Finally, the stakes couldn’t hold anymore. The ground was solid, but the gusts must have pulled up the stakes bit by bit. Strangely, it was actually easier for me to hold the main pole once the stakes started to come out. Our gear was now exposed and some lighter items were blowing around as if picked up by a tornado. I couldn’t let go or the teepee would become a kite.
Knowing how to get by with less than ideal gear is a plus. A poncho can be set up in a hurry as protection from the weather.
Ron sprang into action like a superhero, wearing only his underpants. Somehow, he found the stakes and staked the teepee down tighter than before. As funny as it was, I wouldn’t be able to fully indulge in the humor of Ron’s scantily clad situation until the next morning. I continued to hold the main pole whenever the wind picked up, but luckily the wind died down more as the morning came. Needless to say, we didn’t get a lot of sleep that night.
These storms can happen at any time of year, and the area we hunt is well known for high sustained winds. The tent we used last year, Ron’s teepee, is fantastically lightweight and portable. It’s ideal for about 75 percent of the trips we take. The construction is very good, and Ron will be using this tent for many years to come. If it wasn’t constructed so well, it would likely have been torn at the seams as my three season tent had been years earlier.
It was decided that for some of these hunts we would be well advised to use a four season tent. My brother had done a great deal of research on these tents and for our purposes the North Face Mountain 25 and a similar (but lighter) tent from Hilleberg were our top considerations. The North Face tent was so much more economical that, although several pounds heavier, it was the winner (at least for now). Ron found an extremely good deal online, and (possibly remembering how the wind cuts right through his briefs) he bought it without hesitation.
The North Face Mountain 25 tent uses four beefy poles for the main part of the tent. The poles are positioned so that they intersect 7 times. This design yields great strength without requiring a more complicated set up. The main part of the tent is about 32 square feet. We found this comfortable for two person use. There is a fifth pole used with the rain fly that creates a large (8 square feet) vestibule. Ron and I found this adequate to keep both our packs out of the weather, and it is also a good spot for cooking. The other end of the tent has a smaller vestibule (3 square feet) that will fit boots, crampons etc.
We found the tent to have enough room for two people comfortably.
The North Face Mountain 25 tent has plenty of tie down locations. We generally used only twelve. The Mountain 25 also comes with bags that can be filled with dirt or rocks and buried when the terrain doesn’t allow for good staking with traditional tent stakes. The Kevlar reinforced guy lines are reflective, which is nice when coming back in the dark. The zipper pulls are glow-in-the-dark, making them easy to find before first light. Large canopy vents can be unzipped to relieve condensation. There are several convenient side and roof pockets where gear can be organized.
The North Face Mountain 25 Tent is approved by even the most avid mountain climbers…goats.
We were very pleased with the performance of the North Face Mountain 25 tent. It is a fantastic design that is very strong and also breathes well. Many of the spots where we camped this year were out of the wind. However, there were a few nights that the wind kicked up and there is a huge difference in the peace of mind such a well-designed four season mountain tent affords you. Last year’s little storm wouldn't have phased the Mountain 25 at all! If you’re hunting in areas where exposure to extreme conditions is probable, the North Face Mountain 25 tent should be a consideration.
Lucas Beitner has been hunting big game since age 10. He enjoys backpacking into the high country for black tails and mule deer in the Cascade Mountains. Lucas spends much of the off season scouting and hiking. He also enjoys competing in practical/tactical long range shooting matches.
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