I love wild camping, I’ve said this many times before in my posts. I love being up in the hills or out on the moors when everyone else has gone home. The freedom one feels while wild camping is like no other. You choose how long you want to walk, you choose when and where you want to pitch up. All that’s left to do then is to sit back and enjoy the views… Providing the weather is on your side
I’ve slept outdoors in many scenarios… I’ve camped on top of mountains, I’ve bivvyed under tarps in forests, I’ve slept in bothies, under makeshift shelters and i’ve cowboy camped under the stars in the Australian outback.
The first thing one needs to do is choose your method and then go about acquiring the means… Of late my choice has been to wild camp in a tent. Sadly though I killed my old tent up on Kinder Scout around 18 months ago so it was high time I chose a replacement… I did my research… I weighed up all the options… I checked the bank balance… Then I ended up finding the perfect tent for me that ticks all the boxes. The Wild Country Zephyros 1 by Terra Nova.
Here is my first impressions review of this great backpacking tent after using it a handful of times in different conditions. We’ll start with the stats taken straight from Terra Nova’s website.
The Zephyros 1 is a copy of Terra Nova’s Laser Competition, which was the tent I was originally looking at buying. I’ve received many messages from fellow bloggers and twitter friends asking the one question… how does the Zephyros compare to its lighter but more expensive relative. At a distance there aren’t many structural differences… The Laser’s pole threads through a slightly different sleeve and it sits a little more snuggly to its smoother looking outer, which I would imagine would make it more streamline and inevitably more sturdy in winds. It has extra guy points and improved ventilation, Having never slept inside a Laser I couldn’t possibly give a true comparison in that sense.
The main area in which the two begin to differ is in the material. The Laser’s flysheet spec is as follows “Si/Si Nylon R/S 3000mm”. The spec of the Zephyros is “Pu Polyester R/S 4000mm”. The Laser’s floor is “Si/Si Nylon R/S 5000mm” and the Zephyros is “Pu Polyester R/S 6000mm”. The Zephyros is made from a different type of fabric and is marginally thicker, so we can now see where the extra weight is coming from. This thicker fabric can only make the Zephyros more durable?
Before I made my mind up about which I was going to buy I wandered into Field & Trek in Derby. I picked up both tents, One in each hand. The Zephyros is around 600grams heavier and it packs down to a slightly larger but still respectable size of 52cm x 14cm. It fits perfectly inside my rucksack. My friends and I once took a huge Vango 4 man tent on a backpacking trip and spread the weight between us all… So let’s just say I’ve carried heavy tents over long distance, so in comparison the Zephyros is a breeze
The poles and pegs are different in both models too, the Zephyros comes with a great “8.5mm Wild Country Superflex Alloy” pole which feel very strong. It has stood up to the moderately strongs winds that I have submitted it to with no signs of bending so far. The pegs that come with the Zephyros are V-Angle Aluminium and are nice and light, Where as the Laser gets 2g Titanium ones.
Thats enough of the comparisons lets get to my thoughts. The Zephyros pitches nice and tight once you get it right, there is a knack to it which I’m slowly mastering after advice from Terrybnd. As I said earlier I have had it pitched up in moderately strong winds and it stood up to it with no problems what so ever. No bends in the poles and as I took the time to pitch it right there was no midnight panic to reset the pegs or guy lines. I pitched up in a forest in the Peak District in torrential rain, it kept me nice and dry inside with minimal condensation.
I’m 6ft tall so I found that my previous tent wasn’t quite big enough. The Zephyros however is more than roomy for 1 person, length wise its just right for me. There is enough room to store gear inside if you wish, although I usualy store my bag in the porch and the Zephyros has enough space for that too. Inside I can sit upright cross legged with no problems whatsoever while cooking in the porch, I was doing just that the other day while admiring the views down the Upper Dove Valley in the Peak District.
The only area I feel like I will need to upgrade is the pegs. The Aluminium pegs supplied with the Zephyros are susceptible to bending let’s say, I’ve bent every one of them in the half a dozen times I’ve used them. They are designed to be lightweight first I guess so strength has suffered a little. I will inevitably be upgrading to some better ones from Terra Nova or heading over to Alpkit to seek out replacements.
So to summarise… The Wild Country Zephyros 1 in my eyes is an ideal tent for the money conscious backpacker. I’m just a regular guy who likes to walk and wild camp. I would rather save around £200 and just put up with the extra 600 grams. The more expensive tents on the market are inevitably going to be more superior in most cases, for me though they are not in my budget so the Zephyros fits my needs and my wallet perfectly. Thanks for reading.