Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Strong, great pockets, reflective guy lines, strong zippers, glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls, Kevlar guylines with camming adjusters.
Cons: Not as light as other models, Pole sleeves while bomber but aren't as quick to set up.
Best Uses: Mountaineeing, base camping.
The North Face Mountain 25 has been a staple in mountaineering circles and a popular choice for many guide services for years. The tent performs very well and offers a great value for use in even the most extreme conditions. Many people considering the Mountain 25 will also consider the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 and the Hilleberg Tarra. The Mountain 25 is lighter than the both these similar tents but is also slightly smaller. Choosing between these three models can be tricky and each has different advantages. We like the clips on the Trango versus the Mountain 25's pole sleeves because they are easier to set up and take down in high winds. In wetter climates whether in the Pacific Northwest or the Patagonia ice cap the Mountain 25 handles condensation and moister far better than the Trango 2 or the Hilleberg Tarra.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Ease of Setup
The inner tent pitches with a combination of mostly pole sleeves and a few clips. The sleeves while ultra bomber once the entire tent is set up, do require some care in high winds to not bend or break the pole. The problem with pole sleeves on a dome tent is they can turn the inner tent into a sail in strong winds. You have to hold onto the poles really well to make sure they don't break. The Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 addresses this problem by using pole clips that do not bend the poles as much and are easier to control. Hilleberg dome tents like the Jannu and Tarra address this problem by using short pole sleeves at the bottom and pole clips for everything else.
This is where the Mountain 25 excels, it is an extreme conditions tent that has been proven in some absolutely heinous conditions. The Mountain 25 excels in nearly all mountain conditions. It has mega bomber pole design and several strong guy points. The Mountain 25 has snow flaps on the vestibule to create a tight seal that can help keep new snow out when buried.
It's super cush inside and a great option for expedition and base camping use. Its main competitor, the Trango 2, offers an additional 9 sq. ft. that slightly further increases the cushiness, but it is around 1 lb. more. That said, the Mountain 25 is one of the more comfortable and livable two person, four season tents we tested. If you are looking for a base camp style tent for comfortable Alaska, Patagonian, or Himalayan living then the Mountain 25 should be near the top of your list.
It's ultra bomber but still not as tough as the Hilleberg Tarra. The interior PU coating on the fabric is considerably more prone to hydrolysis (chemical breakup) than silnylon fabrics that might last twice as long in wet conditions.
We love that the Mountain 25 tips the scales at around eight and a half pounds. This means the Mountain 25 weighs a pound less than the Trango 2 and the Hilleberg Tarra. This weight savings can be huge when you're huffing and puffing, trying to suck in thin air. While it is lighter than the Trango it isn't as light as the comparable strength Hilleberg Jannu which weighs about a pound and a a half lighter.
The Mountain 25 design will let it excel in a wider range of conditions than all of the lighter single wall tents and many of the double wall tents in our review. For example the Mountain 25 is a better choice for most three season low elevation camping because of its above average ability to handle moisture and condensation.
General and high altitude mountaineering and base camping.
The Mountain 25 is a fantastic value if you need an expedition tent.
Other Versions and Accessories
The VE 25, $620, is a three person yurt for camping in the most extreme conditions and a tried and true expedition proven tent.
— Chris McNamara, Ian Nicholson
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: October 29, 2014
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