NEMO Hornet Elite Review

Our Verdict

If you want great protection from the elements and the critters in the wild while making sure that you are not burdened by extra weight, then NEMO Hornet Elite is a great option. Aside from being a semi-freestanding tent, it is a perfect gear if you do not want to deal with setting up a tarp.

The two-door setup is great if you have a companion with you. It makes getting in and out of the tent easy. But, the interior space is a bit snug, especially for two tall people.

The Hornet Lite is also one of the lightest pole-based tents around. Additionally, it can withstand abuse and rough conditions. It also provides above-average water resistance, which means it can take on rainy days. However, the flexible poles may not hold up in extremely windy climates.

Specs

NEMO Hornet Elite
Packed Weight 2 lbs. 1 oz.
Floor Area 27.3 square feet
Packed Size 4.5 x 19 inches
Dimensions 85 x 50/42 (L x W head/foot) inches
Peak Height 37 inches
Number of Doors 2
Number of Poles1
Rain Fly Material 7-denier PeU ripstop nylon (1200mm)
Inner Tent Material No-see-um mesh
Price Range$$$$
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Review

The lightweight, semi-freestanding tent provides protection and comfort during your adventures. While the NEMO Hornet Elite does come with minor drawbacks, the included features more than make up for it to provide you with a great backpacking experience.

Comfort

The ultimate goal of NEMO Hornet Lite is to provide premium comfort in a lightweight package. At only about 2 lbs., you will barely feel the tent pack in your backpack. And that means more space for your other backpacking gears.

The two side doors make the tent more accessible. That means you will not be climbing on top of each other when you want to move around. They also help with the ventilation, especially when the rainfly is on. Also, the No-see-um mesh canopy improves overall breathability.

Each vestibule adds six square feet more, which is a great space for an average-sized pack and boots. These also serve as extra living areas during warmer months. The included fly has a vertical fly zipper which prevents it from catching.

The tent also comes with nifty storage pockets, which make it easy to organize your things. The side pockets are perfect for personal stuff like your smartphone, portable battery, and more.

NEMO also incorporated smart design with the overhead canopy. The Light Pocket™ is made of white ripstop nylon, which effectively diffuses light from headlamps. This creates more subdued lighting that’s enough to illuminate the interior of the tent.

There are some sacrifices in order to reduce the overall weight of the Hornet Elite. And it is noticeable in the interior space. While it provides enough room, you will need to cozy up to your camping partner at night.

But, the additional gut-out lines expand the lateral area within the tent. At the height of 37 inches, it is relatively lower than many two-person tents out there. Additionally, the floor is just enough to fit two inflatable Thermarests snugly.

While these are not deal breaks, they are important factors to consider, especially if you prioritize comfort over packed weight.

Ease of Setup

The NEMO Hornet Elite is quite easy to set up even when you are alone. The minimalist approach to the overall design and construction means it is intuitive.

The tent uses a single DAC 8.7mm Featherlite NFL pole, which is durable. It requires two stakes at the foot to fully set up. Additionally, there is a minimal number of tent-to-pole hooks which means you can pitch the tent much faster. This is an advantage, especially after a long tiring day of hiking.

Weather Resistance

The tent can surprisingly withstand significant wind and weather despite its weight. On a typically windy day, the tent is sturdy. However, if you are expecting significant window conditions, you will need extra guy lines to prevent it from bending over.

It comes with an extra cord, but you need to buy your own extra stakes. You can also use rocks if needed.

The included rainfly runs almost to the ground. This prevents any significant splashback through the no-see-um mesh walls. It also minimizes leaks during heavy rains.

While the interior walls improve breathability, the inner side of the fly still collects condensation. However, the walls’ sloping design ensures that the moisture will slide down to the ground instead of dripping inside the tent.

Durability

The rain fly is made of 7-denier PeU ripstop nylon (1200mm), which is a decent fabric that can hold up to average use. However, you still need to be careful in extreme conditions where small rips may occur.

The floor is constructed with 10-denier Sil/PeU ripstop nylon (1200mm), which is more than enough when you are pitching on a camping site or a well-prepared clearing. However, it is recommended that you use a tent footprint to prevent abrasions and rips from debris like small rocks or sharp twigs.

Weight and Packed Size

Because it is made for backpackers, weight is where the Hornet Elite shows its strength. It is impressively lightweight for a tent with a dedicated pole and double wall features at a little over two pounds. This already includes the extra guy line and the tent bag.

Additionally, you can divide the load between you and your companion. That means you will only be carrying about one pound each. This is truly advantageous during long hiking trips, especially if you are expecting challenging trails.

pros
What we liked
  • The NEMO Hornet Elite is a lightweight tent that provides three-season protection.
  • It comes with a dedicated pole without the extra weight.
  • The overall construction makes it quick and easy to pitch even by one person.
  • It includes two sizable doors that make entry and exit a breeze.
  • The vestibules provide extra storage and living spaces.
cons
What we didn't like
  • The interior space is a bit small, especially for two large hikers.
  • There is a bit of ventilation issue when the rainfly is up.