/ Anyone used a North Face Tadpole 23 tent?

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Katherine Ross - on 24 Aug 2012
The other day I bought said tent but have a few niggling doubts about it and was wondering if anyone's got any experience of using it. I pitched it in my conservatory and it appeared that the positioning of the main door and the angle of the inner door would mean that rain could drip directly into the main tent body when the main door was open. Also, the fly sits quite high off the ground, slightly defeating the purpose of the high bucket groundsheet.

I paid £157.60 (RRP £230) for it in a sale + loyalty discount but have the option of returning it. At 2.37kg it's not the lightest tent for its size and just doesn't seem to be quite as well designed as my boyfriend's several-year-old Vaude Hogan which I used in Chamonix this summer. But, it seems the design has sold well for the past 20 years, so are my doubts unfounded? Also, people seem to have had problems with the flysheet becoming sticky and degrading.
MtnGeekUK - on 24 Aug 2012
In reply to Katherine Ross:

I can't speak from personal experience, it getting a straw poll from reviews may help...



s.scott - on 24 Aug 2012
In reply to Katherine Ross:

My mate has one which we used lots of times in the lakes. I remember it being a bit of a bugger to get the fly sitting right and we struggled to vent the tent when it was raining.

But we sat through a lot of rain and storms without getting wet in it.
Katherine Ross - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to MtnGeekUK: Thanks, I'd already found one of those but only a couple of people have mentioned dripping into the inner. It gets very mixed reviews, which isn't helping my decision!
Katherine Ross - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to s.scott: Yeah, the fly does seem quite tricky to stretch over and is almost level with the top of the groundsheet bucket at the back. Did you find that rain got into the main tent when the door was open? It seems to me that the front pole could do with being just a tiny bit more vertical to completely clear it.
jon on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Katherine Ross:

I've got one that I've used quite a lot, mainly on long backpacking walks. I'd agree with you that rain can drip in but this is easily solved by pulling the fly zip down 30cm or so. Also, I think if your fly sits high off the ground then you've pitched it too 'tall' maybe. Certainly the fly on mine comes down almost to the ground - have you tried experimenting with the three holes in each pole insertion/pegging point? There are certainly faults with the tent, the main one that I fear (but as yet haven't encountered) is that it looks as if it won't shed snow as there is a largish flat area on top.

thommi - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Katherine Ross: I had one of these. Write a review on buchaille.com. it was a good little tent, pain in the bum to pitch in rain, snow wind etc. It eventually died when an evening in cadair idris managed to snap a pole near the cross over bit at the rear. It was funny at the time, laying trying to swig scotch while laughing our heads if in a gale as the riff of the tent flapped around on our noses. They are good little tentatively but there are better (obviously). Been using a vande mark 3 more recently. Okay to carry as a pair and loadsa room. Makes a big difference having room in an extended trip. Hairy smelly tired men need room.
thommi - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Katherine Ross: wrote a review... doh
thommi - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Katherine Ross: balls, that makes so little sense I'm not even going to begin. I will type two words... auto correct.
Hardonicus - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Katherine Ross:

This tent is bomber, I've used one for about 7 years. Flysheet was replaced at 6 years due to degradation/leaking but I think that is not unreasonable. This tent will not leak in the worst of weather.

Very stable in wind and easy to put up, no issue with the flysheet as mentioned in other posts, I get it right to the floor. Porch is a good size.

Cons: Bugger to put up in the rain as inner pitches first. Could be lighter, but then maybe not as bomber? Rain can come in to the inner if the outer door is unzipped to get out, just be quick.

Overall in terms of value for money I would say excellent, given that you can nearly always get them on sale somewhere, as you have.
peas65 - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Katherine Ross:

Depends what you want it for, general backpacking, fine. Anything more the flysheet sits high so water can enter, the amount of mesh means it is a cold tent and its not particularly light or spacious.
I think you could get better for £150 if you shopped around or considered a barely used ebay purchase. Such as a TN voyager or a vaude.
thommi - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Hardonicus: I'm afraid I disagree with the highly stable in wind bit, even when pitched thoughtfully to prevailing direction etc. Agree with the rest of your points though.
The_Boy_ODwyer - on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to Katherine Ross: brilliant little things, I've spent many an evening shelthering from bucketting rain and blowing gales in one. However, I've just bought a near identical tent from field and trek for about £90. It is made by Karrimor so it remains to be seen how long it will last but so far it's been pretty damn solid (I've already spent about two weeks in it, largely in the wind and rain). Think its a 'karrimor elite ridge' tent
lewismonkey on 29 Aug 2012 - [prx8.tnz.myschools.net]
In reply to Katherine Ross: I've had one for a couple of years. I have only used it a few times.

As others have noted, if you open the door in the rain, lots of water drips straight into the inner. Has kept me dry aside from that though. I find the interior height a little annoying as I can not quite sit up straight in it.

I only paid 73GBP for it though!
David Hooper - on 29 Aug 2012
In reply to Katherine Ross: the three pole geodesic is a fabulous design.iloooked at the tadpole and thought it was too vented for orclimaten.I settled for the terrace nova version,but Marmot,crux/lightwsave,mountain equipment all do htheir own version.
In reply to Katherine Ross: I've got one, and so has my wife (got them before we got together) and we both love them. Its a brilliant little tent, and I've recommended it several times on here when people have asked what tent people recommend. I'd suggest that you give it a chance, as I really am totally satisfied with mine
Katherine Ross - on 02 Sep 2012
In reply to Katherine Ross: Thanks for the advice, all. After much deliberation I decided to return it. I'm still not sure if this was the right thing to do but I'll keep looking out for alternatives. I'm considering a working holiday somewhere so may wait to see what's available wherever I end up.

On a side note, my 8-year-old Eurohike 265-TS (2-man predecessor to the Avon) has lasted very well! It's not suited to harsher conditions, e.g. Alpine, and it does sway and flap somewhat alarmingly in strong winds, but it lives on. The annoying design flaw that it shares with the Tadpole is that rain/dew drips/runs inside when the door is open, only it's into the porch rather than the inner.

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