BackpackGearTest
  Home Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Terra Nova Zephyros 2 tent > Test Report by Brian Hartman

TERRA NOVA WILD COUNTRY ZEPHYROS 2 TENT
TEST SERIES BY BRIAN HARTMAN
LONG-TERM REPORT
October 29, 2012

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Brian Hartman
EMAIL: bhart1426ATyahooDOT com
AGE: 44
LOCATION: Westfield, Indiana
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 145 lb (65.80 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 20 years throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and most recently in Western USA. In addition to backpacking I enjoy family camping with my wife and kids and being outdoors in general. I would describe myself as a mid weight backpacker. I use fairly light weight equipment and gear but still like to bring more than the bare essentials with me while on the trail.


INITIAL REPORT

Product Information

IMAGE 1

IMAGE 2
Image Courtesy of Terra Nova
Manufacturer: Terra Nova
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.terra-nova.co.uk/
MSRP: 150 EUR; $186 US
*Listed Weight: 3 lb 9 oz (1.79 kg)
Measured Weight: 3 lb 11 oz (1.67 kg)

*Please note that there is a conversion inconsistency between lbs and kilograms in the tent's weight as listed on the manufacturer's website.

Other details:
Capacity: 2 Person
Single door
Single main pole
Pack size: 22 in x 5.5 in (57 cm x 14 cm)
Range: 3 season backpacking
Flysheet: Ripstop Pu Polyester 4,000 mm
Floor: Ripstop Pu Polyester 6,000 mm
Poles: 8.5 mm Superflex Alloy
Pegs: 10 x Aluminum V-Angle
Guylines: 4 x black reflective
2 year manufacturer warranty

Product Description

IMAGE 3 IMAGE 4The Terra Nova Wild Country Zephyros 2 tent (hereafter called the Zephyros 2 or tent) is a lightweight three season tent that Terra Nova describes as "perfect for weight conscious backpackers and price conscious adventure racers". It is, in my opinion, very light weight at 3 lb 11 oz (1.67 kg), has some great specs for waterproof performance with a 6000 mm floor and 4000 mm flysheet, and is priced relatively inexpensively at $186.00

The Zephyros 2 is based on Terra Nova's Laser Competition series of tents which are described as being lightweight in design, simple to pitch, and very breathable.

The flysheet and inner tent floor are made of Ripstop Pu Polyester while the inner tent body is a combination of nylon taffeta and mesh. The manufacturer uses a single 8.5 mm Superflex Alloy pole as the main support for the traverse hoop and two end struts to provide additional room at the ends of the tent. The main pole is collapsible and is stored in its own sack when not in use while the two end struts usually remain attached to the tent when it is packed away in storage.

The tent comes with ten aluminum V pegs that are 6 in (15.2 cm) long. They are packed in a small sack along with a pole repair sleeve. The flysheet, inner tent, pole and pegs fit into a nylon stuff sack with dimensions of 22 in x 5.5 in (57 cm x 14 cm). Setup instructions are printed on a sheet which is sewn inside the stuff sack. Because the inner tent is attached to the flysheet there is no setup here, it is simply a matter of sliding the main pole through the pole sleeve in the flysheet and then staking out the flysheet and inner tent so that it is taut. In addition to simplified setup, another benefit of the one piece design is that the tent can be pitched in rain with getting the inside wet.

The Zephyros 2 has a single large door on the side which is accessed by opening the flysheet zippers. The door has two zippers (similar to the flysheet) that allow it to be opened in numerous configurations. Once inside the tent there is a mesh storage pocket measuring 6 in x 9 in (15 cm x 22 cm) in the corner of the tent on the same side as the door. This pocket can be used to store valuables and/or as a place to secure the inner tent door. Mesh vents are sewn into either end of the tent. The mesh vents can be closed with a piece of nylon fabric that is held in place with hook and loop closures. The inner tent measures 90 in long x 38 in wide x 37 in high (230 cm x 97 cm x 95 cm) at its longest points.

Trying It Out

IMAGE 5 IMAGE 6 Setting up the Zephyros 2 for the first time was fairly straightforward but it still took me seven minutes to pitch the tent as I had difficulty tensioning the flysheet. In particular, I had trouble stretching the corners of the inner tent far enough so that I could secure them and the flysheet to the same pegs which is what the instructions state. When I moved the pegs inward to the point where I could attach the flysheet and inner tent to the same peg, the flysheet sagged; when I moved the pegs outward so that the flysheet was taut, then the inner tent straps wouldn't reach the pegs. Finally I gave up and used separate pegs to secure the inner tent and flysheet. With this setup I did not have enough pegs to secure the guy lines on either side of the tent as I had already used all ten pegs. I fully expect I'll become better at pitching this tent over time.

The Zephyros 2 seems solid but I have a few concerns regarding its construction. While pitching the tent, I had problems getting the pegs into the ground because of their sharp edges and the fact that there is not much to grab onto. This would not be a big issue if the tent were freestanding with the rainfly connecting to the tent body as is the case with my other tents. However the Zephyros 2 cannot be pitched without using all ten pegs. Second, the inner tent floor only wraps up in a bathtub style design on one side. There is no waterproof barrier on the other side of the tent to prevent water from flooding the tent floor in heavy rains. On the positive side, the tent is light weight and should be quick to set up once I figure out how to drive the pegs into hard ground without additional tools.

SUMMARY

IMAGE 7

What I like:
Light weight design
Should be quick setup once I get used to it
The one piece tent design will prevent the inside of the tent from getting wet when setting it up in the rain
Decent sized porch for boots, pack etc
Lots of mesh so condensation shouldn't be a problem
Two way zippers in door allow for large opening to get stuff into and out of the tent

What I don't like:
Pegs are sharp and difficult to push into the ground because there's not much to grab onto
The tent does not have a bathtub floor on one entire side and it barely wraps up on the ends (could be a big problem in wet weather)




FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

IMAGE 1

During the past two months I slept in the Zephyros 2 a total of 5 nights on three separate backpacking trips to Southern Indiana. My first trip was to Franklin County where I spent two nights in the tent. The weather was mostly sunny during this outing with a slight breeze and daytime highs of 95 F (35 C). I camped near a creek at lower elevations hoping cool air would settle there at night giving me some temporary relief from the heat. My distance logged was approximately 12 mi (20 km) across wooded trails and moderately hilly terrain. Elevations ranged from 570 ft (174 m) to 710 ft (216 m).

My second outing was an overnight trip to Oldenburg, Indiana where I hiked off-trail through woods and farmland several miles outside of town. On this trip I covered 9.1 miles (15 km) across moderately hilly terrain. Skies were sunny both days with temperatures approaching 100 F (38 C).

My third trip was to Mt Airy Forest in Cincinnati, Ohio. At nearly 1,500 acres Mt Airy is the largest park in Cincinnati and the first urban reforestation project in the United States. It also is home to one of the neatest tree houses I have ever seen. The weather during this trip was hot and sunny with temperatures in the upper 80's F (31 C).


PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD


EASE OF USE: At first I found it challenging to pitch the Zephyros 2 tent in accordance with the instructions that were provided. In particular, during my first two nights in the field, I had a hard time getting the inner tent corners to stretch far enough to reach the V pegs that were staked out to secure the flysheet. I tried several alternative approaches including using separate pegs for the inner tent corners vs the flysheet, staking the inner tent first and then securing the flysheet and finally adjusting the end struts. It didn't help that the pegs were nearly impossible to push into the hard ground and so I really didn't want to reposition them after pounding them in place with a rock. Since then I have been using new tent stakes and setup has become easier over time. In good weather conditions, which are all that I have experienced so far, I was able to set up the tent in approximately 8 minutes. I have not pitched this tent in windy conditions or the dark but I suspect that my setup time will not vary dramatically. I really like the fact that the flysheet and inner tent pitch together. Theoretically this makes for simpler set up and faster pitching. Taking down the Zephyros 2 is very easy; it is as simple as pulling the pegs, removing the main pole and squeezing the tent into its nylon stuff sack. I do wish the stuff sack was slightly larger in diameter and its inner fabric was slippery to help get the tent into the sack more easily.

IMAGE 2 INTERIOR: The inside of the tent is well designed with plenty of room for one person to sleep comfortably. There was enough room for my sleeping pad and sleeping bag as well as some other essentials which I tucked in the mesh pocket. In addition, I was easily able to sit up and maneuver inside the tent as well as change clothes and get dressed. On all of my trips I left my backpack in the vestibule and this seemed to work fine. I was able to access it from inside the tent through the large door opening. Although the Zephyros 2 is described as a two person tent, I would not want to share sleeping quarters with anyone unless it was an emergency. My teenage son and I crawled into the tent for a few minutes and lay next to each other. We promptly decided that we would forego the weight savings and pack a larger tent if camping together for more than one night.

BREATHABILITY: With its mesh inner walls and end vents, the Zephyros 2 breathed extremely well, although it was still quite hot and stuffy on my outings due to high nighttime temperatures. I had no issues with condensation, although the weather has been so hot and dry that I was not expecting any problems.

WATERPROOFNESS: The verdict is still out as to how well this tent handles heavy rains and high winds. It boasts great numbers in terms of its waterproof rating for both the flysheet and tent floor. However, the tent floor does not have a bathtub design on all four sides which has me concerned and a little disappointed. As mentioned in my Initial Report, the floor is raised on one side but the other three sides are vulnerable to high water. This could spell disaster for my sleeping bag and everything else inside the tent. I am also concerned about how well the tent will do in high winds because it is not freestanding. If one of the pegs comes loose or a rope slips off one of the pegs, the ends of the tent could collapse. The tent has yet to see rain as our summer has been extremely dry with drought conditions throughout much of the Midwest.

DURABILITY: After several months of use, the Zephyros 2 is still in great shape. Both the flysheet and tent floor remain in very good condition. The bottom of the tent has some small marks and scuffs on it but that is to be expected when camping in the woods without a ground tarp. I hope to remedy this soon by cutting up an old piece of Tyvek that I have lying around in the garage. The mesh inner tent has done a great job of protecting me from mosquitoes and has no holes or tears in it. In addition, the door zippers and hook and loop closures for the mesh vents continue to function without any issues. Finally, I have had no problems with the main pole or end struts.
IMAGE 3

SUMMARY



So far I am pleased with the performance of the Zephyros 2 tent. It is lightweight, fairly easy to set up and its design allows for plenty of air circulation in hot weather. Living quarters are fine for one person but I would not want to share space with a second person as I feel conditions would be too cramped. The vestibule provides adequate storage for essential gear and hiking shoes. To date, I have not experienced any rain or high winds in this tent so I cannot comment on its waterproofness or structural rigidity in poor weather.

This concludes my Field Report for the Zephyros 2 tent.



LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During the long-term test period, I used the Zephyros 2 for a total of five nights on two separate trips to Brown County State Park in Southern Indiana. My first trip was for three nights over Labor Day weekend where I encountered wet weather and temperatures in the low 80's F (28 C). My second visit was for two nights in mid October. This time the weather cooperated and conditions were perfect the entire weekend with mostly sunny skies and daytime highs in the upper 60's F (20 C). I hiked approximately 14 miles during this trip over hilly terrain with nighttime lows in the mid 50's F (12 C).

Early September Trip:
Location: Brown County State Park, Southern Indiana
Trip Description: Backpacking
Distance: 5.2 mi (13.2 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days / 3 nights
Weather Conditions: Storms and rain the first two days
Precipitation: 1.4 in (3.6 cm)
Temperature Range: 70 F (21 C) to 82 F (28 C)

Mid October Trip:
Location: Brown County State Park - Southern Indiana
Trip Description: Backpacking
Distance: 14 mi (23 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days / 2 nights
Weather Conditions: Clear and breezy
Precipitation: 0.0 in (0.0 cm)
Temperature Range: 54 F (12 C) to 68 F (20 C)

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

During this test period, I had the opportunity to test the Zephyros 2 in heavy rain and winds as storms rolled across Southern Indiana over Labor Day weekend. After arriving at the Park and hiking for several hours in soggy conditions, I decided to take advantage of a brief respite in the weather to set up camp amid several large trees in the area. I was already wet and didn't want to risk running out of daylight or getting caught in an extended downpour while still on trail. Pitching the tent went relatively well and it was relatively easy to pound the pegs into the water-logged ground, although I somehow managed to bend one of them slightly while hitting it with a rock. Once the tent was erected I dragged my wet backpack into the vestibule and proceeded to unpack my belongings and make dinner. Afterwards I spent an hour or so wandering around camp before turning in for the night. From just after 11pm till 4am in the morning it poured down rain and although no water leaked through the flysheet or up through the tent floor, I somehow managed to get soaked. When I first awoke I wasn't exactly sure what happened and suspected a leak in the roof but after donning my headlamp and looking around it became obvious that water had come in over the top of the tent floor. Once daylight came I could see a small gulley that led from a nearby hillside right to my tent. In this case, a ground cloth may have helped divert some of the running water under the tent. It also may have helped if I had picked a higher spot to pitch my tent or if I had dug a trench around it the night before. Unfortunately, I had taken my tent site for granted as it had never been a problem for my other tents which have high-walled bathtub style floors which prevent water run-in. In the future I will have to be more cautious about where I set up camp with this tent. One other note is that the storm produced fairly heavy winds but they did not seem to bother the tent much and the flysheet remained taut.

Although I am not happy with the design of the tent floor I do like the design of the door. It is tall and wide and positioned such that it was very easy to get in and out of the tent while in Brown County without soaking my back on the wet flysheet. Because the zippers run almost straight up and down they are easy to open and I didn't have to stretch really far to reach them. Finally, the flap covering the zippers did a great job of keeping out the rain.

SUMMARY

The Zephyros 2 has proven to be a credible backpacking tent and one that I will continue to use in the field thanks to its lightweight design and compact size when folded. It is roomy enough for me to stretch out in at the end of a long day, ventilation is great and there has been minimal condensation inside the tent so far. I also like that I can pitch the Zephyros 2 in the rain without getting the inner tent wet. Unfortunately it has a few significant shortcomings such as the design of the tent pegs and the fact that the floor has no sidewalls on three sides, thus allowing streams of runoff to enter the tent during heavy rains. With the addition of new stakes and a ground cloth to help protect the floor, this tent is a decent and lightweight alternative to my other backpacking tents. This concludes this test series. Thanks to Terra Nova and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this tent.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

Read more reviews of Terra Nova gear
Read more gear reviews by Brian Hartman

Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Terra Nova Zephyros 2 tent > Test Report by Brian Hartman



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson