Disappointing for a North Face product. Design and…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $299
Disappointing for a North Face product. Design and engineering are flawed and thoughtless. I question who REALLY designed this product.
- Easy setup
- Gear loft integrated
- Good color
- Didn't leak
- Low condensation
Before I slam this tent, please know I only used it on a three-night winter camping trip, maybe not ideal for this tent's purpose. But c'mon, it has the North Face name and I've winter camped in $99 tents with better performance.
Setup is pretty straight forward. I did set it up indoors to practice (of course).
Conditions: Setup night was about 36 degrees and rain. Dug about 12" of snow to create our pad. Next days were dry and a high of 25 and low of 0. Light winds.
Bottom line: I have a NF HIM 35 expedition tent that I'll use normally when winter camping. Great, great tent — EXCEPT, it's a big deal to set up. Just a lot of parts. So I saw this 3-season NF and took a shot. Less than excited.
Getting things somewhat taut on the fly is more important in winter wind conditions. Besides the noise, less for Mother Nature to grab onto means greater overall success (think drag in car design). The pole design on this tent, when you set the guy-lines, you actully compress in the sides, so you get a big bow of fabric on the inside. OK, so maybe I don't use the tradition "V" config for the lines (2-lines to one stake)and sort of pull them "apart" to straighten the poles. Then the lines are sort of in the way of the doors.
My engineer buddy and I looked this thing over and tried many different ways. We just couldn't get the fly tight or the body flat. Maybe it was us.
Another thing that just leads me to wonder about this tent. When winter camping, I open the screen D-door all the way to make way for easier access to vestibule storage (no bugs). So you unzip the doors all the way, but when you tie them off, you actually need to pull hard on the screening, pulling against the zipper. Like your stressing the zipper. 1" more of zipper would have eliminated this. Not a big deal, but just, what were they thinking.
There were a few other things, but overall, I came away thinking this was designed by someone who didn't really use it to camp much. Or, something changed between design and production.
The next business day, I returned the tent. North Face DOES have a great return policy, thank goodness.