The NEMO Hornet 2P is a great option for solo ultralight backpackers who like having a little extra space at camp. We liked the previous version of this tent, and NEMO has made some really great design improvements this year. The 2019 Hornet offers more headroom and corner struts in the foot for easier setup without adding any weight. You can find the Hornet on our list of the 10 Best Backpacking Tents.
Which Size Should You Choose?
The Hornet 1P has a pretty small interior, so unless you’re looking to go crazy light (a 5 oz. weight savings. Roughly the weight of 2 Clif Bars), we think the 2P size makes much more sense. The Hornet Elite models are a tad lighter than the standard versions (a 2-4 oz. weight savings), but they’re quite a bit pricier too, with an MSRP of $120-$130 more than the standard Hornets. For those reasons, we think the standard Hornet 2P is by far the best value, and we recommend it for backpackers that mostly plan to use it solo.
LIGHTWEIGHT - With a weight that hovers right around 2 pounds, the Hornet is impressively light, especially for a double-wall, semi-freestanding tent. When you consider the features NEMO packs in to it, like two doors and two vestibules, there aren’t a whole lot of tents out there that can boast similar specs.
COMPACT - The Hornet starts off with a pretty small packed size, but you can make it even smaller using NEMO’s unique Divvy stuff sack (which is thicker and more durable than last year’s version). We already mentioned that we think this tent works better as a solo shelter, but if you are sharing it, the Divvy sack makes it easy to divide the components of the tent for splitting the load. If you’re a solo hiker, the Divvy sack makes it easier to fit the tent in to smaller spaces in your pack and to store the poles on the outside.
TWO DOORS & TWO VESTIBULES - Not many double-wall tents in this weight class offer two doors and two vestibules. We like this design a lot better than the front entry style of the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 because it makes storing your gear, sharing the tent with another person, and getting in and out much more comfortable and convenient. Each vestibule offers a generous 7.1 square feet of covered space allowing you to store gear and still have plenty of room to get in and out of the tent easily.
EASY SETUP - There are a lot of really smart design elements in the Hornet that make setting it up easy. We love NEMO’s Jakes feet that clip the poles in securely so you don’t have to worry about poles coming out of grommets when you are setting the tent up solo. The single Y-shaped tent pole has color coded ends so you know which side of the tent they correspond to. The included stakes are lightweight, high quality, and have hooks for easily setting the pre-attached guylines. The guy lines also have tensioners attached so it’s easy to get a taut pitch every time.
ROOMY SHELTER FOR ONE - The Hornet features two “Flybars” that clip to the center tent pole replacing traditional tent body clips. They give more headroom and help keep everything set up nice and taut by distributing tension in the rainfly evenly. Each door has a clip that attaches to a small loop on the inside of the rainfly to give more interior space and to prevent the sides from sagging in on you when there are things in the pockets (something we found very frustrating about the previous version of this tent). Carbon fiber corner struts make the two ends that must be staked out with triangulated guylines stand up straight and give the feeling of more space in the foot area.
TIGHT INTERIOR SPACE - We find the Hornet 2P to be a luxurious ultralight shelter for one, but it’s about as tight as two-person tents get due to its slanted side walls and tapered floor design. If you’re camping in bad weather or really buggy areas where you might be spending more time in the tent, we definitely wouldn’t recommend using this as a two-person shelter. Especially if one or both people are on the taller side, it would be pretty hard to sit up at the same time and gear will definitely need to be stored outside in the vestibules.
If you are looking for an ultralight tent that has more room for two, we recommend checking out the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2, MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2, Marmot Tungsten 2P UL, or bumping up to a 3-person ultralight shelter like the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3. Check out our list of the 10 Best Backpacking Tents for more options.
NOT GOOD FOR TALL HIKERS - NEMO lists the length of the Hornet at 85 inches (about 7 ft), but we’re not sure where that measurement comes from, because this tent will feel small for anyone over 6 ft tall. One of our testers is 6’2” and the Hornet’s peak height and length are both a bit too tight for him.
EXPENSIVE - In our opinion, the price to value ratio on this tent is pretty great, but if you’re just starting out or you’re on a tight budget, it may be a little out of your price range. The Hornet Elite 2P is especially spendy and only offers a weight savings of 4 ounces (we think the standard Hornet is the best value). If you want to go ultralight on a budget, one of our favorite backpacking tents, the REI Co-op Quarter Dome 2 SL, has a similar design and specs with a lower MSRP.
LIMITED VENTILATION - We find the lack of ventilation in the Hornet to be a bit uncomfortable. On hot days when you want to have the rainfly on for shade, it can be hard to get a breeze in this tent. You can unzip the rainfly and keep just the velcro attached for a small amount of relief, but we wish they had provided a strut for a vent in the top of the rainfly to give better circulation.
SEMI-FREESTANDING - While semi-freestanding designs usually don’t bother us, they can be somewhat limiting in certain types of terrain. It can be hard to keep the foot area staked out tightly if you are in really soft sand and it can be difficult to stake out if you are in an area where there are a lot of rocks or roots. Semi-freestanding tents tend to fare worse in wet and windy weather as well due to silnylon fabric, which tends to stretch in cold/wet weather. Luckily the attached line tensioners make it easy to retighten the guyouts without having to completely restake the tent.
More Hornet 2P Photos
The NEMO Hornet 2P has a lot of excellent design features and we really like it for solo ultralight adventurers who are 6ft tall or under. We love that it has two doors and two vestibules, is very easy to set up, and packs down small. We do wish NEMO had included some sort of ventilation in the rainfly and we find that the semi-freestanding design can be a tad limiting in certain types of terrain. But overall, we think the Hornet 2P is an excellent choice and it has earned a place on our list of the 10 Best Backpacking Tents.
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