North Face Tadpole 23 Tent Review
Are Tadpole Tents Worth Buying?

north face tadpole 23

We hear this question all the time: Is the North Face Tadpole 23 Tent a good, backpacking tent? Find out with our North Face Tadpole camping tent review

Smaller in size than the North Face Big Fat Frog 24, you would guess that this might be the dumbed-down version of a great two-person tent.

The truth is though that this tent is anything but.

While the Tadpole 23 tent and the Big Fat Frog 24 tent are similar, the Tadpole is smaller and lighter, making it a more ideal backcountry camping tent.

That said, there are better backpacking tents out there.

We here at Camping Tent Reviews aren't so smitten with popular name brands that we'll recommend just any old North Face tent to you.

This may be a decent backpacking tent, but you could probably do better.

While the Tadpole 23 backpacking tent is reasonably priced for a two-person tent, the disadvantages will be evident by the time you finish reading this review.

North Face Tadpole 23 Camping Tent Review

North Face is no slouch in the camping tent industry. They know how to make a great tent.

But they also know how to cut corners and sell a tent that doesn't exactly measure up to the competition.

This is a small two-person backpacking tent, but it does have some large advantages, too. Let's take a peek at both.

northface tadpole tent specs

The Tadpole Tent's Specs

Here's a brief glance at some of the Tadpole 23 backpacking tent's finer points

  • Super quick and easy to assemble
  • Fantastically low price (for North Face)
  • Lightweight design
  • Great ventilation--as long as you don't use the fly

And as for those pesky drawbacks? Here are a few:

  • Interior too small for frontcountry camping-and a tight fit for backpacking
  • Fly design leaves much to be desired
  • Big collector of condensation

Below, we'll take a closer look at the ins and outs of the Tadpole 23 tent to give you a better idea of whether this two man backpacking tent's the best for you.

Jet over to REI if you want to skip our review & just buy it for the best price.

North Face Tadpole 23 Tent Specifications

  • Area: 26 square feet
  • Height: 3 ft 5 in
  • Floor Size: 7' 1" x 4' 2"
  • Weight: 4 lbs 10 oz (packaged weight: 5 lbs 7 oz)
  • Pack Size: 23 by 6 inches
  • Number of Windows:
  • Number of Doors: 1
  • Sleeps: 2 People
  • Seasons: 3
  • Pole Material: Pressfit Aluminum (DAC)
  • Vestibule Area: 9.1 sq ft.

North Face Tadpole Camping Tent: Advantages

The Tadpole in Green

With a color-coded, three-pole system, the North Face Tadpole ultralight tent is incredibly easy to assemble.

One person can get it done in ten minutes, and two people can get this tent up in no time at all.

North Face is sometimes synonymous with astronomical prices. The Tadpole, however, is a great deal.

You can pick one up from for under $200.

Also, at right around five pounds, this is a nice, lightweight structure. It won't drag you down on your long hikes through the woods, across the desert, or up the mountain.

The North Face Tadpole is also a fantastic summertime tent.

Its large, mesh panels provide excellent ventilation.

As long as you don't have the fly on, expect to get some nice airflow coming and going through this shelter.

North Face Tadpole 23 Tent: Disadvantages

This tent's rainfly leaves much to be desired.

Many online tent reviews have claimed that without at least three extra guy lines, the fly will lay right against the mesh walls. This causes the Tadpole 23 to collect much more condensation than other shelters in its class.

Although the pole system gives you as much space as possible inside, the North Face Tadpole 23 is a tight squeeze for two grown adults.

The interior area is a mere 26 square feet and it only stands three and a half feet tall at its peak. While this is adequate for backpacking, most outdoor enthusiasts would prefer a more spacious car camping tent.

North Face Tadpole: Consumer Reviews

Consumers like:

  • Lightning quick pitch
  • Great value
  • Very lightweight
  • Fantastic non-fly ventilation
Consumers don't like:

  • Too cramped
  • Poor fly design
  • Condensation collection


This North Face shelter may be bigger and better than a tadpole, but it has nothing on the North Face Big Fat Frog.

If you are looking for a budget two-person tent that will perform as well as the more expensive products on the shelf, think about forgoing the North Face Tadpole for the North Face Big Fat Frog 24. It's a little bit more expensive, but the dimensions are greater and the performance is higher.

If, however, you are smitten with the Tadpole, don't fear. It isn't a bad tent. In fact, it's much better than many 2 person shelters out there.

The Bottom Line: Considering it weighs nearly 6 pounds and has a tiny interior, the Tadpole 23 is a mediocre backpacking tent. If you're just getting into backpacking, the Tadpole tent is a great starter tent at less than 200 dollars.

Find the best price for the North Face Tadpole tent

If you're an experienced backpacker, take a look at some of the other best backpacking tents out there.

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