Nemo says the OBI-2P is a two person tent. It is, if you're a hobbit and madly in love! Otherwise, it is an extremely comfortable, almost luxurious, tent for one. It weighs 3 pounds 10 ounces (actual packed weight) with stakes, poles and lines; and stuffed, it is not much larger than a football. The tent is dry in rain and secure in wind, and unlike many of its competitors, you don't need an engineering degree to pitch it. Materials and construction are first-rate. I recently used the tent for a trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota. Here are my impressions:
- It sets up fast (about four minutes), even in wind.
- The fly covers every seam and zipper and stakes nearly to the ground so that blowing rain can't get in. This feature alone puts this tent ahead of the pack.
- Every tent should have one vestibule for gear storage. This tent has two.
- The OBI-2P has two opposing doors (for ventilation and security in the event a zipper fails on one entry). The doors are covered by the fly which forms the vestibules. The vestibules unzip at the apex and can be opened for cross-flow ventilation. The slightest breeze wafts through the tent. Very nice!
- The fly is ultra light silicone-treated nylon, the canopy is fine-mesh no-seeum net, colored black for high visibility. I generally dislike no-see-um netting because its tightly woven mesh stifles air flow. But Nemo did it right on this tent by choosing no-see-um net over more breathable mosquito mesh. Why? Because you can easily bug-proof a small no-see-um net door with repellents or Permetherin. But this would be impossible with the OBI whose canopy is all netting. Kudus on the black color which allow a near window-clear view of your surroundings. In 1917, Horace Kephart wrote in his book, "Camping and Woodcraft", that any color other than black will reflect light into your eyes and distort your vision. Congratulations to Nemo--they may be the only company on the planet who got it right!
- In calm weather you can pitch the tent with just two stakes (one at the apex of each vestibule). There are 12 stake points in all—enough to anchor the tent in a storm. A short bar Velcro's near the peak of each vestibule to provide protected ventilation in rain. The anodized arrow-shaft aluminum poles are shock-corded together as a single unit—nothing can be misplaced. The pole mass (which resembles a TV antenna) snaps together in seconds. The unique nylon "Jake's foot" fittings at the tent corners are fast and secure. The canopy is free-standing and can be pitched without the fly. Or, you can disconnect the "Jake's feet" and pitch the fly without the tent.
There are some clever touches: the diffused "light pocket" in the peak (which holds your headlamp) is one, as are the twin zippers on each vestibule which provide ventilation and star-gazing options. Oh, did I mention the star chart that is sewn to the tent bag? Each vestibule has a "canopy extender cord" that snaps to the mesh canopy and pulls it out to provide more interior space. This is nice in good weather but it can be problematic in rain (see #5 below). There is no fat on this tent—everything has been engineered for function.
1) The folded or stuffed tent easily fits inside the bag even when the tent is wet and muddy. Is this an industry first?
2) The poles pack separately in a special bag that slides into a sleeve on the outside of the tent bag. A snap fastener keeps poles and tent together. Clever indeed.
- The pole bag is too narrow. The poles fit but you have to work at it. Nylon shrinks about five percent over time - the tight fit will get tighter.
- If it rains, you won't want to pack the wet fly and dry tent in the same bag. A partitioned bag or two stuff sacks are the way to go.
- Nemo supplies high quality "you pound 'em" four-corner, aluminum stakes. These stakes are 6 inches long - too short for all but hard, rock-free ground. Eight or ten-inch aluminum pins that can be set by hand are better for all-round use but these are too long to fit in the stake bag. The pole bag should be longer.
- The canopy extenders (nylon ribbons) on the inside of the fly snap to tiny fabric loops on the netted canopy. The hooks have locking tongues which make them hard to use, more so, if it's dark and you can’t see what you're doing. A rigid D-ring here would make things easier.
- *Rain water may wick down the canopy extender ribbons and fall into the sleeping compartment. Solution? Waterproof (seam tape) the extender stitching on the fly or simply disconnect the extender when it rains.
- There are four storm-loops on the fly—three in front, one in back. The fly secures to the back pole with a Velcro tab which transfers wind-stress to the pole when the storm-loop is guyed out. Good idea! The loops adjacent to the front poles lack Velcro tabs. They need them too!
- The Fastex buckles on the tent bag add weight and bulk and slow down packing the tent. A simple drawstring bag would be faster, lighter and less bulky. The stuff sack is black; a bright color would be better.
- A serious side wind may distort the windward vestibule enough to expose gear or allow it to contact the tent canopy. Storm-loops sewn to the vestibule hems (between the apex stakes and corners) and fly face would stiffen the structure and increase storage space. Extra storm-loops are a welcome ounce on any tent; when guyed out they can spell the difference between a taut tent that defies the storm and a deformed one that doesn't.
- The tent measures 84 inches (seven feet) long and should accommodate those who are over six feet tall. But the ends slope in smartly which reduces foot room. A friend who is 6'3" says the tent is too short for him. Extending the floor six inches (to 7.5 feet) would make the tent more suitable for tall people.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Nit-picks aside, the OBI-2P is a terrific tent. It's very light, compact and roomy for one person. In nice weather, unzip the fly (vestibules) and fold them around the front poles. Then, lay back, gaze at the stars and enjoy the cross-flow of air. At the first raindrop, unzip the netted doors, grab the two fly sections that form the vestibules and zip them shut. The OBI-2P is wind-stable and dry and unlike some other super-light tents, it is not claustrophobic. Its 40 inch height (at the head) allows you to sit up comfortably. Overall, this tent earns an A.
Capacity: 2 (if you're hobbit and in love!)
Actual packed weight (with pole, stakes, bag): 3 lbs 10 ounces*
Sleeping compartment measurement: 42" x 84"
Maximum interior height: 40"
Floor Area: 27 sq. ft.
Vestibule Area: 18 sq. feet
Included accessories: Dry bag style stuff sac, light pocket, stakes, repair kit.
*You can cut a few ounces if you replace the "dry bag" stuff sack and pole bag with ultra-light silicone nylon stuff sacks.