This is a review of the original Wild Country Zephyros 1. Terra Nova have released an updated version of this tent, the Zephyros 1 Lite, which is slightly lighter (and slightly brighter). I’m posting a review of this original version because…
- Terra Nova are still selling it
- At the time of writing it’s on sale at Cotswold Outdoor for £99 which is an absolute bargain for an excellent backpacking tent.
The Zephyros 1 is a solo 3-season backpacking tent.
It’s an almost direct copy of Terra Nova’s successful Laser Competition 1 and is made by the same company (Wild Country are a cheaper range made by Terra Nova). However there are a few major differences.
- It’s made from cheaper, heavier materials. Terra Nova claim a packed weight of 0.93Kg for the Laser Comp and 1.57Kg for the Zephyros.
- The Zephyros comes fully seam-sealed, the Laser Comp needs to be seam-sealed by the customer.
- The pole sleeve is attached to the tent, unlike the Laser Comp where it’s separate, and this makes it easier to pitch.
- The Laser Comp costs £330 and the Zephyros 1 costs £120.
I bought mine last year and it’s my go-to tent for the colder, wetter months when I’m solo backpacking. In terms of space I find it tall enough to sit up in (I’m 5’6″) and there’s plenty of room to sleep and cook.
I’ve not found condensation a problem. The inner door is half mesh and there are small mesh panels on the inner at either end. The porch has a 2-way zip so you can open a ‘window’ at the top if extra ventilation is needed (although obviously not when it’s raining).
The porch isn’t massive but there’s room to cook inside. Note: cooking in tents can be very dangerous, not just because of the potential for combining fire and highly flammable fabrics but also the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. I’d advise against using a stove inside a tent unless you have lots of ventilation, are very cautious, and are experienced with the stove you are using. Always have a plan.
The second time I pitched this tent I did it in the dark, in the rain and managed it without too much swearing. Compared to some backpacking tents, where getting the sides taut is an art-form, this is pretty easy. There’s one big pole that goes over the middle and 2 short end poles. The tent comes with the end poles left in when the tent is packed away but I remove them and store them with the main pole. That way the fly & inner can be squished down to a much smaller size without the end poles getting in the way.
I haven’t pitched this tent up a mountain in 50 mph winds but it’s been out in heavy rain and reasonable coastal winds and it’s held tight, no problems or leaks.
The colour is an advantage when wild camping as it’s not too lurid.
A very easy mod is to swap the guy ropes for lightweight dyneema and mini line-loks. There are only 4 guy ropes on the tent so it doesn’t make a great different to the weight but at the same time it’s not a big job to do.
Carry lighter tent pegs. My set includes some light v-shaped pegs that came with a Nemo tent and some titanium ‘ti-pins’. The Zephyros uses 10 tent pegs when completely pitched.
Lose the stuff sacks if you don’t need them.
The door doesn’t stay open very easily with the in-built catches so a peg or clip is useful.
A great, cheap tent in a popular, well-tested design. Ideal for a solo hiker on a budget.
It’s hard to find fault with this tent. Although it’s a little heavy for a solo tent compared to some other tents on the market it’s a third of the cost. (The set-up I have weighs 1.4Kg not including the pegs.) It’s very sturdy and the Pu Polyester feels stronger than Si Nylon. Not having to seam-seal a tent is a real advantage. A little more room would be nice but there’s plenty of space for one. I only paid £99 for mine and I really feel like I got a bargain. This is a tent I have confidence that I’ll be comfortable in.
Today I pitched the Zephyros without the inner. This tent will pitch with just the fly but the end poles could sink into soft ground. Nick Miles, chairman of the Backpacker’s Club, has suggested using the tops of milk cartons to keep this from happening. In this config, counting just fly sheet and poles, the tent weighs 835g.
- Sleeps: 1
- Season Rating Spec: 3 season backpacking
- Free standing?: No (tent requires guy lines to be pitched)
- Minimum Weight: 1.41Kg (3lb 2oz)
- Packed Weight: 1.57Kg (3lb 7oz)
- Pitch Time (estimate): 5 mins
- Number of Porches: 1
- Number of Doors: 1
- Pitch Type: Fly and Inner pitch together
- Pack Size: 52cm x 14cm
- Flysheet: Pu Polyester R/S 4000mm FR
- Floor: Pu Polyester R/S 6000mm
- Poles: 8.5mm Wild Country Superflex Alloy
- Peg: 10 x Aluminium V-Angle
- Guylines: 4 x black reflective 2.3mm
- Inner Door: Half Mesh
Good tents attract small dogs and sunsets…