The North Face Sputnik 2 Tent - 2011 Closeoutis rated5.0out of5by1.
Rated5out of5byRocky HighfromGreat Little TentThe North Face Sputnik 2 is a curious design that has the virtue of maximizing interior space on a small footprint. The tent measures about 82 inches long by 44 inches wide, bulging to 56 inches along the sides. The base length and width are shared by a number of alpine tents--BD Firstlight, MH Direkt, TNF Assault. Flat ground is hard to find in the mountains so a small footprint is a plus (you sleep better on flat ground, your pack doesn't care). This is enough room for two, without gear inside. The tent with poles (1.5), stakes (8), guylines (2), and stuff sacks (3) tipped my scale at 3 lbs 2 ounces, a little more than claimed.
The tent is best thought of as a hybrid design, part double wall and part single wall. About half the perimeter (45%) at grade level is mesh screening with an attached "fly" that forms a small porch on either side of the tent. (I set my boots there.) The fly material is PU coated ripstop. The remainder of the tent is single wall, TNF's proprietory DryWall, a water repellent breathable fabric.
I like to give new gear a trial run before commiting to a major outing. This trial run was in mid-October to timberline (11,400') on a four-mile approach, climbing 2500 feet. A nearby easy summit was saved for the morning. The campsite was about 100 yards from barren tundra with temperatures in the mid-20s. Winds were fierce on the approach but the site was nicely sheltered with gusts only in the 10-20 mph range getting through the fir. I battened down the back porch fly to cut the draft (and ventilation). Nonetheless, the tent was completely dry inside at dawn, not the slightest trace of condensation. Unfortunately, the the rain falls frozen at this time of year so I cannot attest to how well the tent wards off the thawed variety. However, I have another TNF tent (Assault 2) with the same DryWall fabric. That tent came through a soggy night with a four-hour moderate rain, in 40 degree temperatures in early July, also at timerberline, completely dry with no trace of condensation. Like the Assault, all seams are taped on the Sputnik and I am confident it will weather just as well, stay just as dry.
The structural rigidity of the tent is impressive, easily handling 20 mph gusts without guylines.
I have almost no experience camping below 10,000 feet, so other climates may offer a different experience. The tent relies on the two porches for ventilation, though the top of the door can be cracked a little for a weather-shielded vent. The central Rockies in cool weather are quite dry, often with single-digit humidity. This is ideal for a single wall tent. Without windows this tent would probably not be a good choice for lower, warmer, damper places. But for my outings in the Colorado Rockies, I couldn't be more delighted with TNF's Sputnik. What's not to like? I have no objections.
The tent is, undeniably, aesthetically challenged. The lime green trim is a little like tying a bow on a pig. It's still a pig. The Sputnik doesn't look much the way tents are supposed to look despite how well it works. Perhaps buyer's remorse explains some of the more critical comments of others.
Pictures show the tent in situ and the view back along the approach trail.
Date published: 2012-10-22
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The North Face Sputnik 2 Tent - 2011 Closeout Customer Reviews