Review: Nemo Hornet Tent

Published on 11/30/2023 · 3 min readCurated Expert, Johnny V, has tested this product to give you their unbiased, definitive take.
Johnny V, Camping Expert
By Camping Expert Johnny V
10 photos
Photo by Johnny V

The Curated Take

4.7/5

The Nemo Hornet Tent is excellent for avid backpackers seeking a lightweight, two-person tent. It stands out for its ultralight design, making it noticeably easier to carry during skinning or hiking. The tent's soles are notably grippy on rocky surfaces, enhancing stability in various terrains. It offers an efficient set-up with its color-coded system and Featherlite poles. Overall, this tent is ideal for backpackers who prioritize lightness and compactness without compromising performance in diverse environments.

Ideal for
  • Ultralight for backpacking
  • Two-person tent
Not ideal for
  • Might be too small for big and/or tall occupants
  • Setting up the tent with guy lines
Weight
Johnny V, Curated Expert
The Nemo Hornet is as good as it gets for a semi-freestanding two-person tent with its features. Ditch the stuff sack and use what nature has to provide for stakes,...Read more
Capacity
Johnny V, Curated Expert
Two-person usage is great considering the weight since it has two doors/vestibules. I have a large amount of space for one person. With how the pole setup is designed, it...Read more
Durability
Johnny V, Curated Expert
The tent materials are very lightweight and need to be treated as such. Due to rocky environment and user care, I have had to repair a few small tears over...Read more
Setup Ease
Johnny V, Curated Expert
Now that I have set up the tent many times, it goes up fast and easily. However, I recommend setting up the tent for the first time in a controlled...Read more
Ventilation
Johnny V, Curated Expert
To achieve optimal ventilation, one must ensure that the guy lines are installed at their best. Doing so allows for the right amount of separation between the fly and the...Read more
Versatility
Johnny V, Curated Expert
The Nemo Hornet's dual wall design allows for various weather conditions. When it's hot and dry, I can use the mesh body of the tent. If I want it to...Read more
Interior Space
Johnny V, Curated Expert
The interior is great for one or two people for the tent's weight and when set up correctly. Two people will use both vestibules, and I recommend sleeping head to...Read more
Packability
Johnny V, Curated Expert
Having a stuff sack that easily fits the full tent and accessories is nice. The stuff sack also has a small compression cinch pull that helps pack it down even...Read more
Weather Resistance
Johnny V, Curated Expert
This tent is great in every weather condition I have encountered thus far. Rain, wind, cold, it doesn't matter if everything on the tent is set up well. The rainfly...Read more

Curated Experts are not sponsored by brands. Their reviews are based on their honest experiences testing products.
About the tents
  • Model: Nemo Hornet Tent
Test conditions
  • When I bought this: March 2020
  • Where I’ve used it: Several locations in Arizona, including the Superstition Mountains, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Patagonia Lake, and Arizona Trail. In addition, I've also used it in the Enchantments in Washington, the Wind River Range in Wyoming, and the Gila National Forest in New Mexico.
  • How many times I've used it: 20

Expert Reviews of the Nemo Hornet Tent

 I have taken the Nemo Hornet out into the wild many times. It works great in most environments. I am an avid backpacker who values gear that seamlessly blends lightweight design with unwavering reliability. This tent emerged as a steadfast companion in the challenging conditions of the Superstition Mountains, where I have used it the most. Setting up camp is surprisingly straightforward due to the Hornet's intuitive color-coded system, Featherlite poles, and simple guy lines. The dual vestibules are a practical feature, offering extra storage space without compromising the tent's compact interior, which is a necessity for me when two people use the tent. At night, the mesh walls provide an unobstructed view of the night sky, and the tent's ventilation system maintains a comfortable atmosphere. Rain has tested the Hornet's capabilities, which has held its ground due to the rainfly and waterproof flooring. The only downside is the tent's snug interior, posing a challenge for taller individuals or those seeking more spacious accommodations, especially for two people. Nevertheless, the trade-off between weight and space is a calculated compromise for a lightweight yet durable shelter in unpredictable situations. The Nemo Hornet Tent has proved its worth time and time again for me, earning its place as my top choice for lightweight backpacking on pretty much every adventure.

Product Specs

ColorBirch Leaf
Use caseBackpacking
Season3 season
Canopy fabric10-denier nylon/mesh
Floor fabric15-denier nylon
Rainfly fabric10-denier nylon

Review Ratings

Weight

5/5
 gave 5 of 5 stars. The Nemo Hornet is as good as it gets for a semi-freestanding two-person tent with its features. Ditch the stuff sack and use what nature has to provide for stakes, then split the weight with a partner, and one barely carries anything. This is my go-to tent for almost every adventure.

Capacity

5/5
 gave 5 of 5 stars. Two-person usage is great considering the weight since it has two doors/vestibules. I have a large amount of space for one person. With how the pole setup is designed, it maximizes the interior area. Pair that with properly staked-out guy lines, and I have the ideal room to move around with good headroom and lateral movement. One is set for nearly any adventure with this tent, from hanging out to being a restless sleeper to cooking in the vestibule to overall storage.

Durability

4/5
 gave 4 of 5 stars. The tent materials are very lightweight and need to be treated as such. Due to rocky environment and user care, I have had to repair a few small tears over time. One would benefit from using a groundsheet, but I like to go light. Despite the amount of abuse I and my dogs have caused, the tent has performed even better than expected, but it is not bomber-proof.

Setup Ease

4/5
 gave 4 of 5 stars. Now that I have set up the tent many times, it goes up fast and easily. However, I recommend setting up the tent for the first time in a controlled environment before going into the wild. The base structure is easy to set up with the color-coordinated poles/holes. The guy lines need attention, especially if this is someone's first time using this type of setup. They are required to be set up well to get the most out of the tent, capacity-wise. 

Ventilation

4/5
 gave 4 of 5 stars. To achieve optimal ventilation, one must ensure that the guy lines are installed at their best. Doing so allows for the right amount of separation between the fly and the main body of the tent. Two vents in the fly need propped out. These work okay but could be better. I have not seen an excellent design for ventilation in the body or fly on any other tents. Overall, the Nemo Hornet has good ventilation if it is set up well. 

Versatility

5/5
 gave 5 of 5 stars. The Nemo Hornet's dual wall design allows for various weather conditions. When it's hot and dry, I can use the mesh body of the tent. If I want it to be light but think it might rain a little, I can skip the body and use the fly. And if I want to push the weather limits for colder temperatures or windy/rainy conditions, I can use the full setup, which can be used as a 3.5-season tent. I have also used the rainfly as a groundsheet and just the cowboy camped on top of it in a sleeping bag—my favorite way to sleep in the wild.

Interior Space

5/5
 gave 5 of 5 stars. The interior is great for one or two people for the tent's weight and when set up correctly. Two people will use both vestibules, and I recommend sleeping head to toe to make it easier to turn over. There is a lot of space for one person, especially if they decide to use both vestibules.

Packability

5/5
 gave 5 of 5 stars. Having a stuff sack that easily fits the full tent and accessories is nice. The stuff sack also has a small compression cinch pull that helps pack it down even more. I like not using the stuff sack sometimes, packing the body and fly to the bottom of the pack, and then sliding the pulls and stakes wherever they fit to maximize the tent's packability.

Weather Resistance

5/5
 gave 5 of 5 stars. This tent is great in every weather condition I have encountered thus far. Rain, wind, cold, it doesn't matter if everything on the tent is set up well. The rainfly gives great coverage from the elements. The poles are strong for the wind speeds I have encountered, but I am curious to see how the tent handles 50mph winds. I have felt well protected in the cold, including below-freezing temperatures. Since I have yet to camp in the snow, I am curious how it will do in true winter conditions and hope to test that later this year.

FAQs

What do you love about this product?

The Nemo Hornet Tent is one of the best ultra-light tents pound-for-pound. It's light with two vestibules, weatherproof, holds two people, and sets up remarkably fast and secure. It has held up to all conditions I have thrown at it, from deserts to rainforests to Alpine mountains. 

What was your favorite moment with this gear?

When I set out with a couple of friends on an aggressive attempt at the high point of Wyoming in the Wind River Range, I couldn't have been happier. The Nemo Hornet worked well for the autumn conditions and was luckily light enough not to weigh me down on the quick trek to base camp. We didn't summit on this trip, but the late afternoon rest in the Hornet was tranquil. Great friends in an ideal Alpine lake setting left nothing to be desired. I cannot wait to get back out there and get another cold mountain lake swim. Next time, I will have fishing gear, too.

Why did you choose this product?

I was lucky enough to set this tent up in the store before purchasing it to ensure it was big enough for my 6'2" body and my partner. The Nemo Hornet checked all the boxes for me for weight and features. I wanted sub 3lbs, two doors/vestibules, double wall, and semi-freestanding without breaking the bank. This tent was the best option for me, and on top of that, I love the color.

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