Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review

Nemo becomes a serious player in the ultralight tent category. The Obi Elite 1P is a cutting edge one-person double-wall tent that matches the weight and roominess of many single-wall tents.

Recommended

Overall Rating: Recommended

I have always recognized Nemo tents as well designed and very functional, but a bit heavier than comparable tents. That stereotype has finally changed with the Obi Elite 1P. When you get down to the nitty-gritty of measured weight versus protected area, usable space, and convenience, the Obi Elite 1P is hard to beat.

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by Will Rietveld |

Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review - 1
The new for 2011 Nemo Obi Elite 1P utilizes weight efficient design and 10 denier fabrics to achieve a minimum weight of 2 pounds (0.91 kg) for a one-person double-wall tent.

Introduction

The Obi Elite 1P is Nemo’s lightest tent construction yet, and sets a new standard for lightweight double-wall tents with 10 denier nylon fly and interior fabrics and weight-saving design. The minimum weight of this one-person double-wall tent is right at 2 pounds (0.91 kg) measured weight, which matches the weight of many poled single-wall tents (single-wall tents that utilize trekking poles for support are lighter). We have reviewed quite a few new ultralight tents in the past, only to find their weight reduction was accomplished by making the tent smaller; so does the new Nemo Obi Elite 1P really stand out or not?

Specifications

Year/Manufacturer/Model 2011 Nemo Obi Elite 1P
Style Three-season, one-person, double-wall, freestanding tent with floor, one side entry door,
and one vestibule
Included Tent body and fly, pole system with stuff sack, repair sleeve, six stakes with stuff sack,
two guylines, drybag type storage sack
Fabrics Tent body is 10d polyurethane coated nylon and mesh, fly is 10d polyurethane coated
nylon, floor is 20d polyurethane coated nylon
Poles and Stakes One gREEN anodized DAC 8.55 mm Featherlite NSL aluminum Y-shaped one hub pole
system, six aluminum alloy Y-stakes
Inside Dimensions Manufacturer specifications: 87 in (221 cm) long x 39 in (99 cm) wide at head end, 29 in
(74 cm) wide at foot end x 40 in (102 cm) high
Measured dimensions: 89.5 in (227 cm)
long x 39 in (99 cm) wide at head end, 29 in (74 cm) wide at foot end x 40.5 in (103 cm)
high
Features Lightweight fabrics, large side entry door with vestibule, one mesh storage pocket,
headlamp pocket for tent lighting, Jake’s foot connectors on head end, LineLok
tensioners on tieouts, drybag-type storage sack
Packed Size Tent plus stakes 6 x 6 in (15 x 15 cm), pole in sack 18.5 x 2 in (47 x 5 cm)
Total Weight Measured total weight: 2 lb 4.5 oz (1.04 kg)
Manufacturer specification: 2 lb 7 oz (1.1 kg)
Trail Weight Measured weight: 2 lb (0.91 kg)
Manufacturer specification: 1 lb 15 oz (0.88 kg) (excludes stuff sacks, repair sleeve,
and guylines)
Protected Area Floor area: 21 ft2 (2 m2)
Vestibule area: 9 ft2 (0.9 m2)
Total protected area: 30 ft2 (2.79 m2)
Protected Area/
Trail Weight Ratio
15 ft2/lb (3.1 m2/kg)
MSRP US$400
Options Footprint US$45 (7.9 oz/220 g)

Design and Features

As the word “Elite” in the name suggests, this is a special version of the Obi 1P tent with 10 denier fabrics, which reduces the minimum weight by 9 ounces (255 g) and increases the cost by US$50. The standard Obi 1P tent is the same design, but is constructed of 20 denier nylon fabrics and has a minimum weight of 2.5 pounds (1.13 kg). The Obi 2P version has two doors and two vestibules and a minimum weight of 3 pounds (1.36 kg). All are new models for 2011.

Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review - 2
The tent’s pole is a Y-shaped unit with one hub, it’s made of DAC 8.55 mm Featherlite NSL aluminum alloy. The tent body and fly use 10 denier polyurethane coated ripstop nylon (a first), and the floor is a slightly heavier 20 denier version of the same fabric. Clearly, the materials and design are cutting edge to produce a minimal weight tent, short of using Cuben Fiber.

Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review - 3
Views of the Nemo Obi Elite 1P. Entry is from the side (top left) via a large zippered door in the vestibule. The back of the tent (top right) is protected by the extended fly, while allowing more ventilation. The head end (top left) is 39 inches (99 cm) wide, while the foot end (bottom left) is 29 inches (74 cm) wide. The top view (bottom right) shows the overall proportions of the tent.

Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review - 4
Included in the tent’s measured total weight of 2 pounds 4.5 ounces (1.04 kg) are the tent body, fly, pole and sack, six Y-stakes and pole repair sleeve, two guylines and stake sack, and drybag-type stuff sack. The drybag stuff sack is handy for carrying a wet tent inside a backpack. It has a loop on the opposite side for attaching the stake sack, if desired.

Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review - 5
Outside features. The head end of the tent has Jake’s Feet (left) for quick attachment of the pole ends and fly corners. And the foot end and side tieouts have LineLoks (right) for easy tensioning.

Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review - 6
Inside Features. The entry vestibule (left) has a lot of reachable protected space for storing gear or for a canine friend. The interior (center) is quite roomy, especially with the inner door open, and provides enough length and height for a tall hiker. An overhead light pocket (right) allows a headlamp or other light to double as a tent light.

The tent has a fly-only pitching option, but you need to purchase the optional footprint to go that route.

Performance

Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review - 7
I tested the Obi Elite 1P in a variety of conditions on four backpacking trips in the spring and summer of 2011.

Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review - 8
To minimize weight I carried only the tent body, fly, pole, and stakes (left), which weighs just 2 pounds (0.91 kg). The Y-stakes supplied with the tent hold very well, but they retain dirt in the grooves.

The Obi Elite 1P is very easy and fast to set up: 1) lay the tent body on the ground in the desired location and stake the four corners; 2) assemble the pole, connect two ends to the Jake’s Feet at the head end of the tent, and other end into a grommet at the foot end of the tent; 3) attach the body to the pole with seven clips, 4) lay the fly over the inner tent, with the vestibule door aligned with the entry door, 5) clip the front corners of the fly to the Jake’s Feet and rear guylines to stakes; and 6) stake the rear guyline and front vestibule. The tent sets up in about 2-3 minutes, less time than it took to write this paragraph.

I endured several mountain thunderstorms in the Obi, and found it to be very storm worthy and wind stable. Its domed design sheds wind very well, although the large vestibule can flap a lot if it’s not well tensioned. The fly at the head end is raised (see photos above) to save weight and improve ventilation, but it comes into contact with the inner tent during rainstorms, so it would be a good idea to guy it out. There are a total of seven guy points on the fly.

Although the Obi does not have a high vent, it does have a large amount of space between the tent body and the fly, and the sides are raised above the ground (see photos above), so there is good air circulation between the tent walls. When there is some air movement at night, the Obi has little or no condensation on the inside of the fly. However, on a calm night with a large temperature drop, the Obi has lots of condensation on the inside of the fly. Under such conditions, especially after an afternoon or evening shower, condensation is unavoidable.

Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review - 9
I tested the basic Obi in a light snow on one occasion and found it not well suited for snow. It will withstand a light snow load, but any significant amount of snow flattens the entry vestibule and could damage the tent. Of course, if you find yourself in this situation, it helps to slap the tent walls from the inside to keep the snow from building up.

Comparisons

The following table compares the Obi Elite 1P with similar one-person double-wall tents with poles. The table does not include solo single-wall tents because they are not a valid comparison.

Tent Floor Area
ft2 (m2)
Vestibule Area
ft2 (m2)
Entry(s) Ventilation Mfr.Total Weight oz (kg) Cost US$
Nemo Obi Elite 1P 21 (1.95) 9 (0.84) One side Raised side walls, large space between tent and fly 39 (1.1) 400
Nemo Obi 1P 21 (1.95) 9 (0.84) One side Raised side walls, large space between tent body and fly 51 (1.5) 350
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 22 (2.04) 5.5 (0.51) One end Raised side walls, moderate space between tent body and fly 35 (0.99) 300
Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 22 (2.04) 5 (0.46) One end Raised side walls, moderate space between tent body and fly 45 (1.28) 250
Tarptent Scarp 1 19 (1.77) ? Two side Raised side walls, 2 top vents, 2 vestibules 48 (1.36) 295
Terra Nova Laser Photon 17.4 (1.62) 8.4 (0.78) One side Two end vents 27.8 (0.79) £330 (approx. US$525)

Some highlights and observations from the comparison table are as follows:

  • The Nemo Obi Elite 1P is significantly more expensive than the Big Agnes Tents and the Tarptent Scarp 1; the Obi 1P is priced closer to these other tents. You pay more for cutting edge materials.
  • The Big Agnes tents have a little more floor area, but less vestibule area than the Nemo tents.
  • The Tarptent Scarp 1 has less floor area but it has two doors with vestibules, and presumably more vestibule area than the other tents. It also has the best ventilation.
  • The lightest tent in the group is the Terra Nova Laser Photon, but it’s very expensive, and headroom is only 35 inches (89 cm) at the center of the tent.

Assessment

Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review - 10
Nemo Obi Elite 1P (left) and Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 (right). Although the manufacturer numbers in the above table indicate that the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 is a roomier, lighter, less expensive tent, my personal comparison of the two tents side by side leads to a different conclusion, as explained below.

The floor in the Fly Creek UL1 is 4 inches (10 cm) wider at the head end, yielding an extra square foot of floor area, but the measured inside height is 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) less than the Obi Elite 1P. The measured minimum weight of the two tents is nearly identical. The big difference between the two tents is the entry type; the Obi Elite 1P has a large side entry and vestibule, while the Fly Creek has a small end entry and vestibule. The side vestibule on the Obi Elite is much larger and more useful; with the inner mesh door tied open, the usable space within the tent is much larger and items in the vestibule are easy to reach. The end entry and vestibule on the Fly Creek UL1 is much less convenient and useful because the vestibule needs to be kept clear in order to enter the tent.

Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review - 11
The side entry on the Nemo Obi Elite 1P (left) is much more convenient than the end entry on the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 (right), and more of the vestibule space is usable too.

The bottom line, in my opinion, is the small difference in floor area is inconsequential; the headroom difference is more important, and the large side entry and large side vestibule on the Obi Elite 1P is a huge plus. Since the measured total and minimum weights of the two tents are nearly identical, the Nemo Obi Elite 1P emerges as the most convenient and useful tent for the weight. Granted, the Obi Elite costs a hundred bucks more. If cost were not a consideration, I would choose the Obi 1P Elite over the Fly Creek UL1 in a heartbeat.

Nemo’s approach to designing an ultralight one-person double wall tent delivers a tent with extra features, plenty of usable space inside, and easy setup and entry. In contrast, the Big Agnes Fly Creek seems downsized to reduce weight.

What’s Good
  • Two-pound (0.91-kg) minimum weight for a one-person double-wall tent
  • Free-standing
  • Large side entry protected by a large vestibule
  • All of the interior space is usable
  • Two mesh storage pockets; one overhead pocket is designed to use a headlamp as a tent light
  • Gear in the entry vestibule can easily be reached from inside the tent
  • Good ventilation and condensation resistance
  • Very storm worthy and wind stable
  • Plenty of space for one person plus gear, or one hiker plus a dog
What’s Not So Good
  • Expensive
Recommendations for Improvement
  • None
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 the manufacturer to review this product under the terms of this agreement.


Citation

"Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/nemo_obi_elite1_review.html, 2012-01-17 00:10:00-07.

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Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review


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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review on 01/17/2012 14:44:43 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
nice on 01/17/2012 15:08:41 MST Print View

gear from "mainstream" manufacturers seems to be getting lighter and better every day ...

Edited by bearbreeder on 01/17/2012 15:09:15 MST.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review on 01/17/2012 15:49:02 MST Print View

The Scarp vestibules are 6.25 sq ft each (12.5 tot)
Franco

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review on 01/17/2012 15:57:53 MST Print View

No improvements? It's perfect?

Let me help you. Very little shoulder season snow load capability, potential for condensation being an issue at the foot and head end with the shorter fly and taller bathtub floor, and price for a solo.

I like me some Notch.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review on 01/17/2012 16:37:36 MST Print View

That "Recommendation for improvement" should be clarified.
That is because it can mean :
NO , it is perfect as it is
NO, I can't think of anything right now
NO, not without adding weight /bulk/extra cost ....

BTW, if it were perfect than Nemo would be crazy to change it but by doing so they would be stagnating...
Franco

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Re: Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review on 01/17/2012 17:03:59 MST Print View

Head explodes...

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
Double Wall or Hybrid? on 01/17/2012 17:04:23 MST Print View

I'm not so sure I'd slot this one into the double wall category. It looks more like a hybrid double/single wall tent to me with the huge cutout creating a large single wall section at the head end:

Head of Obi Elite

I'm not sure how this plays out the field, but if condensation forms inside the tent here, it's sure going to feel like a single wall tent.

Nice review. Lots of details and it's good to have the video.

I'm quite happy with my HMG Echo I. It sets up with hiking poles, but it's double wall, the inner doesn't have to be set up first so it's protected in the rain, the door way isn't vulnerable to rain falling in and the whole thing is modular, so you can go as light as a 7oz tarp if the conditions allow. Main downside is headroom isn't too generous if you're using the inner....which matters very little to me compared to keeping the rain and condensation off.

Echo I a

Echo 1 b

Edited by dandydan on 01/17/2012 17:16:32 MST.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Recommendation for Improvement on the Nemo Obi Elite 1P on 01/17/2012 17:05:12 MST Print View

OK, I'll bite.

How about dealing with the kyphosis on these tent designs? Is it me or do others find them ... aesthetically challenged? Not to mention the broadside sail it pitches into the wind.

I'm not sure what sort of benefit this type of tent has over, say, a double-walled tarp tent.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review on 01/17/2012 18:43:55 MST Print View

I agree with Ryan.
The BA an the Nemo have a very similar pole structure and their own poles, the Echo and the Notch do not , not that I would compare these last two for weather protection either.
Franco

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - M

Locale: Where the air is thin
BPL hiring giants? on 01/17/2012 19:07:29 MST Print View

How else did you manage the overhead shot of the tent? Really enjoyed the different perspectives (pun intended) of this review. That being said, I'll stick with my BA Copper Spur UL1 in fair conditions. Is there a reason why the older BA Seedhouse SL1 was used as a comparison rather than both of BA's current UL models?

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Improvement on 01/17/2012 20:22:59 MST Print View

Had to go to a medical dictionary on that 'kyphosis.'
Functional is not always beautiful. 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.'
What works superbly is beautiful in my book.

There are some flaws with this tent, and one is space. Was about to buy one, and save myself another winter hammering away at MYOG in the basement, when visited International Mountain Equipment near home and saw the 2-person version in person.
Very cramped, compared to, say, a Rainbow.

Two reasons for this:
1. They want to satisfy the demand for a self-supporting tent, so have to add the poles for that, and have to reduce size to make up for the added pole weight.
2. To stay in business, they want a product that will hold up to customer abuse, so have to add weight with heavier materials, and further reduce the tent size for that reason as well.

Another possible flaw is the lack of tautness, revealed in the video. Ya' gotta have taut.

Long ago decided that a self-supporting tent could not possibly rival others in weight unless carbon poles were used.

Now if we only had a highly vapor permeable fabric (like eVent or propore) that was light weight, durable and didn't sag ... The tent made of that could have all the kyphosis it wanted to have. Unfortunately, most of the WPB's require the pressure of humidity to work, and so won't work for a tent, as The North Face and others have unhappily found out.

My suggestion is to use what we have for now. For example, Epic Malibu or the material BD replaced it with, but design so the inside water drains out to the ground, not onto the tent floor. Or, use a very low denier DWR polyester inner and cuben outer. Either one, with carbon poles, could produce a markedly larger tent of the same weight. Not complaining, just dreaming.

Adam Klagsbrun
(klags) - MLife

Locale: Northeast US
guy-out points? on 01/17/2012 22:03:49 MST Print View

So it seems that the snowsag is a problem, and the tent looks to be a bit less than taught without the snow. where are the guy out points on the fly at the base in the center where the fly sags in? a simply guy line would make it tight and much more snow resistant...

Philip Werner
(earlylite) - F

Locale: New England
The UL Option on 01/18/2012 10:29:38 MST Print View

There is an additional UL option for pitching the NEMO Obi 1P which Will didn't mention, but is significant in that it's popping up a lot more in mainstream double-walled tent offerings.

It's possible to pitch the Obi 1 without the inner mesh tent and just the fly and a groundcloth kit that has jakes feet. There a picture of this on the Nemo Equipment site for this product, and I've also seen it offered with the MSR Carbon Reflex 1. Not sure the weight savings, but it's got to be decent.

Why do I care? I think it's great that the rest of the industry is catching up and more people will be educated about lightweight options. Bigger companies are capitalized to educate consumers and by doing so, they will increase the number of consumers accessible to cottage manufacturers who don't have the same marketing clout.

Personally, I think it's wonderful that BPL has the guts to review all this non-cottage gear. The industry is changing and hopefully BPL's editorial coverage will as well.

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
Fly + Footprint on 01/18/2012 11:59:06 MST Print View

Will mentioned that in the article:

"The tent has a fly-only pitching option, but you need to purchase the optional footprint to go that route."

Edited by dandydan on 01/18/2012 12:00:05 MST.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Fly + Footprint on 01/18/2012 12:01:59 MST Print View

Also - that ability has been available on tents for well over 10 years.

Kyle Meyer
(kylemeyer) - M

Locale: Portland, OR
Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review on 01/18/2012 14:09:22 MST Print View

Is it just me or does everyone else also not care about reviews like this? This is an expensive, heavy, one person tent. Lighter, cheaper, two person tents exist like the Notch that actually improve your enjoyment of the wilderness and advance the state of the art in shelter systems.

Tents like these are a waste of BPL's attention and resources.

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Alaska
Why? on 01/18/2012 17:37:53 MST Print View

Why is everyone lining up to bash this review? Just because it isn't made by a cottage company out of cuben fiber? It is a nice, widely available, durable, lightweight, free-standing, (mostly) double wall tent. If anything, people should be happy that larger manufacturers are making lighter weight tents.

And quite honestly, I don't see how snow loading is relevant to this 3 season tent. If you're going out into those kind of conditions, you should probably have something more substantial anyways.

Kyle Meyer
(kylemeyer) - M

Locale: Portland, OR
Re: Why? on 01/19/2012 10:19:18 MST Print View

Why is everyone lining up to bash this review? Just because it isn't made by a cottage company out of cuben fiber?


In a nutshell—yes. This is a standard mass market tent using lightweight materials. It doesn't pitch very taut, it's not very aerodynamic, it's not very light, and it can't take a snow load. Why is this being reviewed and, worse even, recommended? I don't look to BPL for reviews on gear I can buy from REI and I bet most here don't either. We pay for the scientific research on down jackets, on alternative rainwear, on interesting new takes on shelter systems. Everyone knows how a poled double-wall tent performs. The only interesting aspect of this review is about the materials and that was a tiny facet of the review.

This is a predictable, staid review about a predictable, boring product. I guess I'd just like to see more focus by the editors on the things that make BPL awesome and unique.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Why? on 01/19/2012 10:38:01 MST Print View

because mainstream gear is evil for bpl ;)

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Nemo Obi Elite 1P Tent Review on 01/19/2012 14:53:52 MST Print View

Aaron
Not everyone is bashing but there is a bit of cabin fever about.
It's summer, hot and sunny here (not so much today) so I will dissent from the more popular view.
Apart from the fact that I like tent design so I read most if not all the tent reviews I come across, post a nice tent picture and you have my attention.
Those location shots are just lovely, so Will had my attention.
Now a sub 1 kg self supporting double wall (or partial double wall if you prefer) tent is definitely LW in my book.
I don't necessarily have to like it but it is a worthy product to be reviewed here.
Well done Will, once again.
Franco