When The North Face asked us to try their ultra-light tent we immediately thought of their Tadpole 23, the ultra-classic tent for three seasons. But no, they wanted us to check out their newest creation, the Particle 13. This turned out to be quite a particular product, seeing that it's a tent designed for one person... Particle 13 is the new entry in the famous Flight Series, the top of the range products belonging to The North Face. The tent weighs a mere 1.88 kg and has been designed for fast trekking, where weight and a certain comfort are an issue.
A quick glance reveals that the internal space is very "livable", especially when compared to other mono options, ie the classic bivy bag. And this comfort becomes a determining factor when the trek is longer than 2 or 3 nights out in the open. The internal area measures 1.5 m2 and reaches a height of 1 meter, while the vestibule area is 0.4m2 and large enough therefore for the rucksack, stove, pots etc. As is the norm with all The North Face tents, Particle 13 is extremely simple to mount: the three aluminum poles are of different lengths (two are V-shaped) and these are inserted into the 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 fly is fastened easily thanks to the colour coding and the welded Velcro strips, and then tensioned using the tension straps. Like its elder brother the Tadpole 23, the Particle 13 flysheet is in lighweight 33 denier, 244T nylon.
All seams are hot-sealed with polyurethane tape, to create the right compromise between lightweight, waterproofness and durability. Talking of which: the aluminum 7075-T6 pegs are a wonder of science: they are practically indestructible and weigh almost nothing at all! The only drawback we fell is that The North Face issues too few of them!The inner of the Particle 13 is diamond shaped and measures a surprising 135 cm max. width and 1 m max height.
This means that, despite the fact that this is a one-man tent, should conditions dictate the tent can be used by two people. Emergencies are the best example, but if comfort can be sacrificed then those in search of the lightest option possible (400 gr lighter than the Tadpole!) should consider this option. The inner is rendered bright and ventilated thanks to the large mesh panels, while a side pocket for small objects completes the outfit. We started out on our test saying that from out point of view the Particle 13 is a very particular product, for the fact that it is a one-man tent. But as usual The North Face has created an extremely interesting product, even in this niche market. Perfect for solitary adventurers, or for those for whom every gram counts.