The North Face Stormbreak 2 hiking tent: Tested
Budget-friendly hiking tents can be a gamble. Buy too cheap and you might find yourself with an overloaded pack or sleeping with a face full of nylon. On the other hand, up the game a little and you might find yourself breaking the bank rather than your back. To save both your bank and your back, The North Face Stormbreak 2 is designed to offer three-season comfort and high-end materials in a budget-friendly package. We busted on out to see if the company’s designers managed to achieve what many others could not.
The North Face Stormbreak 2 is a 2.42kg (trail-weight) budget-friendly three-season two-person freestanding hiking tent that bundles up into a reasonably compact 17.8cm x 55.9cm stuff sack. It is a compact dome style tent with two crossover aluminium poles and two shorter roof-poles combining to create a sturdy rectangular based, steep walled frame. Floor space is 220cm x 127cm, 2.84 square-metre bathtub design, fully seam-taped 68-denier (D) polyester with a 3000 mm PU coating.
Overall, it is not overly large in the two-person tent world, but that workable size is complemented by a 109cm-high roof to create a spacious interior. The inner tent comprises of 40D polyester mesh walls with a 75D polyester taffeta privacy panel at the base of all four walls and 75D polyester taffeta roof. Four pockets adorn each corner, of which can be used to stow doors when unzipped, and/or store kit. Four wall tabs and a roof-mounted lantern-tab enable hanging of lighting, or anything else for that matter (eve to string up a clothesline). A 75D polyester, 1200mm PU coating rain-fly clips into both the roof poles and all four corner poles via colour-coded tabs and draws down to ground level on the two side walls, as well as extending via two pegs/stakes at each door to create a 0.45 square-metre vestibule on each side.
In the field
The North Face Stormbreak 2 is very much a workhorse within the budget hiking tent world and solid bang for buck. It is easy to pitch, solid and spacious enough for two. Whilst delivering a small footprint, the tent feels more voluminous than it should due to the lofty ceiling height and near vertical sidewalls. The copious use of mesh on the inner allows for great ventilation, as does the ability to tie back the dual side zips on the rain fly to expose the large inner doors (that also nicely tuck into a pocket rather than always needing to be tied back).
Once the hatches are battened down the 3000mm PU coated floor and 1200mm fly sheet ensure the tent can ride out most nasty weather whilst, internally, the 220cm x 127cm floor provides enough room for two users to play cards and read books. Campers over 183cm in height can be reassured they will get a non-cramped sleep without a face-full of fly fabric and the four corner pockets mean you don’t need to fumble in the night to find your head torch. Externally, the large trapezoid vestibules allow more gear space than most tents of single vestibule or triangular vestibule designs, and the reinforced guy points make for a solid structure in windy weather.
All this goodness comes with a penalty however, in the form of weight and size. Listed as a 2.42kg trail weight in a 17.8cm x 55.9cm stuff sack, we weighed our tent in at 2.88kg and 57cm x 19cm, with full guy ropes and all pegs. Speaking of pegs (stakes), those provided with the tent are more what we’d expect from an Aldi tent so make sure you spend an extra $10 on lightweight aluminium tri-pegs.
The final word on The North Face Stormbreak 2
With those negative points noted, it’s also worth noting that those peg niggles are easily and cheaply fixed, and whilst the extra weight is not easily shed, it’s much easier if shared with a camping partner. Overall, the positives weigh out those negative points; the spacious interior (especially the roof-height), usable vestibules, abundant features, and a high level of build quality – when combined with being able to find it at an affordable price confirms the Stormbreak 2 as excellent value for money in the very competitive three-season/two-person hiking tent market segment. For hiking couples on a budget, it’s well worth checking out.
RRP: $450 See The North Face for more info on this tent and the brand’s wide range of outdoor gear.