The North Face Eco Trail 2 Review
Cons: Small storage pockets, trickier for one person to pitch
Manufacturer: The North Face
Compare to Similar Products
The North Face Eco Trail 2
$169.63 at Amazon
Check Price at REI
$96.93 at REI
$199.95 at Amazon
|Pros||Excellent headroom, durable rainfly, large vestibules||Two side doors, easy to pitch, large vestibules||Great headroom, large vestibule, easy to pitch||Lightweight, easy to pitch||Setup with fly attached, flexible vestibule configuration, below average price|
|Cons||Small storage pockets, trickier for one person to pitch||Heavy, not so stable in high wind||Poles pinch together under fly tension||Small interior, single door and vestibule||Single door, can't remove fly while keeping tent pitched|
|Bottom Line||A hefty but durable tent that does well as a car camping standby||A straightforward, easy to set up tent with good comfort features||This inexpensive budget tent is an excellent option for one person||A budget tent for those who want to minimize weight and don't mind sacrificing a fair bit of comfort||The unique design and really reasonable price of this tent have us finding new ways to enjoy it again and again|
|Rating Categories||The North Face Eco...||REI Co-op Passage 2||REI Co-op Passage 1||Big Agnes C Bar 2||Slumberjack Nightfa...|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Ease of Set-up (10%)|
|Packed Size (10%)|
|Specs||The North Face Eco...||REI Co-op Passage 2||REI Co-op Passage 1||Big Agnes C Bar 2||Slumberjack Nightfa...|
|Measured Packaged Weight||6.15 lbs||5.23 lbs||4.21 lbs||3.96 lbs||5.68 lbs|
|Floor Area||32 sq ft||31 sq ft||20 sq ft||28 sq ft||31.4 sq ft|
|Packed Size||(6.5 x 7.5) x 22 in||8 x 18 in||7.5 x 17 in||6 x 19 in||6.5 x 21 in|
|Dimensions||86.5 x 52 x 42.9 in||88 x 52 x 40 in||88 x 36 x 40 in||86 x (52 x 42) x 41 in||85 x 52 x 39.5 in|
|Vestibule Area (Total)||17 sq ft||19 sq ft||9.5 sq ft||7 sq ft||9.3 sq ft|
|Peak Height||42.9 in||40 in||40 in||41 in||39.5 in|
|Number of Doors||2||2||1||1||1|
|Number of Poles||2||2||2||2||3|
|Pole Diameter||Not provided||8.5 mm||8.5 mm||Not provided||Not provided|
|Number of Pockets||4||2||1||3||2|
|Pole Material||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum||DAC pressfit aluminum||7001 aluminum|
|Rain Fly Material||75D recycled polyester||Polyester||Polyester||Polyester taffeta||68D polyester|
|Inner Tent Material||75D recycled polyester, PU coating||Polyester||Polyester||Polyester & mesh||40D Polyester No-See-Um Mesh|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Made from recycled plastic, this tent is marketed toward the eco-conscious. The floor, canopy, and rainfly are all recycled material, making it a unique option among competitors in the category.
This tent proved to be more comfortable than we originally expected it to be. Listed at only 86 1/2" inches long, we were initially skeptical that we wouldn't press our feet up against the end of the tent in the middle of the night. Though that did happen to some extent (as it so often does), we found that we didn't miss the few extra inches too much. This is made possible by a closer-to-average width of 52", combined with a 43" inch peak height and a crossbar pole configuration that ensures that the peak height extends from sidewall to sidewall.
The double teardrop side doors store quickly and easily in the pockets right above them, and steep head and foot end walls give the tent a more spacious feel. Our primary issue with the interior comfort is that the storage pockets are oddly shaped. Given the tent's size, we would also expect some sort of additional overhead pocket, but there is none to be found.
The Eco Trail has a stable enough footprint to stand tall in stiff wind if it is staked out properly. However, it also comes with a huge amount of surface area, so it is more susceptible to getting hit by a gust in the first place. The rain fly performs about as advertised.
There are two fly vents — one above each door. They are on the smaller side, and we didn't find them to be highly effective. The vestibules are sufficient for a pack and boots, but they aren't huge. In practice, we found that portions of our gear were left exposed to the elements. And though there is a flap that covers the zipper on the rainfly, the zipper itself is nowhere near waterproof, so some seepage and dripping are possible.
Ease of Setup
It's not overly complicated, but we do think that this tent is one of the more difficult to pitch. It's not that it is conceptually complicated (it isn't); we just found that the H-shaped pole structure can be harder for one person to get a handle on. There also isn't always quite enough guyline at the head and foot end stake points to actually reach the ground.
However, once you can wrangle all four corners into the tent grommets, then it's just a matter of clipping the tent body to the poles. The fly attaches with a clip at each corner, and eight stakes hold it all in place. We do appreciate that this model also comes with 12 total stakes, so you can use them to secure some additional guyline or just carry a couple of extras in case you lose one.
The tent floor and fly and are both made from 75D polyester, which is on the thicker end of the tent fabric spectrum. This adds a lot of bulk, but also can offer peace of mind if you are the type of camper that isn't always the most careful with their gear. We also found that the included stakes stand up to more stomping than we ever would have expected.
Our primary concerns about the durability of the Eco Trail are relatively small details. The webbing at each corner of the fly is thin, and the design of the top of the zipper near the fly vent, as well as the kickstand that keeps the vent open, appear liable to rip in the long run.
Weight and Packed Size
Tipping the scales at 6 pounds, 3 ounces, this tent is one of the heaviest in this review. This largely owes to its hefty rainfly, which is the same 75D polyester fabric as the tent floor. It is certainly not winning any ultralight contests, but that's not particularly what it is designed for.
Similarly, this shelter takes up a ton of space inside a pack. Again, the fly is thick and bulky, and the pole hubs are chunky. Sometimes, a 2P can be carried by just one person without too much extra effort. This is not one of those tents.
This tent offers plenty of value, but we also think that there are superior options at the same price point. The thick fabrics ensure you will get your money's worth in the long run, but some design features leave us looking elsewhere.
The The North Face Eco Trail 2 is a sturdy, reliable tent that offers great utility but not a lot of elegance. We wouldn't want to take it for a long backpacking trip, but for car camping or a weekend on the lake, it's an adequate option.
— Ben Applebaum-Bauch
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