Although the floor space of the The North Face Triarch 2 doesn't stand out from the other tents we tested, it makes the most of what it offers. With a generous peak height and a nuanced pole structure, this tent feels roomy. It weighs in at 3 lbs. 12 oz. for a trail-ready configuration, but at a packed size of 7" x 22", we'd like something smaller for actual backcountry travel. It's a comfortable, weather-resistant choice for casual backpacking and car-camping, but other tents in the review stood out as leaders for longer-duration backcountry trips where space is at a premium.
The North Face Triarch 2 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Weather-beating, easy-access doors, lightweight
Cons: Narrow interior width, bulkier
Manufacturer: The North Face
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The New Triarch 2 vs. the Old Version
The North Face has made a few updates to the Triarch. In addition to some aesthetic updates, the square footage has decreased slightly, and it uses some new materials. The stuff sack has also been redesigned to function as a gear loft on this new model! See the new version below in the photo on the left, followed by the version we tested on the right.
Updated gear loft — The stuff sack on this tent now doubles as the gear loft.
Decreased area — The area of the floor space has decreased from 29.2 ft² to 27.8 ft².
Increased vestibule area — The vestibule area has dramatically increased, from 14 ft² total on the previous version to 26.6 ft² on this new model.
Material updates — The new Triarch employs 20D nylon for the body and rainfly and 30D nylon for the floor, whereas the older model used a combo of 15D nylon and 75D nylon taffeta.
Price increase — The Triarch 2 now retails for around $30 more, ringing in at $379.
Since we haven't gotten our hands on the newest version yet, the remainder of the review refers to the older model.
Good comfort, weather resistance, and durability bolster the score of this tent.
A door and corresponding vestibule on each side of the tent offer convenient access and gear storage for two people. It has a roomy feeling when setting up and settling inside. Access in and out of the tent is comfortable — aided by the two triangular doors which extend to the brow pole. Each side features a 7-square-foot vestibule which offered space to cook in and then later shelter packs and boots from rainy weather.
All-mesh walls mean airflow is excellent, banishing condensation and encouraging air movement. The fly even features ventilation ports and allows enough space between the inner tent and fly walls for breathability.
Ease of Set Up
The Triarch 2 did not excel in ease of set-up. Two different testers, both with outdoor industry tech experience, had to reach for the directions while setting up the tent for the first time. If you're looking for an option with easy assembly, we'd recommend the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 or the REI Half Dome 2 Plus.
The complex-looking pole geometry in The North Face Triarch 2, while somewhat of a pain to set up, means stability — even during a springtime windstorm. We loved the fact that despite rainy conditions we and our gear stayed bone-dry, and the included footprint helped insulate and keep things dry from a muddy camping spot. The pole geometry (poles supporting all four corners and the ceiling) increased stability in windy conditions, and we felt confident leaving this tent pitched on a windy day.
Thanks to the heavy-duty-feeling fly and excellent ventilation, we felt like the Triarch 2 holds up well in bad weather. We wish the fly would come down lower to the ground, but the bathtub walls on the inner tent are high enough to prevent splashback. The 15D nylon ripstop fly with a PU coating and silicone finish held up well to drizzly spring days. While our favorite foul-weather tent is still the Hilleberg Anjan GT 2, we trust the Triarch 2 when the weather turns.
This tent's fly features a 15D nylon ripstop with both a PU and silicone coating, and we feel confident it would hold up well to repeated use in the field. The 75D nylon taffeta floor felt sturdy and ready for action, and we appreciated the added protection of the PU coating. Similarly, the NEMO Dagger 2 uses 15D Sil/PU Nylon Ripstop for the rain fly, and this tent scored very highly in our durability category. The Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO and the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 also came away with strong durability scores.
Weight & Packed Size
The tent weighs 3 lbs. 12 oz. for a trail-ready configuration, including a gear loft, footprint, and poles. It's a very competitive weight in comparison to the other tents we reviewed, many of which landed in the 4-lb.-something category.
However, the Triarch feels slightly bulky for its weight, packing down to 7" x 22". As light as this tent is, we'd like to see a smaller packed size for extended backcountry travel. It's not limiting, but we feel perhaps the heavier nylon fabrics inhibited the packed size slightly. The NEMO Dagger 2 comes in at right around the same weight but packs into a slightly smaller — and more manageable — 19.5" x 6.5". The Hilleberg Anjan GT 2 comes away at an even smaller 19" x 6", though it's heavier at 4 lbs. 9 oz.
The Triarch 2 is suitable for backcountry use in both windy and damp conditions. It's a tent to reach for if you're heading into a rainy week, though be wary if you are traveling to sandy climes as the mesh interior tent can allow sand to blow inside the tent in breezy conditions. A smaller inner width means tall or broad-shouldered hikers may be best served to look elsewhere.
Coming in at $349.90, we reviewed other tents in the same price range that we felt held more value to the backcountry traveler. The REI Half Dome 2 Plus, by comparison, costs $220 and offers 38.1 square feet to the Triarch's 29.2 square feet. If interior space is not at a premium and you're seeking an attractive tent that can stand up to varied weather conditions, the Triarch is worth looking at. The NEMO Galaxi 2 overall scored higher in our tests, with the REI Half Dome 2 Plus and Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 winning our Best Buy awards.
The North Face's Triarch 2's lightweight, freestanding architecture features vaulted arches at the head and foot box as well as vertical sidewalls for plenty of moving space, helping maximize a smaller interior space. An ample selection of tabs and a large gear loft inside maximize storage space. Large, triangle-spaced double doors offer easy access, and each door features vestibule space for convenient gear storage. Inside. It's a solid, weather-beating choice for backpackers in mixed conditions.
— Ben Applebaum-Bauch