Review: The North Face Kestrel [ 2-man, 3-season tent ]

Review:   The North Face Kestrel [ 2-man, 3-season tent ]
Product Description
Three-season tent used for backpacking and camping. Fully continuous pole sleeves and pole pockets increase structural stability. Durable polyurethane windows in fly. Dual doors provide easy accessibility and cross-ventilation.
Floor Area 34 sq. ft.
Floor Dimensions 57 x 89
Minimum Price 200 To 300 269
Peak Height 41 in

Retail: $279


Reviewed by: Chris, a Climber from Iowa
Date Reviewed: 4/15/2002 9:39:16 AM
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
This tent is great. Light weight and the compression sack on this years tent shinks the pack size even smaller. I have only used this tent for 7 nights, but it had no problems with harsh texas rain storms. It is great for two people if you dont mind being close. I recomend the gear loft to keep stuff aways out of you way. I see what others mean when they report you get wet when unzipping the fly. I found that if I were cautious I could avoid any water coming in. My only complant is that the vestible needs to be larger.
 

 
  Reviewed by: Kevin Bedard, a Paddler from Boulder, Colorado U.S.A.
Date Reviewed: 4/2/2002 1:34:49 AM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
I purchased this tent with high hopes, after all, this was The North Face! I assumed quality was inherent to the brand. I appreciated the Kestral on it's first trip. We were in Northern New Mexico and the tent performed very well in those same winds that were fanning the flames of the Los Alamos fire, to our south. It stayed taut and didn't flap much at all. Though there is much screen on the tent, the rainfly comes down low enough and the cloth side walls come up high enough that it wasn't bad and the winds were in the sixties at times! On the negative side, and this is a biggie...it leaks. In early Autumn, at 10,000 ft., under rain that came in varying strengths throughout the night, the tent began to leak. It came in pretty badly at one point and less so at three other points on the fly. At one moment, during a break from the rain, I was out there in the wee hours with a pack towel and duct tape, trying to slow the bad leak as best could. It may've helped a little, but when the leaks came again, with the return of rain, I swore I was gonna take that thing back. I did take it back and The North Face returned my money. The seam tape was sewn-through in four places and water could wick through. I found that kind of construction to be shoddy. Every other make of tent I've looked at since, has no needle holes in it's seam tape! I've ended up with a Walrus Terramoto, hoping for better rain performance.

Customer Service:
Though they tried to talk me into keeping the tent and just using seam sealer on the leaky spots, I restated that I wanted my money returned back to me. They sent a check that came about ten days later. I was ready to start shopping around again.

Similar Products Tried:
Kelty Domolite and Sierra Designs Sleeve Flashlight.
 

 
  Reviewed by: Rick Erwin, a Backpacker from Utica, NY
Date Reviewed: 12/1/2001 8:31:58 PM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
This tent was a real let-down.
I guess I was another person,
fooled by all the TNF hype.
After sealing all the seams properly,
I noticed a small pool at the foot
of the floor on my first night with this tent. I was greeted in the morning
by a flood when I cracked the fly
to heed the call of nature! This is one case when you really don't get what
you pay for!

Customer Service:
REI was no help. They were rude and tried to get me to buy a bunch of stuff
I did'nt need!!!! There's no substitute for your local specialty shop!

Similar Products Tried:
Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, MOONSTONE,
black diamond, and many more, and not a single complaint!

 

 
  Reviewed by: Brian, a Backpacker from Pacific Grove, CA
Date Reviewed: 2/27/2001 4:59:25 PM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
A nice tent. The twin vestibules and doors were the reason I selected this tent. It makes it easy to get in and out without waking your tent-mate. The vestibules were a bit tight but I could cram my pack and boots in one without too much problem. I found the inside of the tent to be very comfortable and spacious. I used it in a few downpours and didn't have any problems with condensation on the inside thanks to all the mesh. My only complaint is that after a downpour the water left on the fly dumps right into the tent when you open the fly.
 

 
  Reviewed by: bill brewer, a Mountaineer from Bay Area
Date Reviewed: 2/15/2001 5:22:00 PM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
Great quality, light weight for the grade of fabric used, a good value at $200 (if you can find that price). I've used this tent in the rain with no problems, other than anything touching the fly in the vestibule will get wet. Ventilation in the right places (low and high) for hot weather. Has a small footprint for those tight spaces. The fly can be used with the ground sheet (sold seperately) without the tent body for an ultra light shelter; or sun shade. I'm satisfied so far, but I would have liked larger volume vestibules, and a better solution to the fly door/tent door problem.

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Quest Preying Mantis
Sierra Designs Meteor Light
 

 
  Reviewed by: Eric, a Backpacker from IL
Date Reviewed: 2/12/2001 11:46:31 AM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
Mechanically, this tent is sound. It is strong considering its 'lack' of poles. All zippers and hardware worked perfectly.
Functionally, not as good. This tent is a bit small. I could never get mine to come close to the dimensions give by TNF. Very little space between the tent and the fly making for a very warm tent. It could use more mesh for summer use or more space for winter...
And the vestibules, what are they for? They are so small they won't even hold a pair of boots..
I returned mine and got a Meteor Light.

Similar Products Tried:
TNF, Sierra.
 

 
  Reviewed by: Nick Parish, a Backpacker from Tacoma, WA
Date Reviewed: 2/8/2001 4:08:34 PM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
Used Kestrel tent for 14 days backpacking in CA high sierras. Set up easy. Little bit heavy for two person tent. Construction appeared good. Design of fly and large vestibules appear awkward.
 

 
  Reviewed by: Martin, a Backpacker from Portland, OR
Date Reviewed: 1/12/2001 9:32:15 PM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
Simple design and roomy floor plan are great making the tent very easy to set up but there are two major flaws in funciton.

1) The fly opening relative to the tent door.
The shape of the fly opening does not match the interior tent door shape making it difficult to manage both fly and door quickly or while juggling equipment. In addition, the fly opening is situated over the interior netting of the tent making a dry entry impossible in a downpour.

2) The full-length arching door opening doesn't make functional sense. Instead of quickly unzipping only as much of the door as needed, this design forces you to breech one entire wall of the tent. Not smart during intensely buggy nights.

This tent is not for the feature-seeker. As much as I wanted to like this tent, I returned it for a North Face Arches. Simpler, lighter, and more functional. Still not perfect, though. Would have expected more from TNF.

Customer Service:
Customer service was superb.

Similar Products Tried:
The North Face Nebula
 

 
  Reviewed by: Rick Showalter, a Backpacker from Lansing, Mi
Date Reviewed: 12/22/2000 7:50:27 AM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
Used the tent for the first time backpacking on Isle Royale in July 2000. The island is hot and muggy but the tent has great ventilation which allowed me to virtually sleep under the stars. Woke up to the songs of the Loons and a nice breeze. Easy to set up and compact. I used it this fall and it kept the icy rain away from my gear. I woke up to ice on the rain fly but my 25 deg bag kept me warm.

Similar Products Tried:
The North Face Nebula?
 

 
  Reviewed by: Earl Loveless, a Backpacker from Draper, Utah
Date Reviewed: 11/21/2000
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
Great little tent. Its fly is hard to fit. It withstood 60 mi/h wind in the Watsach mtn. It served well in Glacier and Zions Park. I love the twin vestibles. A bit heavy, still well worth th haul.

Customer Service:
no experience

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  Reviewed by: Michael Giorgi, a Backpacker from Missisauga, Ontario, Canada
Date Reviewed: 8/23/2000
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
The tent is ligh and extremely easy to set up. I did set this tent up perfectly in near darkness. The tent is long enough for me (6'4"") and does take two people easily. There was enough room for two pack, one on each side but there was some shuffeling around to make sure it stayed dry when it rained.
 

 
  Reviewed by: Paul, a Backpacker from Lac Beauport, Quebec, Canada
Date Reviewed: 7/2/2000
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
This is a well constructed tent, roomy enough for 2 tall persons, lots of mesh for a very good ventilation, fairly easy to set up (5 to 8 min. My only complaint is that when it's raining, because of the design (vestibule door over mesh section), you can't prevent water from getting inside. I also think that for a two person, this tent is a little heavy (6.12 oz complete).

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  Reviewed by: Neal Zeller, a Backpacker from Gilbert, AZ USA
Date Reviewed: 6/28/2000
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
I had the chance to give this tent its initial real test this weekend on a trip to Arizona's Red Rock/Secret Mountain Wilderness area near Sedona. Nice...very nice. This is one of NF's lighter tents and after packing fron 2300 to 6640 feet I was glad for that. Set-up is the easiest I've ever used with the ""pole pockets"" at the rear being especially helpful while setting up in a 20 mph+ wind at the edge of the Mogollon Rim. Ventilation is top notch too, and this thing was QUIET in the wind all night long, very useful for a chronic light sleeper like me. This tent was on sale at REI.

Customer Service:
North Face is very good about sending info and detailled specs about their products not in their catalog or available at my local retailler.

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Sierra Designs Meteor Light


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