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Reviews for Sako Average Rating = 3.80/5 Average Rating : 3.80 out of 5

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Review 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: valeberga, 2005-06-14

You know this reminds me of the time I invented the first tent specially designed for rock climbers. 189 years ago, when the blood still ran hot through my veins and before the wispy fingers of father time haunted my bones, I was camped out beneath my what you little rock-spawn now call a "proj." Back in those days you couldn't just send the darn thing, you had to spend lots of time and patience waiting there under the rock, until finally, one day, when the rosy fingers of dawn tickled the landscape and the day's first eagle soared heavenward, you knew that your persistence had payed off, and the route was ready to be climbed. I had a colleague, a little axehandle of a man, by the name of Karl, who when the wind blew my intentions to endeavor accross the plains, would come to offer moral support to my not uncommonly lonely pennance. Now Karl always said that the way to convince a man that he was wrong was to tell him all the ways he was right. Well sometimes you win all your battles, and other times all of the ones you can win just run away. Back in those days a horse never looked you in the eye twice unless he meant to get on your good side, and a fencepost was the next best thing to your best friend. Getting along to my point, Karl would always complain about the rain, which if you'll believe it was wetter back then, and so I said to him that I had an idea for the first tent designed especially for rugged rock climbers like ourselves. I told Karl to lie real still, and before long I had enough rocks piled on top of him, that he couldn't feel the rain anymore. And best of all, my new tent wasn't going anywhere on account of any weather. After I helped Karl out of the tent I had the idea that we could bring the tent along with us, and so we divided it up into our packs on the way to the next destination. It then I reckoned that the tent was notably lighter than bringing out all the wood to build a cabin, so my vagabond companion and I realized then that this would be the future of wildcountry nomadry!

Review 1 out of 5 stars

Review by: landgolier, 2005-06-09

I don't own one, and maybe this should go in a thread and not a review, but let me get this straight: I give these guys five bills, and what I get is a 2 man single-wall tent that's only good for 3 season use and still weighs 6.25 pounds PLUS I get to carry a pump? Jesus, for that price do they get to kick me in the balls and feel up my girlfriend too? And this is "designed for the weight conscious backpacker who isn’t ready to sacrifice comfort"? My $100 eureka weighs less than that and looks brand new after 2 pretty heavy seasons of use. If I ever get caught in 80 mph winds, I'll buy another one, and still have enough money left over for a rack of aliens. I hope the profit margins are at least good on these things so that they make plenty of money off of the dumbass yuppies who put this thing in the back of their SUV for one night of car camping at a NPS site with a full RV hookup.

I have spoken.

UPDATE: we now know that this $500 tent can survive a WHOLE 9 DAYS! Sweet jesus, will wonders never cease? Still a dumb idea at an even dumber price, not sure why they didn't call it the Delorean. It's like they asked a guy, hey what would be a good feature in a tent, and then whacked him in the head with a shovel, and he said "well, if you could make the poles automatically get less rigid as soon as bad weather rolls in, that would be sweet. Yeah, I'd pay $500 for that."

Review 4 out of 5 stars

Review by: noell, 2005-06-09

I do not own one of these tents. But I saw one! Someone had one at Roger's just last weekend at the NRG. We were all like, whoa look at that tent! Will it survive the weekend?? Well, it survived the first night. But by the time we got back from climbing on Sunday we were all sad to see it deflated and on the ground. I'd love to know what happened to that tent! We were all sad to see it's lifeless form on Roger's grass.

EDIT: July 12, 2005

The Sako Follows the South to Utah!

When I reported a few months back that I’d been witness to a Nemo tent gone bad (I saw one of their tents at the New River Gorge in West Virginia after it had unfortunately experienced a malfunction of some sort and was flat on the ground), the owner of the company contacted me. He offered to let me borrow one of their tents if I were to write a review of it. He informed me that the tent I saw at the New was one of his older models, prior to much innovation, and that the newer models had characteristics that prevented the same malfunction from happening.

My mind was swimming. The very next week I was to leave for a 10 day climbing trip in Maple Canyon Utah. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to borrow a tent to take for the trip! I propositioned Nemo and they accepted. I eagerly awaited the arrival of the Sako tent.

Of course, the countdown to my trip moved about as quickly as a snail on hot payment. Finally, the tent came, and I opened the box in my living room, determined to know everything I needed to know before I was in the wilderness of Utah attemping to blow up the tent in darkness. I laid out the contents of the Fedex box. At first I was a little overwhelmed – thinking, how is little –dis-mechanically-inclined-me going to figure out how to use this air pump and blow up this tent? As soon as I got to work it became easy. Attach pump. Pump. Easy! As the tent took shape, I realized that staking the tent is very important for the tent to have structure and shape. So… some sand bags I use for weighted pull ups, a rocking chair and a door handle were my make shift stakes (the tent had stakes but I wasn’t about to put stakes into my wood floors!) and wha-la! A Sako tent! Sort of. But I knew what to do and went about folding the tent up nice and neat and preparing for departure!

We left for Utah on a Friday. We arrived at our campsite on a Saturday morning, with most of our fellow climbers still slumbering. Sako set up went smoothly, with half a dozen on lookers oogling at the unique tent, asking questions.

Now was the real test. Could the Sake survive the now 9 day climbing trip? Wind, rain, storms… bears… mountain lions… climber filth.

Did it? Yes! Temps varied from down-jacket-temps in the morning to climb-in-bikini-top-weather in the afternoon and the tent survived. Winds got up one night as a brief storm rolled through – and the tent survived. We climbers were in and out and up and down, clean and filthy, sweaty and freezing – and the tent survived.

We had a fantastic trip, and the Sako was a great tent to have with us. It was roomy with a ton of leg room (my almost 6 foot climbing partner appreciated the space for sure) and enough head space to sit up easily and change clothes. It fit easily into our checked baggage (the tent fit into a more compact bag since it doesn't have any poles) and made it back to North Carolina in one piece.

Review 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: jer, 2005-06-09

Eleven years ago, I had my first visit to Red Rocks, Nevada. I was 19, wide-eyed, and full of ideas. My pockets, however, weren’t so full and I landed in sin city without a sleeping bag, a tent, or a penny to my name. My eyes were set on the classic climbs, though, and 30–degree November nights weren’t going to stop me. I balled up fetus style into the trunk of my friends rented Dodge Neon, pulled a fleece jacket over my legs and shivered through every night, praying for dawn so I could warm up, rack up and hit the rock.

2005 is a much better scene for me, although ironically still low on funds, but just as psyched on the sweet, red stone. This time I arrived in Vegas in style. I have my own (company paid) rental car, a warm bag, and a fancy new tent that looks like a space sub station. This was my first time out with the Sako, and I was excited to try it out. The first thing I noted was the weight. I am a diehard weight counter/cutter, and much to my wife’s disappointment, any shelter over 3 lbs usually doesn’t make it into the pack. However, marriage is about flexibility, and I am willing to try new things. It doesn’t get much “newer” than Nemo’s recent air supported shelter technology. After inflating the Sako, it’s instantly apparent where the weight comes from; this thing is cush and packed full of innovation. My wife smiles. No more “tarp tentin” for us. She has seen the light. And me too…sort of.

In less than a minute, the supports were inflated and we were dumping sleeping garb inside. I appreciated the large, arching side doors for two reasons: one- being able to stand up while I undressed barefoot, and two, being able to see the stars through the ceiling without having to lie on my side. The enormous vestibule easily accepted our two packs, dirty shoes, and cookware. Laying down I noticed something I haven’t ever had in a shelter before. Room. I had a Chevy Sprint in high school that I am fairly certain I could park inside the Sako. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but coming from a sordid history of bantamweight alpine tube tents, I felt like a king!

Despite it’s glorious expansiveness, I was concerned on how it would hold up in the elements, due to its largely unilateral support system. Little did I know how quickly my concerns were to be proven unwarranted. A portion of my nine days in Vegas was spent at the “Red Rock Rendezvous”, hosted by M-gear. Various sponsors set up their booths and show off their latest gadgetry, while festival goers take clinics from the pros. I manned my booth during the day and chose to sleep behind it each night in my Sako to keep an eye on “the goods”. The weather had been finicky all weekend, with short wind storms, and the frequent squall; but nothing too intense.

The Sako was great in the rain, and when the wind picked up, I cinched the vestibule down tight and slept like a…bear(in my experience, babies never sleep very well). The last night of the event, mother nature had a surprise for us. In the Sako, we definitely heard the extreme wind outside, but saw no evidence of it affecting our little green space ship. It stood stout, and although concerned by the sounds of chairs falling over, we didn’t see any reason for concern. At 1:30 AM, a shout came from outside- “ALL HANDS ON DECK!!”

We hopped up, put on our digs and zipped open the doors. We were shocked at the site. The windstorm was still raging and had completely obliterated the entire festival. All easy-ups were thrashed; canopies hurled into the desert and frames demolished. The Sako was surrounded by destruction, but stood firm in the reported 80 mile an hour winds. We even had a 10 x 10 foot aluminum tent frame that crashed right next to our tent, but we slept through it. Needless to say, Sako passed the wind test with “flying” colors.

Nine nights in the Sako has spoiled me. The weight was never a true concern, as we camped within sight of our car on all but one night. I definitely can see using it on short backpacking trips, where we build a lush base camp, but will probably continue with my micro tents for alpine endeavors. Alpine climbing is about suffering anyway, isn’t it? I now see the light that short backpacking outings and car camping doesn’t have to be.

Review 4 out of 5 stars

Review by: j_ung, 2005-06-08

[b]Full Disclosure: The company that manufactured this equipment LOANED it to to review. This company does not currently advertise on[/b]

When I say, “inflatable,” what do you think of, a kiddie pool? How about water wings? Helium balloon? Blow-up doll? Certainly not tent.

Well, let me introduce you to another term: AirSupported™. That’s NEMO’s proprietary language for what you may call an “inflatable tent,” but they call serious shelter for serious outdoorspeople.

Founded in 2002 (keep the finding-Nemo jokes to yourself, please), NEMO aims to change the way we think about tents. In the Sako, they’ve taken simple shelter back to the drawing board and produced what many think is revolutionary. Indeed, a peek at NEMO’s littany of design awards is enough to turn even the most obstinate head: 2004 Summer OR Best of Show Pick; 2004 ISPO BrandNew Award; the Chicago Athenaeum’s Good Design Award and an ID Magazine Design Distinction Award.

Here’s one more: the J_ung No-Really, It-Actually-Works Award. The Sako’s simplicity and ease of use are right in line with what I expected when
Chris Dickey, NEMO’s Director of Marketing, told me flatly, “it’s simple and easy to use”. And its AirSupported™ tech is only part of the story.

[i]Sako's main airbeam, inside the tent.[/i]
[i]And its redundant airbeam on the outside.[/i]

According to Dickey, who used to serve as Marketing and Circulation Coordinator for Alpinist Magazine, NEMO’s vision at it’s inception was to examine the humble (and not-so-humble) tent and then make the best solutions possible for the problem of portable shelter outdoors.

That’s all well and good, but my first thought when I heard about AirSupported™ tents was very basic: “How sturdy are these things?” And indeed, despite reading all the hoo-ha about design awards and engineering genius, the true truckliness of this tent isn’t fully apparent until one sees it in person and sets it up. This is no toy.


I erected my Sako (sounds dirty, I know) and circled it warily, like a wolf sizing up prey. My dog, Louis, looked on in apathy. “Damn…” I muttered as I prodded an airbeam. Louis seemed unimpressed. “That’s pretty cool…” I mumbled as I fingered a zipper. Louis was unfazed. “I wonder…” I mused as I glanced sidelong at Louis. Still, she didn’t seem to care until I swept her off the ground and approached the tent. Resigned to her fate, she sighed as I placed her gingerly atop the Sako. Slowly, I released my grip on the dog. “Stay, Louis. Stay. Good girl.” I let her go and the Sako… collapsed.

What did you expect? I put a 25-poung dog on top of it. But here’s the cool part. As soon as Louis scrambled off the Sako – pop! – it righted itself completely. The Sako’s a three-season tent, so if you’re in a blinding blizzard with it, you probably didn’t check the weather report. But if snow does accumulate on the Sako, just smack it around a little and the tent regains its shape, one hundred percent. In high wind… I’m talking huff-and-puff, blow-your-house-down wind… Well, let’s just say it’s not an issue. The Sako isn’t going anywhere.

The Sako’s only weakness here is the fact that it isn’t free standing. Under normal conditions, it isn’t a problem, but this tent needs good ground to be as solid as possible. In soft soil or on rocky terrain, support from below isn’t a given. The brawny YKK water resistant zippers – a necessity for single-wall tents – are actually strong enough to yank a stake out of loose soil when pulled carelessly.

NEMO designed stake loops specifically to hold a stake firmly sideways for placement under rocks. Just make sure those rocks are beefy or sacrifice some peace of mind.

My second thought when I heard about the Sako was, “What happens when you pop an air bladder?” The Sako’s airbeam is actually two airbeams, a small one stacked atop a large. If one pops, the theory is that the other will lend enough support for you to still get a good night’s sleep. All NEMO’s AirSupported™ tents come with replacement bladders, which are shockingly easy to install. The sleeves that house the bladders have openings at both ends. Simply tie the new bladder onto the old and pull it through. Truthfully, though, you won’t need to replace a bladder. The sleeve is tough enough to resist an errant pocketknife, not to mention tent stakes and your dog’s teeth. You’d have to try to pop one.

To set the Sako up, stake it out, affix the pump and let ‘er rip. And here’s the kicker: NEMO was thoughtful enough to design the inflation valve to be accessed from both inside and outside the tent. Driving rain? No problem! Stake it out, crawl inside like it’s a bivy bag and start pumping.

Since human lungs are not capable of inflating the Sako to its required PSI, a pump is required equipment. However, NEMO does not include a pump with their tents, which seems a little thoughtless for such a thoughtful design house. With a couple different pump models available, they opted to let folks choose which one best suits their needs. Personally, I think the foot pump is the way to go; it’s hands down faster than the “integrated pump”.


With all of the high technology the Sako employs, it’s easy to overlook a few features that also go into making it such a thoughtful shelter. The
Sako is a single-walled tent, which makes it even easier to set up. NEMO attacked the single-wall condensation problem with aggressive ventilation (four vents) and three entry points, all of which double as mesh windows under clear skies and mild temps. It’s got a generous vestibule and ample internal storage for gadgets, water bottles and midnight snacks.

With its obvious craftsmanship and thoughtful simplicity, it’s hard not to imagine the Sako becoming a popular tent. Still NEMO is playing it a little safe by producing only a small first run – 250 units of each model. Currently The Sako is available at IME in North Conway, NH, Marmot Mountain Works in Seattle and on NEMO’s own website, which really shouldn’t be missed if you want to dive deeper into their AirSupported™ technology.

Just to set the record straight, the Sako is too expensive to use as a kiddie pool. I don’t know if you can use it as a personal floatation device, but I assume so, and I’m not sure what would happen if you filled it with helium instead of air. Feel free to use it as a blow-up doll if you’re into that sort of thing, but don’t go crying to NEMO if you pop an airbeam.

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