The perfect tent for a mountaineering expedition can be hard to find. There are so many factors in choosing a tent that can have significant consequence when on an adventure. It’s important to consider the weather that you will be facing, and how well your tent will endure the high winds and heavy snow. A mountaineering tent must be durable and strong, but it must also be breathable to combat condensation and provide ventilation. Perhaps the most important consideration, next to the strength of the tent, is the weight. A mountain climber needs to reduce the weight on their backs as much as possible to be able to carry the gear they need without weighing themselves down and wasting energy. Though there are many considerations to keep in mind, picking a durable, lightweight, well-ventilated tent is entirely possible. So stay tuned as we review The North Face Assault 2 Tent and you might consider it for your next adventure.
What to Look For
Size and Weight
For backpackers, every ounce matters. The goal is to find the lightest tent possible, without sacrificing any features such as durability and space. Your choice in tent is a pivotal opportunity that can either lighten your load or weigh you down. It’s important to remember that with modern advancements, weight is not actually the best measurement of a product's durability or strength. The best indicator is in the seasonality of the tent, not the weight. This may seem counter-intuitive, but ultralight materials can be just as strong as heavier materials nowadays.
There are three main types of tent seasonalities; 3-season, extended 3-season, and 4-season. 3-season tents are most popular, as they are lightweight, and designed for relatively temperate conditions. Their main purpose is to keep you dry, shield you from insects, and provide privacy. Extended 3-season tents are designed to be suitable for summer use in addition to early spring and late fall, where you might have to withstand some inclement weather. 4-season tents are true to their name in being engineered to withstand heavy snow, high winds, and colder temperatures. These tents can be used in any season, but are specially designed to shield you in more extreme weather. Tents are not one size fits all. A backpacker should use their own personal judgement in evaluating whether they will need a 4-season mountaineering tent, or a 3-season tent for temperate conditions.
It is important to keep in mind when shopping for a tent that fabric canopies with higher-denier materials are more rugged than those with lower-denier materials. In addition, higher-denier floors are more durable and more successful in preventing leakage.
In many tents, mesh panels are used to provide a view and ventilate the tent to manage condensation. This is ideal for hot, humid climates. However, it holds in less warmth, so mesh panels are not as good for colder climates.
Overview and Features
The North Face Assault 2 tent is designed to withstand fierce winds at high altitudes and provide a stable shelter that stands up against inclement weather. The Assault 2 is rugged and breathable with a special feature that allows wind hitting the broadside to fill the interior and equalize the pressure, creating a stronger, more stable structure. This tent design has been updated with two top mesh vents made of 20-denier polyester that increase ventilation to decrease condensation at high altitudes.
The Assault 2 has a removable vestibule that can provide additional dry storage for gear. This single-wall tent is created out of a DryWallTM 50-denier single skin that provides breathability, yet has long-lasting strength. There is a single door and a rear escape-hatch door. The floor is constructed of 40-denier nylon ripstop fabric with a PU coating and taped seams that prevent moisture leakage. The Assault 2 can be fitted with a footprint to further protect the tent from ripping and leakage, though this footprint is sold separately. The fabric of this tent is of a high-to-average denier, making it durable and hardwearing.
This tent has an X-tent design that is meant to make pitching as easy as possible, so that the user is not stuck out in inclement weather longer than necessary. Inside the tent, there are numerous tabs to run gear lines or hanging stoves. There is also an accompanying gear loft, though this is sold separately. All of these features combine to a trail weight of only 3lb, 4oz, so this tent is excellent for an expedition where you want a quality tent without weighing yourself down and taking up space in your pack.
- The mesh top panels provide ventilation to reduce condensation and moisture in the tent at high altitudes.
- The seams are taped, providing maximum waterproofing to keep the interior dry.
- This tent is ultralight, weighing in at a minimum weight of 3lb, 4oz and a packaged weight of 4lb, 15oz.
- Abundant interior tabs for drying lines and hanging stoves.
- X-tent design creates fast, easy pitching.
- Higher-denier ripstop fabric provides durability for rugged conditions.
- The nature of this 4-season tent makes it a great choice for strong winds, high altitudes, heavy snow, and general inclement weather.
- At $449, it is mid-price range and is not too expensive for its quality.
- One door makes entry and exit less convenient than two doors.
- At 27 square footage on the interior, it would be cramped for two campers.
- This tent does not come with a gear loft or a footprint, though these can be bought separately.
- The floor is of average denier, but for backcountry adventures, you may need to use a footprint to improve durability.
The North Face Assault 2 Tent
alpine & expedition
10 sq ft (1 sq m)
7 x 22 in
Interior tabs & gear loft
3lb 4oz / 1.47 kg
4lb 15oz / 2.24 kg
27.3 sq ft / 2.5 sq m
50D polyester ripstop
43 in / 109 cm
40D nylon ripstop
30D nylon ripstop
All in all, the North Face Assault 2 person tent is an excellent choice for mountaineering and expeditions. It is a 4-season tent, so it holds up well in strong weather, and is made of durable, ripstop fabric. The new design has two top mesh vents that help reduce condensation at high altitudes, and the ultralight design makes it a breeze to carry in your pack. The square footage is only 27, though, so it may be a little cramped for two occupants, even though it is marketed for two. This tent would be an excellent choice for a single-person expedition or alpine adventure. It is waterproof, hardwearing, and well-ventilated. It is in the median of the price range for this type and caliber of tent, so it would be an excellent choice for someone looking for a lightweight tent that is strong, waterproof, breathable, and generally effective.