyester taffeta, 1200 mm PU Polyester taffeta
Inner Tent Material 68-denier polyurethane polyester, 30-denier polyester No-See-Um mesh Polyester Polyester 68D polyester taffeta, 1500 mm PU coating Polyester & mesh
Type Freestanding Freestanding Freestanding Two door, freestanding Freestanding

Our Analysis and Test Results

The most unique feature of this tent is the amount of volume that it offers relative to its weight. With 32 square feet of floor space, there are only a few others in this review that are roomier.

Performance Comparison


The forest green color of this spacious tent blends in to the scenery.
The forest green color of this spacious tent blends in to the scenery.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Comfort


We love how easy it is for two people to operate in this tent at the same time. It has a standard 88-inch length, but the differentiator is the steepness of its walls. The 44-inch peak height is considerable, and the supplementary crossbar extends the headroom well beyond a single point to a fairly large plane that runs from wall-to-wall all the way around.

Steep walls increase the livable interior space.
Steep walls increase the livable interior space.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

There are two large, elliptical doors that can stow away easily in the door-storage pockets on either side. Incidentally, these pockets also double as gear storage at night when the doors are closed. The 52-inch width is above average and leaves enough space to spread out if you need the extra room.

High side panels and white mesh increase the privacy that this tent...
High side panels and white mesh increase the privacy that this tent provides.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Weight


At a packed weight of under five and a half pounds, this tent isn't light, but it balances spaces and weight as well as any in the category. If you are able to split the load between two people, it's manageable enough that it would be a nice option for a multi-day backcountry adventure.

Though not a lightweight, the Aurora cuts down on ounces by using...
Though not a lightweight, the Aurora cuts down on ounces by using small, low-profile aluminum components.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

With that in mind, its spacious dimensions make it a prime candidate for a car camping weekend with friends, or a shelter that you can take with you on a canoeing or bike packing adventure.

Weather Resistance


It's fine in most typical situations, but weather resistance features aren't the strong suit of the Aurora. The full-coverage fly and vestibules kept us and our gear protected. However, we ran into an issue that we have encountered before on a couple of models, namely, that tensioning the fly sufficiently ends up compressing the actual tent in places, leaving it to sag and reducing interior space.

Each side vestibule is large enough to protect a backpack and...
Each side vestibule is large enough to protect a backpack and footwear from the elements.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

It's not a dealbreaker, we just found it a little bit frustrating that it took so long to get it right. On the plus side, the vestibule zippers have protective flaps that keep out rain and the two vents (one at each end) keep air circulating through, especially when it's also possible to open up the vestibule door at least halfway.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Ease of Set Up


The pole structure is a little gangly, but ultimately, the tent is easy to pitch. It comes with special lightweight grommets at the corners. Between the footprint, tent, and fly (each with its own set of grommets), there is a lot to attach to each pole corner, but it is straightforward.

Once the tent is properly "set up", it is also easy to open up the...
Once the tent is properly "set up", it is also easy to open up the doors and keep them out of the way with the stash pockets.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

The tent and fly are symmetrical so there is no extra step of having to orient everything in the one correct way. The pole segments are all connected with elastic so sliding them all into place is a quick process.

Durability


The 68D polyester floor and fly are durable. The bathtub floor also rises high off of the ground. In addition, the included footprint provides extra protection from rough ground.

The included footprint offers added protection from sharp or...
The included footprint offers added protection from sharp or abrasive objects on the ground.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Other than the clips that attach the tent to the poles, there isn't a lot of brittle plastic to inadvertently step on. Another nice inclusion is a spare pole sleeve which could be a lifesaver if one of the pole segments were to snap while on trail.

Packed Size


Interestingly, the Aurora's stuff sack volume is larger than we would expect based on its weight. However, it is possible to pack it down more tightly than that.

Prebent poles certainly increase interior volume but they also don't...
Prebent poles certainly increase interior volume but they also don't pack down quite a neatly as straight ones.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

The footprint certainly adds some bulk as well but if you are trying to save a little space, the tent floor is undoubtedly durable enough that it would be fine to leave behind.

Value


For the frequent backpacker, there is great value to be found in this tent. It is practical for a variety of outdoor adventures, so if you know you need a tent for something but something could be anything, then there is great utility to having this on hand.

Conclusion


The NEMO Aurora 2 is an excellent option if you find yourself splitting your summers between car camping and backpacking. It is comfortable and has a lot of livable space, but also light enough that you could take it backpacking. Though it's not our top choice, we still think it is a practical, versatile option.

The large doors and spacious interior make this a great versatile...
The large doors and spacious interior make this a great versatile option.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Ben Applebaum-Bauch