User Review: The North Face Tadpole 23
I think I have the 2004 model of this tent, as I can't remember exactly when I got it. Overall I love this little backpacking tent. As a summer camp trip leader my tent is where I live for the summer. I also have lived out of this tent on drives cross country.
The tent is light for a 2-person tent, and in a pinch you can *just* squeeze 3 people in, as long as everyone rolls over at the same time. It is *tight* but doable. I have gotten to the point where I can set or break camp in under 5 minutes, which is useful when guiding a group of kids or when constantly on the move, getting in late at night and heading off early in the morning.
It is important to tighten down the fly properly, which is the problem I suspect some of the reviewers have had. It has held up well to very high winds and driving rain. Again, with the latter, make sure you tighten down the fly properly.
I have spent a lot of time using this tent as a "solo plus gear" tent. I am currently looking for a solo tent, as I'm tired of schlepping around an extra 2.5 pounds, but the extra gear space is quite useful. This is a fairly short tent. I am 5'8" and have no problems, but can see how people in the 6'+ range would have problems.
The vestibule is fairly large, and if you are careful it is possible to pee under it in rain storms, keeping you dry.
I have had some condensation issues on the floor of this tent, but mainly when there were 3 of us packed in during a torrential downpour.
When pitched without the fly most of the tent is mesh, which is great for hot, mosquito filled nights in the north woods. Directly overhead is mesh, allowing for a great view of the night sky.