A relatively unheard of player in the local market, Nemo seem to have an impressive array of choices for the outdoor enthusiast. The Nemo Dagger 2p is the lightweight two-person offering. It is an impressively roomy tent that performs well as three-season tent.
As a climber, I regularly head to Mount Arapiles for the weekend where tradition dictates something of a tent town will appear whenever the weather permits. Thus I had a fine opportunity to trial the Nemo Dagger 2p among the enormous variety of other models currently in use.
The sheer variety of tents on the market can be daunting and confusing for many buyers. Even experienced and informed shoppers can have difficulty working out what is best for their needs. The Dagger 2p is a lightweight (1.7 kilograms) two-person, double-layered hiking tent, which is pretty much all I knew about it before I took it out of the bag having arrived at my campsite after dark.
High on my list of important attributes of a tent is the ease and time take to erect. There is nothing more annoying fiddling around in the rain or the dark for 15 minutes just to build your shelter.
So I figured that popping open the plastic packing bag on an unknown tent bag at the campsite at 1am was a good way to start things off.
Pulling the poles out of the bag, I quickly realised that the large bundle was in fact a single pole set, consisting of:
- A single centre longitudinal pole that then branches at each end to secure in all for corners
- A single latitudinal “floating” pole to provide additional headroom (the design of tent is quite a bit different from a typical dome or tunnel tent, but it is a design that several other manufacturers such as MSR and Mont have found success with)
As it was well past midnight, these technicalities were not of immediate concern. Unfolding the branching pole took a little more work than your standard pole, but since I only had one to deal with this simplified things greatly. The ends of the poles have ball connectors, which is a little different, but they slipped nicely into all four corners of the inner and I quickly had the frame up. The inner clips straight onto the poles so I didn’t have to worry about threading poles through sleeves. Being a new tent and with a dim headtorch I did the normal dance of figuring out which end of the fly went where, but being symmetrical this didn’t take long. The fly clipped firmly, (though with slight difficulty, as it does need to be quite taut) to the corners and then needed four pegs to fully expand the vestibule.
All this probably took me 10 minutes, which I would consider typical for a two-layer, two-person tent. I’ve used a few faster tents and been frustrusted by some very complicated ones. But importantly I was at no stage confused regarding what to do. It was an easy tent to erect with no annoying details whatsoever.
In this particular test I didn’t have cause (or time) to set up the guy ropes. As the weather wasn’t offering anything particularly grim I figured they would be more of a hazard than a help, but I could also see that they were of a fairly standard arrangement.
Turning in for the night, I noticed the very generous amount of headroom available (107 centimetres at its highest point).
Comfort and Use
I gave myself a leisurely start to the day, too some photos and gave the tent a more thorough inspection. The Dagger 2p is generous and roomy. With good head clearance it is a tent that you could happily wait out a storm in. A decent floor space, twin doors and twin vestibules means the tent harmony still be manageable even if you’ve been bickering with you tent partner (2.9 square metres of footprint all told).
Overall, there is not much to dislike about the comfort and useability of this tent. Additionally as a lightweight tent, I believe the Dagger 2p has managed to stay on the correct side of durability versus lightweight (the material on some ultra light weight tents makes me a little nervous about their durability.)
At 1.7 kilos it is hard to beat the Dagger 2p for use as a lightweight, three-season tent. Roomy, easy and reasonable quick to erect and moderately robust for its weight.
Fabric durability – There are other tents out there with more robust construction, but their are heavier. In high quality tents like the Dagger 2p there is always a trade off between durability and lightness. Personally I believe Nemo has got this balance right, but if you’re the sort of person who wants a couple decades of use of you tent then you might look towards something made of heavier duty material.
Extreme conditions – The Dagger 2p is not designed for four season use, so one shouldn’t expect it to perform in extreme winds or heavy snow loads. In benign Australian alpine conditions it will likely hold up, but if you are wanting a tent that will take on all conditions then this tent is not it. The high profile and the complex pole design does not lend itself to great performance in high wind, however if you are adventuring in extreme wind conditions then you’d really look for other, four season alternatives.
Ultimately the right tent must meet the user’s expectations for both price and performance, so for $699.95 Nemo’s Dagger 2p is a lightweight hiker worth considering.