User Review: NEMO Morpho AR
Design: AirSupported Technology
Weight: 4.8 lbs minimum; 5.7 lbs packed weight
Price Paid: loaner provided by NEMO
My paddling partner Neil and I had stoked the stove in the cabin and were looking forward to sleeping in heated comfort. We were on the first night of a fall trip on British Columbia’s Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit. We had each brought tents, but the presence of the tiny structure had been too enticing. Shortly after dark, the rustling and scratching of a large wood rat forced us to make an executive decision and out into the cold darkness we went, with tents and bags in hand.
I had been loaned one of NEMO Equipment’s Air Supported Tents for this trip, the Morpho AR, a two-person single walled tent. Over the last 40 years, I’ve owned a dozen tents and spent time in perhaps a dozen more, ranging from my beloved Bibler Impotent, to the stout Whillans Box, and even a canvas wall tent. So when I plunged into the darkness with the Morpho that night, I was no neophyte with tents. However, unusual for me, at home I had only read the instructions and pulled the tent out of its bag to make sure everything was there.
In the light of my headlamp, I hoped that the tent would come together as easily as the instructions had promised. As it turned out, there was no reason for concern. The pump and the valve system to inflate the two arced ribs that support the tent are easy to understand and use. Within minutes I had the single walled structure up and was tucked inside, unhappy to leave the warmth of the cabin, but thankful for the quiet.
Over the next week, I used the Morpho AR every night and became well acquainted with it. My preference in tents these days is for either single wall construction with a breathable fabric, or a double wall with the fly already attached as the European tent makers prefer. I’ve often found myself fighting to put tents up in rain, and appreciate that with either of those styles, the interior stays dry as you’re putting the shelter up.
The Morpho AR is made from a single layer of OSMO, a breathable fabric. Many tent makers these days have breathable single wall tents in their lines, so that feature is not unusual. However, what is unique in the Morpho AR, is that the structure is supported by air chambers instead of rigid poles. I was nervous about this system at first, but found that it worked very well, eliminating the need to insert rigid poles in sleeves. I know that many of us have struggled with the latter in difficult conditions and it can be frustrating. The Morpho eliminates all that. The high pressure foot pump is easy to use, though in the cold, attaching the pump to the valves proved an issue as I could not do it without removing my gloves.
The tent has large vents along the sides, a smaller one at the rear, as well as the possibility to open the door slightly. I found the system worked well, with a minimum of frost forming on the ceiling over my head. That frost formed on the breathable fabric which was separated from the interior of the tent by bug screening around the entrance.
I found the door a little finicky with several options for opening, but learned its in's and out's, so to speak. The door incorporates two zippers in the fabric part, as well as three more in the underlying mesh canopy. Often, tent makers will design a door that can be opened in several ways and serve several purposes. I have often found that keeping an opening simple with few zippers, and fewer options is more durable and practical in use.
Overall, I found the Morpho AR to be a well designed quality tent and I wouldn’t hesitate to use it on other trips. It is not, In my opinion a four-season tent, but it could more than adequately cope with light snow early in the season.