ZEPHYROS 2 TENT
TEST SERIES BY MIKE MOSACK
May 10, 2012
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Lakeside, CA USA and Afghanistan
6' 1" (1.85 m)
240 lb (109.00 kg)
I've been backpacking for over 30 years, doing solo and group trips, with and without kids. I do day trips, weekenders and week-long or longer trips throughout the year. I backpack in all climates and seasons, from summer desert trips to Spring/Winter camping in Michigan, California and Grand Canyon, Arizona and I've worked in Afghanistan for 4 years & rely on my equipment constantly. I prefer to go lighter when possible and am always trying new items. Quality and reliability of items are paramount to me over price and weight.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Wild Country
|Image from website
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: www.terra-nova.co.uk
Listed Weight: 1.63 kg / 1.79 kg (min/max), 3 lb 6 oz / 3 lb 9 oz (min/max) NOTE - The manufacturer incorrectly listed the conversion of 1.79 kg. If properly converted, 1.79 kg would equate to 3.95 lb or 3 lb 15.17 oz or 3 lb 15 oz if rounding off to the nearest ounce.
Measured Weight: 3 lb 12 oz (1.7 kg)
Measured weight included the tent, poles, stakes, supplied lines, pouches/bags, etc., everything supplied with the tent purchase.
Warrantee: From the manufacturer's website, it states, "This Wild Country product is guaranteed to the original owner against defects in materials and workmanship for a period of 2 years from purchase."
Pack size: 57cm x 14cm (22 in x 5.5 in)
Range: 3 season backpacking
Flysheet: Pu Polyester R/S 4000mm
Floor: Pu Polyester R/S 6000mm
Poles: 8.5mm Wild Country Superflex Alloy
Pegs/stakes: 12 x Aluminum V-Angle
Guylines: 4 x black reflective
|Manufacturer's tent diagram with added conversions
I picked up the tent which was stored complete in one bag. I was surprised by the lightness of it. I couldn't wait to set it up in my yard. I pulled out the components of the tent assembly and ensured I had everything and I did. I then began to photograph everything.
The tent is designed as a two person, three season tent, primarily designed for backpacking. The tent comes with reflective guylines for ease in seeing the lines in low light when illuminated by a light. The 12 supplied stakes are constructed of aluminum and are lightweight. There is a single entry point on one of the long sides. The rain fly as well as the tent body have the zippered opening on the same side. There are two vents, one on each of the ends of the tent body. They are secured by a hook and loop type fastener. There are numerous securing points to help ensure that the tent remains stable during foul weather. The tent can be set up with or without the tent body as needed if trying to save weight.
|Actual product tested
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The instructions for setting up the tent were located inside the tent bag on a flap. I had already had my tent set up prior to locating the instructions. In reading them, I found they were pretty straight forward and seemed to match how I set up mine. Having set up more than a few backpacking style tents in my time, setting up this tent was not difficult at all for me.
|Tent set up in my yard
TRYING IT OUT
I found it easy to set up this tent. I had everything I needed to properly set it up. I found that there was an issue with the lightweight aluminum tent stakes. I appreciated their lightweight, but even when pressing them into my well watered lawn that has relatively soft soil, three of the stakes bent. This was very disappointing to me as I am always careful and do what I can to prevent this.
|Lightweight tent stakes that bent
Tent stakes being what they are, there is a sacrifice in weight savings to the point where strength can be hindered. I am familiar with stakes of different designs that are stronger. I would have preferred a stronger design to have been included with this tent.
Additionally, I found that my tent had an issue where the sewing on the storm flap for the zipper on the rain fly was defective. It appeared to have a section where the bobbin thread missed the needle thread.
|Sewing issue identified
With the above two exceptions, I was very happy with the tent set up. I contacted the manufacturer who scheduled a new tent to be sent out to me. I will report further on the tent in my Field Report once I can write about the replacement tent. In my experience, some vendors selling backpacking equipment will accept returns of defective products which would be normally a quick and easy fix for a defect such as this sewing issue.
|Vent shown from inside tent
|Tent to rain fly connection and spacing
The vestibule or section in between the tent body and the rain fly, is wide enough that I can place my large shoes which are size 14 US (49 EU) there and they are still protected from the elements. My shoes then are not inside my tent with me, keeping my tent clean. I think though, that I would prefer to keep my backpack inside my tent with me when required as it probably would not fit in the vestibule area.
|Interior of tent seam
I noticed that inside my tent there are seams where the nylon material is fraying as it appears that the seams were cut and not seared to prevent this very problem. Having worked with nylon for many years, I was surprised by this and expected a cleanly seared edge throughout.
Well my summary here is kind of incomplete as I have yet to receive my replacement tent. I will be more thorough in my Field Report, when I can write about the tent I will be testing.
So far, I like the tent in concept and based upon what I saw that was good. I like that the tent is incredibly lightweight. I like the color being green as it helps to keep in line with "Leave no Trace" principles and blending in with the vegetation. I like the ease in setting up the tent and I am confident I could do this in the dark or in foul weather. I like the large zippered entry in both the tent and rain fly.
I like the friendly contact with the manufacturer, but since I have yet to receive a replacement tent, I do not yet want to comment further on my experiences with them. I will report more on the total customer experience in my Field Report.
I didn't like the sewing issue I found as well as the lack of a seared edge at the seams and the tent stakes being so lightweight that their design and materials made them lacking in strength, even for soft soil in my watered lawn. I am concerned that on the trail, the soil will be harder and staking my tent could prove more difficult with these stakes.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Location #1 - Pacific Crest Trail section in Laguna Mountain Region of Southern California, USA
Elevation: Ranging from approximately 1500 to 4400 ft (450 - 1350 m)
Conditions: Ungroomed, dry, foot trails and forest service access dirt roads. Temperatures ranging from 55 to 90 F (13 to 32 C)
Duration: Two trips, 2 and 3 days (and nights) respectively.
Location #2 - Numerous areas in Occotia Wells and Anza-Borrega Springs, California, USA
Elevation: Ranging from approximately 600 to 1400 ft (180 to 420 m)
Conditions: Typical desert including rocky, sandy, ungroomed, open, and dry terrain. Temperatures ranging from approximately 70 to 90 F (21 to over 32 C).
Duration: 4 days and 3 nights
CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE
My experience with customer service was professional and productive. I contacted them and explained the situation with my tent. They sent me a pre-paid, return address label. I had the complete tent packaged up and ready for FedEx upon their arrival. They waited while I finished preparing the package. About a week later, I received a complete replacement tent. It was quick and painless. I inspected the new tent and found that the sewing issue that my original tent had was only a singular event. I have had numerous tents and other "sewn" items and was not surprised that this was an isolated incident.
|On the Pacific Crest Trail with my dog
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I received a replacement tent from the manufacturer and am quite happy with it. It is exactly as pictured here and the Initial Report above, with the following exceptions...
The tent stakes are straight and new and all of the sewn seams are correct and well-constructed.
The replacement tent still has one relatively minor issue that I would like to see changed in future models and that is the lack of a seared edge on all of the cut nylon material. In my experience I am confident that this will enable the nylon to fray over time and eventually allow the tent seams to fail. I plan to sear the edges once this test is complete much like the preventative seam sealant I have done on other tents I have owned.
The tent is perfectly sized for me and my backpack. I can not see how two adults could share this tent except in an emergency, as it is just too confined of a space. The zipper works smoothly and does not bind. The vent openings at each end of the tent work as they should and the tent is stable. I have yet to try it with only the rain fly (tent body removed to save space and weight in my pack).
I have been very careful with the supplied replacement stakes and ensured that I didn't force them into any ground that might cause them to bend like the previous ones did. If they were stronger, I would have so much more confidence in them. I keep/carry an entire set of replacement stakes of a higher quality and design as a backup. I would not normally do this for any reason if I was not testing this tent. I would only carry a single set of my preferred stakes as I can count on them completely, but currently, they are only in reserve.
The tent body and rain fly are still like new and everything works like it should. The tent floor shows very minor wear spots from being used directly on the ground. I plan to use a ground cloth, probably Tyvek, to provide a layer of protection for this.
The tent goes up and stores easily and quickly. I have yet to experience rain or decently foul weather, but in my experiences to date, I do not expect anything that would surprise me with this tent. I have tried to actually catch a rainstorm, but we've not experienced any here in the San Diego, California area during this testing period. Maybe in the next two months I'll get - lucky?
I really like this tent. It packs pretty small and is lighter than others I own. I can set it up pretty quickly and even in low light conditions. I prefer that it comes in a green color as it seems to hide better in the woods. I am concerned that there are frayed edges at all of the seams. I think they should have seared them to keep that from happening. I realize I am a larger sized guy, but the manufacturer states this is a two person tent and I find this is more of a one person tent. I would like to have a roof vent to help the tent ventilate even better than it does currently.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Two trips, 2 and 3 days (and nights) to the Pacific Crest Trail section in Laguna Mountain region of Southern California, USA
Conditions: Ungroomed foot trails and forest access dirt roads. Temperatures ranging from 55 to 90 F (13 to 32 C) and elevations have ranged from approximately 1000 to 4000 ft (300 to 1200 m).
A three day trip to the Sierra Nevadas in California and Nevada, USA. The dry terrain consisted of grassy fields, to rocky mountainous areas. The weather there consisted of sunny and clear to partly cloudy skies and temperatures from 68 F (20 C) to 80 F (27 C). Elevations I traveled during this test period have ranged from approximately 4000 ft (1200 m) to over 6500 ft (1980 m).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Setting up the tent continues to be relatively easy. All zippers and fasteners work well. The tent's seams have not frayed any further than they were when I received the tent from the manufacturer. The tent's color has not faded and shows no signs of wear other than a little on the floor as I did not use a footprint. There are very small punctures in the floor of the tent from sleeping in it while on the ground. Nothing surprising here and this is not a negative, but it reinforces my belief in using a footprint.
I have experienced a little morning condensation inside the tent's single wall and ceiling, but not to where it began to actually drip. In both instances, it dried quickly when I opened up the tent to ventilate it. Unfortunately, this is the only moisture that my tent experienced as we have not had any rain during this test period.
I have found that this tent, while advertised as a two person tent, is just too small to have a second person inside with me. I prefer to keep my backpack inside the tent with me whenever possible, but even without it, I just cannot see how two people can be comfortable in this tent. My son and I both agreed that we would prefer to each be in our own tent rather than try to share this one, even in an emergency. Setting up the rain fly without the tent body has provided more room and was lighter to carry as well. I don't mind sleeping on the ground especially when I have a nice roof over me.
Over all, I do really like this tent. Some of the highlights are as follows...
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
The size of this tent as it is a perfect one person tent for me.
It is green in color as it blends in with nature
The large openings and ease of setting it up
That I can set up the entire tent or just the rain fly and poles for a lighter weight and roomier option
That two people are very uncomfortable in such a small tent
That the seams are not seared to prevent potential fraying
That the included tent stakes are so lightweight that they lack sufficient strength to be used without bending.
I would like to thank Wild Country and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this tent.
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Read more gear reviews by Michael Mosack