Nemo Dragonfly 2The Nemo Dragonfly 2 is all about uniting the world of ultralight tents with generous space and storage options to give you some livable comfort out on the trail. With two doors, two vestibules, great interior storage, and enough space for you to sit up and stretch inside, it does a great job of providing a little home away from home. View Latest Deal
Nemo was a bit late to the game only entering the already saturated outdoor equipment market in 2002. But, despite all the competition, they quickly made a name of themselves by producing some of the best ultralight tents on the market and followed it up with some top-draw sleeping bags, pillows, camping showers, and more.
The quality of their outdoor gear is up there with the best and you’ll struggle to find a brand that does ultralight gear any better. Nemo’s mission is based on ‘a commitment to adventure – to the fearless pursuit of uncharted paths’ and you can see this in every product they produce.
One of their tents that got the outdoor world talking is the Nemo Dragonfly 2. This tent strikes an amazing balance between spaciousness and convenience while keeping the weight down to provide you with comfort on the trail that other ultralight tents miss.
Below, we’ll look at how well the Nemo Dragonfly performs across key categories so you can work out if and why it might be the ultralight tent you’ve been looking for.
There is one thing you have to be aware of in the ultralight world and that is the weight vs durability pay off. Ultralight tents have to use light materials but the lighter the materials the thinner and less durable they are.
This is not to say that ultralight tents can’t handle life in the wild, they can, and the Nemo Dragonfly 2 certainly can. But, you’ll need to treat them with care.
The materials used in the Dragonfly are all high-quality while being light. The inner tent canopy is made from a 10-D ripstop nylon/no-see-um mesh that provides ample protection from any insects and creates a thin but warm internal layer.
The floor is made of thicker and more durable 20-D Sil/PeU ripstop nylon with a 1200 mm waterproof rating. It’s key that the floor is a bit thicker as it’ll take more wear and tear than any other part of the tent.
The full-coverage rainfly is 15-D Sil/PeU ripstop nylon also with a 1200mm rating. It does a good job of blocking out the weather and is strong enough to handle what the elements throw at it.
The Aluminum DAC Featherlite poles are incredibly light while providing a solid structure with some flex. They’ll keep everything together on a windy night and will be a breeze to carry around.
From a durability perspective, the Dragonfly has done a pretty good job while being an ultralight. The 15D ripstop nylon fly and the 20D ripstop nylon floor are a little delicate but will certainly handle the normal wear and tear you’d expect from the trail.
The poles are solid and you shouldn’t suffer from any issues. It is important to set them up properly though by making sure they are securely locked together. There are reports of the female ends cracking when the male end flexes too much but this will not happen if they are properly joined together.
The whole idea of a tent, no matter how light it is, is to keep you warm and dry while in the outdoors. The Nemo Dragonfly 2 is rated as a 3-season tent for use outside of winter months, but how does it stand up to adverse weather. Below we break it down in terms of wind resistance, water resistance, and ventilation.
The Dragonfly uses Nemo’s DAC Featherlite NFL pole system which is designed to flex with the wind while still holding itself together. The poles also have great shape retention, so once the wind has passed, they return to their original shape.
What does this mean for you inside the tent? Well, during strong winds you’ll experience some movement of the tent’s structure as it takes on the strain of the gales, and once the wind drops, the Dragonfly will return to its original shape.
Adding to the pole system, the eight stake points, and guyline lines make sure the Dargonly sticks firmly to the ground. It’s also been aerodynamically designed with sloping sides making it harder for the wind to lift it up.
The Dragonfly’s floor and rainfly have a waterproof rating of 1200mm. What does this mean? This means that it’ll endure up to a 1200mm, or 1.2m, column of water coming down on it before it starts to leak.
Considering the ratings start at 800mm and end at around 10000mm, the Dragonfly’s rating isn’t the highest in the world but it will keep you dry in most situations. The seams are well-sealed and the full coverage-rainfly provides great protection.
The inner mesh canopy provides some ventilation thanks to the gap between it and the rain fly. There are also struts on the vestibules that allow you to prop them open to let some air in, and they even work in the rain. But, they don’t that wide which can cause some condensation inside.
When the weather is nice, you do have the option of opening the vestibules for extra airflow or removing the rainfly entirely with the added bonus of some stargazing.
Now that we know the Nemo Dragonfly 2 can handle itself in terms of materials, durability, and weather resistance, how to does it do in the performance department? Is it light enough, does it pack down small enough, and is it easy to pitch?
The Dragonfly is easy to pitch thanks to its freestanding design and its color-coded system. The freestanding design lets you create the structure without having to stake out any part of the tent and once up, you can move it around to find your ideal staking-ground. This is particularly useful on rocky surfaces.
The color-code design is spread across the poles, the fly clips, and the corner webbing to make sure you’re attaching all the right bits to the right areas. There is just one pole to put together that looks a bit a like a stick man with no head, and it connects easily to all the color-coded attachment points.
There are 8 stakes to place, 4 for the two vestibules, and 4 for the tent. Each stake has a blue reflective cord attached to it, so you can find them easily on take-down and avoid tripping on them too.
If you’re practiced at pitching a tent, you’ll have the Dragonfly up in minutes, and if you’re not that well-versed, after a few practice rounds, you’ll have it down.
At 3 lbs 1 oz. the Dragonfly is only a few ounces heavier than some of the lightest tents in the world, providing the best of everything in terms of lightweight comfort.
It packs down to just 19.5 x 4.5 inches and can easily be tied to the back of your backpack without becoming a clip hazard that sticks out. You can also deconstruct the contents and slot the different parts into your backpack with ease.
The Dragonfly comes with a ‘Divvy Sack’ so you can share the weight with your partner or camping buddy, making it just 1lb 8.5 oz for each of you to carry, which is very manageable.
The Nemo Dragonfly 2 is a backpacking tent and you could well end up using it for multiple-day trekking adventures rather than a simple overnight and this is when its livability is most important.
The Dragonfly is 7.33 ft long, so it’s just the right length for people up to and just over 6 feet tall to lie down comfortably without your nose touching the canopy.
The width of 5o inches, that tapers down to 45 is wide enough to fit two standard sleeping pads in comfortably. The tapering design is a little constricting and if there are two of you, sleeping head to tail isn’t going to be very comfortable for the person who draws the short straw.
The peak height of 41 inches gives you enough headroom and you can situp without touching the ceiling for that morning stretch or when you’re hiding out from adverse weather in the day.
The Dragonfly does come with some privacy panels on the side, but you won’t need them when using the rainfly. The panels aren’t that high but the white and black no-see-um mesh is pretty good at giving you some privacy while being open enough for some stargazing.
Getting in and out of your tent with ease, especially when sharing, makes life so much more convenient, and it becomes far more apparent on multiple day trips.
The Dragonfly has two doors, one for each of you, for clambering around in the night without tripping over your buddy. The doors are large compared to the size of the tent and make it really easy to hop in and out. They aren’t the easiest to open though and you may need two hands at first, but you’ll get used to them in no time.
The Dragonfly 2 is one of the best ultralight tents when it comes to storage. You have two large storage pockets on each and two lighting pockets that diffuse your headlamp for easy nighttime reading and trip planning. And in the roof, you have a huge gear loft that will easily hold any of the items you want inside your tent.
The pockets are all quite high up in the tent, so you will have to sit up and reach to get the things you need, but this also means they’re protected from any water that could be on the tent floor.
For all your gear that doesn’t need to be in the tent like boots and backpacks, the two huge 10 foot squared vestibules have got you covered. There really is a large amount of space between the two vestibules that could even store some firewood you’ve collected and want to keep dry.
When shopping in an ultralight world, you have to plan to spend a little more than usual. The materials and techniques that have to be used to bring the weight down are expensive and it only makes sense that this is reflective in the products.
The Nemo Dragonfly costs around $400, which certainly isn’t inexpensive. But, if you plan to use it a lot, we think it’ll pay itself off with value in next to no time thanks to its comfortable, light, and durable design. It’ll last for a long time if you look after it, plus it comes with a lifetime warranty and Nemo offer a great repair service too. It’s a tent for life.
With a score of 94, the Nemo Dragonfly 2 has smashed every category in our rating system. There are barely any drawbacks to this ultralight tent and the only actual negatives are more minor inconveniences than anything, like having to reach for the awesome internal pockets, or use an extra hand to open the large spacious doors.
The Dragonfly really is an ultimate mix of spacious ultralight comfort.
Would we recommend the Nemo Dragonfly overall? Yes, absolutely!
It’s a tent that will take you anywhere (not in winter) while providing you with all the features you need to camp out comfortably. You’re not sacrificing anything with the Dragonfly even though it’s an ultralight.
It’s made from high-end durable materials, has great internal gear storage, two doors, two vestibules, ample living space, good headroom and it’s freestanding for pitching perfection.
If you are happy to add some ounces for some extra space, then the Nemo Dragonfly is most likely the ultralight tent for you.
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