The North Face Trailhead 4



Love it. This review only applies to the 2009 Trailhead…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Design: Freestanding with vestibule
Sleeps: 4
Ease of Setup: Very, two big poles
Price Paid: $350

Love it. This review only applies to the 2009 Trailhead 4 which is a little hard to find right now for some reason.

General description: as good as a basic 4 person tent gets. It doesn't have multiple rooms, cup holders, or other fancy things. It's a box. But, it's a beautiful box. The light color for the 2009 is light and makes the interior of the tent a nice place to read a book. The windows zip up and it has a full coverage fly. For a 6' tall tent, that is as snug and warm as you're going to get. The roomy front vestibule comes with its own pole and really extends the feel of tent (it is so large I put it over a small 3' tree on it's first run), so I had a tree in my tent.

* Very easy to set up, two big poles and 5 minutes
* Warm, most of the other 4 person tents have huge open panels that don't zip up or close. This tent has 2 big doors , two windows and a top vent and all of the side openings can be battened down on cold or rainy nights. I would trust this tent in a windy downpour completely.
* Really well designed front vestibule, makes the tent much larger. Nice rear vestibule for gear.
* Light color (tan?) walls and fly make the tent really bright and nice to be in, not at all cave like
* 6' tall means anyone who doesn't play basketball can stand up to change.
* Fits a queen size bed plus room for gear. Get the gearloft as well for knikknacks (unless your the aforementioned basketball player)
* Roomy for 2 people, comfy for 2 people and a child. Like all 4 person tents, if 4 people are in there that is it.

Cons: None that would make me regret getting it. A couple of minor comments.

Floor: don't fully trust the floor material, although no problems yet. It's heavy duty nylon, while most companies are going with polyesters now that just feel more durable. Definitely get the footprint, I am bringing a hefty tarp to throw under it if the ground is at all sketchy.

Boxy: Throw in a cup holder or the tiniest bit of sex appeal and this would blow some of the new fancy tents off the market. How about putting an optional screen and a floor on the vestibule to create a porch? I would have paid another 50+ bucks for that and it would have basically doubled the size of the tent.

How It Compares, REI Kingdom 4:
I first purchased the new 2009 REI Kingdom 4 Tent. There were a lot of great design features to that like all REI products, but it had two critical flaws 1) the rain fly only extended a couple of inches below the screens 2) none of the huge open panels closed. One night in the Redwoods in Spring of near bone breaking cold (the tent was colder than outside) and with the slightest breeze blowing straight through your soul: I returned that and went for The North Face Trailhead 4.

Note: This review pertains to the 2009 Trailhead 4 Tent, the 2008 is a different (darker) color, so disregard those comments if it's not this year's.

Happy Camping


A very satisfactory 3.5-season tent for car camping.

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Don't remember


A very satisfactory 3.5-season tent for car camping. Good headroom. Good ventilation. Good privacy. Good quality.


  • Square footprint means good usable space
  • Good ventilation during hot days. Good cover during rain.
  • Highest quality construction. Has lasted years.
  • Holds two full size army cots and a table
  • All screened doors and windows have zipper covers for privacy
  • North Face repaired a bent pole for free.


  • Takes 12 tent stakes to pitch—30 minutes.
  • Large rainfly difficult for one man in high wind
  • Duffle storage bag needs more robust zipper
  • Heavy, weighs about 20 lbs

I have now camped for five years in the Trailhead 4. I have experienced weather extremes, from 20 above zero to 95° heat and humidity. Lots of thunderstorms and frontal passages. A few all day rains. In all cases, the tent interior has been dry, stable, and secure.

Lots of screened area for the hot days. Everything buttons up for the cold nights. I either have two full-sized army cots and a tub for a table, or one cot, a chair, and a camp table. A nice vestibule for storing my muddy boots and wet stuff. My wife appreciates the ability to zip nylon panels over any or all screened windows and doors for privacy (from the inside).

I use the North Face groundcloth and have had no issues with cuts, tears, or leakage. The tent itself requires only 4 stakes and goes up fast. The rain fly—which also incorporates the vestibule—requires an additional 8 stakes.  It is very large and easier to emplace with a helper. There are also additional guying ropes, but I have never had to use them.

In moderate weather, I usually roll up the front and rear doors on the fly. If it starts to rain,  I can release them in a matter of a minute or two. Setup and teardown require about 20-30 minutes each. It's a lot of nylon to stuff in the duffle bag!

This is my third North Face tent. I find the quality and attention to detail really pays off when you are out there in harsh elements. I expect this tent to last another five years of enjoyable camping.


Welcome to Trailspace, Mr. Ed. Thanks for your tent review. Sounds like a good investment.

6 months ago

Thanks for the review, Ed! It sounds like your TNF tent has treated you well. I'd love to see some pictures of it in your review.

6 months ago

If you are looking for a quality 4 person tent, with…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Design: three season cabin style
Sleeps: 4
Ease of Setup: Very Easy
Weight: 20 lbs
Price Paid: $299

If you are looking for a quality 4 person tent, with 6 foot peak, full rain fly, and roomy vestibule, this is your tent! Perfect for car camping (at 20 lbs too heavy to pack in anywhere). We wanted something nice for two people to stretch out in (with lots of gear and cots), but this would also be very nice for a small family. Vestibule is tall and roomy (my 2 person backpacking tent could be pitched in it).

As a rather short lady, I was able to set it up very quickly by myself. Someone said they had a problem with the fly, not sure why, it could not have been easier to pitch. The quality of this tent is very very nice. Interior pockets under each window are great storage. 2nd door and mini vestibule are also nice. I highly recommend this tent.Not sure why it is not as widely available as the Trailhead 6 and 8, it fits a nice niche in the market.


Good quality product like all North Face equipment.

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Design: 3.5 season free-standing dome
Sleeps: 4
Ease of Setup: tent very easy, fly difficult
Weight: 19 lbs
Price Paid: $320

Good quality product like all North Face equipment. Base tent goes up in a snap. The full cover fly is another story. Very cumbersome to erect fly, but once it is up offers great protection from the weather. The vestibule in the fly is good size and offers good protection of your equipment. Six foot height inside this tent is great. You don't ever feel cramped inside. Overall great investment.

Where to Buy

sponsored links
Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support Trailspace's independent gear reviews.

The North Face Trailhead 4


The Trailhead 4 has been discontinued.

previously retailed for:
$200.55 - $359.00

The North Face Trailhead 4 is not available from the stores we monitor. It was last seen October 19, 2009 at Altrec Outdoors.

Recently on Trailspace

Review Your Gear and You Could Win $450 Sawyer Prize

Eddie Bauer Goose Down Face Mask Review

Fjallraven Women's Abisko Trekking Tights Review

Outdoor Research Men's Southback Sensor Gloves Review

Two March Snow Trips

Teva Terra Wraptor XCR Review