Ive spent enough nights in this tent that i think i can give it a fair review.
Weight. At 27 oz the Notch is very light for a full featured double-wall shelter.
Ease of Use. Pitching is pretty fast and easy once you do it a couple times.
Versatility. 2 side entry doors and 2 vestibules give alot of options for gear stashing. Getting in and out is much nicer than in front entry tents. When used with adjustable trekking poles you have alot of options for dealing with weather, condensation and uneven ground. With only 4 stakes and the diamond shape i can pitch it in tight locations. It can pitch with just the rainfly, just the inner net, or both giving some real lightweight options depending on expected conditions. Extra guyout points are provided to add stability though i havent needed them yet.
Durability: I cant comment on long term durability yet, but so far it seems much tougher than it looks. No signs of wear yet after using it all season.
Weather Worthiness. It stands up well against wind and driving rain. No leaks or collapses to speak of. I wouldnt hesitate to use it in any 3 season conditions.
Ventilation. No condensation issues yet, though sierra summers are easy in that regard. Ridge vents, end vents and adjustable height give you ways to deal with it in more humid climates.
Packability. The triangular gussets are what make this design work, but they also make it pack longer than id like. It can be awkward to fit inside a smaller pack with a bear can. It works out ok in my Exos 48 but just barely.
Fiddle Factor. I find myself messing with it alot. The door zippers are also the side guy-outs so i find it best to loosen the tension before opening the doors. Small buckles take tension off the zipper itself, but add a step to getting in and out.
Size. Im 6'1" and i can sit up and lay down comfortably but theres nothing to spare. Its barely big enough to fit a large (76x25) sleeping pad. The vestibules are small as well. I store my pack and other uneeded items under one side, and shoes and water under the other for easy midnight access. It works but i prefer the larger vestibule of other shelters.
Not Freestanding. I havent had any trouble pitching this tent yet, but a freestanding option is always nice to have.
All in all i like the Notch alot, but i dont quite love it. The cons are pretty neglible. The weight, versatility and other pros make it a good fit for me. I dont see replacing it anytime soon.
I hear alot of complaints about sil nylon stretching and sagging. For me, in the dry sierra its a non issue. I add a little tension to each guy right before bed and it stays taught all night. Even if i didnt do that i think it would still hold up.
Like most ultralight gear, there are trade offs. Its not as convenient or easy as a freestanding cross-pole tent, but its much lighter and more versatile.
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