The North Face Triarch 3 is a tent that is well-suited for the worst weather conditions, with a burliness that comes at a cost of weight and increased setup complexity. The North Face Triarch 3 is a backpacking tent that can handle serious weather.
The Triarch offers 3.7 square meters of interior area, the second-least of our six tents. It also has limited vestibule area. But the overall volume is generous, thanks to a relatively high peak of 119 centimeters, and the pole structure gives good wall steepness. So it’s a tent that can fit on a smaller tent pad but deliver the same amount of living space as other tents that may look bigger on paper. It earned a “Good” on the 6’6” test.
When rolled, the Triarch 3 is a compact bundle, with a long, stuffable sack, and cinch straps that wind around and push any last air out of the cylinder. Though relatively heavy, that weight is offset by a large amount of weatherproofness.
It took 12 minutes, 30 seconds set up this tent on the first pass. Given that, campers should definitely set this one up a few times at home before bringing it into the backcountry. The fly is independent, meaning if it’s raining and you haven’t gotten the hang of setting this thing up first, the tent will fill up with water while you get it set up. The main confusion centers around figuring out which ends of the poles go to which corner. There are two poles that snap together to support the tent body and one ‘spreader’ pole that increases the living space inside. Once up, it’s a dream, but the set-up is a chore.
The Triarch 3 delivers a very strong weather performance. A guy line at each door’s peak, in addition to two on either side help stabilize the tent in storm conditions. The pole superstructure also provides great support as well as a slim wind profile. This is the tent to take when you expect the conditions may be really heinous. The walls come down low enough that no water will blow in, and the wall design makes it easy for water to roll off. There is a good amount of ventilation and living space in this tent without making any sacrifices in weatherproofness.
This tent provides robust living space that will keep you warm and dry in some nasty conditions. There are two doors, and vents at the top of the doors provide some good ventilation for the smelly socks that will invariably be drying out up there.
Scott Morris guides backpacking expeditions and hiking trips for Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides throughout the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. He is a writer, traveler, and runner. Scott tests backpacking equipment.