One of my favorite online retailers is Sierra Trading…
Price Paid: $109
One of my favorite online retailers is Sierra Trading Post. They often have great deals on name-brand outdoor equipment, shoes and the like. They also will strike private label deals with certain manufacturers for product exclusives that allow them to offer even better prices.
When I started my search for a three-person backpacking tent, I kept running across one of those particular offerings: the Alps Mountaineering Zenith 3 AL tent. With the far-below retail price and discount coupon I found the deal impossible to pass up.
Out of the box, I was not disappointed. The Zenith arrived just in time for a family camping trip, and was lightweight and compact, well constructed, and extremely easy to pitch.
The Zenith is exactly the same product that Alps sells through other retailers under the name Zephyr. The only difference according to a company representative is cosmetics, in particular the fly. The Zenith has an orange fly while the Zephyr uses an olive green.
Other than that, both products are a two-wall, two-door, three-season design. The main tent has a bathtub floor and full mesh canopy. Inside is a small pocket and a gear loft. It pitches easily with three lightweight aluminum poles. The two longer poles offer the main tent support. They attach to the tent with clips. The third small pole holds the other two apart.
One small criticism: the connectors on the pole ends tend to pull away from the ends of the poles so be careful especially when taking the tent down.
For a more complete review and photos visit GearGuide.