Updates to the Hornet
NEMO has delivered some updates since we last tested this tent. The new Hornet utilizes redesigned pole clips to increase headroom and has tweaked the canopy fabric, as well. See the new Hornet below in the first photo (note the updated "Flybars", which we discuss in greater detail below. The version of this tent that we tested is shown on the right.
- Flybar Volumizing Pole Clips — NEMO has created this patented design (shown in the left-hand photo, above) with the intention of increasing interior volume and therefore livability of this tent. The new design widens the canopy mesh at the top of the tent.
- Canopy Fabric Tweaked — The nylon/mesh fabric that comprises the canopy of the tent is now 10D instead of the 20D on the previous model.
- Slight Weight Decrease — Every ounce counts, and this tent has lost one in its new incarnation! The previous version weighed in around 2 lbs 5 oz, and now comes in slightly less as 2 lbs 4 oz.
This tent still retails for the same $370 price tag. Since we haven't tested the new Hornet, we cannot yet vouch for its improvements. The following review is in reference to the previous model.
Hands-On Review of the Hornet 2P
In our overall ratings, the Hornet 2P was about average, scoring well below the top scorers for ultralight tents. This is due mostly to the fact that it is the heaviest tent in this review, which we calculated without the included stakes. Even so, it still only weighs 2lbs, meaning that if split between two people, each would only be carrying just over a pound with stakes included, a pretty light load. We appreciated the fact that this was a dedicated pole tent because it meant that we didn't have to carry adjustable trekking poles with us, and when we did, they didn't end up tied up in the pitching of our tent, so we could use them for day hikes in the wilderness. Not needing trekking poles makes it a good option for those who want a lightweight tent for activities other than backpacking, such as river trips, canoe trips, bike packing, or bike touring.
Despite being dragged down by its low score for weight, we liked many aspects of this tent. There is no doubt that the interior sleeping space is small for two people, an issue that we found with all of the dedicated pole tents we tested. However, the double doors and vestibules improve the storage area and convenience and make it much easier to get in and out of. We also loved the attention to detail displayed by such features as clips that attach the main mesh body of the tent to the outer fly, thereby holding the walls of the tent out, creating more interior space. While it wasn't one of the highest scorers in this review, we can honestly say this is a great tent and our favorite dedicated pole ultralight tent.
The Nemo Hornet (pictured here) and the Hornet Elite are the dedicated pole tents we tested that have two doors and two vestibules. This makes them easier to fit two people and their gear compared to the Fly Creek Platinum. Here set up just above treeline in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.
The Hornet 2P is a dedicated pole, double wall tent, meaning it has an interior tent, which in this case is made of mesh bug netting on the top half, and ripstop nylon on the floor and halfway up the side walls. Over the top of this is draped a ripstop nylon rainfly, with the double doors and vestibules on the sides. We liked the fact that the nylon bathtub floor extended well up the sides of the interior tent, as we felt this worked well to shield us from drafty winds that make their way under the gap in the rainfly, keeping us warmer and more comfortable while we were sleeping. We also noticed that the double vestibules effectively served as wide guy-out points on the broad side walls of this tent, with the effect being that it is far more stable in heavy winds than either the Fly Creek HV2 Platinum or the Terra Nova Solar Photon 2, the other two dedicated pole tents in this review.
While the fabric of this tent is neither the super expensive and high quality DCF fiber like that found on the Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2, or SilNylon like that found on most of the other tents in this review, it is never-the-less treated ripstop nylon that does a totally effective job of shielding the user from the rain. Velcro on the inside of the fly for attaching it in place to the poles, as well as adjustable straps where the fly attaches to the stakes, help this fly stay rigid in place when it starts to stretch due to becoming waterlogged.
One added benefit to having a vestibule on each side is that the Hornet 2P does not present such a broad profile for wind to blow against, and this was the most wind resistant of the three dedicated pole tents we tested.
The nylon ripstop fabric is coated with a Silicon/Polyurethane water repellant, which works in a light sprinkle. Once it gets super wet it tends to absorb a small amount of water and stretch and sag. While it will keep you dry, it is not as awesome as DCF fabric.
The biggest complaint we have about all of the dedicated pole tents we reviewed was that in order to cut down on weight, they also shrunk the interior of the tent to the point where it is cramped and tight for two people. The Hornet 2P is certainly a good example, and for two people to comfortably sleep in this tent, they shouldn't be too tall or have sleeping pads that are wide. It also helps if they are a couple. Contrasted against the very spacious Black Diamond Beta Light or the perfect for two people with space left over size of the Zpacks Duplex, this tent is indeed a bit of a comfort compromise.
That said, Nemo has obviously taken pains to pay attention to little details that make a difference. Inherent in this double wall design is the fact that condensation will not collect on the bug mesh, thereby keeping it away from sleeping bags where it could be a problem. The double doors and double vestibules, as we have already mentioned, are far more convenient for crawling in and out of, especially in contrast to the small door of the Fly Creek HV2 Platinum. They also allow for more storage space and easier organization of gear. Dual interior side pockets and an interior overhead pocket further help with organization, and special clips not found on other tents help hold the interior fabric further out, maximizing space. There is no doubt, though, that this tent is far comfier for only one person.
Tom showing the interior height of the Hornet 2P. It is just tall enough to sit up inside while on top of a sleeping pad, for a 5'10" height male.
While this tent can certainly fit two people inside, it is more spacious with only one! Tom showing how it is long enough for a 5'10" male with a little room to spare. In order for two people to fit, they need to have sleeping pads that are not extra wide, and it will help if they are really good friends.
At 2lbs. 5.5oz. for the entire tent including all of its necessary components, this was the heaviest tent in this review and thus received the lowest score. While it wasn't up to the standard of weight set by some of the other ultralight tents in this review, we should point out that this tent is still quite light compared to regular backpacking tents, especially when that weight is split between two people.
Unlike some shelters like the Six Moons Designs Haven Tarp that need both stakes and trekking poles to completely set up, or the Solar Photon 2, whose included stakes were simply not practical or even usable, the Hornet 2P comes with all of the components necessary included with purchase, and they are all high quality enough and light enough to use without replacement. The included stakes weigh only 3.6 ounces and are sturdy and durable. In a pinch, this tent can be fully set up using only four stakes, although six is recommended.
Everything that comes in the package with the Nemo Hornet 2P. Inside tent on the right, rain fly in the middle, stuff sack, and the poles and stakes, along with a small bit of extra cordage for guying out. While we loved that this tent came with all we needed, it was also the heaviest tent in this review.
There is really only one way to set this tent up, as its design is fixed to the poles that it uses, although it can be used with the rain fly in place for windy or rainy weather, or without the rain fly for calmer nights where only bug protection is needed. The way that the rain fly attaches to the interior tent precludes it from being set up on its own, like a single wall tarp, without the interior tent in place.
However, we found that with its tall nylon interior walls that effectively shield the wind, and its stable double vestibule design, this tent is more suited for four season use than the Fly Creek HV2 Platinum, should it be needed for the occasional cold weather trip. Its short, non-adjustable stake out points, in contrast to those shelters with adjustable line-locks like the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Square Flat Tarp, make it more of a challenge to set up on hard surfaces where stakes will not dig into the ground, and use of spare cordage and some rigging may be needed in order to set this tent up using only rocks as anchors.
Showing the Hornet 2P set up without the rain fly. We liked the tall nylon sides as this helped protect us from wind drafts that made their way under the rain fly while we slept, keeping us warmer. While this tent is freestanding, the two back corners, shown on the left, need to be staked out.
Ease of Set-up
Setting this tent up is pretty intuitive if you have much experience setting up backpacking tents, as it follows much the same pattern as most tents available these days. First, the poles must be assembled and the ends must be put into the grommets on either end of the tent that holds them in place. With the Hornet 2P, this is made easier for one person due to the attachment points that hold the ends of the poles firm, not allowing them to release, which is one of the cruxes of setting up any dedicated pole tent alone. The body of the tent is then clipped up to the pole supports, and then staked in place. Finally, the rain fly is draped over top, clipped to the stake locations, and the doors are staked out.
While this process is relatively intuitive and easy for one person, it does take a bit of time due to the many parts of the process. Even though we're comparing apples to oranges, we thought it was about as challenging as setting up the HMG UltaMid 2 or the Mountain Laurel Designs Grace Tarp Duo, alone. While they all have a similar design and setup process, we thought that this was the easiest of the dedicated pole tents to set up, barely nudging out the Fly Creek HV2 Platinum due to the features already described, and also the Solar Photon 2 because dealing with that tent's tiny, fragile stakes was such a pain.
While it takes a minute or two to set up both the interior tent, as well as put the rain fly over the top, we found this to be one of the more intuitive tents to set up, and the pole locking attachments help for setup with only one person.
Setup made easy for one person. This is the Nemo Hornet 2P tent. The ball end of the pole locks into place, meaning that now you don't have to hold tension as you run around and place the other two ends of this three-legged pole into their places. The rain fly clips onto this small plastic piece as well.
Because of its light weight and the fact that no adjustable trekking poles are needed for setup, this tent is really well suited to pretty much any backcountry trip, whether that is backpacking, base-camping, river rafting, canoeing, or bike touring. While two people do fit inside, there is no doubt that it will be more spacious and comfortable for one.
Testing the Hornet 2P (this time with only one person inside), on an extended backpacking trip into Dark Canyon in the Utah desert. We like a dedicated pole tent for basecamping, as we did on this trip, because it leaves our trekking poles free to be used during the day.
This tent retails for $370, making it about average for an ultralight tent. It is significantly more affordable than the other dedicated pole tents that we tested, and since we think it is the best of the three, presents a good value.
The Nemo Hornet 2P is the best double wall, dedicated pole tent that we tested for this review. Compared to the competition it is more stable and protective in heavy weather, and also has features like double doors and vestibules that make it more livable for two people. While it is the heaviest tent in this review, a fact that drove down its cumulative overall score, it is still quite light and simple to set up. If you want a dedicated pole tent that is lightweight, this is our recommendation for you.
Lighter packs mean more mobility, enabling you to reach scenic campsites like this one, above treeline in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.