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NEMO Hornet OSMO 2 Ultralight Tent Review

NEMO Hornet OSMO 2 Tent Review

The NEMO Hornet OSMO 2 is an ultralight double-wall semi-freestanding tent that is highly packable for bikepacking and backpacking, more so than a tent made with Dyneema DCF because it’s made with conventional fabrics that stuff more compactly. Weighing 34 oz, it has the two doors and two vestibules necessary for couples camping but is still lightweight enough that it can be used for solo camping if you only want to own one tent. It’s exceptionally well designed with numerous features that enhance its performance, with a stealthy color scheme that will ensure privacy if you like to camp off the beaten track.

RELATED: Ultralight Backpacking Double Wall Tent Guide

Specs at a glance

  • Type: Double-wall
  • Structural: Semi-Freestanding
  • Minimum Trail Weight: 33 oz/936g
  • Minimum Trail Weight Actual: 34 oz/964g
  • Doors/Vestibules: 2
  • Actual Inner Tent Dimensions: 49.5″ wide at the head end tapering down to 42″ at the foot end, 84″ long, with a peak height of 39″ Note: Most tent manufacturers measure their dimensions based on the rainfly; we use the inner tent instead since that is the best reflection of livability.
  • Tentpoles: 1 with a maximum segment length of 12″
  • Seam-Taped: Yes
  • Minimum number of stakes to pitch: 6
  • Rainfly: 0D OSMO Ripstop (1200 mm)
  • Inner Tent: 0D OSMO™ Ripstop (1500 mm); 15D Nylon Ripstop/ No-See-Um Mesh

The NEMO Hornet OSMO 2 is a double wall, freestanding tent meaning it has an inner tent and an external rainfly and has one end (the foot end) that must be staked to the ground. Nothing special there, until you look closely at the design of this tent which is incredibly refined in terms of its livability, volume, ventilation, material, packability, and accessory choices. NEMO has always made well-designed tents, but the Hornet OSMO 2 really takes the cake if you’re looking for a lightweight tent that’s optimized for self-powered travel (backpacking or bikepacking.)

Inner Tent

The inner tent has a distinct head end and foot end.
The inner tent has a distinct head end and foot end.

The Hornet’s inner tent requires a single hubbed pole to set up. It has two doors, so you don’t have to climb over your partner to get in and out, if two are you are using the tent. The upper part of the tent is made with white and dark insect netting (the latter becomes transparent for stargazing from the inside) as well as solid panels closer to the floor to reduce the cooling effect of the wind and limit dust from blowing inside.

The FlyBar helps create more interior volume without adding more weight and complexity to the pole structure.
The FlyBar helps create more interior volume without adding more weight and complexity to the pole structure.

In order to increase interior space and livability, NEMO uses a volumizing pole clip on the ceiling they call a FlyBar, which serves to increase the angle of the walls creating more interior volume. It’s permanently attached to the inner tent so you can’t lose it. Other companies use a perpendicular cross pole attached to the main lengthwise pole to achieve the same effect, which can be easy to lose or creates more bulk, making their tents heavier and less compact.

The maximum pole segment length is 12
The maximum pole segment length is 12″ making it easy to pack in a backpack or bicycle frame bag.

The tent’s hubbed pole is special because the longest segment is a mere 12″ long making it easy to pack in a frame bag on a bicycle or horizontally in most backpacks. Some tent manufacturers, like Big Agnes, make separate tents for backpacking and bikepacking, so it’s nice that you can use the Hornet OSMO 2 for both (on alternating weekends).

A single guyline is used to create height in the front corners without the use of additional struts.
A single guyline is used to create height in the front corners without the use of additional struts.

The Hornet’s single pole slots into two jakes feet at the head end corners, which is just a special type of corner connector that can hold an inner tent and a rainfly with just one stake. That same pole fits into a connector positioned in the middle of the foot end. You still have to stake out the two front corners which attach to the inner tent in two places, creating enough corner height to form a bathtub floor without the need for extra hardware, like the struts that Tarptent uses. This keeps the Hornet very packable.

The tent is a big snug width wise for two, but there’s extra storage space at the ends.
The tent is a bit snug width-wise for two, but there’s extra storage space at the ends.

The interior of the inner tent is a bit snug on the horizontal dimension and you’ll probably want to use tapered mummy pads when camping as a couple instead of wide pads (49.5″ at the head end and 42″ at the foot end”). But the length of the inner tent provides additional storage space at the ends as well as headroom above (84″ long and 39″ high). For single-person use, the Hornet 2 is a complete palace.

The Hornet 2 is an absolute palace for use by one person and worth considering for that use alone.
The Hornet 2 is an absolute palace for use by one person and worth considering for that use alone.

Rainfly

The Hornet 2 Rainfly is made with a proprietary waterproof nylon/polyester blend that NEMO calls OSMO. Yes, it really does stretch less than conventional PU-coated or Silnylon rain flies when it gets wet. The rainfly fabric is quite thin and it doesn’t have a terribly high hydrostatic head (just 1200 mm), but man is it lightweight. It’s also really packable, as is this entire tent.

NEMO Hornet OSMO 2 Ultralight Tent

Comfort
Ease of Setup
Weather Resistance
Durabilty
Weight
Packed Size

Ultralight, Highly Packable Tent

The NEMO Hornet OSMO 2 is an ultralight double-wall semi-freestanding tent that is highly packable for bikepacking and backpacking, more so than a tent made with Dyneema DCF because it's made with conventional fabrics that stuff more compactly.

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It’s certainly adequate for use in more protected test sites, particularly in forested terrain. But I’d opt for a material that’s heavier, thicker, stronger, and more waterproof if you intend to camp out in the open above the timberline or unprotected tent sites that have the potential for high wind and heavy rainfall.

There’s good separation between the rainfly and inner tent for airflow.
There’s a good separation between the rainfly and the inner tent for airflow.

The doors have one-way zippers, not two-way, so you can’t leave them open at the top for more airflow. I didn’t find that that mattered that much since the airflow through the tent is so good. The zippers are covered with flaps, so that rain will stay off them and not pour all over you, kind of like a gutter if you have to open up the tent at night for a pee break. The edges of the tent are cut in catenary curves to save weight, provide a taut pitch, and for better aerodynamic resistance when it gets windy.

You can only tie back half the vestibule, which does limit views and airflow.
You can only tie back half of the vestibule, which does limit views and airflow.

That said, you can only tie back half of the vestibule, which does limit views because you can’t open the side all the way for a picture window view which is often possible on a trekking pole tent. This also requires that you be somewhat deliberate in how you orient the tent with the closed side into the wind so that it doesn’t become a sail if the wind picks up at night. The storage space under the vestibule is also somewhat cramped if you have a larger backpack and don’t want to lean it against the inner tent to keep it upright at night. None of these are showstoppers, but they demonstrate some of the tradeoffs inherent in the dimensions and design.

This high back enhances airflow while reducing the weight of the fly.
This high back enhances airflow while reducing the weight of the fly.

Packability

With all the emphasis these days are backpacking gear weight, one dimension that’s frequently overlooked (unless you bikepack where storage space is so constrained) is the packability of a tent or shelter, and this is a place where the Hornet OSMO 2 really excels.

The NEMO Hornet Osmo 2 is only slightly larger than a yoga block
The NEMO Hornet Osmo 2 is only slightly larger than a yoga block

Personally, I find it a little mind-boggling just how small the Hornet OSMO 2 packs up. It’s literally just slightly larger than a yoga block. Not only are the pole segments short (see photo above), but the fabric folds up very compactly, and much more so than most Dyneema 2-person tents which are bulky in comparison. Better packability means that you can carry a smaller and lighter-weight backpack or carry more supplies so you can travel farther.

Recommendation

The NEMO Hornet OSMO 2 is an ultralight double-wall semi-freestanding tent that weighs just barely over 2 pounds. It’s a very well-designed tent that’s optimized for use in well-protected tent sites located below treeline, including the camping conditions you’ll find on the Appalachian Trail and throughout the Eastern United States. Whether you bikepack or backpack or both, the Hornet 2 OSMO is a tent well worth consideration for couples camping or solo use. In addition to its lightweight, it packs up incredibly small making it an excellent choice if weight and storage space are at a premium in your packing system.

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Disclosure: NEMO donated a tent for review.

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14 comments

  1. Can tent be setup fly first using Nemo footprint?

  2. I have this tent and like it, but consider it too narrow for two adults. It works well for me and my dog and would work well with a child. The ventilation/condensation control is quite good with two doors and the scoop shape of the fly at the foot end. I added a guy line to scoop to keep it from flapping during storms. The “fly bar” which adds head room is easy to use, but you have to be careful when packing the tent not to have it poke holes in delicate fabric.

  3. Bill in Roswell GA

    I can’t find any info on interior pockets other than the glow bar. Like Philip, I want a side pocket by my head for glasses. Mark, what’s the word on pockets?

    The way Nemo sees it, if you want a tent to fit 2 adults, get a Dagger. I will never understand why make a tent without shoulder room to sit up for 2 adults? Marketing before Customer…hmmm.

  4. I recently purchased this tent to use solo, as an alternative to several of the 1p tents out there. I chose this particular tent because it is more spacious and roughly the same weight as many of the 1p alternatives. I took it out on a “test run” — a 3 day, 2 night hike where it rained on and off during the entire trip. I had to set it up in a light rain the first evening. There is no easy way to do a “fly first” set up, but the inner tent and pole system goes pretty quick and I was able to toss the fly on after just a few minutes and kept the tent dry inside. I love the amount of ventilation this tent has and the double doors. I left my pack under the fly on 1 side and used the other side for entry/exit. A really nice amount of room inside– but I’m pretty short (5’4″) and it was hard to imagine 2 people in this tent. 2 pockets above your head for storage. Adequate headroom. Rain and wind all night–No issues. I think you definitely want to set up this tent with the narrow end pointing into the wind, since the fly doesn’t come down all the way on the wider (head) end. My only complaint is the fly zippers are a long reach from the inside, and when unzipped, water dripped inside the tent a bit until I could tie it back. Not a big deal. So far I am really happy with choosing this tent and I’m looking forward to using it on several hikes this summer.

  5. How does that high fly cutout handle storms? Is there any wetting out or leakage?

    • The high fly cutout doesn’t leak. It’s just an airscoop that increases airflow.

      • “But I’d opt for a material that’s heavier, thicker, stronger, and more waterproof if you intend to camp out in the open above the timberline or unprotected tent sites that have the potential for high wind and heavy rainfall” and that would be? Thanks

  6. I have been thinking about getting this tent, but I can’t find the denier of the floor to decide if I want a footprint, does someone know it?

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