The North Face Tadpole 2

The North Face Tadpole 2 Tent

I acquired The North Face Tadpole 2 tent a few months ago.  I wanted to get a 3 season tent large enough for 2 but light enough for 1 to carry as a solo tent.  That‘s a pretty ambitious target, and the Tadpole 2 fits the requirements pretty well.

This tent is a free standing double wall tent with one door at the front.  The body is supported with 3 poles and has a generous amount of mesh for really great ventilation when the fly is not needed. Two of the poles are attached permanently at a hub.  These two poles run the length of the tent body and are captured in the third pole which makes a hoop at the front.  The lengthwise poles extend beyond the front hoop and support a couple of clips at the front wall of the tent which improves headroom.  My initial setup required a bit of study but after the first successful run, assembly of the tent is quick and easy.  Some color coded webbing at the corners of the tent and fly help when assembling.

The North Face Tadpole 2 Tent

My Tadpole 2 came with a full coverage rain fly and a decent sized vestibule at the front.  The end of the vestibule away from the front door needs to be staked out.  There are a couple of pop up vents in the rain fly to provide the high part of a high/low ventilation system.  At the bottom of the rain fly on both sides and at the back are 3 short guy line loops that can be used to pull the bottom of the fly away from the tent body and allow air to be drawn in.

The North Face Tadpole 2 Tent

Each tent includes 8 aluminum DAC tent stakes, which are sturdy, solid triangular shaped stakes with a hook bent at the top.  The stakes can be hammered into hard or rocky soil without bending.

The Tadpole 2 has a mesh pocket on either side of the front door to store small pieces of gear.  Desingers placed small loops on the roof of the Tadpole 2 to hang a light or install a rectangular gear loft.  The rectangular loft for my old North Face tent worked just fine.  The door and vestibule zippers work well and do not tend to snag a lot.  It is a bit difficult to reach the zipper for the fly when un-zipping from the inside, because the angle of the fly combined with the low and long reach to the zipper makes it a bit of a stretch, but that is only a mild inconvenience.

The North Face Tadpole 2 Tent

Happily, the Tadpole 2 does meet my requirement for sleeping two, although as with a lot of two person tents it is a palace for one and a bit snug for two.  Two big guys will fit in the tent while lying on their backs with shoulders lightly touching the outer walls.  The Tadpole is plenty long for my 6‘2” frame.

Thanks to the compact size, the North Face Tadpole 2 is not a heavy tent at all.  Mine weighed in at 4 pounds 4 ounces with the stakes and all of the stuff sacks.  Two guys can share this load easily.  I‘d prefer it to be a little lighter for a solo tent but it will work.  I‘ll just list out the weight of the individual components.  Tent Body -22.9 ounces.  Rain Fly -23.5 ounces.  Stakes in their stuff sack -3.2 ounces.  Poles in their stuff sack -17.6 ounces.  The main stuff sack -1.3 ounces.

The fabrics of the Tadpole 2 are definitely lightweight, but they feel sturdy enough to last.  All in all, I am very pleased with this tent.  I have plenty of headroom, and the tent offers plenty of livable space at 29 square feet.  The vestibule is large enough for a couple of packs at 8.8 square feet.  All of the seams of the canopy and floor are taped, and the 3 poles make a sturdy shelter that holds up well in the wind.

The North Face Tadpole 2 retails for $289 and can be bought directly from The North Face at www.thenorthface.com.

– Mark

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