Wild Country Zephyros 2 Review – Fair Weather Thoughts

The NI-Wild Christmas Dinner is an annual affair well worth looking forward to. A full turkey dinner with all the trimmings prepared over an open fire with lots of mulled wine and followed by an evening filled with war stories of peaks conquered, rivers run and weather suffered. Dwarfs would sing songs of the weight of food and drink needing lugged a mile into the Mournes for a venture such as this! However, for 2011 I was tentless having promised myself I wouldn’t ever use the Vango Ultralite 200 again, not because I’d had a prior bad experience as much as I knew there would definitely be one in my future with it being shaped like a sail and famous for being wetter inside than out (although should anyone want to buy one, feel free to get in touch, it’s a great tent really. No, really.)

Terra Nova Zephyros 2

Terra Nova Zephyros 2

I had pondered a number of models but couldn’t make up my mind. I needed something suitable for year round longer solo treks in moderately bad conditions but also usable as a 2 man tent for overnights with one of the kids. Basically it needed to be light and roomy but sturdy enough to survive decent wind and rain, a tall order in anyone’s book but the final caveat was that it also needed to be reasonably priced which is usually a dealbreaker. The Zephyros 2 had been on my radar from its announcement by Terra Nova since it was based on the Laser Competition, a hugely popular tent loved by lightweight hikers everywhere. Coming in at 1.7-1.8kg it’s a two-man, two skin tent with a single transverse hoop and end struts. Field and Trek punted it extra discounted in a short weekend sale at £96 delivered so I gulped, ordered it and prepared to hope for the best as I hadn’t had anywhere near the time I wanted to research it before buying.

Initially, pitching it seemed super complicated with it being packed with the inner already joined to the outer. This is a real bonus in any tent as you can pitch it in the rain without getting the insides wet but as a new experience it was hard to know where to start. Luckily one of the NI-Wilders was plenty experienced with a Laser Comp and the Zephyros was almost identical. Five minutes and it was easily up and now I’ve done it once it wont take anywhere near as long in the future. Simply peg out each end, slip the single aluminum pole through the sleeve, peg out the rest of the pitch points and sit back and survey your handiwork.

Zephyros 2 Dimensions

Zephyros 2 Dimensions

On first look the tent seems excellent. One annoyance was that the pegs were pretty small and incredibly sharp and I managed to cut myself on the first one out of the bag. However, crappy pegs are not unusual on a light tent these days so I’ll swap them for Alpkit Y-Beams at the first opportunity. Peg injuries aside, it was hard to pick fault anywhere else. It’s definitely a squeeze for two inside but that was only to be expected. My Exped Synmat UL is a pretty wide mat so when I put an Alpkit self inflating job beside, it had to sit partially underneath. This wasn’t a problem though as I was camping with a teenager and we both fitted in fine but two synmats might not fit properly. There’s a spacious porch which would take a rucksack or two stacked and I wouldn’t be too worried carefully cooking there if the weather was particularly wet. There’s also some decent headroom and I was able to get dressed in the morning with relative ease. The door zips both ways which is a nice touch and the mostly net inner door is huge so getting in and out is a breeze. The tent also has bungs of ventilation including front and back flaps covering more mesh that can be opened or closed depending on the conditions.

All in I’m very impressed but the true test will be in the wind and rain as the single night test to date was in a forest with low winds and only occasional light showers. My main question is how it really differs from the Laser Comp other than being slightly bigger at 7cm wider and 5cm taller but a whopping 600g heavier. They seem to be very similar with the only realy difference I could see being that the guys weren’t dyneema and the pegs were heavier, however I understand it may be made with a lower quality, heavier silnylon which may account for the weight difference. I’d be curious if they’re made in the same factory and if so, what are the differences in materials and quality control.

The bottom line is, after one night it feels like a good purchase, at 1.7kg+ it’s definitely heavier than I would have liked by a good margin but I’ll accept that’s the price that you pay for wanting to spend £96 not £320.

More to come after the first wet and windy night!

Buy the Zephyros 2 at Amazon

 

This entry was posted in Gear Reviews.

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