User Review: The North Face Tadpole 23
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £150
Absolutely loved this tent for a few years (occasional/light use) — would be 5 star for this period — until I found the fly sheet had deteriorated with the waterproof seam-tape disintegrating and flaking off and the inner surface of the fly left feeling sticky, probably due to the glue from the seam tape? This brings my rating down to a generous 2 stars, and I will be chasing North Face for a replacement/solution.
- Low weight
- Nice design features
- Spacious vestibule
- Performed great in wind/wet for a few years
- Can feel cramped, but it's a lightweight backpacking tent so....
- MAJOR disintegration of the fly sheet waterproofing after a few years
I used a friend's previously and was very impressed so bought my own. I loved everything about this tent for a few years of occasional/light use. My experience in this period was:
- Very quick and easy to pitch
- Very stable and resistant to wind and rain
- Highly vented inner although the outer always gets heavy condensation adding to day-2 weight unless you shake it well dry
- I can't compare to other competitors but think that sleeping and storage space is an adequate compromise for a lightweight tent
- Packs very small and the weight can be divided nicely in 2 for expeditions
HOWEVER, on recent use, I found the described problem with the fly sheet which is causing it to leak (drips form seams) during wet weather. Some online research found several similar reports and I checked with another friend who bought one around the same time who had exactly the same issue.
I have always been extremely careful to dry the tent fully after use and have taken care of it. This is NOT an acceptable lifespan for an expensive product from a company like TNF. I could cope with a slow and gradual deterioration of performance over the years but a sudden and inexplicable failure like this (and apparently widespread) is not acceptable.
I will be pursuing this with TNF for a replacement fly sheet or other solution. I couldn't recommend or buy this tent again on this basis.