Nemo Dagger Tent Review
NOTE: I had the absolute pleasure of collaborating with Asheville photographer extraordinaire Edgar on this review! He was a delight to work with and really got my vision when it came to this post. I really don’t think I could have enjoyed working with this talented guy more, and if you’re looking for a local photographer in the 828 area I highly recommend checking him out!
You can find his work here: @mr_kalid
Let’s face it, hiking gear is expensive, there’s no way around it if you’re looking to get something that lasts you for years and holds up day in and day out through rough terrain without fail.
Arguably, your tent is the thing that’s going to cost you the most, so you should be pretty fuckin’ particular about what you want.
That’s why when I started purchasing my gear I went in with the mindset that I was going to really hunker down, do my research, and spend a fair amount up front so that I didn’t have to replace things as I got better.
So, research I did. And now I’m sharing that knowledge with all of you! I spent days combing the internet. Looking at top 10 lists, brushing up on the lingo so that I knew what the language surrounding tents meant, and reading the pros and cons of each style.
At this point I’m confident that if I walked into the nearest REI and stood in the tent section I would pass as an employee.
As the title of this post suggests, I decided on a Nemo Dagger 2 Person Tent.
I want to side track really quickly and mention that if you’re not sure backpacking is for you there are a ton of cheaper tent options out there that will work just fine.
Right, back to my tent. There were a couple of requirements that I had when deciding what I wanted, and this one looked like it fit the bill.
My had 4 major requirements:
- Ease of Setup
- Free Standing
Had to be ultralight – my reason for this was twofold. The first reason was that when I spend the night in the woods it’s usually because I backpacked up to my site, I didn’t want a tent that was going to take up more space in my pack than absolutely necessary.
The second reason for this was that I’ve known since before I started hiking that one day I want to do a thru hike, and while researching tents I learned that the base weight for your pack should be sub 20lbs.
This tent fits two people and clocks in at 3 lbs 12 oz.
Which brings me to my second point!
I know firsthand how expensive the startup cost of all of your gear can be, so it was important to me that I had a tent that could fit a friend. That way if I invited someone along not having a tent wouldn’t be a deterrent for them.
Plus, if we’re being real, it’s really nice to have the extra room to keep your pack and boots with you at night.
The third thing I took into consideration was what setup of this tent was going to look like.
I wanted it a tent that wasn’t going to take too much thought and would make for easy set up and take down.
The Nemo Daggers’ entire frame is one interconnected titanium (I think?) interlocking system.
This is great because it means that I never have to worry about losing or forgetting a part of my tent.
And, it also means that there’s very little thinking involved; which is awesome after a full day of trekking.
Free Standing Structure
The final thing I took into consideration was what kind of standing tent I wanted. Meaning did I want something free standing, partially free standing, or needing stakes.
I decided on a fully free-standing tent because I like the idea of camping on a lot of different terrains, and I didn’t want the way my tent stood (or didn’t) to prevent me from camping where I choose to… with a permit of course!
It’s worth mentioning that my tent does come with a rain fly and while you can still use the tent and a free standing one with it I always stake mine into the ground.
Partially because I like the floor of my tent to have a little more tension to it, and partially because if I’m putting the rainfly on it’s because I’m anticipating some type of wind or rain.
I did read that an issue a lot of people and encountered with this tent was condensation gathering on the inside of the rain fly.
The first time I took my tent out I got stuck in a storm and not a drop of rain got through, nor did I notice any wetness on the inside of my tent.
The most recent time I used it though it didn’t rain but went from a pretty cool night to a rapidly warming morning. While I didn’t notice anything when I woke up after coming back from watching the sun rise and making breakfast I noticed that my rain fly was soaked.
The guy next to me had the same issue and a completely different tent though, so I’m thinking it just had to do with the change in temperature.
I will say that my rain fly dried out in the time it took me to break down the rest of camp. As to whether or not it’s actually an issue… jury’s still out.
Features I Love
Everything about this tent feels very intentional. The inside of the stuff sack has a chart of the constellations that glows in the dark! If that doesn’t feel like the most wonderful detail you’ve ever heard of I have no idea what to tell you.
The way the system interlocks is through snaps and hooks as opposed to threading the frame through the tent body makes set up a breeze.
From start to finish I can set up my tent in under 10 minutes!
The inside of the tent as well as the rainfly have a system that allows you to pull the “doors” open and keep them that way.
Overall Tent Review
I would 1000% buy this tent again. It actually sold out the first time I tried to purchase it and I waited three months before it came back in stock!
Personally, I’m glad I waited because while it checks off all of the above boxes, it’s also been a breeze to use, the interior has some really well thought out pockets, and it’s very aesthetically pleasing, which is a fun plus!
If you like the idea of this tent but aren’t sold on this exact one or want something a little different I would suggest:
The Big Agnes Tigerwall which is about 7 oz lighter fully packed. and is mostly the same in every other aspect.
A slightly cheaper option is the REI Co-op Half Dome. This tent is cool too in that if you’re a Co-op member (which you absolutely should be! It’s $20 for a lifetime membership and you get rewards annually!)
If we’re being real, all of these tents are basically the same, with a few minor differences, because once you get up to this level tents are made of the same stuff. Really all you have to do is chose the color you like best!