User Review: The North Face Tadpole 23
Design: Three-Season Freestanding Dome
Ease of Setup: Very easy setup
Weight: approx 20 pounds
Price Paid: $200
I bought a Tadpole about 15 years ago and it's still going strong. Easy and fast to set up. You can pre-attatch the poles tothe tet before you set out for faster set up. If you're camping on a dry weekend, save the weight by pitching the fly only. The poles velcro to the fly so you can leave the tent behind if you like.
The only problem I've had with this tent is water wicking up through the webbing at the foot of the tent in very heaavy rains. It's never much more that a couple of tablespoons of water though. Keep the tent clean and store it dry and it will last you a long time. A great freestanding tent with a great weight-to-space ratio.
Update: September 19, 2011
I bought this tent 20 years ago when I first got out of college. Since then I've been in all sorts of rainstorms and the tent has kept me dry for the most part. In the heaviest rain it can spray a drop or two from the apex of the cross hoop.
Also, I had to seam seal the entire seam along the base of the tent as well as where the webbing is sewn into the base. If you don't, water will wick through and leave about a tablespoon of water. You have to be careful getting in and out when it's wet because rain can drip off the fly and into the tent.
Overall, it's a snug but comfortable fit inside. I bought this tent because I wanted the lightest freestanding tent I could buy. It's very easy to set up. On the model I have, you can even stuff the tent with the poles attached. Makes setup a breeze.
For 20 years it has held up pretty good. The elastic in the door pulls is shot but they still work fine. I have one snag on the netting on the door but it's too small to worry with. I've had not issues with the fly. I hit it with some silicone spray every year or so but nothing major. Last time I set it up I did notice a tiny crack near where two of the tent poles meet. It's not worth fixing yet though.
Overall, I've been happy with the performance of the tent. I would refer something with a bit more interior room though.