The Nemo Blaze is one of the lightest, roomiest full featured tents ever built. At a ludicrous 2 lbs 5 oz, the Blaze offers 30 sq feet of floor space, and a max height of 40 “. Can a tent this light and this spacious be too good to be true?
The Blaze 2p, as mentioned above weighs just 2 lbs 5 oz. This is achieved by using astoundingly thin materials such as a 7D PeU Nylon ripstop fly, and 20D PeU Nylon Ripstop Floor (both with 1200mm coatings). Combine this with an innovative single pole design that runs from one corner to another with an angled crossbar to create near vertical walls and you’ve shaved a lot of weight. Furthermore, the rain fly is slightly cut back at the head and foot of the tent, minimizing material usage, while the vestibule weight is minimized by shifting the compartment back, providing gear storage but also through room. The poles are made of the recent favorite 8.7mm DAC Featherlight NFL aluminum. The tent still manages to have two full vestibules and two doors, all for $449.95.
What I liked
The space to weight ratio here is staggering, especially considering the full (mostly) double wall construction. The tent disappears in a backpack, and weighs so little that a solo backpacker can easily carry it without feeling any packer’s remorse.
While inside, the tent offers more than adequate head and shoulder room for two backpackers to comfortably sit up and move about. The 50″ wide floor is wider than most tents that weigh more, and combined with the 40″ of head room, the Blaze provides unheard of living space per lb. the wide doors allow for easy entry and exit, thanks to the long zippers that open up completely to avoid obstruction of movement.
The vestibules are just big enough to provide storage of backpacks and boots, while still being able to move through without too much climbing over, assuming you don’t mind doing a little gear stacking.
Lots of mesh and low walls around the sides of the sleeper produces good air flow, without creating a cold breeze around the head or foot. This allows for a nice cooling effect in hot weather, but also helps knock down chills on areas sensitive to the cold. The mesh provides ample opportunity for star gazing also. The cut back rain fly around the head and foot strategically allows air to flow up and inside the top of the tent, reducing condensation and improving airflow.
The tent is surprisingly stable despite the single pole frame. The shelter tensions and stakes out in a way that minimizes the impact of wind, and guy out points half way along the vestibules add solid side to side protection. Once fully guyed out(by adding additional lines, more on that later), the tent holds strong without wavering too much in the wind. The only issue comes in the pole free corners. More on that later as well.
The included tent stakes are pretty solid, holding great and providing enough durability to be hammered in lightly with a stone.
What I didn’t like
With great weight savings comes a few sacrifices. The most notable issue is that the corners that have no poles can sag under less than ideal pitching conditions. This creates a loose corner that can hang down onto the sleepers face or foot, which is a compounded issue if there is lots of humidity in the air, and thus condensation. Not only will the fabric touch the foot or head of the sleeper, these areas pick up condensation due to the pseudo single wall section, and creates a damp environment that can wet out a sleeping bag. A good pitch minimizes the issue, but we found ourselves stuffing gear into the corners to keep them out of the way when conditions were poor.
The same corners can buffet in the wind, even with a good pitch, causing some light annoyances and possibly shaking off condensation.
No vents in the top of the tent, and no double zippers for venting the doors creates a mildly condensation prone environment.
The positioning of the internal pockets in the frameless corners of the tent makes them nearly useless when trying to store heavier items like cameras due the added pull of the fabric. This lowers the already problematic saggy corners further into the floor of the tent. I can’t understand why they weren’t stitched into the opposite corners where the poles would serve as reinforcement.
To fully guy out the tent you’ll need to carry a few extra tent stakes and lines that aren’t included (4 in this case). This significantly improves the stability, and is highly recommended.
When pitching, stake out the body, starting with the pole-less corners. Then stake out the corners with jakes corners (pole connections), and finally install the poles and erect the body. This better tensions the tent and minimizes sagginess. If you have a wrinkle in the floor, keep working at it.
A skilled seamstress could add additional guy lines to the saggy corners, creating a volumizing guy out point. This would eliminate flapping, improve internal space, and improve condensation management.
Despite a few issues with condensation and saggy corners, the Nemo Blaze is still an outstanding tent. Having so much living space with a tent that packs so small and weighs so little almost seems impossible, but Nemo made it happen. The massive interior (for the weight) provides great livability, with ample star gazing opportunities with the breezy mesh walls. The creative guy out points and tensioning of the body creates a mostly stable tent from any angle despite the limited framing. Take time to pitch the tent properly to avoid a saggy body and add a couple guy out lines and stakes, and the the Blaze 2P is an excellent choice for those who prioritize minimal weight and maximum space.
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Big thanks to Nemo for providing this tent for review. We couldn’t make it without your support! Our full review disclosure and ratings system can be found on our Contact us page.