Nemo Espri 2P Tent Review

While not the lightest of tents, this shelter can handle such a wide range of multi-tasking to make it worth a closer look.

Overall Rating: Above Average

This rating has been awarded due to its multi-tasking abilities. While not the lightest of tents, it does hold up well to harsh weather conditions. Having the choice to take only as much vestibule as needed for your anticipated conditions lets weight and volume be cut from your pack (or added as needed). The optional Trekking Pole vestibule adds a lot of extra space, albeit at a weight-price.

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by Ray Estrella |

Nemo Espri 2P Tent Review

Introduction

Case file: Espri 2P

Multiple personality disorder is characterized by the presence of two or more distinct or split identities or personality states in a single individual. Espri 2P’s parents, Nemo Equipment, referred her to me for review. What I found was a traditional two-person double-wall tent with a trail weight of 3.74 pounds (1.7 kg) that thinks she is also a fast and light dry-weather tent that has a trail weight of 3.48 pounds (1.58 kg), and yet also a luxury/wet weather tent coming in at 4.27 pounds (1.94 kg) of trail weight.

Amazingly, I determined that Espri 2P IS all three tents. As Nemo has waived the Patient Privacy Act in this case, feel free to peruse my findings.

Specifications

Year/Manufacturer/Model 2010 Nemo Espri Two-Person Tent
Style Three-season, two-person, double-wall tent.
Fabrics Fly: 30D PU/silicone coated nylon +DWR 1500mm
Floor and lower walls:
30D PU coated nylon +DWR
Upper walls: 20D no-see-um mesh
Poles and Stakes Poles: 2x DAC 8.5 mm NSL Featherlite poles, total weight 13.6 oz (386 g)
Stakes:
8x 6.3 in (16 cm) aluminum X stakes, total weight 3.2 oz (91 g)
Dimensions Length Listed: 86 in (218 cm)
Width Listed: Head 52 in (132 cm)
Inside Height Listed: 40 in (102 cm)
BPL Verified Accurate
Packed Size 7 x 19 in (18 x 48 cm)
Total Weight Listed Weight: 3.8 lb (1.7 kg)
BPL Measured Weight: 3.92 lb (1.78 kg) includes vestibule & door
Trail Weight With UL Fly door only: 3.48 (1.58)
With Standard Vestibule (and 4 stakes):
3.74 (1.70)
With Trekking Pole Vestibule (and 4 stakes): 4.27 (1.94)
Protected Area Floor Area Listed: 28 ft2 (2.6 m2)
Standard Vestibule Area: 8 ft2 (0.74 m2)
Protected Area/Trail Weight Ratio 9.63 ft2/lb (1.96 m2/kg)
MSRP US $299.95
Options Trekking Pole Vestibule: $99.95 (15.5 oz/439 g)
Footprint
Pawprint
Gear Caddy
Website http://www.nemoequipment.com

Design and Features

Nemo Espri 2P Tent Review - 1
Top Left: The Nemo Espri uses clips to make set-up easy. The upper mesh walls make for great ventilation, while the lower solid nylon blocks ground level winds and blowing dirt, sand, or snow. Top Right: A wide door opens almost the entire front of the tent. There is room for two standard width sleeping pads. Bottom Left: Shown with the standard vestibule attached, the fly has curved sections removed from the sides and back to cut weight. Bottom Right: Even with the gear loft in place I have plenty of head room. Thanks for the T-shirt, Nemo!

While I enjoy having fun with the intro, I have to say that the Espri 2P, and its big sister the Espri 3P (not reviewed) are truly multiple tents in one package. Well, multiple vestibule treatments, to be honest.

The Espri uses a common X-ed crossing pole design. The poles are factory bent at the back to make it steeper at the rear of the tent to add room. The inner tent clips to the poles with a single DAC H-clip and fourteen pole clips. The body has a bathtub floor that's made of 30 denier polyurethane coated nylon. It would seem at first glance that Nemo expects the Espri to handle rains of biblical proportions as the “tub” part goes way up the sides of the tent as can be seen in the pictures. This is common to a few of their tents, more in just a second. (No, don’t skip forward... ) Above the side walls is no-see-um mesh for ventilation and weight reduction.

The Espri has a single front entry door that almost opens completely. For some reason, Nemo chose to start the zipper that opens the door eight inches (20 cm) away from the corner and end it a little bit up once it has made its journey around the opening. Personally I would like to see it start all the way to the side. Inside the tent we find a small hanging mesh storage pocket on the side wall, and looking up we find a pretty cool suspended gear loft. The loft slides up and down to either offer more space for storage or head room for sitting up. I have to admit that I was mainly soloing with the Espri, and while I played with it on one trip, I then took it off to save weight. Fortunately, that is quite easy to do.

Nemo Espri 2P Tent Review - 2
Left: The Espri has a long gear loft that slides up and down in the center to let it be adjusted for head space and for the amount of storage space desired. It also removes completely if not needed. Top Right: A large protected hooded vent offers excellent ventilation and air movement. Bottom Right: The DAC Jake's Feet holds the end of the pole and the fly which clips on to the end of the foot.

The outer fly sits on top of the poles and we now see why the sides of the floor go up so high. Nemo has cut the fly down to save weight. Catenary curves are cut into the bottom of the fly. These arcs just come down over the mesh portions of the inner walls. Guy points at the center of the arcs allow the fly to be pulled out to allow ventilation and give strength. The fly can be clipped to the inner at the apex of the catenary curves. As this is tied into the guy point when the guy-lines are deployed it adds to the room inside the tent by pulling out the sides a bit. Nemo calls these volumizing vents. A very nice touch (which I wish more manufacturers would emulate) is the hooded vent at the top rear of the fly that allows air movement and draw. The vent is held open by a tensioned wire at the edge. It is not closable, something to consider in high wind conditions.

Last but certainly not least in the Espri’s case is the vestibule, or lack thereof. Nemo includes a 7.1-ounce (201-g) standard vestibule easily recognizable to those of us accustomed to front entry tents. The vestibule zips onto the fly running around the outside of the door track and snaps to the tent at the bottom and top center if so desired. Two stakes are used to pull it out, forming a small but adequate vestibule. The vestibule can be opened from either side or both sides at the same time.

In the case that a vestibule is not wanted or needed, Nemo sends a 4.5-ounce (128-g) solid door cover that zips on instead. It lets the weight of the vestibule be left behind but will still keep the inside dry should you be surprised by a freak storm.

The opposite end of the spectrum is taken care of too. Nemo offers an optional Trekking Pole vestibule that adds a whopping 17.6 square feet (1.0 m2) of protected space. This is quite welcome when sharing the tent with another, or when in bad weather conditions. The Trekking Pole vestibule attaches to the same zipper track as the others and requires one trekking pole for use, fitting into a reinforced pocket.

Both vestibules and the door cover have windows inserted, but to be quite honest they are not very useful for seeing out of. They do allow light inside a bit.

Nemo Espri 2P Tent Review - 3
Shots of the Trekking Pole vestibule attached. It adds a lot of storage space and totally protects the inner tent’s opening in rain and snow. A single trekking pole is needed for use. Bottom Right: This picture from inside the tent shows the space, and the walls sagging a bit from two days of cold rain. I was able to re-tension them once I went outside.

Nemo (like many other tent makers) has chosen to use the Jakes Foot set-up from DAC, the pole people. This nylon foot is hooked to the tent body at the corners. The poles have a ball on the ends which snap into a spot in the middle of the foot. The fly has a hooking clip that attaches to the end of the foot.

The tent comes with a 2.4-ounce (68-g) stuff sack to hold everything. A 0.6-ounce (17-g) stake sack and 0.8-ounce (23-g) pole sack are included too.

Nemo Espri 2P Tent Review - 4
Top (clockwise from top left corner): Tent body, fly, stuff sack, guylines, pole repair tube, stake sack, pole sack, door cover, standard vestibule, DAC J stakes, DAC poles. Bottom Left: Espri in stuff sack. There is a lot of free space inside the stuff sack, enough to easily take the Trekking Pole vestibule too. Bottom Right: The Trekking Pole vestibule does come with a stuff sack of its own.

Nemo has made some major changes to the materials to save weight and improve performance. For 2010, the mesh was given an optimized knit pattern to reduce weight by 9% and increase airflow for better breathability. The fly and floors have been given a high quality DWR treatment in addition to the regular coatings. The fly is rated to 1,500mm hydrostatic head and the floors are at 5,000mm. The first tent they sent me had a black nylon making up the lower walls. This was changed in the production tents to the lighter grey nylon seen in some of my pictures as I swapped as soon as they got the actual retail model available. (It was worth the wait as it just gave me more time to play with the Espri. What’s that about a deadline, Addie?)

Performance

Nemo Equipment was wonderful to work with for this review. I asked about the weather proofing and was answered by one of their techs who told me that the Espri was tested in a rain chamber for four hours, after which they made some changes to the size/length of the upper vent. Four hours? Dude, I put two days straight in the rain chamber of backpacking life - you know, San Diego County - with it.

This has been one of the wettest winter and springs I can remember in Southern California. The Espri has been subject to some pretty harsh conditions. The trip mentioned above saw me use it for a section of the Pacific Crest Trail near the border of California and Mexico. We spent the night before the three-day hike at Moreno Lake Park, and since we were going through it, we planned it as our next night. So we just left our stuff set up there for the day. It had started raining at 1:00 pm and rained solid on us the entire next day. The Espri held up wonderfully to all the rain. There was no leaks or splash back, something I had worried about with the high cut fly design. I used the trekking pole vestibule on that trip, as I knew I would want the extra space for cooking and putting boots on. The vestibule garnered a few comments, my favorite being, “Does your tent have a garage?”

I took it on a solo trip to San Jacinto State Park knowing that a big storm was hitting that day. I wanted to test a sleeping system and figured that the Espri could share the abuse. It was snowing before I even got up the mountain, and I had to set up the tent in falling snow at 9,000 feet (2900 m) elevation. Thankfully it went up quickly. I used the standard vestibule this time and dug a twelve-inch (25-cm) depression under the footprint of the vestibule. This makes it much easier to enter and exit, plus gives a nice place to sit with my feet out if trapped in the tent. Well, I was certainly trapped. It never stopped snowing and dropped between six to eight inches (15 to 20 cm) of new snow on top of the Espri and the eight feet (1.7 m) of previous snow that the tent was set up on. The Espri proved to be quite strong and shed the snow well. I banged the tent every so often to knock the snow off, not because I was worried about the structural integrity of the tent, just as I had nothing else to do (should have brought a book). The sides did start collapsing a bit as the snow dropped down to push against the walls. I needed to push it away at one point when I woke to think that I was living out The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allen Poe. “Ahh, the walls are moving in.” Hmm, maybe this generation would relate to the trash compactor scene from Star Wars better.

The tent did very well with condensation considering what the conditions have been. In the snow I had zero condensation, even though I had to keep the vestibule door closed. I did have to cook dinner in the vestibule and had visions of calling BPL and Nemo to explain how I burned the tent down with my Trail DesignsTi-Tri. Once I cooked dinner and then ate the rehydrated, steaming freeze-dried dinner, the moisture level jumped up, never to go down again. Then when the storm broke after midnight the temperature plummeted to 13 F (-10 C) from a stable 21 F (-6 C) most the day and night. Suddenly I had massive condensation that formed and froze on everything.

Nemo Espri 2P Tent Review - 5
Left: Even though I banged the snow off before I exited the tent, some would still drop into the opening of the inner tent, usually landing on my quilt that I forgot to move away first. Right: (To the tune of Winter Wonderland) In the winter we can pitch the Nemo, in the mountains with snow falling down. We can even cook inside the vestibule, praying “Dear God, don’t let it burn down”

Assessment

I have enjoyed using the Espri over the past few months. It has impressed me with the way it shrugged off the rain and snow. When used in rain with the standard vestibule, it will get wet inside as the inner is not protected when the vestibule is opened. Every time I had to exit during a snow storm the snow would fall straight inside. This is the reason I took the big Trekking Pole vestibule when I knew I would be in multiple days of rain. I would want this optional vestibule along if using the Espri for two people also, just to have extra protected storage space.

The ventilation is very good. Along with the great hooded vent, Nemo has come up with a good ratio of mesh and solid material. I was thankful for the high walls on a windy night in Angeles National Forest. While the air was definitely blowing through the tent (keeping condensation to zero) the walls kept it from hitting my face as I lay wrapped in my quilt.

Nemo, like many manufacturers lately, has started using the DAC Jake's Feet corner anchoring system. I quite honestly prefer the grommet and Fastex buckle system of old. The Jake’s Feet forces me to get my hands in the snow and mud to attach or remove the fly, plus it makes it more difficult to remove the poles when breaking down alone. Of course this could just be the grumblings of an old dog that has to learn a new trick.

Nemo has itself a solid contender in the lighter weight backpacking market with this multi-use shelter. While not at the cutting edge of the top tier, it does stand above the middle of the pack.

Dare to Compare

Other single door tents that compare to the Espri are the Marmot Zonda and the MontBell Thunder Dome 2. The Thunder Dome uses an X-ed pole design like the Espri, while the Zonda a hubbed system with crossing poles to add volume. Both those tents use a side door placement. Personally, when using a single-door tent for multiple sleepers, I would rather it be in front so that the person sleeping by the door does not have to be crawled over.

While the Zonda has more room, the rest of the specs are very similar and all are within $11.00 in price. The Esprit has much better ventilation than the other two.

Of course there are many other lighter options out there. If you are willing to shell out $50.00 more and give up some interior volume the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 is 1.35 pounds (0.61 kg) lighter.

Manufacturer
and Model
Nemo Espri 2 w/standard vestibule Marmot Zonda MontBell Thunder Dome 2 Big Agnes Fly Creek SL2
Backpacking
Light Trail
Weight*
lb (kg)
3.74 (1.70) 3.97 (1.8) 3.65 (1.66) 2.39 (1.08)
Fabrics Floor & lower walls: 30D PU coated nylon
Fly: 30D PU/silicone coated nylon
Upper walls: no-see-um mesh
Floor: 40D 3000mm PU/silicone coated nylon
Fly: 40D 1800mm PU/silicone coated nylon
Body: 20D No-see-um mesh
Floor: 40D 2000mm PU/silicone coated nylon
Fly: 30D 1500mm PU/silicone coated nylon
Body: 40D nylon
Floor/fly: 1200mm PU/silicone coated ripstop nylon
Body: nylon & polyester mesh
Poles Two DAC Featherlite NSL poles One DAC NSL main pole, two knee poles Two DAC Featherlite NSL poles DAC Featherlite NSL pole system with one hub
Dimensions**
LxWxH in (cm)
86x52x40
(218x132x102)
92x54x36
(234x137x91)
81x48x40
(206x122x102)
86x52/42x38
(218x132/107x97)
Floor area
ft2 (m2)
28 (2.6) 31.5 (2.9) 27 (2.5) 28.0 (2.6)
Number of
Vestibules & Area
ft2 (m2)
1 – 8 (0.74) 1 – 7 (0.7) 1 - 8.9 (0.83) 1 – 7 (0.7)
Floor Area/Trail
Weight Ratio***
ft2/lb (m2/kg)
7.48 (1.53) 7.93 (1.61) 7.4 (1.51) 11.71 (2.41)
Protected Area/Trail
Weight ratio****
ft2/lb (m2/kg)
9.63 (1.96) 9.7 (2.0) 9.83 (2.01) 14.64 (3.01)
Cost US$ 300 289 299 350

Notes:

*Backpacking Light Trail Weight: This is the weight of tent, rain fly, poles, and stakes needed for basic setup. It does not include stuff sacks, extra guylines, extra stakes, or repair kit.
**Dimensions:
maximum Length x maximum Width x maximum Height (LxWxH). In the case of oddly-shaped floor, a double measurement is given for head and foot (H/F). The numbers are as verified by BPL and may differ from the manufacturer's stated dimensions.
***Floor Area/Trail Weight ratio:
This is the floor area divided by the trail weight.
****Protected Area/Trail Weight ratio:
This is the floor area plus vestibule area divided by the trail weight.

What's Good

  • Excellent ventilation
  • Very weather worthy

What's Not So Good

  • Door/vestibule design allows water to fall inside the tent

Nemo Espri 2P Tent Review - 6
Disclosure: The manufacturer provided this product to the author and/or Backpacking Light at no charge, and it is owned by the author/BPL. The author/Backpacking Light has no obligation to review this product to the manufacturer under the terms of this agreement. The author is not obligated to play with it in the snow as pictured above either. But he will anyway.


Citation

"Nemo Espri 2P Tent Review," by Ray Estrella. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/nemo_espri_2p_tent_review.html, 2010-07-20 00:00:00-06.

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Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Nemo Espri 2P Tent Review


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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Nemo Espri 2P Tent Review on 07/20/2010 16:35:43 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Nemo Espri 2P Tent Review

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Hi Ray on 07/20/2010 18:34:26 MDT Print View

Good stuff.

I take it that the pneumatic poles don't feature any more with these tents - a good idea.

Yeah, the doorway needs improving seriously.

I hope we get a bit of the snow this winter so I can play too.

Thanks.
Cheers

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
poles on 07/20/2010 20:28:25 MDT Print View

Thanks Roger,

The Nemo tents that end with "0" in the name still have the air beams. I sampled a Morpho 1P (seen in my avatar pic) and have to say I think poles are stronger.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Nemo Espri on 07/21/2010 07:40:37 MDT Print View

Hi Ray - although you mention it briefly, how does this compare to the FC2?

Well written review - the introduction was great.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Nemo Espri 2P Tent Review on 07/21/2010 10:40:24 MDT Print View

I'm not a member so was not able to read the review. don't know if it was positive or negative.

But here is my review based on in store setup only.
(I am a big fan of Nemo and own their Gogo which I love).

One of my criteria for tents is ease of setup in the middle of the night when you are dead tired.

Espri failed this test miserably on the floor of an REI store in broad daylight.

Another criteria is adhering to the KISS rule.
I tend to break things that are breakable, and Espri has way to much Razzmataz that can easily be broken or prematurely worn out. Nemo has added complication to this tent just to try and be different and inovative. These features add a delicateness and complexity to the tent that will not survive my brutality for long.

for me the decision was an easy no, given the stiff price.

Edited by asandh on 07/21/2010 10:42:15 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Nemo review on 07/21/2010 11:16:54 MDT Print View

Great review Ray, and I appreciate the playful writing style. It has a place right up with the more scientific reviews.

A note, we call it dissociative identity disorder nowdays.

Art, could you be more specific as to your critiques?

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
RE: on 07/21/2010 11:32:46 MDT Print View

David U, They are very different tents. The FC2 is much smaller in packed size and room set up. The Espri shows it roots in how tough it is. Nemo's 4-season background shows, and I of course used it that way. ;-)

Art, you really should read the review. It contradicts many of your in-store guesses.

David C, thanks. I had a lot of fun writing this one and am happy to see it go over well. (I hate being dry.) And yes, a nurse friend told me I used the wrong term.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: re: Nemo review on 07/21/2010 11:37:28 MDT Print View

Dave its been a month and I only set it up once so the specifics are overwhelmed by the memory of a bad experience, but I'll try :

1. I recall the poles not being interchangeable, i.e. certain poles had to go in certain places. they apparently were color coded but barely distinguishable from one another. I did not know this when I began assembly and put them in the wrong places till the store employee helped me out - if you need to read a manual before setting up a tent its too complicated (try this at night).

2. the way the poles went in to the tent base was cool but something that could easily break. some sort of a plastic clip in, can't remember the exact design.

3. the way the fly clipped in to the base of the tent, again an unnecessary innovation, kinda cool but complex and breakable. I worried I might step on them and break them in the dark.

4. Zip in vestibule - this seems really cool at home, interchangeability to fit your needs in the field - until that super long zipper goes tragically wrong in the field, at exactly the wrong time.

I went in to the store Wanting to like this tent, it just didn't happen.

A gadget type person might like this tent.
someone going fast and light, wanting a minimum of problems and hassles, I don't think so.

Edited by asandh on 07/21/2010 12:08:02 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: re: Nemo review on 07/21/2010 15:49:47 MDT Print View

I really liked their airbeam tents, but Nemo has chronic problems designing decent doors :(

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Nemo Espri 2P Tent Review on 07/27/2010 09:18:01 MDT Print View

>...We can even cook inside the vestibule, praying "Dear God, don’t let it burn down"

Nice!