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The Northface spectrum 23 tent

August 31, 2009


A few years ago I bought the north face spectrum 23 tent. It’s categorized as a 2 person 3 season tent, this is probably technically true but to sleep in this tent with another person would demand a high level of intimacy. I always refer to it as a one and a half person tent.

I really like this size because I use it almost exclusively for cycle touring. It’s nice to have a place to stash my panniers and handlebar bag out of the elements and maybe a little room to roll around, at 6’4” some solo tents or bivvies are a bit snug. This tent is also self standing so it’s easy use anywhere. This has also aided me in cycle touring due to the lack of good or maybe I should say traditional campsites having to camp in parking lots, on gravel or on solid rock at times it’s not always possible to find dirt to put tent stakes into.

The total weight of this tent and it’s small packing size is what attracted me to it in the first place. I bought it online and didn’t get to actually hold it and see how it works, which may have been a mistake. The total weight 49oz according to the literature that accompanied the tent, this is a little misleading because the foot print that’s almost a must for a single wall tent adds about another 25oz or more and the poles add about four or five inches to the packed down size. It’s really not a big deal, especially not the weight issue in my book but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re a person who’s really counting every ounce.

The other problem that arose with this tent is that it’s called a 3 season tent but it’s not so good in the summer months. When it’s over 70 or 75 degrees the tent is pretty hot and poorly ventilated. Your sweat and hot breath becomes condensation inside the tent and the inner walls will be wet due to it’s single wall design and needs time to dry in the morning before you can pack it up. This also will usually, if you’re not that nimble and who is in the morning in a tiny backpacking tent, lead to getting wet and getting your gear wet. I’d have preferred a little more weight for a more traditional mesh and rainfly type design. I’d trade a little bit of weight for more comfort.

I have to also mention that the rust and brown color combination of this tent is also a plus if stealth camping is ever a necessity. It’s about as close as you can get to camo without being a redneck or looking like you’re in a militia. Overall

I like this product but probably wouldn’t buy it again mainly due to the price. I paid nearly $300 for this tent which is probably pretty average for a backpacking tent but I think there are some cheaper models that would suit my needs better.

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