• Comfort 90% 90%
  • Ease of Setup 80% 80%
  • Weatherproofing 90% 90%
  • Durability 70% 70%

Price: $430

Weight: 3lbs 14oz (1.75kg)

Number of Doors: 2

Tent Floor Space: 31.3sqft

Vestibules: 2 (11.4 + 11.4sqft)

Number of Poles: 1 DAC Featherlite Aluminum – Hubbed

What We Like: Interior Space, Divvy Stuff Sack

What We Don’t: Price, Rainfly Coverage

A quiver killer, the NEMO Dagger 2 is the “quintessential backpacking tent.” It’s light enough to carry for multiple days and large enough to comfortably wait out storms. The fabric has been designed to be lightweight but durable in the right areas with 30D nylon as the base. There is not an included footprint, however, you can buy one for around $50 to add more durability to the tent. The fly comes with ventilation ports, but it does not quite cover the ends of the tent. We think that’s something that could be improved. The features throughout the interior of the tent are excellent, and the space between the interior and the vestibules is downright luxurious.

We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!

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Weight: 3lbs 2oz (1.41kg)

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Buy Now at Nemoequipment.com

  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Ease of Setup 80% 80%
  • Weatherproofing 90% 90%
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Pros

Interior Space, Divvy Stuff Sack

Cons

Price, Rainfly Coverage

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The “one-tent-wonder” by NEMO is their best-selling Dagger series, which comes in a 2-person layout as well as a 3-person setup in case you need more space. The fully-featured NEMO Dagger 2 has been designed with lightweight comfort in mind. The combination of comfort, weight, and quality make the NEMO Dagger 2 an ideal option for campers who like to live it up but don’t want their legs to pay the price. At $430, this tent is no small investment (and the 3-person tent will set you back an additional hundred bucks), however, it’s still very much an excellent value for the right campers.

Best Backpacking Tents: NEMO Dagger 2 - Gear Hacker

Comfort

The main selling point of the Dagger 2 is its generous dimensions and interior space. The interior space is achieved through pre-bent poles that open up the headroom and create nearly vertical walls. With 31.3sqft of interior space (90”x50” or 7.5’x4.2’) there is plenty of room for two campers to wait out a passing storm or simply enjoy a night’s rest in comfort.

 

Best Backpacking Tents: NEMO Dagger 2 - Gear Hacker

Throughout the interior of the tent, there are features that make it even more livable. Along the walls, there are pockets to store valuables off the floor and in easy-to-reach locations. Near the ceiling of the tent, you’ll find pockets that have been designed to diffuse the light of your headlamp, creating a more ambient lighting situation instead of direct headlamp beams. The sidewalls of the tent use a No-See-Um white mesh to add privacy, while the black room mesh on the top allows for stargazing on a cloudless night.

 

The NEMO Dagger 2 has large vestibules outside of each door that, like the REI Half Dome SL 2+, are trapezoidal. This setup blocks wind more efficiently and creates more space inside the vestibule to store gear or cook if the weather is really bad.

 

Best Backpacking Tents: NEMO Dagger 2 - Gear Hacker

Ease of Setup

The pre-bent hubbed one-pole setup system that NEMO uses is very straightforward. The clips, poles, and webbing are color coordinated for a simple setup process. The clips at the bottom of the tent, which are used for the poles and to clip to the rainfly, are very simple and efficient. There is no wasting time with your partner deciding which ring to snap the poles into—there literally is only one. The fly and guy lines are adjustable for dialling in the rainfly in case of heavy winds, keeping everything taught and ready.

 

Best Backpacking Tents: NEMO Dagger 2 - Gear Hacker

Weatherproofing

The weatherproofing of the NEMO Dagger 2 is dialed. The rainfly is a 15D nylon coated in a durable silicone water repellent for long-lasting waterproofing. The fly design and trapezoidal shape are made specifically to increase vestibule room, but it also helps to reduce wind noise or worrying about which direction to set up the tent. The drawback of the fly is that it does not fully cover one end of the tent, leaving one layer of fabric to defend against blowing rain. The fabric is waterproof and should hold up to the aqueous onslaught, but having two layers of defense is always better than a single wall of material.

 

Along the top of the vestibule doors, there are protected vents that can be opened to allow for airflow throughout the tent. Ventilation is crucial in smaller tents to avoid moisture building up on the interior of the rainfly, and the NEMO Dagger 2 has solved this problem very effectively. The tabs may be challenging to set up while on the inside of the tent, but it is possible.

 

Best Backpacking Tents: NEMO Dagger 2 - Gear Hacker

Durability

NEMO has used a mix of fabrics to maintain durability while reducing overall weight. The floor is a 30D nylon with a polyurethane coating to help with long-term waterproofing. The mesh throughout is 15D. It’s very lightweight but not in high abrasion areas, so it should hold up nicely. The fly is made of 15D Sil/PeU Nylon Ripstop, so it’s durable and lightweight. Whereas there used to be a negative correlation between durability and weight-saving—the tougher the fabric, the heavier it would have to be, current innovations have allowed for tentmakers to utilize thinner, lighter materials without sacrificing durability.

 

The Jake’s Foot connector is made of plastic, which could fail versus a sturdier metal grommet. With lightweight poles, you do run the risk of snaps or breaks, which some reviewers have noticed in heavier winds. It goes without saying that all tents need to be handled with care if you want them to last, however, NEMO does offer a lifetime warranty for their tents should any issues arise. The Dagger does not come with a footprint, but one can be purchased separately for around $50 (or $60 for the 3-person version). Ditching the footprint will save on the overall weight of the tent, but utilizing it will add extra life by beefing up the durability of the tent floor.

 

Best Backpacking Tents: NEMO Dagger 2 - Gear Hacker

Weight

At a listed weight of 3lbs 14oz (1.75kg), this is a very competitive tent for the amount of comfort it delivers. It certainly is not a burden to carry, especially with the specially designed divvy stuff sack that makes it easy to share the weight of the tent between two hikers.

 

There are certainly lighter tents, such as the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 (2lbs 5oz) or the NEMO Dragonfly (3lbs 1oz), but the Dagger is the most comfortable for two hikers while these other options may be better suited for solo adventures.

 

The Bottom Line

For many, this could be a one quiver tent. It’s able to handle long-distance treks while still remaining light but with enough room to make the cut as a car camping tent. The multitude of features show that NEMO put a fair amount of thought into the Dagger, and that fact is apparent. From the venting to the pockets to different mesh colors for privacy and stargazing, it’s all there. The main problem is that the rainfly doesn’t cover the end of the tent, though the wall is waterproof and should hold up just fine. The price tag is also something that may scare off some buyers, but if it becomes your only tent, it saves from buying a lightweight trekking tent and a large car camping tent. At the end of the day, it could actually save you money!

 

Best Backpacking Tents: NEMO Dagger 2 - Gear Hacker

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We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!