NEMO Obi 3P
- Excellent ventilation
- Two roomy vestibules
- Two doors
- Narrow for three
- Susceptible to sideways rain
A really nice summer backpacking tent that we would be nervous to use in shoulder seasons where the excellent ventilation may become an issue with weatherproofness. Lightweight comes at the expense of interior room, and this is probably better as a roomy two-man tent.
Nemo wanted to cut material without sacrificing too much shoulder room so they shaped the Obi like a water droplet to create more head room at one end and then tapering down to the other. The result is extra elbowroom where you need it. and none where you don't. In the tent, that translates to equivalent livable space. At 62 inches across it’s snug, but doable for three men. Two vestibules add extra livability. The middleman does need to step over one of his tent mates to get out, but it’s a small price to pay for this kind of weight.
The second lightest weight tent in the test, with shoulder room and packability equal to the other lightweight options we tested.
While the double hub pole set up is simple and fast to set up, the Jake’s Foot attachment points weren't. These are little bindings the pole ends fit and the vestibule attaches to. They are light and compact, but we found they regularly filled up with sand and dirt making set up tricky and would sometimes spontaneously pop out on set up and take down. The fly is a little tight, making it tough to get on.
For storm protection, we look for a fly that extends to the ground. The Obi’s has a cut out at the head-end of the tent to help with ventilation, but we think this could be in issue in really nasty weather, allowing sideways blows to mist the interior of the tent. You'll want to keep the wind direction in mind when setting up the tent. Despite the overall use of lightweight materials—10 denier nylon for fly and 20 denier for the floor—Nemo assures us durability won't be an issue because of the material’s extra high tensile strength. Indeed, after heavy use through a late summer and fall sea kayak guiding on Vancouver Island’s we(s)t coast it didn't show a scratch. A bathtub floor and high doors ensures no leaking from below.
Despite trimming every bit of fat, Nemo still left some nice conveniences behind, like a light diffusing pocket in the roof that turns a headlamp’s concentrated rays into a roomful of light; attachment points for drying line or gear loft; big vents to reduce condensation issues. The tent doors are high off the ground and small—great for waterproofness but not for ease of entry.
Because we'd be nervous to use this in nasty weather and the interior room is narrow, we have to knock a few points in value. That said, for two people, who mostly camp in dry places this would represent excellent value.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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