north face storm break 1 review
Chris Maxcer

The North Face Stormbreak 1 Tent Review

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The North Face Stormbreak 1 Tent tops our list of the 7 Best Backpacking Tents for the Money in the 1-person category, and for good reason: The North Face Stormbreak 1 tent is a great tent at a fantastic price point.

Coming in at about $129, the The North Face Stormbreak 1 uses a tried-and-true x-pole design. This is important because the pole design ensures that the Stormbreak 1 is a freestanding tent. Freestanding tents are easy to set up, easy to move, and they are typically faster to set up over varied and difficult terrain.

north face tent review stormbreak 1
The North Face Stormbreak 1 tent has a fantastic price-to-value ratio.

We usually go backpacking with friends and family, and that usually means our crews are sharing 2-person or 3-person tents. Sometimes, though, you’ll be the odd man out, so you have a choice if you’re not willing to shell out hundreds of dollars for high-end backpacking tents: carry a heavier 2-person tent yourself or take a 1-person tent.

With a trail weight of 3-pounds, 1.4 ounces, taking a 1-person tent will usually save most recreational backpackers 1-2 pounds over a larger tent. Since I also like to carry fly fishing gear and a solid first-aid kit, having a simple 1-person backpacking tent option is important as I’m loading up my pack.

The North Face Stormbreak 1 Tent Review: Overall Design

We already covered the x-pole design, but how does it set up? Like any typical x-pole tent: Spread the tent out, extend the poles, jam the pole ends into the perfectly sized holes in the straps at each corner, and clip the tent to the poles. Toss the rain fly over the top, clip the corners of the fly into the matching corners of the tent’s floor, tighten, connect the fly to the poles with the attached connectors, then stake it all down with the included stakes.

That was probably harder to read than it is to do in real life — setup is fast and simple.

The only thing you have to pay attention to is the orientation of the fly because the Stormbreak 1 only has one door. But, The North Face makes this easy because the corner straps are all color matched.

At the shoulders inside your tent, you’ll have about 34 inches of width, which tapers to 26 inches at your feet. The length is 87 inches. To put that in perspective, typical backpacking sleeping pads are 20-24 inches wide and 72 inches long. The interior peak height is about 34 inches. It’s roomy enough to read, get dressed, sleep, or wait out a storm. I’m about 6’3″ and 225 pounds, and I fit fine. If you’re much longer than 6’3″ though, I’d aim to find a longer tent — I would steer you toward the REI Passage 1 tent, which is 90 inches long and 36 inches wide at the shoulder (and only costs about $10 more than the Stormbreak 1).

Some of the The North Face specs sometimes say this tent has two vestibules, but that’s not exactly accurate. There is one covered vestibule by the door, which is large enough to cover your backpack and boots. The “vestibule” on the other side is a lot smaller and just doesn’t have a lot of usable space. You might be able to jam your pack under it or your backpacking boots, but it’ll be tight and you’ll need to perfectly set up the fly, staking it down perfectly, too.

The North Face Stormbreak 1 Tent Review: Affordable Quality

The surprise for me was the quality built into the Stormbreak 1 tent. The aluminum poles and clips are all robust. The sealed seams appear to be tough and the zippers on the door and fly work great, too.

The materials aren’t necessarily super ultralight, but they’re all reasonably light. Plus, the polyester bathtub floor and fly seem tough enough to handle a few seasons of abuse and keep the rain out. You can certainly find lighter backpacking tents or tarp systems made with thinner materials for two or three times the cost, but with the Stormbreak series, The North Face has created a total package that comes together to create an affordable, high-quality entry-level tent.

All-in-all, unless you’re a really big and tall guy, it’s hard to go wrong with The North Face Stormbreak 1 backpacking tent. The quality is there, the price is right, and overall design is simple and dependable. Highly recommended.

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