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NEMO Hornet 2P Ultralight Tent Review

NEMO Hornet 2P Tent

Comfort
Ease of Setup
Weather Resistance
Durabilty
Weight
Packed Size

Ultralight Tent

The Nemo Hornet 2P is an ultralight double-walled two person tent with two doors that weighs less than 2 pounds. It's easy to setup, spacious, and well ventilated.

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The NEMO Hornet 2P Tent is a two-person ultralight tent with two doors that weighs just 1 pound 14.3 ounces (on the SectionHiker scale), not including stuff sacks or tent stakes. Let that sink in for a moment. The NEMO Hornet 2P is lighter weight than many two-person ultralight silnylon tents, so you can finally enjoy the advantages of a double-walled tent without a weight penalty (See Advantages of Lightweight Double-Walled Tents.)

The Hornet's inner tent is suspended from a single hub and spoke pole
The Hornet’s inner tent is suspended from a single hub and spoke pole

Design

The Hornet 2P is a semi-freestanding tent meaning that the inner tent hangs from an exoskeleton style hub and spoke pole using plastic clips. Setup is incredibly fast and simple. Simply spread out the inner tent, insert the pole into the connectors sewn to the floor, and then stake out the corners (yes, in that order). Then hang the inner tent from the pole using the plastic hooks provided.

Besides easy setup, the advantage of this pole architecture is that it creates a very large air gap between the inner tent and the rain fly, that improves internal airflow and eliminates internal condensation transfer onto your gear.

The tent fly clips to the outside of the jakes foot corners at the rear of the tent, eliminating the need for a second stake to hold the fly
The tent fly clips to the outside of the jakes foot connectors at the rear of the tent, eliminating the need for an additional stake to hold the fly.

Once the inner tent is pitched, position the rain fly over it, connecting the rear corners to jakes feet connectors. Do the same for the front corners, which don’t have jakes feet, but simple string guylines that you slide over the same corner stakes you used to stake out the inner tent’s front corners (the Hornet 2P requires just 4 stakes to pitch in non-windy conditions).

The front corners are staked out using a guyline system that increases interior volume in the front corners of the inner tent. Pitching the rain fly uses the same tent stake
The front corners are staked out using a guyline system that increases interior volume in the front corners of the inner tent. Pitching the rain fly uses the same tent stake.

Stake out the vestibules and tension the doors with line loc tensioners, like those found on most single-walled UL tents. The entire pitching process is remarkably quick and easy for one person to do while your partner takes care of other camping chores.

Lineloc tensioners make it easy to adjust the vestibule and inside and outside cords on vestibule doors help avoid snags with the thin vestibule fabric
Line loc tensioners make it easy to adjust the vestibule and inside and outside cords on vestibule doors help avoid snags with the thin vestibule fabric.

Livability

The most important feature in any two-person tent is having two doors so you can get out of the tent at night without waking up your partner. NEMO does that one better by positioning the doors so that you can get in and out of them without having to move any packs or gear that you’ve already stored in the vestibule. Both doors and the vestibules above them can be rolled up and secured open using toggles, a nice touch that adds a lot of function without adding a lot of weight.

Dual doors and vestibules are a must-have in any two-person tent
Dual doors and vestibules are a must-have in any two-person tent

But the inner tent is tapered to be wider at the head where you need more room and slightly narrower at the feet. The tent sides are also slanted, A-frame style, with a high center point and sloping sides.  While both of these design choices help shave weight off the tent, they do reduce its livability somewhat compared to heavier two-person tents with vertical sidewalls and rectangular floors. These are the compromises NEMO chose to save weight. While they make the Hornet 2P a bit snug, the tent still doesn’t feel confining with two adults occupants.

The usable (measured) space inside of the tent is:

  • 84 inches long
  • 48 inches wide at the head end
  • 40.5 inches wide at the foot end
  • 36″ of height at the center peak
  • 30″ of height above your head when lying in the tent
The head end of the Hornet 2P is wider than the foot. While snug, the interior space does not feel confined with extra space at the head and foot ends to store personal effects you want easy access to at night .JPG
The head end of the Hornet 2P is wider than the foot. While snug, the interior space does not feel confined, with extra space at the head and foot ends to store personal effects you want easy access to at night.

While two 20″ pads fit side by side in the tent, there’s not a lot of extra room along the sides of the tent. However, there is extra space at the head and foot ends of the tents where you can place personal possessions or store your shoes. Each occupant also has their own side pocket and there’s a large shared pocket at the head end on the back wall of the tent that provides even more internal storage.

While the tent width is snug, there's plenty of extra room at the head end of the tent along with large side pockets for each occupants. I speak from experience.
While the tent width is snug, there’s plenty of extra room at the head end of the tent along with large side pockets for each occupant.

When the Hornet 2P houses two adults, you’re going to want to store your backpacks in the side vestibules. While the vestibules are long enough so you can get out of the side doors without moving your gear, they’re a bit narrow for storing high-capacity backpacks that take up a lot of room and have a tendency to fall in toward the inner tent if you prefer to store them upright. It’s not a showstopper though.

Side vestibules are a bit narrow for storing high volume backpacks, which have a tendency to fall towards the inner tent and rest against the side wall.
Side vestibules are a bit narrow for storing high volume backpacks, which have a tendency to fall towards the inner tent and rest against the sidewall.

Air circulation, another key livability variable, through the Hornet 2P is nothing short of fantastic, always an important consideration in a double-walled tent where internal condensation can build up when the rain fly is closed. In addition to the head-space between the rain fly and inner tent, the air is channeled under the rain fly doors and through a high air vent at the head end of the tent.

A high cut air vent helps provides excellent air flow through the tent
A high cut air vent helps provides excellent airflow through the tent.

If you position the tent so this air vent is pointed into the wind, you can increase airflow without opening the vestibule doors. The high rear wall of the inner tent helps break the force of the breeze, while still preserving interior warmth in cool weather. Many of NEMO’s tents feature this vent design and it’s a signature feature of the brand.

Lightweight Materials

How did NEMO make a semi-freestanding, double-walled tent that weighs less than 2 pounds, you wonder? Material and fabric innovations have always been the key enabler for ultralight gear and the construction of the Hornet 2P is no exception. Most of the weight saving in this tent comes from using 10 denier silnylon/PU rain fly. (An earlier commercial version of this tent had a 7 denier rain fly, but NEMO upgraded it to a 10 denier fabric for better durability.) The Hornet 2P also uses a DAC Featherlite NFL hub and spoke pole, one of the lightest weight poles available today. Clever design, a NEMO trademark, is also a major factor.

The catenary cut of the Hornet's rain fly helps reduce weight while improving internal air flow through the tent
The catenary cut of the Hornet’s rainfly helps reduce weight while improving internal airflow through the tent.

Comparable Two Person Ultralight Tents and Shelters

Make / ModelWeightDoors/VestibulesPrice
NEMO Hornet 2P Elite 27 oz2$500
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 235 oz2$400
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV Platinum26 oz1$550
MSR Carbon Reflex 229 oz2$549
Gossamer Gear The Two 31.4 oz2$389
Tarptent Motrail36 oz1$265
Tarptent Stratospire Li (2)27.7 oz2$689
NEMO Rocket 222 oz2$450
Zpacks Duplex Tent19 oz2$599

Recommendation

The Nemo Hornet 2P ultralight double-walled tent weighs just 1 pound 14.3 ounces rivaling many two-person single-walled ultralight tents in terms of weight and cost, something unheard of a few years ago. The Hornet 2P’s light weight also makes it possible to enjoy the many benefits of double-walled tents which have been overshadowed by weight concerns and pushed many backpackers to less comfortable single-walled shelters.

Benefits like:

  • Semi-freestanding, so you can pitch a tent in seconds without having to worry so much about staking and surface conditions (making setup virtually idiot-proof)
  • Almost zero internal condensation transfer since the moisture is captured by the rain fly.
  • Less drafty because they don’t have to be wind tunnels to combat internal condensation
  • Ability to use many double-wall tents in winter since they’re warmer when you’d never use a single-wall tent.
  • Seam taped, so you don’t have to seam seal the tent with silicone and paint thinner in your basement.
  • No need to carry trekking poles if you don’t use them.

Despite some of the volume and space compromises that NEMO made with the Hornet 2P to keep its weight below 2 pounds, I think this tent is an excellent option if you prefer double-walled tents over single-walled ones or want a lightweight tent for couples backpacking that is equally viable as a spacious one-person tent.

It really is remarkable how lightweight two-person double-walled tents have become without completely sacrificing comfort and livability. The NEMO Hornet 2P is an outstanding example of the ultralight double-walled tents available and worth a close look if you’re looking to switch to a lighter weight backpacking tent.

Likes

  • Under 2 pounds – very lightweight
  • Fast and easy setup
  • Excellent hardware: Jakes feet connectors, line loc tensioners, all zippers have inner and outer cordage to help prevent fabric snagging.
  • Lightweight enough to be used a single person tent when hiking alone
  • Excellent ventilation

Dislikes

  • Limited headroom in the inner tent due to sloped sidewalls
  • Tapered foot width limits the use of wide sleeping pads
  • Vestibules are narrow, making it hard to store a large backpack upright without it resting against the inner tent

Disclosure: NEMO provided Philip Werner with a Hornet 2P tent for this review. 

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