Gear Guide 2009: The North Face Madraque 23 Tent Review

This extra-large tent dwarfs all other "big-guy" tents.

Extra Large

Lots of tents can claim big-guy space, but that often means the big guy’s partner better be small to compensate. Not with the Madraque: After a four-day trip in Wyoming’s Wind River Range with a 6’7″ partner, our six-foot tester said this freestanding tent gave them plenty of living space. Credit the large 35-square-foot floor combined with a 42-inch peak height, which provides ample room in every direction. And even with two doors and beaucoup space, the Madraque still weighs just a tick over five pounds.

The key is an asymmetrical design that’s made easy to pitch with color-coded poles and clips. The downside to the layout: One vestibule is standard, capable of sheltering a full-size pack, but the other is much smaller and holds only boots–testers fought over the bigger side. Biggest complaint: While the Madraque shed hammering winds, snow, and rain, it accumulated more condensation than we’d expect in a double-wall tent. $329; 5 lbs. 2 oz.

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