User Review: NEMO Losi 3P
Design: Year-Round Non-Arctic Freestanding Dome
Ease of Setup: My six-year-old cousin could set this up in 15 minutes.
Weight: about 6.5 lbs.
Price Paid: $380
My friend and I are going cross-country backpacking, and after a long period of deliberation on which tents to get, we decided on the NEMO Losi 3-person. Our major motivations for this decision were the weight (6.7 lbs. packed), the ratio of space to that (50 sq. ft.) and the absence of any necessary stakes and/or staking. It cost $380 (bad planning on my part - at NEMO's website it's $355) or so, and the footprint was another $40.
Now, a brief rundown on why the NEMO Losi 3p was the best purchase we've ever made:
1. The NEMO Losi 3p is ridiculously easy to set up. There's almost no stuffing of poles through sleeves; the only two times that happens is with the two minor poles. The primary poles are constructed so that you hook the mesh tent up to the poles rather than trying to force the poles to adhere to the tent, and because of the basic design of the tent, it's incredibly hard to destabilize the structure without a tree falling on it (which they include in the troubleshooting guide - HOLY CRAP HARDCORE). Actually, it's very possible to decipher the layout and setup if you lay it out and look at it, which is a clear marker that this has an amazing design.
It's pretty obvious that whoever designed this tent had been through hell and high water with other tents, many of which are made primarily for 'good looks' and interesting shapes and not so much for actual usability. That makes sense, since a lot of people buying tents are middle-upper class families who want to go out into nature for a 'vacation', completely ignore the actual beauty of nature in favor of their luxuries (hotdogs instead of foraging, s'mores instead of bean soups, sedentary camping instead of exploration and wandering, etc.) and go straight back to their unfulfilling lives as consumer extraordinaires. However, there are people out there for whom 'camping' isn't a luxury - it's a way to survive and thrive in a world that's hostile to your passions.
That's me reading too much into this. Suffice to say that whoever designed this tent actually knows how to make it work because they have enough experience in that area.
2. The Jake's Feet. These are the most amazing contraptions of all time. A good part of the reason that you don't need a lot of heavy stabilization stakes is the fact that the Jake's Feet provide stabilization without requiring you to stake things into the ground (which may or may not cooperate with this idea). Once you figure them out - and again, they are ridiculously easy to figure out with a little examination - you see what parts go where (rain fly, tent, footprint) so that it all comes together.
3. It comes in three main parts: the tent base (mostly mesh), the rain fly (completely waterproof) and the footprint (I consider this necessary if you're looking to keep this long-term and not just waste money). The design of the rain fly is exquisite, as it secures into place over the mesh base so that nothing is exposed and it won't come loose during the night or in high winds.
4. There's an additional piece of beauty that I'd like to relate to the previous point, and that is the rain fly vs. mesh tent: because of the construction of the mesh tent, the poles that stabilize the mesh tent do not only that but separate the rain fly from the mesh, making leakage virtually impossible unless there's a hole. (I say virtually because I'm sure someone would figure out how.) The way the rain fly is shaped, in addition to this, only helps remove water, because any collection will roll off.
5. The inside makes it even more obvious that whoever had designed this meant for it to be used. There are places you can hang lightweight contraptions and objects for easy grabbing or even reading (with a small, lightweight lantern, for example) and an organization rack inside the tent if you don't want to use the vestibule for your shoes and such.
6. This tent is labeled as three-person. Really, this should be labeled as 'three humans and one dog', because this is pretty clearly part of what the tent was designed for. It's not only spacious (my friend and I don't even fill half of it, and only two-thirds with our mountaineering packs), there's a number of components that would make this amazing for a dog.
7. There are entrances at both ends. Literally - there's an opening on one end, and another at the opposite; look, it's an ergonomic tent! (Nerd joke. Sorry.) This, combined with the large doors, makes it nearly impossible to have a 'jam' of people trying to get in or out of the tent. Also, the close proximity of the bottoms of the doors to the ground make it perfect for a dog, making it easier for them to get in and out.
8. Did I mention it's lightweight? And inanely easy to set up?
A toddler could set this up. You'll need at least two people to set it up because of the tight fit of the minor poles (note: DISCONNECT a section or two of the pole, then fit them back in. It'll work much better) into their stabilization guides. Otherwise you're just... awesome.
My only real problems with this tent, because it IS that amazing and you can probably see that I am VERY finicky, are these:
- It needs a folding guide so that you can fold it properly and put it back up to move on, and
- The stabilization/hooking pieces that latch to the major poles and hold the minor poles have a fairly major if only occasional problem: the stabilization curve is short enough that, if given a sharp enough piece of pressure, turns sideways and LODGES between the two hooks. This could easily have been solved by adding just a few more centimeters onto each or one of the sides, making them too long to lodge whatsoever. It can be fixed temporarily by placing the minor pole above the hook piece, but I don't know what, if any, effect this would have on stability. (We got it undone later. Our teeth are sore now.)
Verdict: Five thousand stars, four thumbs and four paws up, 150% worth the money, 99% idiot proof. If you're known for forging ahead rather than taking stock of what you have in front of you, avoid this tent like the plague and get a hardier one. If you're going on rougher ground, spend the extra money on a pawprint, and always get the footprint. You can go nearly anywhere with this tent, outside of very cold regions, and that makes it pretty much 4-season in my book.
They say it's the cheapest tent for the amount of room and weight - they're overly modest. I've seen a lot of tents. I've slept in a lot. I've set up a lot. NEMO Losi is still the best one, not just in weight and room, but in design. Weight and room don't matter unless you have a good design, and NEMO has this in spades.