I tend to have the best sleep while bikepacking. I don’t know if it’s from the physical exhaustion, spending my days in the elements, or just my body and mind feeling at ease in nature. Probably a combination, but either way I’ll take it. After spending over a year with a sleep system by NEMO, I was excited to hear about their new kit designed specifically with bikepacking in mind. NEMO Equipment is the only general outdoor gear company that is designing and marketing gear specifically for the bikepacking community. Their “Ultimate Bikepacking” kit consists of three parts, the Apollo 3 Bikepacking Tent, Escape Pod Bivy and the Moonwalk Down Sleeping Bag. Below are our first impressions on the individual parts, as well as the kit as a whole.

Apollo 3 Bikepacking Tent – $249.95 The Apollo is a floorless pentagonal shaped tent that accommodates up to three people, or one person and a bike. The minimalist design allows bikepackers to save weight while providing the security of a shelter. The product comes with 5 lightweight stakes, an adjustable aluminum pole, and a tarp that allows for a 57 square foot floor area. NEMO also included a guy-out cord in case you want to leave the pole at home, you can anchor the Apollo from above using a tree or other object. The tarp has adjustable loop holes on each end for the stakes, so that you can create a snug fit no matter what the terrain. The minimum weight on the product is 1 lb,. 5 oz. Nemo First Look-02324 We received the tent in the mail about 24 hours before we departed on our overnight trip. We pulled everything out with excitement and packed the fly, stakes and poles in our bike bags, leaving the stuff sack behind.  We took a risk and left the directions at home, and we had absolutely no problems with setting it up once we were at camp. The set up involved laying out the entire tarp, staking down 4 of the 5 corners, and then using the un-staked vestibule area to slide the pole into the center of the tent. Once we had the pole in place, we adjusted the stake locations and the length of the pole and we were set to go. The Apollo stayed in place and kept us dry throughout the night during wind and a bit of rain.

Escape Pod Bivy – $119.95 The Escape Pod Bivy is a unique type of bikepacking shelter that can be used either on it’s own or under a tarp, such as the Apollo. The Escape pod utilizes NEMO’s unique AST airbeam technology in place of a pole, which allows the integrated bug netting to loft in a dome over your head. The airbeam technology is much lighter weight than a pole, and allows for an extremely seamless set up. The bivy is designed for the top corners to be staked down, and there is a zipper to allow easy entry and exit. One thing that sets this bivy apart from the traditional is it’s length. This bivy is 2/4 length and would not be appropriate to use alone in a wet climate, as it simply drawstrings around your core and does not provide waterproof or water resistant coverage for the length of the body. While it provides a barrier for the bugs, it doesn’t serve as a shelter for the elements or cold. The bivy is very lightweight and packs down to the size of a graperfruit and weights only 7 oz. The Escape Pod is meant mostly for defense against bugs. Nemo First Look-02287
Nemo First Look-02285
Nemo First Look-02298 The Escape Pod bivy requires a very simple set up. Inflating the airbeam takes about three deep breaths, and once that is inflated the rest is self-explanatory. While we didn’t feel like we needed the bug defense in early spring at high altitudes, we used it anyways and were comfortable. There was a chance for rain that night, so if we hadn’t had the Apollo tent to protect from that, we would have wished for a full length bivy to protect from getting wet. If we wanted to try this bivy alone, I think we would use it in conjunction with a regular full size bivy, which wouldn’t really end up saving weight, but it would all depend on weather and bug conditions.

Moonwalk Down Sleeping Bag – $279.95 After falling in love with the NEMO Tango Solo down comforter backless sleeping quilt over the last year, I was very excited to see if I felt the same way about the Moonwalk. Having never used a tub style sleeping bag before, I was interested about the concept of being inside a standard sleeping bag, but without the extra weight of the full fabric on the bottom. NEMO’s tub design is completely waterproof and is meant to be used directly on the ground. The sleeping pad loads from above into the tub, and while it was a little snug to push in, once it was in place it was perfect. Nemo First Look-02296 As someone who often feels constricted in narrow sleeping bags, I felt very comfortable in the Moonwalk and was able to move around easily. The Moonwalk is insulated with a 700 Fill Power DownTek and has a 30 degree rating. It retained my body heat very well throughout the night and I was toasty even on a chilly night. Coming in at 2 lb., 2 oz., the Moonwalk didn’t pack down as small as I would have liked. I think my judgement has been slightly skewed, however, due to the fact that I was using the Tango Solo for so long which has no back at all, and weighs only 1 lb., 13 oz. I was, however, much warmer in the Moonwalk as opposed to the Tango Solo – even though their temperature rating is the same. Bikepacking Kit as a Whole As a whole, NEMO’s Ultimate Bikepacking Kit used together is all you need for a bikepacking sleep system, and then some. It covers the scope of environments and protects you from the elements no matter where you are adventuring. Stay tuned for our long-term review of the kit.

7 Comments

  1. Basically… $650 for a tarp, bug net and summer bag… c’mon Nemo you ain’t getting my money that easy.

  2. Peter Mac

    Mmmm, not sure this whole bike packing thing is actually valid as a 5 Star accommodating concept.
    Nemo, good luck. Unfortunately there’s a BIG difference between comfy sheets and a rocky ground to sleep on.
    I want to rough it out with stuff that has no faffing around and is not so dam expensive.
    Ideas are fab. Making them work is the interesting part. Top marks for the experiment, please carry on regardless.
    Ciao
    Peter Mac.

  3. John Shannon

    Just discovered this website. Nice review of the Apollo. It’s lighter than the ole Golite Hex/Shangrila 3.

  4. I’ve owned NEMO stuff before, so I’m already a fan of their quality and durability. I think I’ll pass on the Moonwalk, but may give the tarp and bivy a try. I could save nearly three pounds and a lot of space on the bike if it works out well.

  5. really not sure why this qualifies as “made for bikepacking” or even “designed with bikepacking in mind.” Looks entirely like pre-existing designs and product that they tried labeling as bikepacking gear to see if anyone would bite.

    Might be great stuff, but just the premise is suspicious.

  6. Nice intro, but a comment like “The minimum weight on the product is 1 lb,. 5 oz.” really has no value unless you detail what the weight includes. Nemo’s website is no better as suggests the minimum weight include fly and pump etc if applicable, it clearly isn’t.

    Weight is one detail most people desire accurate information about but you may as well have just copy and pasted from the website.

    I am sorry this is negative criticism in that it highlights something missing but positive in that it offers a way to improve.

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