Hands-on Gear Review

Nemo Wagontop 6 Review

Price:  $650 List | $487.46 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Spacious and tall inside, fun looking, two rooms, great ventilation.
Cons:  Broad sides catch wind, only one vestibule, partial fly, gaps between tent and vestibule.
Bottom line:  Expensive tent that is a little wonky to set up, performs poorly in the wind, but is spacious and fun for mellower camping outings.
Editors' Rating:   
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Seasons:  3-season
Weight:  27 lb 9 oz
Windows:  3
Manufacturer:   Nemo Equipment

Our Verdict

The Nemo Wagontop 6 is a charming tent with a few pitfalls. We loved the spacious design and the tall walls, but it was much harder to secure in winds, especially with a weaker guy line design. The partial fly also created some gaps for rain to sneak through, even with a generous vestibule. Setup was a little confusing with asymmetrical subbed poles — getting the orientation right proved tricky. But if hangout space is a priority and you prefer to camp in protected campsites in mild climates, this might be a great choice — the trick lies in sorting out the pros and cons.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Lyra Pierotti

Last Updated:
Saturday
October 1, 2016

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Performance Comparison


Nemo Wagontop 6
Nemo Wagontop 6

Comfort


This contender is among the more comfortable tents in our review. It is tall and boxy, giving you lots of space to stand up, walk around, hang out, etc. The generous vestibule creates even more useable space, and the back awning design (similar to the REI Kingdom 6) provides ease of access via a "back door" if needed — and if weather doesn't demand that you enter and exit via the vestibule.

Great  big windows in the Nemo Wagontop 6.
Great, big windows in the Nemo Wagontop 6.

With lots of space for air to flow (several windows and ventilation high on the tent) and a light color scheme, this is a great tent for full sun and warm weather. We loved this tent for our beach hangout time, with an important pro tip for setup (see below). The windows also gave us a great view out the side of the tent for the times we wanted to get out of the sun and hang out inside.

The spacious vestibule and numerous door configurations of the Nemo Wagontop 6.
The spacious vestibule and numerous door configurations of the Nemo Wagontop 6.

The two-room design is very similar to the REI Kingdom 6, and arguably even more comfortable to hang out in. However, with this comfort comes significant costs to wind resistance and ease of setup (see below). This tent ranked high in our very subjective "fun" category, rivaling the Big Agnes Flying Diamond 6 for its separate rooms and funky shape.

Weather Resistance


If anything goes sideways on your camping trip in the Wagontop 6, so will your tent. Literally. The tent is so tall and boxy that it kept blowing sideways in light, variable winds on the beach, even with two people standing inside as we tried to anchor it down (pro tip: use fabric tent anchors designed for snow and sand, they increase your anchor's surface area).

Once set up and anchored, we were not pleased with the amount or the design of guy lines. They are attached too low on the tent to adequately counter its tendency to behave like a large rectangular sail in the wind and there are only four guy lines for such a giant sail of a tent (in addition to the two vestibule stake loops).

The tent does not have a full fly to cover the tent; it has a generous vestibule which acts as a sort of half, built-in fly, and an awning in the back (similar to the REI Kingdom 6). But in the rain, waterproofness relies on closing the windows. To close the windows, a flap of tent fabric, sewn to the base of the window on the inside of the tent, can be unrolled and fixed to the top of the window with Velcro and two corner loop closures: Not the most inspiring weatherproofing system. There are also gaps between the fly/vestibule and the inner tent that raise questions about workmanship (see below) in addition to concerns with weatherproofness.

Ease of Setup


The asymmetrical poles proved quite challenging to keep track of and orient correctly. This is certainly a tent to practice setting up at home with your setup team. The pole design was one of the more wonky designs we encountered in this review. Perhaps the livability makes up for it; it does stand tall and create a lot of useable tent space.

Complicated pole design makes the Nemo Wagontop 6 one of the more challenging tents in this review to set up.
Complicated pole design makes the Nemo Wagontop 6 one of the more challenging tents in this review to set up.

Among the finer setup details, we noticed that the poles of this tent were much harder to expand. We are accustomed to guiding tent poles as the shock cord gently snaps them into place, but these poles were the weakest in our review and required our testers to actually push them into place several times.

Erecting the Nemo Wagontop 6  thinking "Whoa  this camping tent is bigger than some apartments I've lived in!"
Erecting the Nemo Wagontop 6, thinking "Whoa, this camping tent is bigger than some apartments I've lived in!"

Getting even more nit-picky, the bundles of T-shaped poles (becoming increasingly popular in tent designs these days for their ability to retain shape and structural strength with fewer poles overall) also made for a huge handful of poles that was not easy to handle while setting up or breaking down.

Workmanship


This tent is not our first pick to weather any sort of storm. We found gaps between the vestibule/fly and tent body that created edges for the wind to catch (even blowing the tent sideways in one test), and spaces for rain to sneak through.

The tall  broad side and tent/vestibule gaps on the Nemo Wagontop 6 make this tent much weaker in stormy weather.
The tall, broad side and tent/vestibule gaps on the Nemo Wagontop 6 make this tent much weaker in stormy weather.

Packed Size


The excellent carrying bag for the Nemo Wagontop 6: the compression straps allow you to reduce bulk before zipping so you don't strain the zipper forcing it closed.
The excellent carrying bag for the Nemo Wagontop 6: the compression straps allow you to reduce bulk before zipping so you don't strain the zipper forcing it closed.

The Wagontop is on the larger side of the tents in this review. As such it is also bulkier when packed up. However, its carrying/storage bag is very well designed. Compression straps and buckles allow you to stuff and cinch the bulky tent, and then zip the bag shut without straining the zipper. This means you don't have to diligently fold the tent (stuffing is a feature our reviewers love). Other bags in the review, such as the Coleman Carlsbad Fast Pitch 6 strained their zippers when trying to stuff the tent back into the bag instead of folding, rolling, and neatly sliding it back into the bag.

Camping tents all packed up for side-by-side comparison. The Optic 6 is dead center.
Camping tents all packed up for side-by-side comparison. The Optic 6 is dead center.

Best Applications


This is a great family tent for mild weather and calm campsites, for shorter camping trips. It is a fun shape, and the two rooms allow for some privacy or separation of activities among friends or family members. This is not a tent for burly winds or sustained rains, but it is a decent shelter for most car camping applications.

If standing up is a key component of your camping comfort, this is a great tent for you.

The door inside the Nemo Wagontop 6 make it a fun and versatile hangout space.
The door inside the Nemo Wagontop 6 make it a fun and versatile hangout space.

Value


This tent is on the upper end of the price range in this review. At $650, it is the second most expensive tent after the Big Agnes Flying Diamond 6. For a tent that has odd edges and gaps between the fly and the tent, and acts like a sail in the wind, this tent is probably not worth the price for most users.

Conclusion


The Wagontop 6 is a tall, roomy, and fun tent with enough design flaws to make questionable whether it is worth the high price of $650. It performs poorly in the wind and is not the best in the rain because of the partial fly and gaps between the tent and body. Smaller Nemo tents seem to be more worthwhile, but this one is not a winner.
Lyra Pierotti

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Most recent review: October 1, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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Rating Distribution
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5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
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