Gear Reviews Hiking and Camping

NEMO Dagger 2P – Tent Review

NEMO Dagger 2P – Tent Review

NEMO Set a New Benchmark with Their Two Person Lightweight Tent, The Dagger.

A tent purchase is equivalent to buying a car in the world of hiking. It’s one of the larger purchases you make and it needs to be well-thought out. With so many options to consider; where you’ll be going, the climate, internal space, 2 or 3 person, 3 or 4 seasons, ease of setting up, features and weight. 

With adventure and innovation flowing through their veins, NEMO has created a tent that inspires adventure and yearns to be taken into the wilderness. Take heed all other tent makers out there, the NEMO Dagger 2P is a tent that has raised the stakes and set a new benchmark in what tents can be.

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The NEMO Dagger 2P tent is an impressive looking piece of kit. Photo:©Richard McGibbon

First Impressions

The NEMO Dagger is a free-standing, single wall tent designed for two people, or one person with a lot of gear, and has been marketed as an ultra-lightweight tent. However, we feel it fits more into the lightweight category due to its packed weight of around 1.7kgs, that’s about 700grams too heavy for an ultra-light tent, in our opinion.

Lacking space in your pack? The entire contents of the tent come in a what NEMO call a Divvy stuff sack. Divvy, being you can divvy it up into two parts if you want to split the load (tent and poles) between your fellow hikers.

Overall, the materials and technology used in creating the Dagger are what has impressed us the most. The Dagger is probably the most feature rich and well-designed tent we have seen to date. NEMO has a saying “Design Like You Give a Damn” and they certainly have with the Dagger.

The NEMO Dagger comes with super-lightweight stakes. Photo:©Richard McGibbonThe NEMO Dagger comes with super-lightweight stakes. Photo:©Richard McGibbon
Footprint connection system. Photo:©Richard McGibbonFootprint connection system. Photo:©Richard McGibbon
The cantilever poles ad extra internal height. Photo:©Richard McGibbonThe cantilever poles ad extra internal height. Photo:©Richard McGibbon

Main Features

The NEMO Dagger 2P tent comes with an array of features, none of which we felt were superfluous. Everything has been designed and well thought out to add value to your hiking experience. NEMO has created some neat little innovations with the Dagger 2P tent, from the fabrics, poles, and connectors to the interior/exterior design principles. So let’s delve into these, below.

Fabrics

The main fabric of the Dagger uses a waterproof/breathable material called OSMO™. This seems to be a bit of a wonder fabric that has a good balance of tear strength, waterproofness, abrasion resistance and weight.  OSMO™ is made from a high-tenacity polyester ripstop construction, giving it great levels of abrasion resistance whilst keeping weight and bulk to a minimum.

A genuine Bemis seam tape is used on all the seams which provide a uniform waterproof barrier over stitching on the inside of the tent. The NEMO can handle a wide range of humidities due to the hydrophobic microporous PU coating, and best of all, it doesn’t tend to sag when wet. And don’t be concerned about those harmful UV rays either, the fabric used in the NEMO Dagger is UV-resistant.  The fabric is also chemical-resistant which helps prolong the longevity of the fabric over the years.

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Setting up the NEMO Dagger is intuitive and quick. Photo:©Richard McGibbon
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On warm and dry nights, using the mesh fly is a great way to spend the night and do a bit of star spotting. Photo:©Richard McGibbon
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The NEMO Dagger fits into the landscape naturally with its organic shape. Photo:©Richard McGibbon

Frame and Pitching

Setting up the Dagger for the first time was a joy to experience. The entire process was incredibly quick and felt very intuitive and straightforward. If this was an Apple Vs PC comparison, then the Dagger would absolutely be in the Apple camp. We’re talking about simple plug and play here.

In terms of tent setup, NEMO has added some fresh design features that add additional strength and rigidity. Let’s start with the poles.

Poles and Anchors

The Dagger comes with DAC Featherlite® poles, which are up to 15% lighter than aluminium poles of comparable strength. The entire pole connection system is stronger than most due to the way the connectors have been designed. The pole connectors adopt an extrusion approach rather than inserts being glued into or onto the pole. This makes them much stronger and less likely to break.

At the cross-beam intersections, the poles are locked together with Swivel Hubs, allowing the poles to swivel freely. The intersection hub locks the poles together and connects the poles to the tent body. This helps reinforce the tent structure and much more wind resistant, it also adds extra height inside the tent.

The ends of the poles have a ball tip design which snaps into ball sockets around the tent. The main anchors are plastic feet, which NEMO have oddly named “Jake’s Foot Corner Anchor System“. We have no idea who Jake is but we like his feet nonetheless. When the poles are locked in, setting up becomes very easy, even on your own.

Our only concern here is how this plastic would fare in cold conditions. Plastic can tend to break in very low temperatures and if these snap, then that’s your main structure gone.

Incredible quality everywhere you look. Photo: ©Richard McGibbonIncredible quality everywhere you look. Photo: ©Richard McGibbon
It takes seconds to hook the inner to the main poles. Photo: ©Richard McGibbonIt takes seconds to hook the inner to the main poles. Photo: ©Richard McGibbon
The HUB, where the poles meet but are still able to move freely. Photo: ©Richard McGibbonThe HUB, where the poles meet but are still able to move freely. Photo: ©Richard McGibbon
The Ball Caps™ snap securely into place. Photo: ©Richard McGibbonThe Ball Caps™ snap securely into place. Photo: ©Richard McGibbon

Livability/Interior Space 

Inside the Dagger is roomy with 2.9 square metres of floor space, plus another by 2.1 under the vestibules. There was no problem setting up our full-sized air mattresses and keeping our packs in the tent with us. Although the vestibules are roomy enough to keep any excess gear in, allowing you to have much more room inside the main sleeping area.

The Dagger comes with two doors and two vestibules eliminating those awkward ‘clambering over each other in the middle of the night’ moments. The vestibules use a trapezium shape which provides an ample level of storage and shelter when closed or half open when cooking.  Space inside is roomy enough for a two person tent but if you and your tent buddy both carry a lot of gear, then it could be a tight fit.

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The NEMO Dagger 2P tent is very roomy for a single person but would be a snug fit for two. Note the in-built Light Pockets, a nice touch. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

 

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The Dagger has good levels of head height due to the cross beam design. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

Height and Length

Interior height at 107cm is good thanks to the cross beam sections, which add a bit more head height. Being over 6′ 1″, I was very happy about this.  The Dagger is also lengthy, at 229cm in length, which meant my feet didn’t touch the end of the tent and I was able to stretch out straight, which was a welcomed change from being forced into a spoon position all night.

Ventilation

There are good levels of ventilation provided by the mesh inner and the breathable outer fabric which reduces dampness and internal moisture but if that’s not enough, there are little flaps above the vestibule doors which you can lock open with a rigid tab and velcro piece.

There are two good sized stash pockets inside, but they are placed in opposite positions of the tent. We’re not sure what the thinking here is. Perhaps this is for non-partner tent buddies when sleeping head to toe?

The cantilever system provides extra head height. Photo:©Richard McGibbonThe cantilever system provides extra head height. Photo:©Richard McGibbon
A neat little plastic bar that keeps the air vents open. Photo:©Richard McGibbonA neat little plastic bar that keeps the air vents open. Photo:©Richard McGibbon
Poles have ball joint ends that clip into place. Photo:©Richard McGibbonPoles have ball joint ends that clip into place. Photo:©Richard McGibbon

Key Highlights:

  • NEMO’s waterproof, breathable, abrasion and UV resistant fabric, OSMO
  • Genuine Bemis seam tape for optimized longevity and compatibility.
  • 15% lighter poles (than aluminium variety) due to DAC Featherlite® technology
  • Ball Caps™ and sockets are used in place of locking pole tips and grommets.
  • More area and volume for storage with Trapezoidal vestibules.
  • Swivel Hub lock poles together and allows them to swivel freely.
  • More livable space with higher-positioned pole hubs.
  • Two doors and two vestibules.
  • built-in privacy panel.
  • In-built overhead Light Pockets™.
  • Divvy™ Sack dual-stage stuff sack.
  • High visibility No-See-Um-Mesh also keeps insects at bay.
  • Numerous internal mesh pockets for organising your gear.
  • Reflective zipper pulls and guyline loops.

Specifications/Materials:

  • Capacity2 person
  • Minimum Weight: 1.5 kg
  • On the Fly Weight1.4 kg
  • Packaged Weight1.7 kg
  • Floor Dimensions229 x 126 cm
  • Floor Area31 sq ft / 2.9 sq m
  • Vestibule Area23 sq ft / 2.1 sq m
  • Interior Height: 107 cm
  • Number of Doors2
  • Frame Description1 DAC 8.5 / 9.0 / 9.5 mm featherlite NSL
  • Packed Size48 x 12 cm dia
  • Vestibule Fabric15D Sil / PU Nylon Ripstop (1200mm)
  • Fly Fabric: 15D Sil / PU Nylon Ripstop (1200mm)
  • Canopy Fabric15D Nylon Ripstop / No see um mesh
  • Floor Fabric30D PU Nylon Ripstop (3000mm)
  • ColourBirch Leaf Green
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A home from home, the NEMO Dagger 2p tent is a thing of beauty. Photo: ©Richard McGibbon

Who Are Nemo?

NEMO began it’s journey some fifteen years ago when owner  Cam Brensinger spent a sleepless five hours in a poorly designed bivy one turbulent night on the side of Mount Washington. The next day he resolved to fix this problem and this was the beginnings of NEMO.  The name stands for New England Mountain Equipment and is a tribute to NEMO’s New England roots and a nod to Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo.

The past fifteen years have seen NEMO produce award-winning products aimed squarely at the outdoor enthusiasts of the world and their ethos of designing products that provide better experiences is what we like about them. NEMO actually give a damn and this can be seen in the details of their product, such as the Dagger 2p tent.


Price/Where To Buy

Price: Expect to pay around $659.00 – $699.00AUD

Included:

  • NEMO Dagger 2P Tent
  • Stakes
  • Guy-out cord
  • Repair kit
  • Divvy Sack
  • Footprint sold separately

Conclusions

  • 7/10
    Weight - 7/10
  • 9/10
    Livability - 9/10
  • 10/10
    Innovation & Features - 10/10
  • 9/10
    Fabrics - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Durability - 9/10
8.8/10

Summary

NEMO have raised the standards in tent design with the Dagger two person tent. A lightweight, feature-rich and well-thought-out tent that is spacious, durable and strong enough to handle stormy weather.
With a roomy interior space, innovative and high-quality materials that withstand a range of weather conditions and a very easy set up process, even on your own, makes the Dagger a winner in our books.

All in all, what you get with the NEMO Dagger 2P tent is a well-rounded, lightweight, feature and technology-rich product, leaving you with one hell of a tent. Look out all other tent makers, you have got your work seriously cut out for you.

Jason Lorch
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