The North Face Assault 2 is a single-wall tent packed full of sweet features. It's only 5-8 ounces heavier than the lightest models, which were generally less livable, and it retails for a more reasonable price. It also includes a vestibule, which makes a better deal than several other models. It's also one of only two single-wall tents in our review to come with an included but removable vestibule, further increasing its value. While this model might not be the best shelter for extended hangouts in fierce weather, it is excellent for a majority of four-season conditions and perfect for alpine climbing and backcountry skiing in the lower-48 and Southern Canada. Best of all, it's constructed with a waterproof material.
The North Face Assault 2 Review
Cons: Exterior fabric isn't breathable and absorbed moisture faster than other models, guylines are light duty
Manufacturer: The North Face
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The North Face Assault 2
|Price||$598.95 at Backcountry||$729.95 at Amazon|
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|$990 List||$449.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Inclued hooped vestibule, lightweight, excellent ventilation, great headroom, compressible, bomber for a bivy-tent||Bomber, great durability, compact footprint, lighter than average weight, fantastic overall balance of strength, weight, and livability, best two pole model to get rained or stormed on in, ample guy points||Stormworthy, highly resistant to snow loading, pitches quick from outside, great ventilation, multiple setup configurations||Versatile, lightweight, double wall design works far better in rain than single wall models, handles condensation well, big vestibules, easy to pitch||Included removable vestibule, ventilation system, innovative anchor point, robust, external poles clips are quick and easy to set up|
|Cons||Exterior fabric isn't breathable and absorbed moisture faster than other models, guylines are light duty||Poor ventilation, slightly tricky setup, insufficient guylines included||Zippers are small and slightly harder to grab, less headroom than other models||Isn't as strong as other 4-season models, offers a good but not excellent packed size||Heavy, ventilation system is sweet but the canopy fabric itself is not as breathable as other models, okay internal dimensions, average price|
|Bottom Line||A great all-around single wall tent that is packed full of features but still checks in at a respectable weight.||All-around uses are this model's forte, but it's still robust enough for when the weather turns gnar.||Built for the worst conditions but still light and packable enough to consider for summer mountaineering.||This ski and summer mountaineering focused design isn't quite burly enough for full on expedition use but is perfect for any other trip you can dream up.||A solid, lightweight model that offers more versatility than a majority of other 2-pole bivy-style shelters.|
|Rating Categories||The North Face Assault 2||Black Diamond Eldorado||Hilleberg Jannu||MSR Access 2||Nemo Tenshi|
|Weather Storm Resistance (25%)|
|Ease Of Set Up (10%)|
|Specs||The North Face...||Black Diamond...||Hilleberg Jannu||MSR Access 2||Nemo Tenshi|
|Minimum Weight (only tent & poles)||3.24 lbs||4.5 lbs||6.17 lbs||3.80 lbs||3.9 lbs (no vestibule)|
|Floor Dimensions (inches)||82" x 45 in.||87" x 51 in.||93" x 57 in.||84 x 50 in.||85.1 x 48.1in|
|Peak Height (inches)||42 in.||43 in.||40 in.||42 in.||42.6 in|
|Measured Weight (tent, stakes, guylines, pole bag)||3.62 lbs||4.9 lbs||6.87 lbs||4.1 lbs||5.88 lbs|
|Type||Single Wall||Single Wall||Double Wall||Double Wall||Single Wall|
|Packed Size (inches)||7" x 22 in.||7" x 19 in.||6" x 20 in.||18 x 6 in||16.2 x 9.1in|
|Floor Area (sq ft.)||27.3 sq. ft.||31 sq. ft.||34.5 sq. ft.||29 sq ft.||28.4 sq ft|
|Vestibule Area (sq ft.)||10 sq. ft.||9 sq. ft. (optional)||13 sq. ft.||17.5 sq. ft.||10.5 sq ft|
|Space-Weight Ratio (inches)||0.47 in.||0.38 in.||0.31 in.|
|Number of Doors||1.5||1||1||2||1|
|Number of Poles||3||2||3||2||3|
|Pole Diameter (mm)||9 mm||8 mm||9 mm||9.3||8.84 mm|
|Number of Pockets||Side: 2 Ceiling: 0||Side: 4 Ceiling: 0||Side: 4 Ceiling: 0||Side: 2 Ceiling: 0||Side: 2 Ceiling: 1|
|Pole Material||DAC Featherlite aluminum||Easton Aluminum 7075-E9||DAC Featherlite NSL Green||Easton Syclone||aluminum DAC Featherlite|
|Rainfly Fabric||50D DryWall durable ripstop polyester||3 layer ToddTex||Kerlon 1200||20D nylon ripstop|
|Floor Fabric||40D ripstop nylon, 3000 mm PU coating, silicone water-resistant finish||Unknown||70D PU coated nylon||30D nylon ripstop||40D OSMO waterproof/breathable nylon ripstop|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The North Face Assault 2 is a versatile single-wall shelter that is packed full of features, which helps it adapt to a wide range of conditions. While not the lightest tent in our review, it strikes a nice balance between weight and versatility. It's within a half-pound of the absolute lightest models but has several features that make it more versatile for a range of trips. It's light enough to be used as a bivy tent, has enough ventilation and livability for a majority of mountaineering objectives and multi-day ski tours, and is sufficiently bomber for certain types of expedition uses. It used to be a better deal, but it is still reasonably priced compared to similarly versatile single wall tents and includes a removable hooped vestibule, which adds to this model's versatility and value.
Hands-On Review of The North Face Assault 2
Ease of Set-up
The Assault 2 was one of the easiest tents to set up. It has two external pole sleeves that guide the pole into position automatically.
The third pole is a little tight to get into position and can be marginally challenging if it's windy, but our review team found it got easier with time as we developed a good method for getting it locked in.
Weather and Storm Resistance
The Assault has great weather and storm resistance as long as its pretty cold, but like most (but not all) single-wall tents, is mediocre in the rain.
There are six bomber guy out points (or up to nine with the vestibule on). It handles big snow loads and decent winds well; it performed well in moderate to high winds nearly as well as most traditional double-walled 3-4 pole designs.
The Assault's third pole creates a little bit of a "sail" depending on wind direction. It isn't that this tent did terrible in the wind, but it wasn't as strong as others.
While the Assault 2 isn't the burliest of 4 season tents, it offers plenty of storm worthiness for most people's alpine or winter adventures. It's perfect for alpine climbing and ski touring in ranges similar to the Cascades, Sierra, or Tetons.
The times when it didn't perform so well was in wetter weather (like rain or wet snow), where just a handful of other models had better weather resistance. On several occasions, the fabric would become saturated faster than other models.
Weight and packed size
The Assault 2 has a three pounds four ounce minimum weight and a three pounds nine ounce packed weight (tent plus pole bag, guylines and stakes but not the vestibule), and comes in at four ounds 15 ounces (2240g) with the vestibule.
Livability and Comfort
The Assault offers decent livability.
Thanks to the half-length cross-pole, the Assault felt roomy.
The included vestibule also increases the livability of this tent, and on trips where we brought the vestibule, it was nice to leave the internal door open, making it feel even more spacious inside.
Like most of the other lighter weight models that we tested, the Assault sacrifices a bit on durability to stay under four pounds. While it won't last as long as some of the burlier options on the market, which are built for expedition use, it will provide exceptional durability for most people.
Adaptability and Versatility
The Assault 2 has some of the best versatility and adaptability of any of the lighter-weight single wall models in our review.
There are venting options on all four sides of the tent; however, the front door and back "escape hatch" (half door) will not perform well if it's raining hard. If you carry the vestibule, you can leave the front door wide open in a storm to increase ventilation.
The Assault 2 includes a removable hooped vestibule and is one of the better values for a single wall tent. It's one of the least expensive single wall tents that's actually waterproof, and is the type of 4 season tent that most people are looking for.
The North Face Assault 2 might not be the best all-around 4 season tent, but it will perform well on the types of trips a majority of alpinists, mountaineers, and backcountry skiers embark on. It's perfect for trips to the places like the Canadian Rockies, High Sierra, or the North Cascades, and will still work for occasional climbs in further regions like the Andes or Alaska. It provides an exceptional blend of low weight, pleasant livability, and storm worthiness - all for a very reasonable price.
— Ian Nicholson