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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2013

Gear Review: The North Face Mica FL 1 Tent

Deluxe features and headroom for a relatively low weight.

by: Kelly Bastone

The North Face Mica FL 1 (Ben Fullerton)
The North Face Mica FL 1 (Ben Fullerton)

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[luxurious living space]
The newest incarnation of the Mica offers deluxe features and headroom for a relatively low weight: The side-entry solo shaves eight ounces off of last year’s model by using 20-denier nylon (instead of 40-denier, as in years past) and a trimmer pole geometry. But the space it offers is supremely livable, thanks to a 38.5-inch peak height and steep walls that gave our 6’2” tester room to sit up without hitting mesh. The 17-square-foot floor just fits a 25-inch-wide sleeping pad, and the 5-square-foot vestibule stores a pack beside the door, where it doesn’t block the exit.

This three-season, double-wall dome is comfy in rough weather, too: In Utah canyon country, 20-mph gusts against its broad sides only slightly flexed the frame. “Given the headroom it offers, this tent is surprisingly stable in storms,” reports our tester. Ventilation is excellent—plenty of mesh and vents on the fly eliminate condensation—and the fabric’s light-reflective coating keeps the interior cool on sunny days. “I loved that heat shield when I lay down to recover from a long, hot hike in slot canyons one afternoon,” says our tester. With just one hubbed pole, setup is a snap. $319; 2 lbs. 5 oz.; thenorthface.com

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