Our Nemo Dagger OSMO Tent Review explores a cleverly designed two person tent with impressive sustainability credentials. Please read on to find out more.
Who Are Nemo?
For many UK readers the NEMO brand might not yet be a very familiar name. However, this is very unlikely to be the case if you spoke to an outdoor enthusiast across the pond. NEMO are actually a long standing American company with a great reputation.
Also, like many of the best outdoor brands, NEMO was created by a mountaineer with a vision. NEMO founder Cam Brensinger was spending a desperate night on the side of Mount Washington. He was suffering in a poor excuse for a bivvy and realised the market needed better products.
So, after graduation, he founded New England Mountain Equipment (NEMO). Now, almost two decades later, the company is firmly established in America and their sights are focused on the European market. If you haven’t heard about NEMO yet, this is sure to change.
There is a big market for two person backpacking tents and a lot of manufacturers aim to provide their interpretation of the perfect shelter. It can be hard to stand out from the crowd and, when there is so much choice, hard to bring something truly innovative to market.
The NEMO Dagger OSMO tent design isn’t new. The 2022 model is an update on the brand’s very successful previous iteration. The previous model already stood out from the crowd and the new version, with new design details and a new fabric, looks set to raise the bar further. We have been testing one over the summer and here is our Nemo Dagger OSMO tent review.
The performance of any tent is dictated by its fabric so let’s consider that first. In fact, there is lots to talk about. The Dagger OSMO is one of the first tents to feature Nemo’s new OSMO ripstop fabric. This is a PFC free 100% recycled fabric produced from a mixture of polyester and nylon.
Producing this fabric has clearly been a labour of love for the Nemo design team and apparently it took over 100 prototypes to perfect. In the end they produced something to be very proud of. OSMO is said to offer 4 times more water repellency and 3 times less stretch than standard tent fabric.
The pole structure is made from DAC Featherlite NSL alloy sections. These are comprised of a mixture of 9.6mm, 9mm and 8.5mm pole sections. Nemo have colour coded them for ease of set up. The colours then match up with coloured webbing on the tent to facilitate efficient set up.
The poles form a hubbed structure designed for maximum interior volume. This combines with a double porch design offering two large trapezoidal vestibules. Each side opens with a long zipper which can be fastened open using Nemo’s secure and easy to operate Gatekeeper door clips.
Each vestibule benefits from a protected strut vent designed to ensure good ventilation even when it is raining. Nemo also supply the Dagger OSMO with their innovative Landing Zone storage tub. This is a bathtub style tarp structure designed to protect gear stored in the vestibule.
Inner First Pitching
The tent pitches inner first and the inner tent is constructed from a combination of ripstop nylon and no-see-um mesh. The bath tub floor is made from OSMO ripstop with a 2000 mm hydrostatic head.
The inner has a zipped door at both sides for easy access into either vestibule. There are ground level storage pockets and Nemo have also added their Nightlife pockets high on either end of the inner. This is a clever design offering a headlamp diffuser for a comfortable nighttime glow.
Other features include the Divvy Cube. This is a rectangular stuff sack which packs easily and allows you to split the load with a partner. The poles pack into a 100% recycled dye free Repreve pole bag.
The minimum weight for the Dagger OSMO is 1.52kg and the packed weight is 1.86kg. The tent comes in a light grey colour (inner) with a light green outer (called birch bud). The tent retails for £479.99. There is also a 3 person version available.
Nemo have designed the Dagger OSMO to be a tent light enough for backpacking, but with the features and space to make it suitable for longer term living. This is shown by the dual entry, the extremely spacious twin vestibules and the generous 2.9 sq m floor area. It has enough room to sit out poor weather and for trips where you are packing a lot of gear. In preparing for this Nemo Dagger OSMO tent review we have used it as a base camp tent for climbing trips and it has loads of room for gear storage.
For those familiar with the original Dagger, the new version shares the same footprint and dimensions. This makes sense as that model was well tried and tested over the years and the formula works perfectly.
How great to see companies like Nemo putting the environment first. The introduction of a 100% recycled tent fabric without dangerous DWR coatings is such a great industry leading step forward. Even better, their hard work has produced a fabric with the weather resistance and performance to excel as a tent fabric.
In terms of performance, although we can’t yet comment on long term durability, we can say it has performed extremely well in terms of weather proofing. We have been testing the tent over a very hot and dry summer, but our experience in an Alpine storm was very confidence inspiring. The Dagger Oslo didn’t blink and the tent repelled wind driven rain effortlessly.
Of significant note, the fabric also has a soft feel which makes it very quiet in use. This may seem like a minor detail, but if you’ve ever been in a noisy tent in a storm you’ll know what we mean. It is also a great colour. A light colour that will blend into the surroundings and yet create a light inner perfect for sitting out stormy days.
Everything is formed around the hub pole structure. When you connect the DAC Featherlite NSL poles together you end up with a spider like cage. This then clips easily to the inner tent. The advantage of the hub design is that you get plenty of space lengthways and yet there is also lots of interior space. This works because the pole design creates steep side walls and a rectangular inner space. Together they make great use of the space.
Having double entrances is such a boon for two person tents. Each user has easy entry and exit and plenty of personal storage space. It also helps with the simple things like having room to remove boots or a set of waterproofs without having to wait for your tent mate to do it first. In fact, you can climb into a vestibule and close it up without having to access the inner. This means you can strip off wet layers in the vestibule while keeping the inner space dry.
The addition of the Nemo ‘Landing Zone’ also helps here. This is a tray like piece of waterproof fabric that attaches to the inner and flysheet to create a tray. The tray allows weather and ground protected protected storage of boots, packs or clothing. It can be used to keep things dry, but also works as a dumping ground for wet items.
The long zips also mean you can vent the tent well and allow good through flow of air in warmer weather. Both sides open via a long zip and the vestibule doors can be opened wide or either side can be pinned back individually. This allows plenty of versatility to allow weather protection and venting. The doors fasten open with Nemo’s Gatekeeper clips. This is a nifty name for a system where a short tape and cord lock on one side clips into a curved clip on the other. The system works extremely well. It is very secure once fastened, easy to use and can also be easily operated one handed. It is the kind of small design detail that makes a big difference in use.
At the top of each door are two smaller vents that can be fastened opened with small rigid struts. They offer protected ventilation and so can be used even during wet or windy weather. With ventilation in mind, we had no problems with moisture build up during the test period. This is helped by the vents, but also is aided by the general flysheet design which allows for air flow under the fabric and the well ventilated inner tent (discussed later).
The flysheet shape really helps with ventilation. Nemo have left room around the bottom to allow air passage. I wondered if this would affect weather resistance with the wind blown rain we sometimes get in the UK, but the deep bathtub floor ensures the inner space is well protected. This would mean the Dagger OSMO wouldn’t be a good choice in winter conditions, but it isn’t designed for this season anyway.
In fact, this is a good time to mention that general weather resistance is very good. Although the test period was generally a period of dry and calm weather, we did get the tent into the higher mountains of the Alps and experienced a sharp storm with heavy rain and strong wind. We were camped in a bowl shaped valley and the wind whipped around from various directions. This allowed a good test of the Dagger’s ability to take wind from different directions. It held up extremely well.
For our Nemo Dagger OSMO tent review we have discussed the flysheet and vestibule configuration in detail, but what of the inner tent and living space? The inner is a rectangular pod made from a mixture of lightweight ripstop nylon and no-see-um mesh. There are long zippers on each side for easy access and a bathtub nylon floor.
The rectangular shape ensures there is plenty of living space. Some two person tents aren’t over generous with the amount of interior space, but this certainly isn’t the case with the Dagger OSMO. You can comfortably fit in two full size inflatable mats and there is plenty of room both lengthways and widthways. The sense of space is also helped by the amount of room in the vestibules, the overall height and the light colour of the inner. It all feels very spacious and makes for a very comfortable living space.
The use of very lightweight ripstop and mesh for the inner ensures excellent ventilation, but does limit weather protection. In the warmer months the excellent air flow is much appreciated, but in colder weather you would want the insulation of less permeable walls and doors. Of course, this again goes back to the intended use of the tent. The Dagger OSMO isn’t designed for use in extremely cold or wintry weather anyway.
Interior organisation is well thought out. There are tabs to hang a loft or add a washing line and two pockets are positioned on either side for organisation of smaller items. Then, there is the addition of the unique Nightlife pockets. These are positioned high on the end walls and are made from a fabric designed to allow a diffused light to shine through. If you tuck your head torch in you’ll have a lovely calmly lit inner space.
I am always a little dubious of this type of addition as it can seem quite gimmicky, but it actually really works. It also makes a separate out of the way pocket to store your head torch in and can, of course, also be used to house other small items.
Overall, the layout and features of the inner work extremely well and a lot of thought has been put into the design. You have a comfortable and generously spaced living space with great organisation options and easy access for both residents.
Nemo set out to create a tent designed for lots of situations. A tent light enough to carry on fast and light missions and yet comfortable enough for two people to live in for longer periods. A tent that can be used in harsh weather and yet with sufficient living space to make a base camp home from home. Oh, and a tent that sets new standards for sustainability. Our Nemo Dagger OSMO tent review shows a project completed. This is a great tent that improves on its predecessor and will be a very reliable companion for many great adventures.
Full details on the Nemo Dagger OSMO are available on their website here. Please also watch the informative video below from our friends at Trekitt below. Trekitt are recommended stockists for Nemo tents and the Dagger OSMO is available via their website here.
We are pleased to have tested a selection of other Nemo products. Our review of their Dagger Ridge Porch 2P tent is here and our comparison test featuring their Switchback closed cell foam sleeping mat is here. We hope you find them useful.