Lets start with the down sides. This is not a tent, but rather a huge bivvy. There’s not a lot of space inside and you can’t get dressed easily inside or even sit up. Lengthwise though, you’d need to be a pro league basketball player to find the length inadequate.
The foot end of the GoGo is also a disappointment at first. The images all show a tautly pitched shelter, and of course you want to emulate that first time and every time. It’s only when you pitch it the first time, and probably then decide to read the instructions only to find that in order to complete the pitching of the tent you need to procure a ‘stick’ as an ad hoc pole. Best of luck on the Welsh hills. Fortunately, the GoGo does function without that addition as a hooped bivvy and did the first night I used it though the looks in the campsite were priceless.
You may not get the space of a typical ultralight tent, but at 1kg it isn’t particularly heavy and certainly lighter than most shelters. You also get a lot more space than a typical hooped bivvy and a porch that’s relatively huge in comparison to the rest of the tent. and more than enough space to store all your kit out of the elements.
The overall design is where it starts to win me over. The obvious feature is the inflatable nature of the tent, and in foul weather you can peg it out and commence to erect the tent from the inside. Supplied with an efficient little pump that you inflate first by mouth and then squeeze in order to force the air into the airbeam as blowing alone won’t provide the pressure you’re after.
So it’s an inflatable tent, big deal. Well there’s a little more to it than that. You can open the hooped end entirely and lie in your sleeping bag with your head in the open air. If the weather’s set fine, you could sleep all night with just the mesh inner. You certainly feel more inclined to move about once you get up, with less tendency to mill about in the morning for me at least! Opening the tent up to a glorious morning is the best way of getting up, something you can never get in a regular tent.
This seems the ideal shelter for those perfect weather wild camps when you don’t want to bivvy in just a bag. The hardy will surely find this is a bivvy for all weathers, the low profile ideal in strong winds and the breathable fly reduces condensation (which is a relief when the tent is in direct contact with your sleeping bag). The foot of the bivvy is fish-tailed in order to keep condensation away from your bag, though as it should be breathable it’s difficult to see why this is needed.
You only get a handful of pegs as well, so you’d be wise to pitch this before your trip in order to see how many pegs you’ll need. The foot end pole is also an issue but so we found that a standard fibreglass pole section (45cm) was the ideal size – though adds a bit of weight. You could rig a pole up with a long guy in order to suspend the foot end if you use walking poles. A clever touch is that you can fasten the waterproof stuff sac to the tent while you’re packing up, and then just stuff it all into it without worrying about it blowing away. Not a killer feature, but a pretty cool feature nonetheless.
Unfortunately, the Nemo GoGo Ex is over priced in the UK with the only online source we could find selling it was Ultralight Outdoor Gear for £337.49, reduced from an RRP of £375! If you buy direct from the states then the RRP of $330 works out around £220 which is a more realistic price. Edging the price over £300, you’d be hard pressed to recommend this over something such as one of the Terra Nova Laser range which can be both cheaper and lighter, and certainly more spacious. I was fortunate enough to pick mine up on eBay at around £90!
Overall, this is a novel tent that’s full of character and will certainly make people look twice. However, if you’re after just the one tent then unless you’re a real hard nut, this isn’t suitable for the average wild camper. For the same price you can get larger and lighter shelters that will see you out in all but the worst weathers. While this will be fine from the elements, especially with the low profile, it’s the lack of space that limits the practicality in my view. But if you’re after a decent hooped bivvy, and you manage to get it at the US price, then it’s certainly an option to consider for those quick overnighters.