Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011: The North Face Assault 2 Tent

A lightweight, easy-pitching, two-pole tent.

In periodic bursts of wind-blown sleet and three inches of snowfall during a night just below the summit of 18,897-foot Mt. Pisco in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca Range, one tester pushed the Assault 2’s lightweight, easy-pitching, two-pole design right to its limit. It held firm against 40-mph winds, he says, but he’d hesitate to pack it for more extreme conditions. “To handle heavier snow loads and more serious storms,” he reports, “this tent would need a four-pole structure.” But for everything just short of the worst winter weather, the minimalist design saves beaucoup weight. As with many single-walls, condensation is a weakness: When the waterproof/breathable Assault was stuffed with 385 pounds of climber, condensation and ice formed on the ceiling.

In less extreme conditions, during a 12-day excursion in Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy backcountry, another tester said the rain-shielded roof vent prevented moisture buildup. All testers appreciated the detachable vestibule (1 lb., included), which adds 6.8 square feet (a couple of weekend packs) of external gear storage, or lets you go without it for the lightest possible load. Even with the vestibule, the 82” x 46” interior is still snug for two.


4 lbs. 12 oz