The North Face Stormbreak 2 Review
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The North Face Stormbreak 2
|Price||$44.95 at Evo|
Compare at 3 sellers
$114.73 at REI
$96.93 at REI
|$159 List||$80 List|
$65.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Excellent headroom, storage pockets, versatile vestibule||Two side doors, easy to pitch, large vestibules||Great headroom, large vestibule, easy to pitch||Setup with fly attached, flexible vestibule configuration, below average price||Inexpensive, double doors, two vestibules|
|Cons||Heavy, cheap stakes||Heavy, not so stable in high wind||Poles pinch together under fly tension||Single door, can't remove fly while keeping tent pitched||Minimal storage, delicate pole sleeves, cheap material|
|Bottom Line||A spacious tent with large vestibules that provide a lot of flexibility for the weather||A straightforward, easy to set up tent with good comfort features||This inexpensive budget tent is an excellent option for one person||The unique design and really reasonable price of this tent have us finding new ways to enjoy it again and again||A low-priced tent that will work in a pinch for front country camping|
|Rating Categories||The North Face Stor...||REI Co-op Passage 2||REI Co-op Passage 1||Slumberjack Nightfa...||BISINNA 2|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Ease of Set-up (10%)|
|Packed Size (10%)|
|Specs||The North Face Stor...||REI Co-op Passage 2||REI Co-op Passage 1||Slumberjack Nightfa...||BISINNA 2|
|Measured Packaged Weight||6.33 lbs||5.23 lbs||4.21 lbs||5.68 lbs||4.76 lbs|
|Floor Area||30.6 sq ft||31 sq ft||20 sq ft||31.4 sq ft||31.6 sq ft|
|Packed Size||7 x 22 in||8 x 18 in||7.5 x 17 in||6.5 x 21 in||5.9 x 16.9 in|
|Dimensions||87 x 50 x 43 in||88 x 52 x 40 in||88 x 36 x 40 in||85 x 52 x 39.5 in||82.7 x 55 x 47.2 in|
|Vestibule Area (Total)||9.78 sq ft||19 sq ft||9.5 sq ft||9.3 sq ft||13.6 sq ft|
|Peak Height||43 in||40 in||40 in||39.5 in||47.2 in|
|Number of Doors||2||2||1||1||2|
|Number of Poles||4||2||2||3||2|
|Pole Diameter||Not provided||8.5 mm||8.5 mm||Not provided||Not provided|
|Number of Pockets||4||2||1||2||2|
|Pole Material||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum||7001 aluminum||Aluminum|
|Rain Fly Material||75D polyester||Polyester||Polyester||68D polyester||190T Polyester Taffeta|
|Inner Tent Material||75D polyester taffeta||Polyester||Polyester||40D Polyester No-See-Um Mesh||190T Polyester Taffeta+B3 No-see-um Mesh|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The North Face Stormbreak 2 is a unique combination of comfortable, spacious, and durable. The 75D polyester taffeta floor and fly are sturdy and the four large storage pockets mean that you can really make the most of the floor space.
The Stormbreak shines when it comes to comfort. The vertical sidewalls ensure that the tent has maximum shoulder space. The two horizontal cross poles at the top also create a significant amount of headroom in the canopy. This makes it really easy for two people to sit up at the same time and both have enough room to move around without bumping into the sides or each other.
Its floor dimensions of 87 inches long and 50 inches wide don't immediately stand out amongst the crowd, but somehow this tent really feels spacious. Two large side doors allow each person to have their own entry and exit. Though they aren't the biggest doors, they do open all the way around — almost a full 360 degrees — which is somewhat unique. We also love the four large storage pockets which can easily hold flashlights, journals, maps, gloves, or any other items that you want to keep close by. If the weather and bugs allow it, the doors also stash easily in the side pockets.
The privacy panels aren't super high but the green mesh provides some privacy if you want to keep the fly off on a stuffy day. This tent has a uniform width at both ends so it has the flexibility to sleep campers head-to-toe or head-to-head. One of the only features that we aren't so fond of is the solid cloth panel at the pinnacle of the canopy which obscures skyward views.
The Stormbreak performs at the very top of the category in most metrics, except for its weight. It weighs 6.33 pounds, which includes the tent, poles, fly, and stakes. At this weight, it is one of the heaviest in this review. There are many regular backpacking tents that weigh half as much, meaning that even split between two people, each person is potentially carrying the weight of an entire tent.
It has plenty of other redeeming qualities that make up for its heft. However, this is definitely not a model to tote around on long-distance backpacking adventures. It is better suited for car camping, paddling, short overnight, or backyard camping.
The Stormbreak 2 has a fly geometry and design that makes it a unique contender and one that is well-suited to wet and windy weather. Each vestibule stakes out at two points which makes it easier to get taut and provides additional stability. It flaps less in the wind and channels precipitation away from the tent.
This vestibule configuration also maximizes the amount of gear that can be stored and protected underneath. Unlike a typical triangular vestibule that leaves backpack straps out in the rain, this one covers it all.
The fly also has several different ways that it can be tied back. Though there aren't any additional vents, the dual-zipper vestibule flaps can be rolled up at several different heights and angles, allowing you to balance ventilation with precipitation protection. The fly zippers have a velcro flap that prevents water from dripping through.
Ease of Set-Up
This tent is easy to set up but has a few extra steps that make it take just a little longer. The two main poles are complemented with two smaller ones that run the width of the tent to increase the headroom. These four poles are straightforward to install, but it might take an extra minute.
We appreciate that the tent and fly each have one red corner to make it simple to orient them up properly. The vestibules require two stakes each instead of the usual single stake, and the stakes themselves bend easily in hard-packed soil, so we found that this sometimes slowed down the set-up process as well. However, one of the great advantages of this vestibule design is that it makes it super simple to tension properly and rarely required additional fidgeting after we got the tent set up.
Though this model weighs a lot, it makes up for it with its durability. The 75D floor and fly are thick and resistant to the wear and tear that comes with repeated use. We also noticed that the fly is more puncture resistant to thorns and branches than more expensive tents made from thinner material.
In our experience, the aluminum poles also don't seem to require as much bending to set them in place, which reduces the likelihood that one of the segments will snap. During testing, we never had any substantive issues with zips, clips, or any of the hardware.
Heavy tents are often bulky tents, and the Stormbreak 2 is no exception. Its thick polyester and burly clips and grommets take up a lot of space and don't pack down especially small. The difference between the way this tent packs down versus other models in the category isn't super noticeable, but it also certainly isn't winning any awards based on the strength of its packed size.
Tents this size usually have large stuff sacks. However, we found it surprisingly difficult to pack this tent away in its bag. If you don't end up bringing the stuff sack in the first place, this obviously isn't an issue, but be prepared to spend some time getting it rolled up and stored when you are done with it for the season.
Should You Buy The Stormbreak 2?
This tent is for the camper who heavily prioritizes headroom and interior space. It provides excellent value and utility for a variety of camping situations. With four large storage pockets and a fly with flexible configurations, it's a great option if you need to hunker down for a while. If keeping weight to a minimum is essential, we recommend looking elsewhere. However, for a roomy tent with quality features and substantial durability, it would be tough to find a better option among top budget backpacking tents.
What Other Budget Backpacking Tents Should You Consider?
If you like what this tent has to offer but want to maintain a high level of comfort while also slimming down on weight, we suggest the REI Co-Op Passage 2. It secures the highest scoring spot in our fleet and boasts an exceptional price. This tent is also available in a one-person version, the REI Co-Op Passage 1.
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