Expert Review: The North Face Wawona 4P Tent
This review is my honest opinion of the tent, which I purchased with my own money in May of 2022.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the tent, which I purchased with my own money in May of 2022.
The North Face Wawona 4-Person Tent is a great tent for car camping with groups or families. I wouldn’t recommend this tent for backpacking due to its weight and size.
About the gear
- Product Model: 2022 North Face Wawona
- Size: 4-person
- Height: 5’9”
- Weight: 140 lbs
- Experience: About 18 years of camping
- When I bought the tent: May 2022
- Days tested: 2
- Number of occupants: 3
- Pack: N/A (car camping trip)
- Sleeping pad: Thermarest NeoAir Duo (from many years ago).
- Sleeping bag: Big Agnes bag from years ago, unsure of the name.
- Used for: Car Camping
- Where I’ve used it: Uinta-Wasatch National Forest
- Seasons I’ve used it in: Summer
How it performs
What I was looking for
Coming from a family of campers and backpackers, the vast majority of my gear so far has been hand-me-downs from my dad. He gave me an ultralight 1-2 man backpacking tent a few years ago; however, I decided I needed a large car camping tent for group trips.
Why I chose this gear
I actually purchased this tent used from an REI garage sale location. While there, I set up multiple tents from many different brands. I am a huge fan of the North Face and the products they make, plus I liked the (used) price of it! This is a huge tent and great for car camping with a big group.
What I love about it
- Ease of setup: I actually set up this tent on my own while my friends brought the rest of our gear down from the car. It was a little bit tricky to do alone, but it took me around 5 minutes total. I would recommend setting up and breaking down this tent with at least one other person. While it is doable alone, it would likely be a faster process with 2 people.
- Performance in wind: Lucky for us, our trip didn’t have any wind, so we didn’t stake the tent down. I can’t speak for how this tent does in strong wind, but with the large vestibules created by the rain fly and the amount of dead air space between the tent and fly, it might be loud on a windy night.
- Performance in snow: This is a 3-season tent, so it is not recommended for winter camping, and it didn’t snow in the Uinta’s the last weekend of July!
- Performance in heat: It was quite hot when we arrived, so we left the fly off while we were setting up (and for the rest of the night!). The whole upper third of the tent is mesh, so it has great ventilation when it’s hot out. The “back” door also has two layers, a screen, and a solid door, which is very nice for ventilation. When the rain fly is on, there are four vents, with an option to prop them open.
- Performance in desert areas with no trees: I camped in the Uinta National Forest and haven’t had the pleasure of using this tent in the desert. However, when I used a different tent (with less mesh and venting) in Capitol Reef National Park, lots of desert sand made its way into the tent, so I’d imagine with the mesh and ventilation this tent has, it might get sandy.
- Performance in wooded areas with lots of trees: The tent did great in the forest, it kept us warm and comfortable. The spot we chose wasn’t the flattest—there were many rocks—but we actually all slept quite well! One thing I noticed (since we didn’t have the rain fly on) is that because the tent is neon yellow, it seemed to attract a lot of bees.
- Performance when camping with a partner or group: We slept very comfortably with three people in the tent and could have easily fit another person. It may be a squeeze, but I think campers could probably fit 5 people in the Wawona 4p.
- Special features: This tent has a PLETHORA of pockets! There are gear pockets all over the tent, there are four linear pockets on the back screen door, two pockets on each corner, and “gear hammocks” along the ceiling of the tent. One thing to note is that if campers fill the pockets on the back door, the items might fall out when they open it.
- Stability: With no wind and without the tent being staked down, it was very stable. There was a lot of time during the trip when we weren’t at our camp, and the tent did not budge.
- Durability: North Face always makes very high-quality gear, and while they’re on the pricier side, buyers are getting what they pay for: quality. North Face items all have a lifetime warranty if anything happens to the tent that can be attributed to manufacturer error.
- Other: Bees! (see above).
Issues I’ve encountered
- Breakdown speed: It took around the same time to break down the tent on my own (5-8 minutes). However, repacking is difficult, especially alone. When I purchased this tent, it wasn’t necessarily packaged very well, so I never saw the ideal way to pack it, but the rain fly and tent itself are large and definitely require two people to fold up.
- Weight: This tent is quite heavy, as it weighs around 13 pounds, so I wouldn’t recommend it for backpacking, but it does amazing for car camping. We had about a 5-minute walk to the campsite from our car, so the weight was no issue. For its (massive) size, it has a pretty standard weight.
- Performance in rain: It wasn’t wet the nights we camped, so we ended up leaving the rain fly off to see the stars. However, the morning we left it did rain, so we draped the fly over our gear while we were cleaning and packing up. All of our gear was bone dry when we took the fly off to load it back into the car. I will say though that the rain fly is a little tricky to set up. I would definitely recommend doing this part with at least one other person.
- Footprint: The tent doesn’t come with a footprint. This is not uncommon, though, and footprints are often sold separately.
Favorite moment with this gear
This tent is so much fun for car camping in a group! I had the most wonderful time lying in the tent with my friends, talking and looking at the beautiful stars! At 5’9”, I can fully stand up in this tent with at least half a foot of space between the ceiling and my head!
Value for the money vs. other options
Since I purchased it used, I thought it was great value for the money. However, even at $350 retail, it’s a reasonable price. As mentioned, The North Face is on the higher end of outdoor brands, so the gear one buys from them is very high quality as well. This tent is absolutely massive, very durable and stable, and comes from a very reputable brand. When in store, I compared this tent to the Eureka Copper Canyon LX 4, and the Eureka Tetragon. Both of these tents are significantly less expensive, however space and functionality-wise, I preferred the Wawona. It has so many great features that make it worth the money -- all those pockets are killer!
This tent is absolutely ideal for making memories with family and friends! It’s large enough to fit the whole gang while keeping everyone warm (or cool) enough!