I was tired, cold, and in a bit of trouble when my girlfriend and I pulled into the Tropic Reservoir campground on a Friday night. Yes, mistakes were made on the journey, and I was on thin ice. I can’t imagine what might have happened if our tent was a pain in the ass to set up. Luckily the Nightfall 2 from Slumberjack is very user friendly. Tent pitched, beers opened, warm clothes donned…things were slowly getting better.
It was during this trip to Bryce Canyon National Park that the Nightfall 2 showed its versatility as a three season shelter. The external-pitch pole design allows for quick setups and breakdowns, which is nice when you arrive to your camp later than expected. Also handy when you want to leave said camp first thing in the morning to find a better location. Because the poles attach to the fly, the shelter will stay dry when pitched in the rain. Campers can ditch the inner tent body to go ultra-light, but I opted for the full luxury of the Nightfall 2.
Okay, luxury may be a bit of a stretch (this is a tent, after all), but I did find the Nightfall 2 to be ideal for two people and lots of gear. The side walls are nearly vertical, which helps add to the living space inside. Gear gear pockets cache smaller items, and there are interior loops to add a gear loft for more storage. My partner and I had plenty of space for sleeping pads, bags, novels, clothes…you get the idea. We weren’t exactly traveling light. The Slumberjack tent had plenty of room for all our personal items, kept us protected from the elements, and then morphed into a summer shelter all in one weekend.
If you’ve got gorgeous weather, the large front vestibule on the Nightfall 2 is the way to go. Two side zippers allow the vesty to be fully retracted, then attached above the door. You can also use trekking poles to “pitch” the vestibule into a front-porch type of situation. Full disclosure: I had little to no success in this endeavor. My poles kept slipping out, and even when they stayed put it was precarious at best. It was nice to simply roll up the fabric and allow the sun and cool breeze to move through the tent.
The Nightfall 2 is marketed as shelter for hunters and backpackers. However, at over 5lbs packed weight, it is a bit on the heavy side. Better make sure your partner is ready to split the load with you. I also encountered problems with the front door and vestibule zippers; they have an annoying tendency to get jammed and caught during operation. Pain in the butt when it came time to shut down for the night, and when getting up for late night bathroom breaks.
Weight and zippers aside, it is hard to beat the quality you get from the Nightfall 2 when you consider the $140 price tag. Jumping up in weight savings or material quality will push you closer to the $200 mark. Overall, I thought the Nightfall 2 was easy to set up, spacious, and well equipped for three season camping. Just don’t expect it to bail you out of too many domestic skirmishes…that’s a lot for any tent to handle.
The Good: Easy to set up, roomy, and budget friendly
The Bad: Zipper snags often; a bit heavy for backpacking
The Verdict: The Nightfall 2 is a great option for campers who want three season protection without breaking the bank.