NEMO Dragonfly 2-Person Tent Review: Ultralight, Ultralivable

The NEMO Dragonfly 2P backpacking tent checks all the boxes for two people headed out on the trail.

In 15 years, NEMO Equipment has earned a reputation for out-of-the-box concepts. From the air-beam-supported tents that announced the brand as a force in the outdoors to its spoon-shaped sleeping bags, NEMO’s intelligent design solves problems with fresh approaches.

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As with many outdoor products, tents are an exercise in compromise. Weight, space, weather resistance, breathability, and durability are a few of the factors that designers must mix in the proper proportions. NEMO released the three-season, freestanding Dragonfly tent in February, and we’ve been testing the two-person version by taking it on backpacking trips.

We found the Dragonfly to be a rarity. The NEMO team got the recipe right, striking a great balance of characteristics and features to get as close as possible to creating a quiver-killing three-season backpacking tent.

NEMO Dragonfly 2P Tent Specs

  • 1 hubbed aluminum DAC Featherlite NFL 8.7mm pole
  • 1 aluminum DAC Featherlite NFL pole
  • 10-denier nylon ripstop/No-See-Um mesh canopy
  • 20-denier Sil/PeU nylon ripstop (1200 mm) floor
  • 15-denier Sil/PeU nylon ripstop (1200 mm) fly
  • 2 doors, 2 10-sq-ft vestibules
  • 29-sq-ft floor, 41″ peak height
  • Packed size 19.5” x 4.5”
  • Verified weight 3 lbs 4 oz
  • Claimed minimum trail weight 2 lbs 10 oz
  • MSRP $390

The NEMO Dragonfly 2 in Use

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The Dragonfly pitched easily without reference to instructions; the single hubbed and pre-bent pole, brow pole, and color coding provided familiarity for anyone used to standard double-wall tents. There are four corner stake points for the floor and two for each vestibule (all with adjusters) as well as additional guy line options for plenty of tensioning opportunity for a three-season tent.

The asymmetric, tapered floor fit two sleeping pads side by side with a little room to spare. The peak height allowed me to sit upright (I’m 6′ tall) and the doors are tall and generous, something I appreciated coming back from a knee injury. The twin vestibules are also huge, giving my four-legged companion spacious accommodations, even with my pack residing on the same side of the tent.

Stability

Stability in the wind was excellent; the low angle of the vestibules and the tapered geometry surely contributed. The silicone-impregnated fly never leaked a drop and it hung low, preventing the muddy splashback ring around the bathtub floor.

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Although the fly has vents with struts, humid conditions, even with a breeze, challenged the Dragonfly’s breathability when the fly was attached and the vestibules had to remain closed. When precipitation wasn’t a worry, the canopy’s abundant mesh delivered excellent ventilation and stargazing.

The upper panels are black mesh, blending with the night sky while the side panels are white for a hint of privacy. The bathtub floor also runs high, especially on the head end of the tent. This gives both wind protection and concealment.

Interior Space

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The floor space felt appropriate for a two-person backpacking tent. I never felt cramped while sleeping, and changing clothes with a tentmate inside required the usual cooperation. The length was abundant for my regular-length bag, and I didn’t have to worry about the foot of the bag compressing against the tent wall.

The Dragonfly has plentiful gear storage. Aside from the massive vestibules, the interior canopy houses two gear pockets and a large gear loft at the peak. There are also two light-diffusing pockets that worked remarkably well to create pleasant ambient lighting.

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Packed Size, Materials

The Dragonfly stuffed down into my pack into a size that felt appropriate for a two-person, three-season tent. I don’t use tent stuff sacks. But for those inclined, NEMO includes a clever “Divvy” stuff sack that cinches down to half the volume for splitting the tent between two people.

The 10-, 15-, and 20-denier ripstop fabrics and silicone coatings all looked and felt durable for a three-season tent. As is typical with fabrics of these weights, I would assume a certain level of care is necessary. But NEMO does have a limited lifetime warranty.

NEMO Dragonfly 2 Tent Review: Conclusions

The NEMO Equipment Dragonfly 2P tent is an excellent choice for a quiver of one for a lightweight, three-season backpacking tent. The combination of physical attributes and features creates a tent that is good at everything without standing out in one area.

The Dragonfly boasts great weather resistance, and I appreciated the large doors, vestibules, and interior storage features. The only shortfall was the limited venting of the fly. Otherwise, the tent provided a light shelter that left me wanting for nothing.

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Seiji Ishii
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Seiji Ishii has enjoyed a lifetime of outdoor adventure and sports, from participant and competitor to coach and trainer, and finally as an editorial contributor. His interests have spanned cycling, climbing, motorcycling, backpacking, trail running, and training for all of it. He has also designed outdoor and off-road motorcycling gear. He lives in the woods in Wimberley, TX with his wife, daughter and a small herd of pets. Read more of his musings at seijisays.com.

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