Our Tent Review
This shelter provides the three season backpacker with a truly breezy experience thanks to its all-mesh body. For those seeking a quick pitch, lightweight camping option, they can’t go wrong with this tent.
The basic design of the ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 1 person tent provides users with a twist on the two pole design – literally. Instead of relying on the crossing of two straight poles, ALPS has introduced a slight bend in the poles that provide additional headroom. The aluminum poles are lightweight, but have a collapsed length of 18 inches that makes stuffing them into a backpack a chore at times. The door is on one end of the tent, allowing for direct crawling access inside.
All mesh walls provide plenty of air circulation, keeping the inside of the tent cool on hot nights. These same mesh walls mean that staying dry in this tent is dependent on proper installation of the rainfly. The vestibule is a little on the small side, but the included gear rack makes up for some of the lost vestibule space. The footprint is sold separately, and is considered a vital part of the leak-prevention process for this tent to function in the rain.
Pitching this zephyr is extremely simple. Once you have experienced the set up process a couple of times, the entire tent can be assembled by a single person in under ten minutes. This design depends on multiple hooks and snaps being attached to the pole system, both from the tent to the pole and the rainfly to the pole. Failure to attach these hooks in the correct manner will result in rainfly to tent contact during windy conditions.
At 86 inches long, people up to 6 feet tall have reported being comfortable in a laying position with additional sleeping pads and gear in the tent. With 44 inches of width at the head and 32 at the feet, there is almost room for a second camper in this one person tent. The bend in the poles create an extra few inches of head room at the entrance end for full sitting up. So long as you don’t have anything massive stashed in the gear rack, clearance shouldn’t be an issue.
The all mesh walls of this tent mean that the ventilation is wonderful, but they have been reported to lack a little in the weatherproofing department. To be considered fully set up, the ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 1 person tent requires additional lines to be attached to the rainfly and staked out. Failure to take these steps have been reported to cause leaking around the bottom edges of the mesh.
During heavy winds, the rainfly can shift if it has not been correctly hooked in to the aluminum frame during installation as well. When properly installed, water has been known to pool on the flat surface caused by the bend in the poles, but the rainfly has proven watertight in this area.
At 3 pounds, 14 ounces, this tent is light (not the lightest of course) and easy to carry in a backpack or for car camping purposes. The length of the aluminum poles have proven awkward for backpacking, though, as 18 inches is their minimum break-down length.
Value For Money
Value For Money: With a price tag of $125-200, this tent provides an outdoor enthusiast with excellent value for the cost investment. On par with some of the higher end tents, but for a fraction of the cost, this tent will allow comfortable three season camping so long as it is properly pitched. The additional footprint, needed for complete weatherproofing of the unit, runs an additional $20.
Summary – Verdict
So long as you take the time to completely set this tent up, including the footprint installation and proper staking out of the rainfly, you will find this tent wonderful value for three season camping. The small vestibule space may leave you awkwardly deciding between keeping your boots or your backpack in the tent with you, but you will have plenty of fresh air and room to move around, even with the gear stashed inside.
Bottom line is – it’s hard to beat at it’s price tag, for value.