We wanted to test a tent that would
withstand the elements. A perfect home for the alpinist and hiker that
guaranteed 100% stability and waterproofness, characterised by both its
versatility and functionality. Our choice fell on the Nebula by The
North Face, a true classic two-man tent designed to be used 365 days a
year and in all weather conditions.
A quick check immediately brings to light the quality of the Nebula – the floor is in Taffeta Nylon 70 Dernier coated in PU to guarantee waterproofness, while the flysheet is in 75 Dernier ripstop nylon. The all-important seams are taped and although all these materials are not ultra-light they are extremely robust. In line therefore with the design goals and philosophy behind every North Face tent
Durability, reliability and resistance. These are the three keywords that describe TNF tents, and the actual structure, supported by three poles in 7075-E9 Easton aluminium, translates this concept perfectly. These alloy poles are famed for their strength and reduced weight and still today are without rivals.
How the various components fit together is a crucial factor in tent stability, and the designers of the Nebula opted for continuous pole sleeves. These not only help pitching, but also guarantees an even distribution of tent tension. Unlike clip-on flysheets, the continuous sleeves reduce the risk of localised damage to the flysheet due to sudden gusts of wind, snow build-up etc.
The tent is fixed to the floor using aggressive aluminium V-shaped pegs, inserted into adjustable loops. These proved to be far more efficient than the traditional elasticised loops at tensioning the flysheet, especially on rugged terrain. TNF has gone one step further, colour-coding these loops: setting up the tent wrongly is practically impossible, even at night since the pulls and loops are glow-in-the dark and reflective!
The Nebula proves to be extremely versatile and comfortable, with all available space optimised 100%. The twin vestibules are great for storing rucksacks and gear and operate as easy entry points. Two windows provide ample illumination: the first, in polyurethane, is located on the door providing a great view outside, while the second is internal and works somewhat like a Venetian blind. It has to be said though that we removed the blind in summer to increase ventilation, which with the two doors is already excellent.
As has become the norm with all North Face tents, the Nebula excels for its attention to detail. Paradoxically though there are almost too many zips on the doors, while perhaps an internal mesh is missing to hang up wet clothes.
The combination of durability, size and height does not place the Nebula at the top of the featherweight category. Weighing in at 3.66kg, it isn’t exactly the lightest. But perhaps this is also one of its greatest plus points, for the Nebula can be relied on when the going gets tough. And, not to be underestimated in an emergency, it can fit 3 people at a push. Definitely an excellent partner for both mountaineering and trekking.