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The North Face Mountain 25 Review

A popular pick among climbing circles, this model performs well and won't entirely break the bank.
The North Face Mountain 25 Tent
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Price:  $690 List | $689.00 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Super strong, livable design, above average versatility, great pockets, reflective Kevlar guylines with camming adjusters
Cons:  Not as light as other models, pole sleeves aren't as quick to set up, more care must be taken while pitching the tent
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 9, 2018
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RANKED
#13 of 20
  • Weight - 27% 3
  • Weather/Storm Resistance - 25% 9
  • Livability - 18% 9
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 8
  • Durability - 10% 8
  • Versatility - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The North Face Mountain 25 remains a staple in mountaineering circles and has been a popular choice for many climbers and guide services over the years. The tent performs well and offers excellent value for use in even the most extreme conditions. It performs best when used for general and high altitude mountaineering, winter camping, and base camping. If you want something you can climb with but is also a little more comfortable for winter camping and you have greater range ambitions, we recommend this tent.

Product Updates

The Mountain 25 now comes with an included footprint. We link to this version with the footprint above.

April 2019


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $689.00 at REI
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$990 List$449.96 at Backcountry
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$524.96 at Backcountry
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Pros Super strong, livable design, above average versatility, great pockets, reflective Kevlar guylines with camming adjustersBomber, 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 pointsStormworthy, highly resistant to snow loading, pitches quick from outside, great ventilation, multiple setup configurationsVersatile, lightweight, double wall design works far better in rain than single wall models, handles condensation well, big vestibules, easy to pitchIncluded removable vestibule, ventilation system, innovative anchor point, robust, external poles clips are quick and easy to set up
Cons Not as light as other models, pole sleeves aren't as quick to set up, more care must be taken while pitching the tentPoor ventilation, slightly tricky setup, insufficient guylines includedZippers are small and slightly harder to grab, less headroom than other modelsIsn't as strong as other 4-season models, offers a good but not excellent packed sizeHeavy, ventilation system is sweet but the canopy fabric itself is not as breathable as other models, okay internal dimensions, average price
Bottom Line A popular pick among climbing circles, this model performs well and won't entirely break the bank.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 Mountain 25 Black Diamond Eldorado Hilleberg Jannu MSR Access 2 Nemo Tenshi
Weight (27%)
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Weather Storm Resistance (25%)
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Livability (18%)
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Ease Of Set Up (10%)
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Specs The North Face... Black Diamond... Hilleberg Jannu MSR Access 2 Nemo Tenshi
Minimum Weight (only tent & poles) 7.87 lbs 4.5 lbs 6.17 lbs 3.80 lbs 3.9 lbs (no vestibule)
Floor Dimensions (inches) 86" x 54 in. 87" x 51 in. 93" x 57 in. 84 x 50 in. 85.1 x 48.1in
Peak Height (inches) 41 in. 43 in. 40 in. 42 in. 42.6 in
Measured Weight (tent, stakes, guylines, pole bag) 8.5 lbs 4.9 lbs 6.87 lbs 4.1 lbs 5.88 lbs
Type Double Wall Single Wall Double Wall Double Wall Single Wall
Packed Size (inches) 7" x 24 in. 7" x 19 in. 6" x 20 in. 18 x 6 in 16.2 x 9.1in
Floor Area (sq ft.) 32 sq. ft. 31 sq. ft. 34.5 sq. ft. 29 sq ft. 28.4 sq ft
Vestibule Area (sq ft.) 11 sq. ft. 9 sq. ft. (optional) 13 sq. ft. 17.5 sq. ft. 10.5 sq ft
Space-Weight Ratio (inches) 0.24 in. 0.38 in. 0.31 in.
Number of Doors 2 1 1 2 1
Number of Poles 5 2 3 2 3
Pole Diameter (mm) 9.5 - 13 mm 8 mm 9 mm 9.3 8.84 mm
Number of Pockets Side: 6 Ceiling: 2 Side: 4 Ceiling: 0 Side: 4 Ceiling: 0 Side: 2 Ceiling: 0 Side: 2 Ceiling: 1
Pole Material DAC Featherlite NSL Easton Aluminum 7075-E9 DAC Featherlite NSL Green Easton Syclone aluminum DAC Featherlite
Rainfly Fabric 75D PU coated polyester 3 layer ToddTex Kerlon 1200 20D nylon ripstop
Floor Fabric 70D PU coated nylon Unknown 70D PU coated nylon 30D nylon ripstop 40D OSMO waterproof/breathable nylon ripstop

Our Analysis and Test Results

The North Face Mountain 25 is a top-notch expedition and winter camping tent that is one of the most robust models in our review. It's best for applications where storm-worthiness, versatility, and ample livable space are appreciated, and its heavier-than-average weight is less of a big deal. Its lighter than several other of the most classic expedition models like the Tarra, but heavier than the Hilleberg Jannu or the Black Diamond Fitzroy (the Mountain 25 is also more spacious and livable than either of those models and costs less).

Performance Comparison


The Mountain 25 is one of the most storm-worthy  livable  and versatile tents in our review.
The Mountain 25 is one of the most storm-worthy, livable, and versatile tents in our review.

Ease of Set-Up


The inner tent pitches with a combination of pole sleeves and a few clips on the lower sections of two of the poles. This sleeve design is ultra bomber once the entire tent is set up, but does require slightly more caution when setting up in high winds so that you don't bend or break the poles in the process. The problem with pole sleeves on a dome tent is they can turn the inner tent into a sail in strong winds while erecting the tent. If it is very windy, you'll have to hold onto the poles securely to support them, making sure they don't bend or break.

An example of one of the pole clips used on two of the poles on the Mountain 25.
An example of one of the pole clips used on two of the poles on the Mountain 25.

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.

The Mountain 25 uses a combination of pole sleeves and clips. Pole sleeves are advantageous over clips because they spread the weight more evenly  but clips are quicker and easier to set up  and the poles aren't as exposed to being bent during the actual setup process. The Mountain 25 primarily uses pole sleeves but has a few clips on either side of the two middle poles to help speed up the pitching process.
The Mountain 25 uses a combination of pole sleeves and clips. Pole sleeves are advantageous over clips because they spread the weight more evenly, but clips are quicker and easier to set up, and the poles aren't as exposed to being bent during the actual setup process. The Mountain 25 primarily uses pole sleeves but has a few clips on either side of the two middle poles to help speed up the pitching process.

The poles of the Mountain 25 fit securely into grommets, while the fly attaches via the same grommets underneath the main body. We think attaching the fly to the body in this manner is incredibly easy and secure. This tent has 16 much nicer-than-average DAC aluminum stakes and four snow parachutes - something our testing team found to be an excellent extra touch.

The Mountain 25 has several small features to help with setup.  One of the most useful is how all the ends of the pole sleeves are color coded to match the corresponding pole. One corner of the body is also red to match the corresponding corner of the fly. While small  our testers loved these features that helped us set up the tent more efficiently when it was stormy  or we were just plain tired.
The Mountain 25 has several small features to help with setup. One of the most useful is how all the ends of the pole sleeves are color coded to match the corresponding pole. One corner of the body is also red to match the corresponding corner of the fly. While small, our testers loved these features that helped us set up the tent more efficiently when it was stormy, or we were just plain tired.

As a whole, this contender's performance was average when it came to ease of set-up, though it does become a bomber shelter once pitched. We do think the Hillberg Jannu is easier to set up in general, especially in windier conditions. Most people will still find the Mountain 25 easier to set up than the BD Fitzroy, which is comparable in strength but sets up with poles on the inside.

The Mountain 25 isn't the lightest tent  but it is easily among the most storm-worthy. It also isn't terrible for compressed sized and overall weight  but it isn't as light most other models we tested. However  for trips like this one on a ski descent of Mt. Rainier's Fuhrer Finger where the winds were forecasted to be quite strong  we were happy to haul a little extra weight to help make sure our tent survived the night so we could enjoy the much-improved weather the following day.
The Mountain 25 isn't the lightest tent, but it is easily among the most storm-worthy. It also isn't terrible for compressed sized and overall weight, but it isn't as light most other models we tested. However, for trips like this one on a ski descent of Mt. Rainier's Fuhrer Finger where the winds were forecasted to be quite strong, we were happy to haul a little extra weight to help make sure our tent survived the night so we could enjoy the much-improved weather the following day.

Weather Resistance


This is where the Mountain 25 excels; it is an extreme conditions tent that has been proven to offer high performance in absolutely atrocious conditions. It excels in nearly all-mountain conditions, as it features a bomber pole design, a nice tight pitch, and several strong guy points that make it one of the strongest tents in our review.

The Mountain 25 has two peak vents on either side of the center of the tent. These vents can be opened all the way  or with the bug screen. On the fly  two stiffened sections with Velcro attachments help hold the vents open for more effective ventilation.
The Mountain 25 has two peak vents on either side of the center of the tent. These vents can be opened all the way, or with the bug screen. On the fly, two stiffened sections with Velcro attachments help hold the vents open for more effective ventilation.

Compared to most of the 4 season tents in our review, with nearly all of the tents offering limited ventilation options, this tent's inner fabric handles moisture and condensation better than most. Some moisture would be present if we zipped it up in cold and dry environments, but the Mountain 25 gets noticeably less condensation than the BD Fitzroy.

The Mountain 25 equalizes four sets of guylines using a slick ring system shown here. It pulls from three points into one guyline to more effectively distribute the load. Overall  we found the Mountain 25 to be one of the more bomber and storm-worthy models in our review. If you securely tie down its six major guy points and three vestibule points (two in the front and one in the back) this tent can withstand as much as can be expected out of any 4 season tent on the market.
The Mountain 25 equalizes four sets of guylines using a slick ring system shown here. It pulls from three points into one guyline to more effectively distribute the load. Overall, we found the Mountain 25 to be one of the more bomber and storm-worthy models in our review. If you securely tie down its six major guy points and three vestibule points (two in the front and one in the back) this tent can withstand as much as can be expected out of any 4 season tent on the market.

It has snow flaps on the vestibule, which create a tight seal; this can help keep new snow out when buried. This not only made the tent more secure but also minimized the amount of spindrift that would enter during a storm.

The Mountain 25 offered plenty of living space and proved to be one of the more comfortable models we tested for two people to hang out in for extended periods of time. It's ample venting also helps to manage moisture and internal temperature  making it a good option for more moderate climates or occasional three-season use. Here  the Mountain 25 is set up on the edge of the treeline in Boston Basin  North Cascades National Park.
The Mountain 25 offered plenty of living space and proved to be one of the more comfortable models we tested for two people to hang out in for extended periods of time. It's ample venting also helps to manage moisture and internal temperature, making it a good option for more moderate climates or occasional three-season use. Here, the Mountain 25 is set up on the edge of the treeline in Boston Basin, North Cascades National Park.

Livability


Offering 32 square feet of floor space, it feels super cush inside and is a great option for expedition style climbing and base camping use.

This tent has 32 square feet of internal space  making it among the most spacious model in our review. It's shown here with two full-sized Therm-a-Rest pads and there is still enough room for some gear without feeling too crowded.
This tent has 32 square feet of internal space, making it among the most spacious model in our review. It's shown here with two full-sized Therm-a-Rest pads and there is still enough room for some gear without feeling too crowded.

It's one of the more comfortable and livable two-person 4 season tents we tested. If you are looking for a base camp style tent for Alaska, Patagonian, or Himalayan living, then it should be near the top of your list.

On top of having one of the more spacious interiors  the Mountain 25 features a hooped 8 square foot vestibule. We have cooked over two dozen nights in this vestibule and found it big enough for two packs with plenty of room to crawl past them when entering or exiting the tent.
On top of having one of the more spacious interiors, the Mountain 25 features a hooped 8 square foot vestibule. We have cooked over two dozen nights in this vestibule and found it big enough for two packs with plenty of room to crawl past them when entering or exiting the tent.

For comfort and livability, our testers loved all the mesh pockets, and spacious (eight square foot) hooped front vestibule; the vestibule easily fit two packs and still has enough room to get in and out of the tent while shedding wet layers before entering the central part of the tent. We cooked over two dozen nights in the vestibule, and we made extensive use of the snow flaps. They helped create a nice secure place that also helped anchor the entire tent. The smaller three square foot vestibule was big enough to store boots or one to two mostly empty packs, but only if you leaned them against the main wall of the inner tent.

The Mountain 25 features two large pockets on each side as well as two "attic" pockets above  which can be a great place for an alarm  listening to music  or watching a movie on your smartphone.
The Mountain 25 features two large pockets on each side as well as two "attic" pockets above, which can be a great place for an alarm, listening to music, or watching a movie on your smartphone.

Durability


Overall, this is a pretty bomber tent that is one of the burlier options in our review. The latest version uses a different fly than the older one. While technically thinner, it should hold up better over time in several ways. The new fly features 40D nylon and 1500 mm PU/silicone coating, which offers superior longevity and will hold its water-resistance longer than the previous polyester fly. The previous fly was considerably more prone to hydrolysis (chemical breakup) than silnylon fabrics (now featured on the current version) that might last twice as long in wet conditions. It uses high-quality DAC poles that are an industry standard. Beyond most company warranties, our testers found the newest model to be above average for construction quality, and we even felt like it was better than the previous model.

Weight/Packed Size


We love that this tent tips the scales at around eight and a half pounds. This weight savings can be huge when you're huffing and puffing, trying to suck in thin air. For folks not looking for as much of an expedition focused tent, it is easy to get a tent that is still just as versatile, maybe only a little bit smaller, but several pounds lighter.

The Mountain 25 is one of the more adaptable and versatile 4 season models in our review. Its inner fabric handles moisture and condensation better than most  and in addition to its two vents at the top  each door has a mesh option for better ventilation.
The Mountain 25 is one of the more adaptable and versatile 4 season models in our review. Its inner fabric handles moisture and condensation better than most, and in addition to its two vents at the top, each door has a mesh option for better ventilation.

Versatility


The design allows the tent to excel in a wider range of conditions and seasons than nearly all of the lighter single wall tents and many of the double-wall tents in our review. The Mountain 25 is a better choice for most three-season low elevation camping endeavors because of its above-average ability to handle moisture and condensation.

The Mountain 25 (second from left) is a bomber  comfortable shelter that will excel for expedition style climbing and winter camping  but is also light and versatile enough for the occasional 3-season backpacking trip.
The Mountain 25 (second from left) is a bomber, comfortable shelter that will excel for expedition style climbing and winter camping, but is also light and versatile enough for the occasional 3-season backpacking trip.

Value


The Mountain 25 is a decent value if you need an expedition tent. It is cheaper than the similarly designed but single-walled Black Diamond Fitzroy. It's also comparable to the Hilleberg models, many of which cost much more.

The Mountain 25 is a versatile tent. It's undoubtedly burly enough for expedition use  from Alaska to the Himalayas  but it's also comfortable enough for winter camping and occasional three-season use.
The Mountain 25 is a versatile tent. It's undoubtedly burly enough for expedition use, from Alaska to the Himalayas, but it's also comfortable enough for winter camping and occasional three-season use.

Conclusion


The North Face Mountain 25 is a sweet expedition and winter camping tent. It is light enough that it's serviceable for other applications like general mountaineering in the lower 48. However, if you see yourself mostly mountaineering in the lower 48, we'd recommend something a little lighter and more packable.


Ian Nicholson