The North Face Roadrunner 2

At first glance, the Roadrunner 2 is nothing more than a simple, freestanding, rectangular, two-person tent. Once we began playing and testing, it quickly became evident to us that the 5-pound, 13-ounce shelter is packed with features you'd expect in a much more expensive offering.
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At first glance, the Roadrunner 2 is nothing more than a simple, freestanding, rectangular, two-person tent.

Once we began playing and testing, it quickly became evident to us that the 5-pound, 13-ounce shelter is packed with features you'd expect in a much more expensive offering. Let's start with two giant doors that roll out of the way along the floor leaving a breezeway that's, well, very breezy. In fact, the design is so open that we began to feel as though we were napping on a screened-in porch waiting for someone to bring a mint julep.

Two vestibules, one on each side of the tent, offer plenty of room for two packs and even a wet dog. We absolutely loved the glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls and reflective guy-line loops. No more fumbling for a flashlight to find the zipper when nature calls. The reflective guy-line loops came in very handy during one particularly blustery night when we were forced to batten down the hatches. Armed with a headlamp, we made quick work of locating the loops, attaching lines and securing our shelter, which was seeking to become airborne. Color-coded tent poles and matching pole sleeves with pole pockets make tent set-up very simple even with just one person. Windows on the rainfly and a compression stuff sack round out the fully loaded package. Not that we ever really tested this -- who would really want to, we ask -- but if you have a desire to travel light, you can leave the tent body at home. The rainfly is large enough for three -- as long as you don't mind sleeping on the dirt -- literally.

Only one small blemish on the test logs during a six-month period. Over a two-day stretch during one extended test -- one where the wind was gusting to 50 mph and the rain and hail were sheeting down without stopping -- the rainfly became very difficult to keep tight and actually wetted through on one side, though thankfully it didn't leak more than a quarter teaspoon into a corner.

Finally, a small suggestion for possible improvement on the tent design -- which is darn near close now. We've begun to see an increasing number of manufacturers employ the use of various short pole configurations to actually create a more vertical sidewall, thereby increasing inside space all the way to the edges of the tent. Doing so would add considerably to the useable inside space, we feel. A suggestion for future design.

Of course, if the tent needs any further endorsement, look no further than the folks who frequented the SNEWS mountain acreage where over 15 tents were pitched for several weeks last November. We asked anyone from the neighbors to the delivery drivers to folks who simply stopped by to feel free to clamber in and out of all the tents -- which they did. Then we asked each person to rate their favorite tent -- the one they would buy if they could buy it right now. Without exception, all wanted the Roadrunner 2. High praise indeed.

MSRP: $249

SNEWS Applause Meter (4.5 Clapping Hands):
*The tent would likely be a rowdy five-hand-clapping affair if the above changes were implemented.

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