When I started searching for ultralight backpacking tents for my upcoming Appalachian Trail thru-hike, the choices were overwhelming. I ultimately decided on the Nemo Hornet 2P due to it’s weight to space ratio.
The Test Drive
After receiving it, I took it to my Mom’s house (who lives in the mountains of West Virginia) and took it for a test drive during 32-degree weather. My husband also slept in it with me. While it will accommodate 2 people, like most 2 person tents it is actually made for 1 person plus gear. It was a snug fit, thankfully we really love each other.
For reference I am 5′ 9″ and he is 6′ 2″.
All in all, I decided I really liked the tent (at least that is what I thought). I quickly learned during my shakedown hike the following year (2019) that it was not a tent that I wanted to be in for multiple days.
The 2nd Test Drive
I live in humid as hell Central Texas, and during January 2019, I decided to give it another test drive during a night when it was expected to get down to 27 degrees.
I woke up wet. Mind you we had no rain at all. It was a clear night. The floor actually had puddles of water on it! After packing up the tent I noticed that the water was coming from the ground and seeping upwards through the Nemo Hornet 2P footprint and tent.
Everything that touched the floor of the tent was wet.
The single wall head area was also wet and the hoodie that I had on was wet from touching that area during the night.
So I let it dry out and packed it away, hoping that using it for my shakedown hike in March would work a lot better.
The Ultimate Test of the Nemo Hornet 2P
The ultimate test finally came in March when my son and I headed to Southeast Texas to thru-hike the Lone Star Hiking Trail. I used this 96-mile hike as a shakedown hike, so I took all my gear that I would be taking on the Appalachian Trail with me.
We had a good mixture of cool (upper 40’s) to mild (low 80’s) nights and days. It only rained on us once for a short period during the day, but it was long enough to test out my rain gear. I don’t recall it raining at night.
The biggest thing I learned during these 8 days, is that I absolutely would hate to spend 5-6 months every night in this tent. I had again another issue with water coming up from the floor of the tent (even though there was no rain). I also did not like how cramped I felt despite the fact that it was just me in the tent. I had no elbow room and honestly, it irritated the absolute fire out of me!
The Nemo Hornet 2P was just not going to work for me!
So let’s start with the pros of this tent:
Ultralight: This tent falls into the ultralight category of backpacking. coming in at a weight (on my scale) of
Semi Freestanding: This is a semi freestanding tent. Other than the rainfly, there are only two points that need to be staked out.
Double Doors & Vestibules: It has two doors and two nice size vestibules.
Pockets: I am a big fan of pockets inside tents because I like to organize stuff I may need in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning (such as a headlamp, potty supplies, and my morning medication). I want to know where it is and I want easy access. This tent has plenty of pockets that allow me to do just that.
Light pocket: Ok so I don’t really know what it is actually called, but there is a pocket at the top of the tent that I put my headlamp in at night when I want the inside of the tent to be illuminated without me having to hold a light or wear my headlamp. It comes in more handy than what you would think!
Packs down SMALL: This was actually my favorite feature. This tent packs down super small if you remove the poles and pack it separately!
Ok, here is what I didn’t like or just drove me bonkers:
Condensation & Water Issue: I can only assume the water issue I had was from condensation. I still scratch my head about it seeping up from the floor and footprint and creating actual puddles despite the fact there was no rain. I can only imagine how horrible it is when it is actually raining.
Lack of elbow room: I noticed that every time I would change, my elbows would hit the netting of the tent sides. This is due to the shape of the tent. There is a newer model of this tent out that helps alleviate that some, although I really think it would still be an issue.
Head area is a single wall: Well partly anyway and it causes a condensation issue in humid climates that will leave your head and anything else that touches it in the middle of the night wet. Obviously, not an issue it dry climates but if you are in a humid or wet climate, it sucks!
No fast fly set up: It does not have the option of a fast fly setup unless you do a simple modification to the footprint. Granted it is easy enough to do, but with a tent this expensive you think they would have spent the extra couple of bucks allowing it to have this option.
Overall Impression of the Nemo Hornet 2P
Overall the Nemo Hornet 2P tent is a great tent for those who will be using it in drier climates. In fact, I plan on keeping my tent to use it as a backup. While the lack of elbow room was irritating, the fact that I could pack it down small almost made up for it. It has a lot of features for such a light tent.