User Review: The North Face Mountain 25
Source: bought via a "pro deal"
Price Paid: $150
A Swiss Army Knife of a tent.
- Can be used for the other three seasons
- Can withstand a lot more than you can
- Good use of space
- Bright interior keeps you from killing your tent mate
- Great vestibule
- A little heavy, but bullet proof
Throwing in my 2c for anyone considering this tent, although I can't speak to the new and improved Mountain 25 (since mine is probably 15 years old) I can at least sing its praises.
If you are scouring the web looking for firsthand testimony for a new, or your first, four-season tent you really can't do any better (IMHO) than this one. I'm the type of person who likes things to be multifunctional or jack of all trades, especially gear. The Mountain 25 is a VERY capable shelter from Summer in the Appalachian Mountains to Winter in the Cascades, it does its job and does it very well.
It may not be the lightest, but if you split the body and fly between you and your partner you can each carry a bag that's half the pack size of the BD Tempest, 3LBS heavier — or 1.5LBS between two — and you can set it up from the outside and not risk poking the poles through the tent floor or tent walls (if 3 LBS is a big deal, put you money to better use and join a gym).
"But I need to go super duper light, since that's what all the cool kids are doing" you say. I use to think the same thing (still kind of do) so I went out and purchased a BD FirstLight single walled, 3LB tent/bivy. A few months later I find myself perched on the side of Mt. Hood during a particular nasty winter storm. Now I'm no stranger to snow, crappy weather, suffering, etc.., but that was/is the only time in my life where I've sat fully clothed in my tent just waiting to blow away. It didn't blow away and I lived, but if it hadn't survived I doubt that I would have either.
For comparison, my partner in suffering and I found ourselves on yet again on Mt. Hood, in yet another crappy winter storm — like I said I'm no stranger to suffering, but this time with the Mountain 25 tent split between us. The winds were so strong that my buddy had to lay on the tent body to so I could thread the poles (wearing expedition mitts) through the sleeves; it's possible to set up the tent in high winds by yourself, but you need to anchor the corners out first.
Once the tent was up we crawled inside for the next two days. We cooked (in the vestibule which also housed our winter packs and boots), ate, slept, played cards, read, stared, etc... all with the confines of our happy place on the side of Hood. Not once did the tent even flinch in the wind, in fact the the bright interior color and ample livable space made the stay quite pleasant.
- I spent a week on Mt Rodgers, VA during a period of rain that was so intense my partner and I had to yell to be heard. The tent leaked not a drop.
- I lived for a Summer in the woods in West Virginia while working as a white water raft guide. The double doors, but more importantly the double mesh doors, were perfect for allowing air to circulate through the tent, keeping the bugs and unbearable humidity at bay.
- It has survived numerous sea kayaking tours throughout the East, South and Pacific NW.
Once during a week long trip through the Everglades we were hit by a storm that had straight line winds that were so strong we had to guy the tent out to the kayaks just to keep it and us from blowing away. Just imagine siting on an ideal white sandy beach in the sun looking South towards Cuba when you see what looks to be a black line drawn across the horizon with a sharpie marker — I mean black as in the absence of white — not gray/black.
Within a minute it's as if Mother Nature decided that this is the moment that she wants to rid the world of everything peaceful and nice — aka Hell followed the white horse and you were the last man standing. What do you want to retreat to, a tent that's so specialized unless at 20,000ft you're going to sweat to death and drown in your own condensation, or a tent that can hang with any tent at 20,000ft, BUT still covers your a** during all of your other mad capped adventures too?
For solo stuff there may be better options, but nothing (at least that I've found) that isn't a compromise in some way, shape or form for year round use.
At $530 bucks this thing's a bargain for what you get; think of it as the LandCruiser FJ 55 of tents, no matter what stupid adventure ideas you and your friends come up with (always after a few too many), this tent will keep up (unlike your buddies) and look good doing it!
I payed $150 through a pro-deal back in the day, but I wouldn't hesitate to pay full price today.
Don't listen to the haters!