Expert Review: Nemo Wagontop Tent

This review is my honest opinion of the tent, which I purchased with my own money in June 2016.

The screened in porch of the Nemo Wagontop 6 tent.

Screened in porch. All photos courtesy of Will Shaw

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About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the tent, which I purchased with my own money in June 2016.

My take

The Nemo Wagontop is a great tent for car camping and families. It’s easy enough to set up and take down that I don’t mind using it on overnight or weekend trips, and it makes a comfortable basecamp for longer stays. It’s a little more expensive than other large tents, but it is a quality tent and a little more packable than some of the less expensive options.

Inside of the Nemo Wagontop 6.

About the gear

  • Product Model: 2016 Nemo Wagontop 6P
  • Size: 6 Person

About me

  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 180lbs
  • Experience: 25 years

Test conditions

  • When I bought the tent: June 2016
  • Days tested: 25
  • Number of occupants: 2-4
  • Sleeping pad: 2016 Nemo Cosmo Insulated Duo
  • Sleeping bag: 2016 Nemo Mezzoloft Duo
  • Used for: Car Camping
  • Where I’ve used it: Colorado and the California coastline
  • Seasons I’ve used it in: Spring, summer, fall

How it performs

Breakdown Speed
4/5
Durability
4/5
Interior Space
5/5
Lightweight
1/5
Packability
2/5
Setup Ease
4/5
Versatility
2/5
Weather Resistance
4/5

What I was looking for

When I bought the Wagontop 6P, I was looking for a large tent with room to stand up to give me a comfortable home base for climbing trips. I wanted something packable for its size to save space in the car and stay away from a canvas or cabin-style tent.

Inside of the Nemo Wagontop 6 Tent.

Why I chose this gear

I bought the Wagontop 6P for the livable space. I can walk around the entire tent comfortably with vertical walls and a tall door. I also like the easy setup of the single-wall design. The only other tent that I seriously considered was the Nemo Wagontop 4P. I decided on the 6 because I wanted the extra space and the second door. I also liked the screened-in porch. A bonus of the 6 over the 4 is that the vestibule reaches above the top pole, so it’s quite a bit taller and a little deeper than the one on the 4.

The Nemo Wagontop 6 Tent folded up.

What I love about it

  • Ease of setup: The Wagontop is surprisingly quick to set up for its size. There are two large pole sections with joints forming corners and crossbars. This pole structure is freestanding on its own, and the tent clips to the poles after they are in place. A third pole slides through a sleeve between the porch and living sections of the tent. I can set up the Wagontop 6P in about 15 minutes by myself in an open area with room to work.
  • Breakdown speed: The clip-on poles and single-wall design make breakdown quick too. The Wagontop is easy to disassemble, and the included duffle bag has plenty of extra space, so it’s easy to fit the tent inside even with a sloppy rolling job.
  • Performance in the rain: I was skeptical of the single-wall design and the large windows, but I’ve used the Wagontop in heavy rain with no problems.
  • Performance in the wind: I was worried about wind with the Wagontop’s high profile and steep walls. The tent feels a little fragile during setup in high wind, but when everything is in place, it is quite solid. The poles are pretty thick and supportive, and plenty of guylines hold the tent steady. I added two extra guylines to the pole joints in the back corners just to be safe.
  • Performance in the heat: The Wagontop gets pretty hot, but it’s no worse than any other tent I’ve used. With the screened in-porch, large windows, and large vents on the back door, it’s easy to get good airflow.
  • Performance when camping with a partner or group: The Wagontop is great for camping with a partner or small group. There’s space to walk inside and keep things organized. It’s also a great space to play cards and wait out bad weather.
  • Special features: My favorite feature is the large vestibule. I decided on the 6P version partly because the vestibule is taller and a little deeper than the 4P. I try to pitch the tent so the vestibule is on the downhill side if there’s a slope, and there is enough room to shower comfortably with the Helio Pressure Shower.
  • Stability: When the tent is set up, it is quite stable. It has a freestanding design, so it doesn’t rely on steaks holding the tension to keep the tent standing. I always use all the guylines since it has such a tall profile, but it feels solid even through windy nights.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Weight: The Wagontop is heavy, but it’s only for car camping so I won’t need to worry about carrying it on my back.
  • Performance in snow: I’ve spent a couple of nights in the Wagontop below freezing. The tent doesn’t insulate much, and the air volume makes it hard to warm the tent with body heat. I wouldn’t use the tent in the snow because I don’t think the large flat roof could support much extra weight.
  • Performance in wooded areas with lots of trees: The floor dimensions are 100”x140” plus space for the vestibule, so finding a space big enough to pitch the tent can be a challenge. We’ve always found space without needing to change campsites, but it sometimes meant that parts of the floor we weren’t sleeping on were on a bit of a slope or over rough ground.
  • Durability: I’m a little concerned with the durability of the floor. It’s not a plastic tarp-style floor like many tents this size have, but it still sees a lot of traffic. We always use a footprint and cover part of the floor with the Victory Blanket for comfort and protection just to be safe. We do use our camp chairs in the tent quite a bit and haven’t noticed any wear on the floor, but it’s something we keep in mind.
  • Light: It’s not a big deal, but with the single wall and no rainfly, more light from a full moon or a nearby light gets in a little more than with a double-wall tent.
The Nemo Wagontop 6 Tent.

Favorite moment with this gear

My favorite trip with the Wagontop 6P was our honeymoon. We packed the tent in a large duffel and flew to California, where we camped along the coast and around Sonoma County. It was great having a large comfortable space to live in, even though we were in a tent for portions of the trip.

Value for the money vs. other options

There are less expensive tents out there, but I’m happy with the value I’m getting out of the Wagontop. Compared to other options from brands like Coleman, the Wagontop is more packable and much easier to set up and break down. It also has a cool profile and gets a lot of attention around camp.

Final verdict

The Nemo Wagontop is the ultimate car camping tent. It’s amazing how much cleaner I feel on a trip when I don’t have to crawl on the ground to get in and out of my tent.

Selling Nemo on Curated.com
Nemo Wagontop Tent
From $549.95
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Written By
I've been hiking since before I could walk on family trips in Arkansas. From there I got into backpacking and then more rock climbing, mountaineering, and backcountry skiing. Now most of the hiking and caming I do is to access climbing or skiing objectives or car camping on a climbing trip. ​ Before...

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