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Testing Conversations: Nemo Equipment Hornet 2

October 11, 2018

Testing Conversations: Nemo Equipment Hornet 2

After returning from four months of walking the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand, 50 DAYS Co-Founders, Anthi & Bill, sit down for a chat about the performance of the Nemo Equipment Hornet 2 UL Tent. Bill Playne spent a total of 124 days walking the trail between November 2017 and March 2018, having the opportunity to live 50 DAYS' ethos of testing the best lightweight equipment. Lucky bugger!

A: Hey Bill, I am really excited to hear about your summer long test of the Nemo Equipment Hornet 2 UL Tent. Can you give some background about the testing?

B: Sure, well I think I cracked it for the longest ever gear test! Eighty plus nights in all sorts of places and conditions on a thru hike of New Zealand might be enough. I can happily say it only took a few nights though, to move from a gear crush to a love affair (Nemo Magic). Such was my confidence in it, I rarely thought about it, as I knew I had the right shelter for the journey.

A: How where you able to assess this so early on?

B: It was exposed straight away to high winds on 90 mile beach and then when I crossed to the east coast a decent storm hit, with probably the heaviest rain of the entire journey. It handled all of this superbly. But it was elements like the set up being completely mindless, the perfect tautness of the fly, the space to make my mess (spread out) and be comfortable - especially if riding out weather. I was super impressed and happy.

A: Did it have any features that make it especially right for the Te Araroa Trail?

B: Absolutely. In fact, it was my fellow hikers comments about how their tents were not handling condensation that helped me realise how well mine was. It was a non-issue and another reason to be happy!

A: What design elements were responsible for this?

B: Every site had its differences which test different design elements, but generally in the North I tended to camp in more open places where airflow of some sort was possible. The design difference is the raised section of the fly design that encourages airflow and seems to work well with the inner mesh canopy in discouraging condensation.

A: Did any part of the tent deteriorate or break?

B: Most days the tent had to be dried at some point. This was a quick lunchtime process in the north but was much more opportunistic in the south with less sun. I was usually very careful with how I laid it out to dry but on one occasion a clump of sharp grass heads punctured some small holes in the fly. The lime green did fade a bit by the end. I also lost a clip that connects the inner mesh canopy to the outer fly (it holds the inner up to make head space), when I was packing the tent. I replaced this with a bit of string. The most important thing to remember is it is a lightweight tent and it needs to be pitched and packed with care.

A: What other tents were out there and how did they fare?

B: I saw everything from small tarps through to palatial shelters. MSR and Big Agnes were most prominent. The occasional Nemo Hornet, Zpacks Duplex 2, Six Moon Design Haven Tarp and HMG Ulta Mid 2 where about. Midway down the South Island I shared a stormy, windy exposed night with a MSR Hubba Hubba NX and a Big Agnes Fly Creek 2. All agreed that the Nemo Equipment Hornet 2 was sturdier in the wind and performed best with a really nice pitch.

A: Any final comments?

B: This tent has great reviews. They are all over the internet. For me though the biggest accolade this tent received was on the trail, with the tent constantly being the subject of outward gear envy from all sorts of hikers.

I would say they are right, this tent was absolute perfection for the Te Araroa Trail.

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