Explorer, bikepacker and chronic beach-bum Mattie took the NEMO Galaxi 2P tent for a spin. So, how good is this tent for getting out where the stars shine bright?
If you ever needed an excuse to head to the coast for a spot of camping, then reviewing a new tent from American adventure company, NEMO, is as good a reason to hit the road as any.
NEMO are openly and unashamedly sustainably minded and one of their founding beliefs is that “[They] should use [their] business not only to improve the experience of adventure, but also to protect the places we adventure.” A belief that I think all explorers can happily share. As a result, NEMO focus on creating products that are useful, durable and innovative.
With the tent collected from the local post office, fitting snugly into my saddlebag, it was time to hop onto the NSW Parks website and We Are Explorers to find somewhere new along the South Coast for an overnight camping trip.
Choosing Meroo Head Campground, for its beachside location and relatively remote position, the car was packed and I was on my way!
With a name like the Galaxi, I knew that I had to get some astrophotography shots of the tent under the stars. Being an average photographer myself, I called in a fellow explorer and South Coast photographer, Jon Harris; he’d promised me clear skies and some astrophotography lessons and I was feeling stoked for an epic trip with the NEMO Galaxi.
Size and Weight
The NEMO Galaxi comes with a footprint included, a nice touch, and when the stuff sack is fully loaded it weighs in at a reasonable 2.78kg. Not bad for an entry-level, two-person, backpacking tent. The stuff sack measures just less than half a metre in length and 20cm diameter. As such, it would be reasonable to carry for a short trip and even better if you share the load between two.
If you want to go even lighter, however, the footprint is designed to work alone with the outer fly, saving weight and space in your bag. Another alternative, if you’re confident that it won’t rain, is to just use the inner section of the tent, without the footprint or the fly, making for a lighter-weight and smaller packaged tent.
Ease of Setup
The single-hub pole construction, which we nicknamed the spider-pole from its arachnid appearance, makes setup a breeze. Laying the tent on the ground, I found that dangling the spider pole from its body, the legs locked into place before easily slotting into their central hub. This meant there was no looking around for poles, helpful in the dark, and made it easy to slot two pole ends into their corner grommets before raising the tent.
You can then leave the tent as is, or throw the fly over the top and buckle down at the corners. Throw a couple of pegs in to fix the vestibules and you’re good to go. One drawback of the fly, is that the guy ropes do not come attached to the tent, not a big deal but it means that you’ll need a little bit of ropemanship to affix them effectively.
When it comes to liveability, I think that the NEMO Galaxi really is a star. The pre-bent poles and single hub pole construction combine to give a greater sense of headroom, creating a squarer space that makes the inside feel much more palatial than the footprint suggests.
Coupled with this greater headroom, the ‘no see-um’ mesh is the best aspect of the tent. Just as the name suggests, the mesh opens up the entire sky to you from inside the tent and adds to the luxurious feeling of space. I spent the night with the fly off the tent and it was a magical experience watching the night sky through the treetops.
An added benefit to sleeping with the fly off is that when the winds are blowing (and they were really blowing during testing, 30kph at times), is that the wind passes straight through the mesh and the tent remains relatively still. This meant that you don’t have the tent buffeting around you in the wind and creating that rustling tent noise that all campers know about.
A large side entry on either side of the tent will have you and your companion sneaking out for night time toilet trips with ease and allow decent access to the well-sized luggage vestibules (when using the fly).
Durability & Weather Resistance
During testing, I was very happy with the apparent quality of the product. The zippers slid easily and there are no corners to turn when zipping the doors, so there are no problems to encounter there. The pole grommets in each corner look particularly strong and reinforced, adding a sense of confidence to this area.
Having the footprint included in the package means that your floor will be protected for longer, particularly useful when car camping, and the extra space/weight isn’t an issue. The floor is made from 75D PeU Polyester (3000 mm) and the fly is made from 68D PeU Polyester Ripstop (1500 mm). Both provide a strong level of strength and weatherproofing but on this particular test I was blessed with clear skies.
Looking back at NEMO’s belief that their products should improve the experience of adventure, I can certainly testify to the fact that sleeping in the NEMO Galaxi definitely improved my latest trip to the coast. Looking up at the trees swaying (maybe lurching is more accurate) in the wind, illuminated by the night sky, made for a memorable night camping on the Australian South Coast.
Being so easy to assemble and collapse, largely thanks to spider-pole, also helped me and Jon to bring the NEMO Galaxi down to the beach for some astrophotography under the clear skies and meant there was no risk of losing one of the poles in the darkness – although we perhaps should have been more careful pegging the tent down as it nearly flew away in the wind!