A customer (DD from Illinois) emailed today to ask how we define packaged weight. Good question, since it is not as straightforward as one might think.
As of 2011 product, NEMO defines min/packaged weight as the following:
Packaged weight: the total weight of all the included pieces/parts/components shipped with a tent from the factory including stuff sack, tent body, fly, extra vestibule, poles, gear lofts, gear caddies, pole sleeve, repair kit, instructions, tags, stickers, plastic bag that protects it from dust, rubber bands wrapped around poles, etc.
Minimum weight: the total weight of the tent body, poles (if applicable), and fly (if applicable). In the case of airbeam supported tents, we count the airbeam and pump in the minimum weight since there are no poles. Stakes, stuff sack, guy lines, extra vestibules, etc are not included. Basically, these are the bare essentials that you would need to make a weatherproof/waterproof shelter.
Pre 2011, we used to define packaged weight differently. We defined it as all the parts and pieces you would take with you if you were going camping in a realistic and reasonable manner. Which means, you would take the stuff sack, only one vestibule (not two different options as you might get on a tent like Espri 2P/3P), repair kit, stakes, guy lines. But we wouldn't include hangtag, stickers, plastic bag that it comes in. I think this pre-2011 definition is much more realistic, but it didn't conform to industry norms (i.e. REI), so it was causing confusion with our customers.
As an example, Espri 2P has a minimum weight of 3 lb, 7 oz (which we list in 2010 as 3.5 lbs). The packaged weight in 2010 says 3.8 lbs. For 2011, the packaged weight is 4 lbs, 10 ounces. Nothing has changed with the tent but remember this tent comes with 2 different vestibule options, a gear loft, etc. When you add in the stickers, hangtag, and every little other piece of minutiae we include, this really bumps up the weight. Like I mentioned before, I'm not convinced packaged weight is a helpful number in itself to base your purchase decision (and actually discourages manufacturers from including extras like removable gear lofts, stickers, or even extensive instructions.) So make sure you understand what is included in each weight when you compare head to head.