User Review: The North Face Solo 12
Design: 2/3 three season 2 pole.
Ease of Setup: Very quick & easy
Weight: 1 kilo
Price Paid: £85 (thanks e-bay!)
I'd been after this light-weight tent for a while and picked up a bargian earlier this year on e-bay. The Solo has the quality and features that you'd expect from North Face. I've used it a number of times whilst wildcamping in Cornwall and The Lakes this summer. If you get hold of one I'd advise that you also buy the footprint for it too. This single skin, 2-3 season tent is good but it's not perfect.
It's good, quality kit and is well made using high-spec materials considering its price. This tent is light - around 1 kilo and packs down small easily fitting into or under most rucksacks (I use a Berghaus 50L Freeflow). It's a stable little tent, especially when you consider it uses only two poles and a couple of guy ropes. I've found the Solo is easily to throw up, even in a bit of a breeze or in the dark. I call it my 'posh bivvi' and it's nice that you can sit up in it. There's plenty of space inside for you and all of your kit and I expect two people could cram in at a push.
On the down side . . . Some of the hype about the Solo is that its venting prevents a build up of condensation. I've found that this only works about half of the time. You won't wake up soaking, just a little damp in places! When it does work you'll find yourself tucked up in your sleeping bag with a mild breeze blowing across your face all night!
It's a shame the door doesn't have a mozzie net and it could do with an additional loop to tie it back but with this would come a few extra g of weight I suppose.
You lack any sort of porch so lack storage / cooking space and when you open up you're straight out into the elements - a pain if it's throwing it down. One final, minor niggle is that there are no internal pockets, I'd have been happy with just one to stow my torch or watch.
Overall I'm happy with it, no doubt it works better in a bit of a breeze and it's a good little tent to do a night or two wildcamping in the summer.