The two-person North Face Mountain 25 is often dubbed "bomb-proof," and reviewers say that's an accurate assessment. Campers frequently report taking the Mountain 25 into some of the harshest weather conditions in the world with no problems. The only real complaint is that it's heavy for a backpacking tent at 9 pounds, but that may be a factor in its sturdiness.
Expedition tested. The North Face Mountain 25 is a four-season tent, meaning it can withstand weather from the mildest to the most extreme. User reviews and expert testers rave about the tent's ability to withstand winds up to (and possibly above) 60 miles per hour, along with torrential downpours. The double-wall four-pole construction paired with the encompassing rainfly creates a very waterproof unit. "It's dry as a bone as well," says a tester from Backpacker.com during a "drenching downpour."
"If there is only one tent I could bring on an expedition anywhere on the planet, for the size, weight, and reliability, it would definitely be the Mountain 25," says The North Face sponsored climber Renan Ozturk. He took the tent for a trek up Mount Kinabalu in Borneo, Malaysia with another climber; they lived in the tent for a month and experienced daily torrential rains. The Backpacker.com gear editor who slept in it on the summit of Mount Washington in "truly horrendous weather" agrees, stating, "Of all the tents we tested, this is the one I want to be in when the apocalypse comes."
The North Face did not stop at building a "bomb-proof" tent, they add extra treats -- reflective guylines and glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls.
The only downside we could find was weight. The tent's pack weight is approximately 9 pounds. Most campers are content with the trade-off for its extreme durability, and others remedy the weight issue by splitting the pack with a partner.
Poled vestibule. Despite its compact size The North Face Mountain 25 still features two doors and two vestibules, one of which is supported by its own pole. This makes for easy access, additional space for packs and better ventilation. Most reviewers found the interior space more than adequate as one Amazon.com customer explains, "Plenty of room for 2 adults with full packs (65L packs, ice axes, crampons, etc.). I'm 6'3" and my GF is 5'8" and we had plenty of room to move around, get to gear, food etc." Climbers especially enjoy the narrow footprint for camping on rock ledges. The roof features a vent to create high-low venting; most find ventilation excellent. Those camping in subzero temperatures appreciate the superb heat retention.
Assembly is moderately easy for an experienced camper alone, but a partner is recommended. Instructions are reportedly easy to follow.
Lifetime warranty. While the testers consistently praise the ruggedness of The North Face Mountain 25 and choose it when venturing into some of the worst weather in the world, there are not many reports on the longevity of the tent. One user from Amazon.com used the tent for three months in Antarctica and was disappointed. He claimed to have issues with the fly material ripping. However, as most experts will attest, tents rarely last more than a season in Antarctica. His tent was constantly pitched and facing extreme precipitation for the entirety of his stay. The reviewer never mentions if he contacted The North Face concerning the lifetime warranty. If The North Face considers the material failing after three months in such conditions to be abnormal wear and tear, they would replace it according to their policy.
Several campers on REI.com attest to using the older version of the Mountain VE 25 (three-person version) for the last 20 to 30 years. They note the older model is very similar to the new design. One man was so pleased with the durability, he bought another -- despite not needing it. Another camper's tent zippers failed after more than two decades and The North Face still repaired them free of charge.
Review Credibility: Very Good Self-proclaimed lovers of everything camping, the editors of Tent-Reviews.com personally tent each tent before posting a comprehensive review. They give The North Face Mountain 25 high marks for its superb cold weather performance.
Review: The North Face Mountain 25 2-Person, 4-Season Tent Review, Editors of Tent-Reviews.com, Not dated
Review Credibility: Very Good The North Face Mountain 25 was tested by a Backpacker.com gear editor, who is impressed with its performance. In fact, he says he trusts this model most when encountering harsh conditions. Kristin Hostetter records his experience and adds in a few features in a brief review.
Review: Gear Review: The North Face Mountain 25 Tent, Kristin Hostetter, Not dated
Review Credibility: Good Trailspace.com serves as an outdoor gear community where avid campers can post reviews as well as other helpful articles. The Mountain 25 receives accolades from about 21 users who give it an average rating of about 4.5 stars out of 5. Most contributors leave lengthy, helpful comments, saying the tent is durable. Most agree that it's the tent of choice for harsh conditions. A few say it's heavy and setup has a learning curve.
Review: The North Face Mountain 25, Contributors to Trailspace.com, As of November 2012
Review Credibility: Good Campmor.com, online retailer of all things camping, allows customers to share their experience with products they own; contributors must list pros and cons and are encouraged to leave a brief comment. A handful of users give the Mountain 25 an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Owners say it's super sturdy even in high winds at unforgiving altitudes and is particularly good for cold weather camping. All would recommend it to a friend.
Review: The North Face Mountain 25 Tent, Contributors to Campmor.com, As of February 2013
Review Credibility: Good The North Face-sponsored climber Renan Ozturk gives a thorough review of the Mountain 25. He lived in the tent with another camper in Borneo for a month under extreme weather conditions in rocky, difficult terrain. He says it was a solid shelter that kept their gear, which included camera equipment, safe from the elements.
Review: Mountain 25, Renan Ozturk, Aug. 10, 2011
Review Credibility: Good A handful of REI.com customers share their own experiences and opinions of the Mountain 25, giving it an overall average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Owners highlight its strong performance in rough weather, but say it's heavy.
Review: The North Face Mountain 25 Tent, Contributors to REI.com, As of April 2013
Review Credibility: Good Almost a dozen owners leave feedback for the Mountain 25 on Backcountry.com's customer review page, giving it nearly 5 stars out of 5 for its reliability in all weather. Like reviewers at other sites, they say the tent is heavy.
Review: The North Face Mountain 25 Tent: 2-Person 4-Season, Contributors to Backcountry.com, As of January 2013