Tuesday, February 15, 2011

First Impressions: Nemo Espri 2P Tent

Normally I like to test equipment a few times before I begin a review but I am really excited to get into some of the features of the Nemo Espri and I just can't wait!

Right off the bat I was impressed with the light weight poles, speed of set up, strong fly materials, and overall design. The color was a little gaudy (I'm not a fan of neon colored tents because I don't think the trend is going to age well) and I don't like that the tent needs to be stakes down with guy lines out to vent properly.

Out of the box the tent set up lightning fast - it turns out I set up the fly inside out and the poles backwards but never mind that. Fortunately NEMO color coded the poles so all I need to remember is "black in back" not try to remember the architecture of the tent.

The Jakes Foot which receives the poles (as opposed to a simple metal grommet) isn't a bad feature. At first I thought that it was just some proprietary junk but the simple design really does make attaching poles (and removing them) a snap.

The key concern right now is condensation especially with two warm bodies in the tent. On our first night of backpacking we found the footprint to be spacious enough but without staking out the rain fly we had our own private rain storm inside which soaked my down sleeping bag. Even if the tent vents well once staked down and with guylines out I'm not thrilled that I can't simply throw up a fast pitch to keep out a light rain.

It was very easy to dry the tent though, after spreading the tent out for a few minutes and wiping it down with a towell it was bone dry and ready to be packed away.

While the condensation was an unexpected problem - the problem I expected to encounter, the lack of space inside, never surfaced. Even though sleeping conditions were a little tight both Beylah and I slept just fine through the night only hitting the walls once or twice. In fact with two bodies inside the tent got quite warm (hence the rain storm).

The Espri comes with several choices of doors which is nice. A standard door offers a very small vestibule which was great for protecting hiking boots from the rain, with two people there is no room for that gear inside. The UL door however is lighter and a good option if you are okay with dragging the other gear inside.

Overall I'm looking forward to testing the tent more, I'm especially excited to see how it performs once properly set up and if the condensation can be minimized.

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