We expect two-person backpacking tents to be light, to pack down small, to have enough room to fit two real people. Otherwise, what’s the point? So, even though we didn’t get a chance to hike with the NEMO Equipment Dagger 2p tent, our two nights in it gave us a good feel for its performance, its features, and its small foibles.  Check out our video overview and then scroll down for the review.

Features

NEMO tends to do a good job designing tents to be livable. The Dagger 2P is no exception. Support comes from a single, hubbed pole system. Each side has two legs that come together in a single ridge pole. There’s also an attached eyebrow pole to keep the top of the tent spread open. Tent body corners attached with Jakes Feet and the rest of the tent hooks up with clips. The design makes for almost vertical walls on the lower portion of the tent, which means your head and feet have plenty of room.

Floor fabric is 30D polyurethane-coated nylon with a 3000mm hydrostatic head (waterproof rating). The tent body is 20D nylon with noseeum mesh.

The tent fly, made from 15D nylon, is sil-coated on one side and PU-coated on the other. It slips over the tent and clips to the Jakes Feet corners with ladder-lock adjustability.

You get two doors – one on either side – and two vestibules, so each camper gets his or her own exit and storage. Door zippers are extremely light, but slide smoothly. Vestibules open with a single zip right up the center of each side with a second slider at the top. This lets you open the top for ventilation. There’s a rod with velcro to keep the top of the zip open when you vent it, successfully designed to avoid exposing the inside of the vestibule to the elements.

NEMO Equipment Dagger 2p tent review

Inside, you get two low pockets for storing small items like headlamps or watches. You also get small pockets up at the top to hold a lamp for illumination. No more hanging your headlamp from the ceiling.

NEMO includes an overdesigned carrying sack for the tent.  We’d probably leave it at home, but it makes for organized storage.  You can also pick up a footprint and Pawprint for the Dagger 2p to protect your tent floor from both rocks and furry friends.

Performance

We expected some weather while we were out testing the Dagger 2P, but a snow storm was not on the agenda. It rolled in before we had the tent set up. We didn’t know how long the snow would last, so we tried to set the tent up as quickly as possible. Though it’s never a good idea to set up a tent for the first time in a storm at your campsite (when it really matters), we managed to set the Dagger up quickly and without issue. The design makes it intuitive – there’s really only one place for everything to go. So, setup is a cinch, even when you’ve never seen the tent before.

NEMO Equipment Dagger 2p tent review

The weather also gave us an opportunity to test how well the Dagger 2P vented. Unfortunately, this highlighted what we consider to be the single design flaw in the tent. The vestibule doors are too small and do not allow for enough ventilation. Even at full squat, we had trouble getting into the tent – the top of the door pressed against our backs, which means whatever moisture is on the fly ended up on us. The only way to get into the tent without rubbing the fly is to crawl – also not a good option when things are wet. This short zipper on the vestibule also means that there isn’t a way to open the door enough to vent without letting the weather in to the vestibule. We’d like to see larger doors on the vestibule.

The lack of venting meant we had pretty significant condensation build up inside the tent which froze overnight. None of the condensation dripped onto the tent body or mesh and none fell on our stuff.

In fact, inside the tent was rather pleasant all night. There’s plenty of room for two, even if you used 25″ pads. The design means even tall individuals won’t hit the tent body at the head and foot, and 42″ of head room is plenty for most people. 23 sq ft of vestibule space means plenty of room to store things outside, which also means more living space inside. You could easily wait out a storm with your camping partner, playing cards.

Final Thoughts

Once you get passed the small doors (literally – get passed them), the NEMO Equipement Dagger 2P is a great 2-person tent. It’s sized realistically for two people to live together inside without having to be intimate. NEMO includes good vestibule space and storage options. We can recommend it.

Specifications

Listed weights:

Minimum Weight 3 lbs 5 oz / 1.5 kg
On the Fly Weight 3 lbs 2.2 oz / 1.4 kg
Packaged Weight 3 lbs, 12 oz / 1.7 kg

NEMO Equipment Dagger 2p tent reviewMeasured weight with body, fly, stuff sack, poles, stakes, pole and stake sacks, guy lines – 4 lbs, 12 oz. (This weight includes a whole bunch of extra crap that we wouldn’t take on the trail.  We believe the listed weights are accurate.)

Length – 90″
Width – 50″
Headroom – 42″

MSRP – $399.95.