The NEMO Kunai is one of the most versatile 4-season tents on the market with the ability to cover all your needs from backpacking to mountaineering. This tent has an excellent balance of low weight and solid weather protection, which makes it great for trips that take you from sheltered valleys to exposed mountain summits. The Kunai also costs significantly less than other 4-season tents, but it’s still built with durable materials that will last for many years of adventure.
WEIGHT: 4 lbs. 5 oz.
PEAK HEIGHT: 44 in.
FLOOR DIMENSIONS (LxWxH): 82 x 50 x 44 in.
WEIGHT: 5 lbs. 3 oz.
PEAK HEIGHT: 45 in.
FLOOR DIMENSIONS (LxWxH): 84 x 70 x 60 in.
EXCELLENT VALUE – All 4-season tents come with relatively high price tags because they’re made with high-quality poles and materials that can withstand harsh conditions. When you compare prices among other tents with a similar size, weight, and weather performance you’ll find that the Kunai is one of the most affordable options. It costs hundreds of dollars less than many other winter tents, and the price is on par with some of our favorite freestanding backpacking tents.
LIGHTWEIGHT – The Kunai is considered a mountaineering tent and is best for those who want something light enough to pack for a long haul, but stout enough to withstand fierce winds and heavy snow loads. The 2P Kunai weighs 4 lbs. 5 oz., which is very light for a winter tent. The 3P weighs almost a pound more, but is still a very reasonable weight for its size and level of protection at 5 lbs. 3 oz. – especially since it’s easy to split the load between two people with the dual-stage ‘divvy’ sack.
VERSATILE – There aren’t many tents on the market that work well for both winter camping and summer backpacking, so the Kunai is pretty unique. It’s not the lightest tent available for fairweather trips or the burliest for mountaineering, but it strikes a great balance of comfort, strength, and weight to work well in most conditions. Because of the reasonable weight and adaptable ventilation, the Kunai can be used throughout the entire year. It’s ideal for those who need stout protection in formidable climates on some trips, and those who don’t see themselves owning multiple tents to suit different conditions.
SOLID WEATHER PROTECTION – The Kunai is built to withstand harsh weather. It has a tapered profile that cuts through wind and sheds precipitation well, and it comes with sturdy poles that lock together securely. The fly material is heavy-duty 375 denier nylon, and the tent body has a durable bathtub floor to keep you dry even on wet or snowy ground. The Kunai’s inner tent also has solid wall panels to further minimize drafts. The Kunai felt like an impenetrable fortress when overnight wind and snow arrived on our winter camping trip in the Wallowas.
ADAPTABLE VENTILATION – The Kunai has a vent in the roof that you can access from inside the tent and a strut in the door’s zipper flap so you can circulate air even when you need to batten down the hatches. The solid tent body walls help keep wind at bay in stormy conditions, but in warmer weather you can unzip panels on all sides to reveal large mesh windows. The double-walled Kunai doesn’t have much issue with interior condensation, but the added ventilation helps increase airflow, evaporate moisture, and regulate the temperature to keep you comfortable.
EASY TO SET UP – The Kunai is fully freestanding and easy to set up, even if you’re pitching it solo. We had no problem setting it up quickly for the first time without instructions since the poles and clips are color-coded. For a perfect pitch and maximum storm preparedness, it’s worth the few minutes it takes to attach the fly to the poles with the velcro straps and to guy it out completely.
ONLY ONE DOOR & VESTIBULE – We usually prefer tents that have two doors and vestibules because it makes gear storage and getting in and out more convenient, and double doors make small tents feel more spacious. The Kunai only has one entry, which can be a little annoying when you’re waiting for your partner to get out of the way in inclement weather. That said, it’s uncommon for 4-season tents to have two doors since weather protection is the priority. For those who adventure in truly formidable weather, it’s probably worth it to look past the inconvenience of only having a single door in favor of tent strength. The 3P Kunai has a wider entry and roomier vestibule, so we find it to be a lot more comfortable for two people and their gear.
2P IS A BIT TIGHT FOR TWO – The 2P Kunai has about average dimensions, with room for two sleeping pads to fit side by side. The headroom is pretty generous for a 4-season tent (44 in.), and the walls are near vertical to maximize usable space. Still, the 2P Kunai feels a bit snug for two people, especially when you have winter gear in the mix. We attribute this to the minimal length (82 in.) and only having a single door. Make sure you like your tentmate and don’t plan on storing much gear inside of the tent at the head or foot.
While the 2P is a great option for solo trips when you need heavy-duty weather protection or pairs looking to save weight for long hauls, we highly recommend bumping up to the more spacious 3P if you’ll be spending much time hanging out inside. The 3P version has out-of-this-world headroom for a winter tent and ample space for two people and their gear.
NOT AS STRONG AS SOME OTHER MOUNTAINEERING TENTS – The Kunai is pretty dang tough. But because it has a taller peak height and there’s a lot of surface area on all four sides, it doesn’t hold up as well as dome-shaped mountaineering tents in really high winds. It also needs to be fully guyed out to withstand heavy snow loading. The Kunai works best for moderate winter conditions and more mild summertime mountaineering expeditions.
The NEMO Kunai is a great choice for year-round adventurers who need a tent with robust weather protection. We love that it’s lightweight, so it won’t weigh you down if you’re traveling far or climbing. And it has adaptable ventilation so you can use it for trips in different seasons and environments. The Kunai is also one of the most affordable mountaineering tents out there, which helps make year-round adventuring more accessible to those who don’t want to buy and store multiple tents for different trips.
While the single-door design is a bit less convenient than we’d like, and the dimensions of the 2P are a little on the cramped side, the generous headroom makes it feel quite livable. For pairs who don’t plan to travel far, we recommend bumping up to the 3P for a more spacious feel and room to hang out while you weather a storm.
We hope this review helps you determine if the NEMO Kunai is right for you. As always, please leave a comment below if you have any recommendations, questions, or suggestions or visit our Facebook page and Instagram to join the community conversation. If you found this review helpful, please share on social media and click the little heart button below to give us a digital high five!
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