Expert Review: Nemo Hornet Tent

This review is my honest opinion of the tent, which I bought with my own money in June 2020.

Bikepacking with the Hornet.

Nemo Hornet 2P with fly. Photo by Will Shaw

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About this review This review is my honest opinion of the tent, which I bought with my own money in June 2020.

My take

The Nemo Hornet is a lightweight backpacking tent that’s still relatively comfortable. There are lighter or more compact options out there, but the Hornet is a great choice for anyone who is weight-conscious but doesn’t mind carrying a few extra grams to be more comfortable.

Packed in using the "divide and conquer" system compared to 750ml bottle.

Hornet Packed. Photo by Will Shaw

About the gear

  • Product model: 2020 Nemo Hornet
  • Size: 2 persons

About me

  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 175 lbs
  • Experience: 20 years

Test conditions

  • When I bought the tent: June 2020
  • Days tested: 10
  • Number of occupants: 1
  • Pack: 2013 Mammut Trion Pro 35+7
  • Sleeping pad: 2020 Nemo Tensor Insulated Regular
  • Sleeping bag: 2010 Marmot Sawtooth
  • Used for: Car camping, Backpacking, Bikepacking
  • Where I’ve used it: Colorado, Kentucky
  • Seasons I’ve used it in: Summer, and winter

How it performs

Breakdown Speed
4/5
Durability
3/5
Interior Space
3/5
Lightweight
4/5
Packability
4/5
Setup Ease
4/5
Versatility
5/5
Weather Resistance
4/5

What I was looking for

I was looking for a new backpacking tent because after 15 years, my REI Half Dome had reached the end of its life. I wanted something lightweight and packable with 2 doors and 2 vestibules that would be comfortable for one person.

Why I chose this gear

I decided to buy the 2-person Nemo Hornet because I liked the extra headroom and 2nd door compared to other comparable tents, like the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2. It doesn’t look like much, but Nemo’s Flybar clips at the top give the tent a horizontal roof rather than a peak and provide a little extra head space.

I considered the Big Agnes Fly Creek, but I mostly decided between the Nemo Hornet and Dagger. The slightly larger Dagger is nice, but I don't spend much time just hanging out in my tent, so I went with the Hornet to save weight and space.

Nemo Hornet 2P inner tent only.

Hornet without fly. Photo by Will Shaw

Nemo Hornet 2P with sleeping bag and Tensor Regular Pad.

Hornet Interior. Photo by Will Shaw

What I love about it

  • Ease of setup: The inner tent of the Hornet clips to the poles rather than using sleeves, so the initial setup is quick and easy. It takes a little time to attach the fly to the poles with the hook and loop closures after it is on, but the entire process isn’t bad.
  • Breakdown speed: The hornet breaks down quickly and is fast to pack. I was initially worried about stuffing the tent with the small ridged standoffs in the corners and the flybar clips, but it was not an issue.
  • Weight: The Hornet 2P’s advertised weight is 2lbs 6oz, and it can be trimmed down to just under 2 pounds. There are marginally lighter options available, especially since a 1 person tent could work, but for the space and comfort I’m really happy with the weight.,
  • Performance in rain: I’ve woken up dry after a couple of nights in the rain. I have to be a little careful to keep my feet off the sides as the tent tapers but have not had an issue. Having 2 vestibules is really nice in the rain, so I don’t have to crawl over gear that I want to keep dry going in and out.
  • Performance in wind: Until the tent was fully set up in the wind it felt like it was going to get blown over, but with everything staked down it handled the wind surprisingly well.
  • Performance in heat: The Hornet is vinted really well and feels as comfortable as a tent can in the heat.
  • Performance in wooded areas with lots of trees: It’s a small detail, but I like that the Birch Leaf Green color doesn’t stand out too much in treed areas.
  • Special features: Nemo’s Divide and Conquer packing system uses a second drawstring a the middle of the bag. Removing the poles lets the tent, fly, and footprint fit in the bottom half of the bag, and the second drawstring keeps it compact. I usually just stuff the tent into my pack to make sure it fills in every empty corner of the pack, but I’ve found the feature to be really helpful when I’m traveling and need to fit the tent in my luggage.
  • Stability: I was a little concerned about stability with the semi-freestanding design, but with everything staked out and the guylines in place, the tent is quite stable.
  • Bikepacking: For bikepacking, the Hornet 2P stuffs into my 10L seat bag with room for rain gear and a few other small items, and the poles fit along the bottom of my top tube.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Breakdown speed: The Hornet breaks down quickly, but it can be a little tough to pack. The spanners that clip to the top pole and small supports in the corners near the foot stay with the tent. Stuffing the tent into a bag with the rigid pieces getting in the way slows things down a little.
  • Performance in snow: The Hornet is not a 4 season tent, so snow is not a major concern, but I wouldn’t trust the design to hold up much extra weight from snow accumulation.
  • Performance when camping with a partner or group: I have only used the 2-person Hornet solo. It could fit 2 really good friends with mummy-shaped sleeping pads but would be hard to fit 2 rectangular pads.
  • Durability: I don’t have any reason to think that the Hornet is any less durable than other lightweight tents, but it is made from very lightweight materials. I haven’t had any issues, but the zippers feel like they need to be handled with care.
  • Rocky terrain: The Nemo Hornet is a semi-freestanding tent, so it relies on having the corners at the foot and the fly staked out to stay upright and keep its shape. I’ve never had an issue, but in rocky soil, I’m always a little nervous wondering if I’ll have trouble finding a good place to setup.

Favorite moment with this gear

My favorite moment in the Hornet isn’t very exciting, but I love camping in the rain. After a long day of climbing in Elevenmile Canyon rain moved in early in the evening. It made a great excuse to call it an early night, and falling asleep listening to the rain was one of the best nights of sleep I can remember.

Value for the money vs. other options

The most comparable tent is the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2. The Nemo Dagger is a little more expensive, but has 2 doors and 2 vestibules. Nemo’s Flybar spanners also add some volume and livable space by creating a small flat ceiling and steeper sidewalls.

Final verdict

The Nemo Hornet is a lightweight but comfortable tent. For me, it’s perfect for solo missions where I don’t mind carrying more weight than just a bivy, but it can also be an ultralight tool for a team of 2 that doesn’t mind close quarters.

Selling Nemo on Curated.com
Nemo Hornet Tent
$359.95
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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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