For a rest station after a marathon day of cragging, battling steep approaches, or dodging spraylords, you can’t get much more soothing than The North Face Minibus 23 (thenorthface.com), a user-friendly, two-person, three-season tent new for 2009. The Minibus 23 — with two exits and two big vestibules — comes with a host of innovative features that add up to a tent experience of a different sort: a high-low ventilation system; inside-outside pockets (accessible from within or without); an easy-to-pitch, color-coded clip-and-pole system; internal overhead mesh stash pockets for your sundries (or a headlamp, which you can angle as a reading lamp); and a smart, roomy brow-pole configuration that opens up mucho headspace.
DOWNSTAIRS To enhance airflow (thus reducing condensation and, in the warmer months, sleepstifling mugginess), The North Face designed a high-low ventilation system — a hook low on the rainfly door lets you fold back a wedge-shaped opening, letting in air from below; meanwhile, mesh-lined vents atop the rainfly let in air from above.
BROW BEATER The Minibus 23’s brow poles outwardly stretch the top of the tent space (the dome curves past vertical at the top). The result is an extra-roomy interior — enough to invite friends in for cards on a rainy day.
INSIDE OUT Spaced your keys in the internal pocket again? No worries — just unzip the pocket and gain access to the internal compartment where you stashed ‘em. No need to crawl in and hunt.