The NEMO Equipment Dragonfly 2P tent is a great lightweight 2-person backpacking tent that still offers enough living space or durability. It's not a budget option, but is a good value for the price if you are looking for a functional tent that won't weigh you down too much.
Shopping for a backpacking tent usually means trading off between weight, durability, and living space. Usually you pick one or two and sacrifice the others. Rare is the tent that can balance all three - but the Dragonfly 2P somehow strikes a favorable balance without compromising much.
Comfort and Protection
One of the unique features of the Dragonfly tent is that it is asymmetrically arched. In other words, one end is taller than the other. This offers better headroom at one end, while saving on materials (and thus weight). The tent's peak height is 41 inches, which isn't quite enough for me to sit up straight, but there are no similar significantly taller tents in this weight range, and it's perfectly adequate for me (I'm about 6"1').
The Dragonfly comes in one-person and two-person variants (the 1P and 2P). The 2P is cozy, but comfortable, for two people. The tent is 50 inches wide at the head end, but tapers to around 45 inches at the feet, saving material cost and weight.
As for protection - well, a tent isn't that useful if it doesn't offer you any protection from the elements. The Dragonfly definitely holds up in strong rains, and has a pretty high bathtub floor to keep out the water. Though I haven't tested it in hard winds or full winter conditions yet, and it's meant to be a 3-season backpacking tent (not a winter mountaineering tent...), it's pretty durable and I'd expect it to do pretty well in marginal conditions. However, I wouldn't rely on it in serious winds or a heavy snowstorm.
Functionality and Usability
What good is a backpacking tent if it takes an hour to set up and take down? The Dragonfly 2P is quick to assemble/disassemble, even without a helper. I can easily set it up in around 3 minutes, and it's quick to take down as well. The attention to detail on this tent is impeccable - because of the asymmetrical arch design, the tent poles and rain fly only have one correct orientation - but the poles are coded green and black, and the tent body and rain fly snaps are all green and black to match. It all fits together very well and is super clear. The only tricky part of setting up the Dragonfly tent is the crossbar at the top of the tent, which fits very tightly.
While some tents can be set up with the rain fly on the whole time, to avoid getting rain or snow in the tent body, I don't know of an easy way to do this with the Dragonfly. That said, it's super quick to put the rain fly on the tent once the body is up, so this maybe isn't a huge issue.
The living space inside the tent is complemented by huge vestibules that provide enough space for the largest of packs. Even my huge 90-liter expedition pack fits under one of the vestibules. This makes it easy to keep packs, boots, or other larger (or smellier) items out of the tent, freeing up more room inside. In addition to the huge vestibules, there is also a large overhead pocket that you can fit a whole lot of stuff in, for instance one or two puffy jackets for in the morning.
At a packed weight of just 3lbs 2oz, the Dragonfly 2P isn't really an "ultralight" tent. There are plenty of minimalist, single-wall, hiking-pole, fly-only tents that are 1-2 pounds lighter. However, for a more "conventional" double wall backpacking tent that is durable and protective, the Dragonfly fits the bill exactly. With tents, you get what you pay for in terms of weight savings, but not durability - more expensive and lighter weight tents begin to sacrifice durability, while this tent will last many seasons if treated well. Compared to tents like the MSR Hubba Hubba (which is around $50 more expensive than the Dragonfly 2P), this tent's fabric is slightly thicker and feels much more substantial.
Overall, at $400, this is not a cheap tent. But for the amount of features, quality of materials, weight, packed size, and living space, this is a good value. In my opinion, this tent shines because it optimizes things like living space and durability in innovative ways so that you don't have to significantly sacrifice weight or cost.
$400 | NEMO Equipment | Amazon
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