First Look Review

The North Face Stormbreak 2 Review

An inexpensive tent that may not withstand extreme weather. We recommend car camping in sheltered locations.
The North Face Stormbreak 2
By: Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 24, 2016
Price:  $160 List  |  $138.50 at Amazon - 13% Off
Pros:  Inexpensive, roomy, large doors
Cons:  Heavy, low quality poles and stakes
Manufacturer:   The North Face

Our Verdict

The North Face Stormbreak is priced right for car campers. It has a large door and its vestibule opens wide for easy access and loading. It has a roomy comfortable interior for two.

This tent straddles the line between being a heavy backpacking tent or a light camping tent. Check out the Camping Tent review for more luxurious and less expensive options.


Our Analysis

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The Stormbreak is a budget tent that is a great choice for sheltered camping trips or just camping out in the backyard.

Performance Comparison


The North Face Stormbreak's pole integrity is questionable  but the horizontal cross poles may help stabilize them in high winds.
The North Face Stormbreak's pole integrity is questionable, but the horizontal cross poles may help stabilize them in high winds.

Comfort


The North Face Stormbreak is an airy tent with lots of good ventilation that could be a good choice for summer camping trips. It has the tallest peak height of all the tents in this review at 43", which means there is lots of headroom for sitting up and possibly even crouching. However, it is not the longest of all the tents. Its dimensions are 87x50 inches, so we would not recommend it for particularly tall people. If you're looking for a tent with some extra length, check out our Best Buy Award winner the REI Half Dome 2 Plus with dimensions of 98x56".

The Stormbreak's interior is big enough for two large Therm-a-Rest Luxury Map pads  but not much else.
The Stormbreak's interior is big enough for two large Therm-a-Rest Luxury Map pads, but not much else.

This contender has a large entrance. Its vestibule door requires two stakes, but it opens up gapingly wide, as does the interior door for moving big inflated sleeping pads and other objects in and out. It also has two pockets for stashing your smaller items.

The North Face Stormbreak's vestibule door opens up very wide.
The North Face Stormbreak's vestibule door opens up very wide.

Weather Resistance


Unfortunately, we think the Stormbreak will break in a storm. It's cheap, thin diameter poles do not seem like they will stand up to strong winds, and along with the tall peak height, it seems this tent is not set up for success. However, we have not had the opportunity to test it in the wind so we are just speculating. The Stormbreak may do slightly better in winds than the REI Passage 2 as it has two reinforcing cross poles that may help the wimpy poles stand up to winds better. The tent's high bathtub floors and nylon panels would help prevent splashback during heavy rains.

Weight and Packed Size


This is the heaviest tent in the review and has the worst space-to-weight ratio. It weighs in at 94.2 ounces. For comparison, the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 weighs 37.6 ounces and is the lightest in this review. Its materials are relatively bulky and do not pack down well. The REI Half Dome 2 Plus weighs 93 ounces and is much more sturdy.

Setup


It is very easy to set up. It has two long cross poles, and two more that go across horizontally to create more interior headroom and hopefully reinforce its other poles. The stakes that are included with the Stormbreak are incredibly cheap and ineffective and bent immediately when we tried to pound them into hard ground. We would recommend buying some better ones like the MSR Groundhog Stakes.

The North Face Stormbreak's setup is straight-forward and color-coded.
The North Face Stormbreak's setup is straight-forward and color-coded.

Durability


Made from a heavy coated polyester fabric, the Stormbreak's material seems to be quite durable in the short term. We believe that these cheaper coated fabrics will degrade more quickly over time, especially if not stored properly. To read more about this phenomenon, visit our Buying Advice Article. We also believe that the poles are not very durable; they are a cheap, 8.5mm aluminum that seems flimsy.

The North Face Stormbreak's stakes are extremely low quality.
The North Face Stormbreak's stakes are extremely low quality.

Best Application


Because of its heavy weight, we would not choose to carry this tent on our backs on extended backpacking trips, but it could be a good choice for car camping, backyard camping or music festivals.

Value


The Stormbreak retails for $160, which is not very expensive, but we believe you get what you pay for. The Half Dome 2 Plus is a much better value at $220. But if you're just looking for an inexpensive shelter where the consequences of bad weather or malfunction are low, the Stormbreak could work out just fine.

The Stormbreak is pretty easy to set up!
The Stormbreak is pretty easy to set up!

Conclusion


The Stormbreak is the least expensive tent in The North Face's line. It is an airy, comfortable tent that has two huge gaping doors to get in and out of. This could be a great tent for the kids in the backyard or at a music festival but we would not trust it in high winds.

Other Versions and Accessories


You can purchase this tent in one, two, or three person versions. A separate footprint is also available for the tent.

Jessica Haist

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