The North Face Talus 33 – a pictorial review
The Talus 33 is one of three “North Face” tents that I own. It is advertised as a 3 person, 3 season tent but I have never tried to get three persons into the tent. As a two person tent, it works really well.
The tent without the fly can be used on those days/nights when adverse weather is not forecast. The tent has a large mesh area at the front of the tent and has a door on each side. When utilized as a two person tent, this allows two people to each have their own entrance with their own clothing, packs, etc. placed on their own side of the centre sleeping area. With this sleeping configuration, there is plenty of length (92 inches) and the narrowest width is 65 inches. At the mid-point of the tent the width is 82 inches.
The highest point in the tent is 52 inches from the floor to the mesh above so fairly easy to maneuver in this space to get dressed in the tent in the morning.
The tent has three poles – two black and one blue. Tabs are colour-coded so that you know where to put the blue pole.
Once the tent itself has been erected with the three poles in place, it is free standing and can be moved around to its final location. It can even be turned upside down to get rid of anything inside or outside before stuffing it back into its stuff sack :-).
The fly has one yellow tab as does the tent and, as long as you remember to match the yellow tab of the tent with the yellow tab of the fly, the fly goes on relatively easily and is held in place by clips.
It is with the fly in place that one of the inadequacies of this tent becomes evident. With the fly in place, the nice open mesh area is totally covered (a good thing in bad weather) but there is no way to see outside (a bad thing IMHO). One of those nice little windows found in the flys of some tents would be a nice to have feature.
As a workaround to the above window issue, we put the fly onto the tent and then roll up the front portion of the fly so that we get to see outside; so that we get a bit more air circulation; while at the same time are able to quickly lower the fly back into its proper place if adverse weather is forecast or when we are going to be away from the campsite for any extended period of time. The fly/tent arrangement doesn’t have specific tabs or ties to help with this arrangement but tucking the fly under the poles does work satisfactorily. Another option would be to use hiking poles and tie the fly out to the poles to accomplish much the same.
Weight: I think that this tent is about average for this class and style of tent. Lighter tents tend to have lighter poles and more mesh and less living space but I don’t do any long hikes with my tents so a difference of an ounce or two isn’t important to me. I do like the idea of two side entrances and the two vestibules.
This particular model of TNF tents is no longer available in the retail market but does show up from time to time when searching TNF tents on EBay. If buying used, remember to ask lots of questions and get photos of critical stress points and ask about holes in the mosquito netting.
Not sure what kind of tent you might be looking for. Take a look at this page out of the Backpacker Magazine’s Tent Buying Guide..
See here for a pictorial review of one of my other North Face tents: the TNF Mountain 25.
Doing some comparison shopping and pricing? Amazon is a good place to start.
Other popular 3 – person tents to consider: