The Dagger 2P from Nemo is aimed directly at the lightweight, but roomy backpacking tent market. Aggressive material selection and light modification to a tried and true pole design produces a large, spacious tent for under 4 pounds. But how does it perform?
The Dagger weighs in at a trail weight of 3 lb 12 oz (tent, body, stakes, line, and stuff sacks). The floor dimensions are a larger than usual 90” x 50”, with an internal height of 42″. A single, connected pole system with a wide cross bar lifts the tent and widens out the walls. The tent consists of two doors that stake out in two points instead of one. This creates more gear storage, and more options for entry and exit configurations. The fly is a breezy 15D Nylon. The floor is a thicker 30D nylon ripstop (3000mm). The poles are 9.6 mm DAC featherlight NSL. Also included are two guy out lines, and eight tent stakes. The entire package retails for $399.95.
What I liked
The dagger is supremely livable. Wide open interiors, thanks to an abnormally large cross bar and clever pole arrangement provides ample room to sit up straight, work, and play. I never once found myself wishing I had just a little more room, and I never had to elbow joust to get to what I needed.
The vestibules are also quite large, and arranged in a way that allows you place gear on each side, and move in and out straight through the middle, eliminating the need to climb over equipment. They also provide good protection from the sun, wind and light rain even when the center section is left open.
For the impressive amount of room you’re getting, the tent is quite light weight at just 3 lb 12 oz. It packs up pretty small as well. It’s more spacious than other tents in the weight class.
Stability is better than expected, largely due to the dual stake out points on the vestibule and rigid frame. Even without guying out the tent, the tent held in place with minimal movement and noise even on exposed peaks with generous winds (10-15 mph). A series of tensioners spaced about the corners of the tent and even on the vestibules allows a tight pitch in any condition.
Set up is as simple as it gets. Easy to use clips and stakes allow me to pitch the tent is minutes even in foul weather.
Clever vents are built into the doors, allowing you to prop open a small gap at the top zipper. It’s light weight and works pretty well even in the rain.
What I didn’t like
The tent doesn’t come with enough stakes to guy out the tent. Only the base number is included (eight stakes). That’s plenty for most cases, but I’m a fan of battening down my shelter. There are a couple extra lines included, but they’re thick and you have nothing to stake them down with. While the tent is fairly stable without them, I always recommend adding additional stakes (six in this situation) and guy lines to improve not only the stability but the ventilation as it pulls the fly away from the tent at the head foot. This of course adds weight to the packed weight, although a few light weight stakes will do a fine job.
Condensation can be an issue at the head and foot in extreme cases (camping in the clouds for example). These sections are essentially single wall as the fly cuts back and away from the body. This caused condensation build up on the inner wall and the damping of my sleeping bag at the head and feet on some tests. Aside from an overall breezy design, there are no top vents aside from the built-in door vents to aid in preventing this, although the door vents certainly help. Overall condensation was still managed pretty well.
The Dagger 2P from Nemo is a strong contender for the light weight but livable category. While the numbers are impressive, I recommend adding a few more ounces by adding a few stakes and guy lines to fully batten down the tent. Then you have the issues with condensation at the head and foot of the shelter. Still, the Dagger 2p is impressively livable, and the unique vestibule configuration goes a long way to improving the enjoyment of being inside. The ability to leave the door open while staking by the two corners of the vestibule opens up the ability to watch the rain, and eliminates the need to crawl over gear. Combine this with the already spacious interior, and an impressively stable build for the weight and you end up with an impressive tent that overcomes a couple mild issues. In the end, I really like the tent, and I see it coming along on many future adventures
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