Homer's Travels: Appalachian Trail Gear: The Nemo Hornet 2P Tent (And How To Make It Freestanding)

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Appalachian Trail Gear: The Nemo Hornet 2P Tent (And How To Make It Freestanding)

On my first Appalachian Trail (AT) attempt I slept in the Tarptent Rainbow.  I fully intended to use it again on my second attempt.  I was putting up the tent to clean it when I pushed the pole between the pole sleeve and the reinforcing at the end.  This was a minor issue since it could have been fixed for around $20.00 but, after looking at alternatives, I decided to buy a new tent.  The Rainbow was a nice tent but it had shortcoming.

My new tent I'm using on the AT now is the Nemo Hornet 2P.  '2P' means it's a two person tent but ... Nemo exaggerates.  It is mighty tight for two people - you would have to really like your tent mate.  For one person the tent is roomy though but not quite as roomy as the Rainbow.

The tent goes up in two stages - (1) put up the tent, (2) put up the rain fly.  This is fairly standard for most tents but I have to admit I was used to the tarptent method of putting the tent and fly up simultaneously.  This allowed you to put the tent up in the rain without getting the interior wet. I'm not sure if I can put the Hornet up in the rain without some water getting inside.

Having said this, the Hornet is really easy to put up.  Deploy the tripod pole, attach the pole to the tent corners, clip the tent to the pole.  Throw the fly on and attach the fly to the corners and you are done.  In calm conditions I think I could get it up in a minute or less.

The Hornet weighs about the same as the Rainbow.  On warm days the fly can be left off to allow maximum ventilation and a clear view of the stars (a big plus in my book).  The Hornet's ventilation is much better than the Rainbow.  Lastly, the Hornet has two vestibules versus the Rainbow's single vestibule.  This allows you to easily stow gear in one vestibule, protected from the elements, and have another vestibule to enter/exit the tent.  Two vestibules also means you can open both flaps to let air flow through the tent on hot nights.

I had to make one modification to the tent.  The Hornet is considered a semi-freestanding tent.  Two of the ends of the tripod pole attach to the corners of one end of the tent using Jake's foot connections (a round ball end on the pole pops into a socket attached to the corners of the tent - easy to put together and easy to take apart).  The third leg of the tripod pole goes through a grommet on the middle of the other end of the tent.  To completely deploy the tent you have to stake out the corners of the 'grommet end' of the tent.  I prefer a fully freestanding tent so I put on my thinking cap and figured out how to make it freestanding.

A loop of cord and a cord lock through
the grommet tab of the tent.
First I examined the Rainbow.  The Rainbow is freestanding using hiking poles to keep the tent ends spread out.  I took a pole and wrapped the guy lines around the handle and tip of the pole.  I pulled the fly cords taught and saw the hiking pole ride up the tent pole - not good.  The Rainbow has a Velcro strap to hold the hiking pole in place.  I considered the issue a bit and came up with a simple cord and cord lock solution.

I ran a piece of cord through the grommet tab, fed the ends of the cord through a cord lock, and tied the ends of the cord together into a knot that would keep the cord lock from slipping off.  The loop has to be large enough to allow a hiking pole to slide through it including the joints (my poles have quick locks).

The hiking pole cinched down.
To make the tent freestanding, pitch the tent and fly as normal.  Slide a hiking pole through the added loop until the loop is roughly halfway along the pole.  Use the cord lock to cinch the hiking pole down.  At the pointy end of the hiking pole wrap the tent line around the pole a couple times.  Hook the fly loop cord over the end of the pole (See here).  At the handle end wrap the tent line around the hiking pole handle.  Make a larger loop in the fly cord by feeding the cord through the loop (See here) and loop it around the handle (See here).  Pull the fly tight.  The tent is now freestanding and can be easily lifted to move the tent to another location.

I will follow up this post once I've had some experience putting the tent up in the rain.


  1. Brilliant..thx for this. I just got this tent and this is a great solution.

    1. You're welcome. I used it a lot on the AT and the solution worked perfectly.