The North Face are a true giant in the outdoors industry and their Stormbreak tent is a solid offering, but it also isn’t as innovative as some alternatives.
Pros / Reasons to Buy
- Reasonably priced
- Feels spacious
- Highly regarded manufacturer
Cons / Reasons to Avoid
- Heavy and bulky
- Some aspects of the design and material seem dated
- No out of warranty repair service offered by manufacturer
This is a fairly basic, but none the less a solid and no-nonsense tent from a very well-known manufacturer. In some ways, The North Face Stormbreak does not feel as innovative as some of its competition in terms of the materials it uses and the way it is pitched. However, on the flip-side, it uses time-tested materials and design and if absolute low weight and compact size aren’t your main priorities, then the Stormbreak is still potentially a great choice from what’s probably the industry’s best-known name.
Editors note: This review is part of our detailed review of 25 Best Small 2 Person Backpacking Tents of 2023
Compare to Similar Products
- Kelty Far Out Backpacking Tent
- Kelty Discovery Trail Tent
- Wandelen Appalachian Lightweight Backpacking Tent
Analysis and Test Results
We’re not sure how to assess The North Face Stormbreak. There’s nothing wrong with it and it will certainly stand up to years of use, but in some ways – its structure, materials used etc. – we can’t help but feel that it’s a little behind the times and that other manufacturers are just pushing the envelope a bit harder and delivering lighter tents that collapse into more compact packages – sometimes at a similar price point. That said, if absolute lightness isn’t your priority, or if you don’t set up camp too far from your transport, then this tent is still an attractive option.
This is one area where The North Face Stormbreak stands out. No lightweight backpacking tent can truly be described as spacious, but how a tent manages its internal volume can have a big impact on how roomy it feels. The North Face Stormbreak uses side walls that stay near vertical – aided by the use of two cross poles. A symmetrical plan and two entrances and vestibules are all positive points here, in our opinion.
The North Face Stormbreak makes use of materials with a proven track record for weather resistance. The polyester fly and floor will do a good job of keeping rain out and the wind at bay. It’s true that other manufacturers have moved on to materials that can do much the same job in a lighter package, but this aside, we have no doubts about the weather resistant qualities of this tent.
With a complete weight of 2.41kg (5lb 5oz), The North Face Stormbreak is certainly no lightweight – in fact there are a number of other tents in our round up that come in at around half the weight of this (though we should also say that these also all cost a good deal more too). Much of this weight comes from the heavier materials used throughout the tent and it would be interesting to see how much a version of this tent using, say, 20D ripstop nylon would weigh in at. The North Face claim the tent’s weight can be reduced to 1.76kg (3lbs 14oz) if certain components are omitted, but we would generally suggest brining all a tent’s component parts out on hike – just in case.
As well as being the heavy, The North Face Stormbreak is also one of the more bulky tents we have assessed when packed down – coming in at just under 56x18cm (22x7in). That’s quite a sizable bundle and if one person is to carry it all, they can expect to need a large backpack to accommodate it – which in turn means more weight and bulk.
The North Face Stormbreak makes up for its high weight and bulk by utilising more rugged materials such as 75 Denier polyester. Or, to look at it another way, at least these are materials that seem more rugged: Most of the tents we have assessed have moved onto much lighter 20 or 30 Denier nylon fabric and, whilst this material is much thinner and may seem less substantial than the polyester that The North Face use, it has also proven itself as durable material in the field.
The tent comes with a two year warranty. We are slightly disappointed to note that The North Face doesn’t currently offer an out of warranty repair service like some of their competitors do. Hopefully this will change in the future.
Ease of Setup
There are no real surprises when it comes to setting up and breaking down The North Face Stormbreak tent – it follows a similar method to all of the other tents in this round up. On point to note is that whilst many manufacturers have transitioned to a single piece pole assembly – which can resemble a metal octopus before it’s tensioned – The North Face Stormbreak still uses individual poles and the second point of interest is that there are four poles in total: two long poles that cross to form the main dome of the tent, plus two shorter poles to help shape the top section of the tent. Most manufacturers use a single pole or section of pole assembly here. These two shorter poles certainly add weight relative to a configuration that uses a single pole, but they do also help to contribute to this tent’s spacious feeling interior.
Whilst this tent is not difficult to set up or break down, we do always advise that you do a few practice runs setting up any new tent before taking it out on a hike. You don’t want to be trying to get your head around the instructions for the first time as it’s getting dark or starting to rain and this is especially the case if you’re new to camping and tent setup.
The North Face Stormbreak costs £222.47 in the UK and $184.95 in the US at the time of writing. That makes it very keenly prices and it’s substantially less expensive than some of the models offered by the likes of Big Agnes, MSR and Nemo – though the tents from these companies also best this North Face tent in terms of specification. The North Face needs no introduction and it’s good to see them offering products at a (relatively) entry level price point. However, there are cheaper options from lesser know brands such as Kelty and Wandelen that beat the Stormbreak in terms of specification and if the brand logo isn’t important to you, then these are definitely worth considering instead of this tent.
The North Face Stormbreak is a solid tent from one of the true giants of the outdoor industry. In some ways, we can’t help but feel that it’s a little behind the times: it’s heavy, bulky and makes use of materials and pitching methods that seems little outdated. None of this is a necessarily a bad thing, though, and we think that the ten will appeal to a wide audience. If you’re not planning long-distance hikes to camp on, or like to camp close to your vehicle, then the Stormbreak could be a good choice.
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