on July 11, 2009
At the price, this is a great tent. The quality is there and it compares well to tents twice the price for a weight penalty of only a few ounces. I set mine up side-by-side with my friend's $250 REI quarter dome T2. He was impressed, and the only differences I noted on his were reflective guy lines, an included pole splint ($5) and a lighter fly. Plus more footroom on his. However, his fly lacked the little windows on the Alps: I actually used mine to check on another camper who was near my bike in the morning.
Here are the only downsides I can find so far with the Zephyr:
1) The footprint is hard to find. Search for "floor saver."
2) There are partial sleeves so you cannot pitch the footprint/fly and then be sheltered to pitch the rest of the tent. However, you can pitch just footprint (not included) and fly for a light shelter.
3) With the fly door unzipped all the way, water can enter the tent. Just don't unzip all the way if it is raining.
4) The tapered design would leave things tight in the foot area if a second person were present. I plan to just use it solo or with one of my kids.
EDIT: I have now decided that #3 is not bad, as it allows a nice view straight up at the stars when you are laying down with the fly open.
All in all, I was very pleased. I found a deal on a Zephyr 3 and snatched it up without hesitation for the rest of the family, or if I need a tent for two adults.
UPDATE 05 JAN 2012
I still love this tent. It has been through some extreme wind and rain and held up great. On a windy beach I was thankful that ALPS included the 4 guylines which worked perfectly in the wind. My son sat in the tent to keep it from flying away wile I buried sticks in the sand and anchored the tent to them. We were also in an absolute torrential downpour for three hours and stayed nice and dry.
I do plan to add one guyout to the middle of the rainfly at the foot of the tent-- it touches the tent body at the foot and could allow moisture in. You can sort of see this in my customer photo which shows me using it on a bike camping trip. I also own a Zephyr 3 which allows a lot more room for two people for a pound more. I took it on a 5 day trip in the cascades with a friend who is pretty big. On an upcoming trip to Dolly Sods with my wife, I will take the 2 for the weight savings, and it is true, if you keep your pads toward the head of the tent two sleeping pads fit fine and there is room for gear at the foot. Love my Zephyrs. They have been canoing on the James River, VA, also Umbagog Lake, Maine. Backpacking in WA state, Virginia, and Assateague Island. I spent 15 nights split between my 1 and 2 last year without a single complaint. Great price for the value and superb construction. Good ventilation with no condensation. One example is the stakes... nothing fancy but they are lightweight aluminum and strong-- they do not bend like many other less expensive tents' stakes and keep you from having to spend more money.
UPDATE 23 MAY 2012
Just got back from three nights using the '2 in Dolly Sods in West Virginia. Still a great tent. Definitely big enough for two adults who are family or close friends. Two normal Big Agnes inflatable 70x20 pads fit fine, with a few inches in between and some storage space at the head or foot. We had rain and fog every day and were able to cram what needed to stay dry in the vestibules: empty packs, compactor bag with clothes, shoes, etc. We were caught in a thunderstorm in the middle of the day and we whipped out the Z2 rainfly which was in the mesh pocket since it was wet, and made a makeshift shelter with trekking poles to ride out the deluge. When the tent was pitched later and it was clear we enjoyed gazing up at the stars through the curved door openings, which I originally criticized for allowing rain in. As I have become more experienced I appreciate this tent even more. I have become more weight conscious and looked at tarptent lightweight shelters, but all that extra money to save a pound and a half and lose free-standing, or net only options, is not worth it to me. I sewed on the extra guy out I mentioned above to keep the fly from touching the middle of the foot. Not necessary but nice to have to keep everything dry if you are stuck in serious weather. Dolly Sods was rough on gear and people. My beloved Z2 is covered with slug trails and mud, but is still the same functionally, with one caveat. Some of the mesh, in little 1/2 inch spots, is sort of "clumping" a little, or losing the perfect squares. I think it is my fault, for compressing the tent body into the size of a grapefruit for packing. I still don't think any bugs could get through. I would buy another in a second! On paper the specs are still better than ALPS' other 2-person offerings.
on July 26, 2009
Took this tent out for the first time last weekend to do some hiking in the Daniel Boone Nat'l Forest with my girlfriend. Setup was very easy, it took maybe 5 minutes or so. Inside was a little cramped for two people, just make sure you're very close with whoever you're sharing the tent with, because you'll pretty much be sleeping elbow to elbow. We were both able to use a sleeping pad with a little bit of overlap in the middle. I'm about 6'1 or so and I did notice that when I laid down on my back my feet would graze the mesh at the end of the tent, not really a big deal though, at least not for me. There was plenty of headroom so I was able to sit up without my head touching mesh.
As far as rain protection goes, I was pretty impressed with this tent. We endured very heavy rain on and off throughout the evening and night. The tent kept us very dry. I only have one complaint, there was one spot where the poles crossed at the top of the tent where the fly seemed to leak a little. I think I may just need to seam seal the entire fly, even though ALPS says you don't have to. But other than that we had no water get in from the sides.
We had two weekend packs(3400 and 4000cu in) with us, with one in each vestibule. It covered these easily with room to spare for our shoes and did a good job of keeping our gear dry too.
Overall, this is a pretty good tent, especially for the price. And I would definitely recommend it, but I would also recommend that you seam seal the fly before taking it out.
on October 14, 2008
I have not camped in this tent yet. I will give my first impressions and hopefully update the review after using the tent.
This tent has all the features of tents costing twice as much. It is a great value. The quality appears to be top notch. The aluminum poles are small and lightweight but fit together perfectly and are strong.
I did a lot of research before purchasing this tent. I liked that it has two doors and two vestibules. Also, I am very weight conscious and the 4.7 lbs is pretty good for this size tent. From my research I would have only saved maybe 3 ounces for a higher priced tent and would have had to settle for one door, one vestibule.
Overall, great value for the money. I am very impressed with the quality of Alps Mountaineering.
UPDATE 11/17/2008 - I finally had the chance to camp in the Zephyr 2. My 5 year old son and I hiked and camped with a friend and his boys. It was getting dark and starting to rain when we got to the camp site. The Zephyr went up very quick, kept us dry all night through some pretty heavy rain. I love the two doors and vestibules - lots of room for gear and you don't have to worry about brushing up against the side and getting wet from condensation. I slept well with no worries about the wind and rain.
I love the tent! I can't imagine a higher price tent being any better quality than this. Good balance between price, weight, and features.
UPDATE 1/3/2012 - I have had this tent for 3 years now. It is my goto tent. The tent did leak once during an all-night fairly heavy rain. It leaked at the top around the zipper track. Another coat of seam sealer and all is well (I recommend seam sealing any tent).
on May 20, 2009
I just spent my first night out in this tent. My buddy and I were going to leave our rain flys off as the evening was cool and clear, but decided to avoid the hassle of a midnight scramble. At two in the morning the heavens clouded over, opened up, and poured down furiously. I had hoped for a more gentle trial of the Zephyr 2, but...
I woke up completely dry the next morning. I did find a bit of condensation had made its way through the floor under my sleeping pad, where a puddle had formed in a depression in the ground. It was nothing major, and next time I'll be sure not to set up in a hole. This tent is lightweight, coming in under 5 lbs., very easy and quick to set up, and most importantly, weather ready. This is my first introduction to ALPS products and I intend to consider more of their products in the future.
on December 21, 2009
First off, this tent should only be considered for two people if you are A: Intimately related to your tent partner, and B: if you are both under 6'2". I am 6'3" and when I lay straight in the middle of the tent, my toes can easily touch the steeply-sloping roof at the foot of the tent. However, if I angle my body towards the corners, it gives just enough room to where my toes do not touch the fabric. All in all, this is a minor issue, and is just something tall people have to deal with. Other than that minor issue, the tent is extremely well designed and built. The materials seem to be very high quality, as are the stiching/seams, which are all factory taped. It has many features that come on tents that cost over twice as much, such as high quality aluminum poles, double doors/vestibules, all mesh body, multiple guy-out points, and a very compact carry size (if you carry your poles outside of the tent sack, it can be compressed much more than its stated pack size).
The only thing I do think is a necessity with this tent is a footprint, because its floor is basically made of the same material as the fly, and while it is not a weak fly material, it probably can be punctured quite easily by ground material. I cut a footprint out of a cheap Wallyworld tarp, and it fits right in the sack with the rest of the tent, sans poles (I carry those seperate anyways). At the end of the day, this is a fantastic little backpacking tent, and I highly recommend it if you want a solo tent with a little extra room than the average tomb-like solo tents. Thank You, Alps Mountaineering!
on July 9, 2012
I bought this tent to do some backpacking with the wife. I usually use a bivy tent but have gotten tired of sleeping in a coffin, and I wanted something I could sit up in and that 2 adults could use. I am a Prime member and the tent took 3 days to get to my doorstep. I use a Kelty Lakota 65 and with the pole set removed this compresses nicely to fit into the sleeping bag compartment - along with my sleeping bag (Snugpak Jungle Bag), inflatable pillow, and Sea to Summit Thermolite liner. The pole set fits nicely into the corner of the main compartment of the pack. Being in Texas we don't get much cold weather, so this covers me for all but about that one week we get where it actually gets cold...
Upon receiving the tent I set it up in the backyard to test. Setup was not difficult at all, took me less than 10 minutes, including checking all the pieces out and running a few guy lines (will take me 5 minutes or so now that I am familiar with it). I sprayed the fly with a fabric waterproofing spray and applied a seam sealer on the fly seams (although I do not think this was at all necessary - the seams were already well taped - I do it to all tents anyway) and let the tent sit overnight. The next night I and my 8 year old boy slept in it. He brought in a large inflatable air matress and I used a Thermarest sleep pad. It was a little cramped for me because of his big matress, but I still had more room than I do in my bivy tent (Snugpak Stratosphere). Two adults with sleeping pads would fit fine in there. There is room to change clothes and such, unlike my bivy tent.
Thankfully for testing purposes we got some rain. Not a savage thunderstorm but not a drizzle either. The only rain that got in was from when I exited and entered the tent; a small amount got in then, but I didn't even notice it through the night. Aside from that the tent was completely waterproof, not a drop got in. Also, there was no condensation (it was a balmy 80 degrees throughout the Texas summer night), but even if there was I don't think it would be an issue as the fly does not at any point actually touch the mesh walls of the tent.
When not raining we kept the fly doors open until it was time to sleep, and had very good ventilation with them open. With them closed we got some air but it was pretty warm, so I stuck a portable fan in there and we slept fine. I think the best way to do it is to sleep with the fly doors open and simply close them at the first drops of rain, they close pretty easily and quickly.
Other items of note:
- The no-see-um mesh is very fine and no bugs can get through it, though there is a small gap in between the zippers that a very small bug might be able to get through. We had no bug issues.
- The vestibules are plenty large enough to accomodate my pack, and would accomodate a larger one, too. I can put it in the area towards the feet of the tent and still enter and exit without having to climb over the pack.
- The removable gear loft is somewhat loose and will need to be tightened by folding it up a bit and sewing it, but otherwise it works fine. My kid stuck his Kindle Fire up there and watched a movie through the mesh.
- The eyelets are handy for seeing what's going on outside.
- With a guyline deployed on the front of the fly where your feet are and two deployed on the back where your head is the fly does not touch the tent, and ventilation is greatly improved. I didn't see any reason to deploy any more than those 3, as the fly when staked out is perfectly taught, though there are some extra guylines and tie out points.
- 2 Adults CAN fit in here just fine as long as A) they are not very large people and B) they don't mind rubbing elbows a bit. This tent is perfectly suitable for 2 adults, and is *awesome* for a single adult. When the kid cleared out I was able to stretch out very comfortably in there. I am 5'8" and neither my feet nor my head touch the tent walls, and I can sit up without my head touching the ceiling.
- The materials and construction are very nice and appear to be high quality, like tents that cost 2-3 times what this one does. The poles are fantastic - light, seem sturdy, and deploy very easily. The stakes are meh, definitely not ultralight but they work (I will probably replace them at some point). The tent materials are light (I will be ordering the footprint) and all stitches are good, all seams taped. Zipper pulls are big and easy to grab, and zippers work well.
- Takedown was very easy, took all of 5 minutes or so.
All in all I think this is a fantastic little tent for the price. If I didn't know better I wouldn't have been surprised to see it cost double what it does. Time will tell how it holds up but judging by the construction and materials I don't forsee any problems. I will report back after more use but for now I am very satisfied with the purchase.
on February 13, 2013
Good tent, nice design. Rainfly is the best I've ever had on a tent.
For some reason, tent manufacturers seem to think that a good night's sleep requires pulling a complete shell cocoon over your tent in an apparent attempt to separate you from the outdoors completely. I have several 400-500 dollar tents and this one is better designed.
With just 2 zipper pulls, I go from extremely open, ventilated, breeze catching, star gazing happiness to rain safe total coverage. With my REI and Mountain Hardware tents, if it starts to rain, I have to get out of the tent, mess with guy lines (hundreds of them!) and then zip it all up.
I live in Texas. Tired of tents that are only geared to freezing temperatures. If the bathtub floor extends more than a few inches up the walls, you're hot. If the screening is some random, stupidly placed patches, you're hot. If you can't rig the fly out of the way, you're hot, and if rain starts, you have to get out of the tent and spend 10 minutes rigging the stupid fly.
It has less than half the guylines of my other tents.
It cost 1/3 of my other tents.
on August 19, 2012
I just used this tent on 6 day backpack in the Sierras. Surprisingly it rained and hailed on us every day. During our forced layover day, the weather turned bad in the morning, it rained and hailed for about 5 hours. Through all of this the tent did very well. Setup is easy, everything makes sense, all the zippers work well and we really, really appreciated two doors and vestibules. At first I scoffed at the two doors, but it really makes a difference in terms of personal space in a small tent. The tapered floor shape is also great by giving you more space at the top where you need it. I did buy a floor saver tarp and it came in very useful as a quick and temporarily shelter. It does have buckles that connect to the fly, so I think the tent can be setup in a minimum configuration: tarp, poles, fly, although I have not done it. ALPS Mountaineering does not claim this feature.
One potential negative: the top of the tent has a flat triangle and so the water does not run off well from there, it beads up and stays there. It did not seep through this time, but we wondered what would happen once the coating on the fly would wear out. Would it start seeping through and dropping on our heads? I wish they would angle the top a bit.
And, of course, for the tent of this weight, the price is great.
on September 30, 2011
I feel like this tent is a great value for a small, lightweight, two-person, freestanding backpacking tent. I compared many different brands and models (such as Kelty Grand Mesa 2, Kelty Salida 2, Marmot Titan, and REI Passage 2) and this seemed to be the best for the price. I've used it a few times and been very happy with it.
I had used a Kelty Grand Mesa 2 a few times on backpacking trips and it seems to be a good tent with a few deficiencies. One is that it was a little short (82 inches). This is 88 inches. I'm 6'3", so the extra length is good. I find that when I lay on my back my feet still barely rub the tent wall, but it's not even noticeable in a sleeping bag. The width is 58 inches, which is a little wider than some. It is tight for two people, but this is normal for small backpacking tents (contrary to another reviewer--it is a two person tent). This does narrow at the feet to 42 inches (the new Kelty Grand Mesa narrows at the feet as well). While this is probably done to save weight there are possible downsides. One is that when you set the tent up you are locked in to putting your head in a certain direction. Just be sure you know where you want your head when you set it up and be aware of any ground slope. Secondly, I use a large Thermarest Prolite 4, but if you had two of these pads they would slightly overlap at the feet (the large thermarests are 25 inches wide at the head--which fits fine). The headroom is less than some at 38" and concerned me, but I can sit up in it fine. The Zephyr has 31 sq. ft. of space compared to the Grand Mesa's 29 sq. ft. Another thing I looked for on size was pack size. The Zephyr pack size is officially listed as 6" x 18". However, you can pull out the pole bag with poles, and get it to more like 6" x 14" -it packs very small. It's no trouble getting it back into the stuff sack, but it would be nice if they had compression straps on the bag (the REI Passage 2 does) to keep it compact.
I was looking for something under 5 lbs and this comes in at 4 lbs 12 oz. The Grand Mesa is slightly lighter at 4 lbs 10 oz. You can get lighter with other brands and models, but they are priced much higher. Many of the other comparably priced models (such as the Marmot Titan) are over 5 lbs. I wanted a tent with at least mesh on the top for leaving the fly off on a clear night. This one is all mesh except the floor, so it should be good on hot nights.
This tent has good features. Two doors and vestibules is a big one for me. It's a pain to be climbing over someone to get in or out. There are openings on both ends of the fly to help with ventilation. They also put a clear area in the fly so you can see out without unzipping it. There is a handy gear loft in the top and a gear pouch in the middle on the head end--both handy for flashlights and stuff that you need easy access to.
The tent seems well built. The poles are nice aluminum. The materials seem well made. Zippers work well--no snagging. I've had it in the rain and it hasn't let any water in. Set up is easy and quick. You do have to put the poles through two sheaths on the tent which prevents you from pitching up the fly first then the tent. There are plenty of guy points to keep it stable in wind. One thing that they could do to improve is give reflective guy lines. They also give you a few pieces of material for repairs if you ever need them. I bought the floor saver to go with it with gives you a lightweight option of using the floor saver with the fly and leaving the tent home. The floor saver slides into the stuff sack easily with the tent.
In summary, this is a well thought out, high quality, full featured tent that is priced right.
--The pro's: good size to weight ratio, dual doors and vestibules, good ventilation, see through spot in vestibule, high quality materials, and cheaper than most others (I picked it up on Amazon when it was one-hundred and ten dollars cheaper than the "retail" price).
--The con's: shape and small size at feet could cause issues, have to slide poles through sheaths on tent for set up, and no reflective material on guy lines.
Since purchasing this tent I have become aware of two other tents that are worth considering. One is the Mountainsmith Morrison which is even longer, but maintains a low weight (and costs a little more). The other if you are on a budget is the Kelty Zenith. It's basically a cheaper Kelty made for Target--it lacks a lot of the features of this one, but is only 60 dollars
on February 10, 2009
Easy setup, light weight, sufficient room for 1, 2 in a pinch. This tent has some features that I really like, complete 360 degree visibility and great ventilation when rain fly is not up, easy in and out on both sides, very light weight, easy and quick installation of the rain fly, and quality materials and construction throughout. This may not be the best tent for everyone, but for my needs, it is perfect.