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The North Face Mica FL 1 Tent Review

The North Face Mica 1 FL is a one person tent that weighs 32.5 oz
The North Face Mica 1 FL is a one person tent that weighs 32.5 oz.

The North Face Mica FL 1 Tent

Comfort
Ease of Setup
Weather Resistance
Durabilty
Weight
Packed Size

Ultralight, Roomy, and Easy to Set Up

The Mica FL 1 is an ultralight and streamlined one-person tent that maximizes interior space and is simple to pitch. A large mesh canopy enables star gazing and helps reduce internal condensation.

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The North Face Mica FL 1 is a one person double-wall tent that weighs 32.5 ounces. The inner tent is freestanding, making it very easy to set up, and the rain fly only requires an additional 2 stakes to pitch. Steep side walls and the curved pole architecture provide plenty of head room, while an inner tent length of 85″ gives tall people plenty of room to stretch out. The tent also comes bundled with an optional footprint (not shown) which is unusual, since most tent manufacturers charge people extra for them.

Specs at a Glance

  • Weight: 32.5 oz, minus tent stakes and footprint
    • Fly: 12.3 oz
    • Inner Tent: 11.3 oz
    • Pole (1): 8.9 oz
  • Actual Inner Tent Dimensions: 85″ (length) x 40″ (height) x 24″ (foot width) and 30″ (head width)
  • Minimum number of stakes to pitch 1; recommended 6, maximum 8
  • Materials: 20D high-tenacity ripstop nylon, w/ 1200 mm PU coating, DAC Featherlite NSL aluminum poles

The Mica 1 is pretty comfortable as one person tents go, although you can’t do much more than lie down inside and go to sleep. It is bright and airy though and easy to fit into small or unprepared tent sites, which can be quite convenient if you like to camp in wild country, outside of well-defined campsites.

The North Face Mica 1 Tent is well ventilated with plenty of mesh.
The North Face Mica 1 Tent is well ventilated with plenty of mesh.

The inner tent is tapered: 30″ wide at the head end and 24″ wide at the foot end, and therefore best used with a 20″ or 25″ tapered mummy sleeping pad. A high bathtub floor keeps water from seeping into the tent and the front and rear mesh walls/ceiling provide plenty of cross ventilation to keep help reduce internal condensation. The inner tent has a height of 40″ so you can sit up inside easily. There’s a single front door that can be toggled open, one mesh pocket at the head end of the tent, and abundant internal gear loops to hang lights or electronics overhead.

There's plenty of gear storage space in the front vestibule
There’s plenty of gear storage space in the front vestibule

The Mica 1 has a front vestibule that provides valuable gear storage space and is really the only place you can store your backpack and wet shoes. The fly zipper is protected with a gutter to prevent rain from splashing down on you when you open the fly to get out at night, although the zipper has a tendency to get stuck unless you’re careful when you open it. There are also two large vents at the head and foot ends of the tent that you can stake out for additional ventilation.

The fly covers a large airspace in the back of the tent that's really just intended for additional ventilation and is not accessible from the inner tent.
The fly covers a large airspace in the back of the tent that’s really just intended for additional ventilation and is not accessible from the inner tent.

The rear window of the tent fly can also be staked out for added ventilation. While it covers a space that’s large enough to be a small vestibule, there isn’t a second door in the inner tent to access it except from the outside.

The corners of the inner tent and rain fly have color-coded grommets that slip over the tent pole struts, making set up fast and easy. While this almost makes the tent freestanding, you will want to stake out the tent corners to fully stretch out the inner tent floor. All of the guy-lines are fixed cord loops and are not adjustable with tensioners however, something I would recommend modifying, especially on the front vestibule and the rear window. Otherwise, you might find you need to move the tent around to find good ground that will hold your tent stakes.

Be careful when assembling the Mica FL 1's horizontal cross pole, which is under considerable tension. Make sure that the ferrules are tightly seated before use.
Be careful when assembling the Mica FL 1’s horizontal cross pole, which is under considerable tension. Make sure that the center ferrules are tightly seated before you insert the ends into the ball joints at the other ends.

The Mica FL 1 floor and fly is made with a 20D Ripstop Nylon with PU which is lightweight and reasonably durable with good campsite selection. Tent fabric notwithstanding, I think a bigger area of concern are the tent poles that the tent uses. The two-segment horizontal cross-pole used on the Mica 1 FL is very easy to break. When assembling the pole, make sure the two halves are well seated before attaching it to the tent hub and ball joints at the other ends. If they’re not securely connected, you can easily split the “male” pole end, which will necessitate a repair or replacement.

Recommendation

The North Face Mica FL 1 is an easy tent to like. It’s fast to set up and it has a small footprint, so you can fit it in just about anywhere. The Mica 1 also has great ventilation, good stability, and a generously sized front vestibule to stash your gear. Really, the only awkward thing about the Mica FL 1 is the single, multi-segment tent pole which is bulky and somewhat ungainly to pack. While the lightweight design and materials used in the Mica 1 require some care to use and maintain, its ease of setup and spacious dimensions make it a good beginner tent or a nice upgrade from a more cramped camping shelter.

Disclosure: The author purchased this tent with his own funds.
Written 2018.

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4 comments

  1. How long do you think that fabric will remain waterproof?

    • Until you rub off the coating or it flakes off from age. Nothing lasts forever. But you should be able to get years and years of use out if it. Tents don’t just lose their waterproofing all of a sudden.

  2. How would you compare this to the Copper Spur HV1? Seems to be similar in size/weight.

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