Kathmandu is an Australian outdoor brand with a growing presence in the UK. The North Star V3 is an inner-pitched-first design that the manufacturer has billed as
‘a true mountaineering tent’.
The Kathmandu North Star V3 North Star V3’s design is focused on performance in snow. The flysheet does not extend all the way to the ground, which allows more airflow, an essential feature in snow when condensation can be a major problem. It’s also an inner-pitched-first design as it’s less likely to be pitched while raining. The tent shape is similar to other geodesics, where the steep sidewalls can help shed snow. But you also get a unique guy line system that allows more tension to be applied to the sides of the tent to ensure maximum stability even on the most exposed or uneven wild camping situation. There is also a little more width in the inner, to make this more comfortable for repeated nights away. These features and the sturdier fabric means that this is heaviest on test. So what you gain in space and stability you lose in terms of weight.
On the hill
Colour-coded poles slide effortlessly through the sleeves on the inner, which makes this a breeze to pitch. A series of ladder-lock webbing buckles are used to clip the outer to the inner around the base, and this allows the tent to be tensioned after it has been pitched. The pegs are well-designed for general use without tearing your hands to bits when removing them. But what I really liked were the guy lines, which are self-aligning so that the peg can go almost anywhere and tension is applied across a wide area. This allowed me to pitch this tent very easily, including on rocky, uneven ground. The front porch is slightly offset to one side to create a little more storage space while leaving easy access. This is useful and perhaps better than a direct front entry that naturally limits how useful the porch is for stashing gear. However you don’t get the extensive door opening options of other designs, which can be useful when living in the tent with the wind direction changing all the time. You don’t get the extensive venting options of other tents either, because the flysheet is raised quite a way above the ground, so this is less of an issue than it would be for a tent that had a fly touching the ground and restricting airflow. There is of course a pay-off, and that gap between the fly and the ground means this tent is not ideal for really wet weather.
Design three-pole geodesic
Poles shock-corded alloy
Materials outer: polyester, 2000mm hydrostatic head; groundsheet: nylon 10,000mm hydrostatic head; inner: nylon
Internal dimensions length 230cm; width 145cm; height 105cm
Packed size 50x15cm
Made in China
Stockist details – tel. 0800 066 5018: www.kathmandu.co.uk
The Kathmandu North Star V3 offers stability for wild camping in the mountains in snow, but others are lighter and have advantages in mixed weather. It received the ‘Trail Best Value’ accolade in our test.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine August 2010