User Review: The North Face Tadpole 23
Design: 3 season free standing
Ease of Setup: very easy and fast even with low visibility
Weight: 4-5 lbs
I will dispute every bad review I've read about this tent: I bought my first Tadpole tent in the late 1980s. It was one of the first freestanding tents made, originally rated as a 1.5 person tent. The design has changed minimally over the years with added foot space and pole attachment changes.
I had this tent until 2006 when the nylon finally started to fall apart from extended exposure from 20 years of use on adventure surf camping trips solo and double throughout the Pac-Northwest, Alaska, Europe, North Africa, the Central and South American tropics and deserts during winter and summer as well as spring-fall backpacking in the High Sierra, Cascades and Andes.
I put this tent to the test in very high winds, storms, heavy tropical downpours, hot and cold, dry and humid climates, pitched in wet depressions,rough surfaces, odd angles; anywhere and everywhere. This tent never leaked even when partially submerged or in the heaviest tropical downpours and never caved in high winds. I experienced minor condensation at times but nothing unexpected for the conditions.
The vestibule is large, two people can sleep easily though a little tight, one large person can easily lounge inside comfortably with a backpack and gear for long periods. Set up is quick and simple. This tent has excellent geometry for high wind stability and low weight but shaves overhead and lower leg space to achieve this.
Any trade-offs in function vs comfort are well worth it if you want the high versatility for weight this tent offers. Buy this tent for one person solo camping anywhere in comfort (except snow) or for two who want to go very light and don't mind getting close!!!