Best Tents for Paddlers: Testing the Nemo Chogori

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By Rob Lyon

Heading sea kayaking, canoeing or rafting? The Chogori by Nemo is your answer to a good night’s slumber after a day of stroking.

Before we get into the Chogori I have to mention its predecessor, the Moki. The Moki was single-wall, somewhat larger and sported only a single vestibule, while the Chogori is a solid 4S/3P mountaineering dome with one intriguing feature: you can link two of them together at their front doors.

When I saw this depicted in the Nemo catalog, resembling two igloos with their tunnels connected, I knew I had to try it.  I love fringe season paddling and always take larger tents on sea kayak expeditions for when I’m weathered in. While this works fine when I’m alone, I feel like I’m missing something when I’m out with a friend camped fifty yards apart and chatting over the radio. The idea of a duplex 4S shelter like the Moki seemed like the best of both worlds.

That fall a buddy and I took a pair of Mokis north to Vancouver Island and paddled out to a distant cape. It was late in the padding season and storms were a daily special.  We enjoyed a week of hot sand and BBQ salmon and the regular afternoon wind kicking up but then one morning Storm Force was the word from our VHF radio. By the time it hit the cape late the next day it had bumped up to Hurricane.

But we were set and looking forward to the blow.  I walked back to the edge of the rainforest and looked down at our camp. Each of us still had a personal domain at either end of the tunnel but in addition to that we had a strip of no man’s sand in between and the opportunity to interact. Back inside, as the gale continued, our Siamese shelter held up well — even the connecting hatch. By storm’s end, I felt more like I was in a sanctuary than a mere shelter.

The Chogri retains this marvelous coupling ability, albeit lighter and more simply; they join at the front vestibules with no extra panel required. It’s also double wall, much better for condensation issues more common at sea level than alpine. The fly is attached to the body making for quick and easy set up, handy in bad weather. The only drawbacks: it doesn’t let you remove the fly and split the load with a buddy, make drying time longer and makes a new fly replacement from the inevitable UV exposure difficult.

My experience with 4S attached fly tents (Hilleberg comes to mind) has been an inner tent that sags like a tired womb.  I like a taut tent, both fly and body and was happily surprised to find the Chogori so. As for setting up sans fly, on the coast I set up prepared for wind, rain and cooler nights and seldom run without a fly in place, so had no issue there, either.

Another plus: it sports two vestibules instead of one, allowing for boot room and kitchen (I’ve always felt that vestibules are a sea kayaker’s best friend). It’s also lean, hunkering 4” lower than the Nemo and weighing a pound less. The lower height (46”) reduces the wind profile but is still tall enough to sit up on a folded pad chair.

I took the Chogori on a multi-day kayak run down the John Day, a high desert river in the height of summer. Normally, I would have left the fly off if I’d had a choice but I was pleasantly surprised to discover how cool it slept in dry heat.  The tent felt adequately ventilated, even after shutting the top vent (which brings up my only real knock: the roof vents have no mosquito mesh). The idea was to keep the weight down but I feel the compromised utility outweighs the extra ounces saved.

Overall the Chogori felt more battle ready and a better fit for myself alone than its elder Moki, but the bigger upside may well be the overall improved comfort and utility. MSRP:  $849.95.

Info: https://www.nemoequipment.com/product/chogori/

Specs:

Capacity 3
Seasons 4
Minimum Weight 7 lb , 11 oz / 3.5 kg
Packed Weight 8 lb , 7 oz / 3.82 kg
Packed Size 19.0 x 9.5 in dia / 48 x 24 cm dia
Peak Height 46 in / 117 cm
Floor Area 44.3 sq ft / 4.1 sq m
Floor Dimensions 89 x 80 in / 226 x 204 cm
Vestibule Area 11.9 sq ft + 5.5 sq ft / 1.1 sq m + 0.5 sq m