User Review: ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 1.0
Design: Freestanding cross pole design
Ease of Setup: Very easy. 2 short sleeves and plastic clips
Weight: 3lbs 12oz
Price Paid: $105
When it came time for me to buy a new backpacking tent, I decided to be methodical and make a list of all the features I thought were important and then find the tent that fit those requirements.
I looked online for about a month and was ready to give up. I even thought about using some contacts I had in China to make the perfect tent for me, then I found the ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 1.0.
I'll discuss the features I desired in a tent, as my idea of the perfect tent may be very different from yours, and how the Zephyr matches up.
First, Weight. I wanted a tent that was under 4lbs: According to my scale, the total packed weight is 3lbs 12oz. It comes with very lightweight Al stakes.
Interior height: I am 6'4" and like to be able to sit up inside my tent. I can sit comfortably in the Zephyr. I measured the highest point as 37.5". Still had headroom even with the gearloft installed
Another feature I was looking for was a full coverage rainfly. The Zephyr's includes a unique vent, which may be overkill on a mesh-body tent. Additional plus, it's a polyester fly, so it won't sag when wet. I've seen tents at 4x the price with nylon flies that must be readjusted during rainstorms.
Interior length: The tent is listed as 86" long, I measured it at 83", and the height is pretty short at the far end. If you are over 6'4", it will be a tight fit.
The vestibule space is important to me as I want to be able to stash my pack and boots out of the weather. I think I can fit a pack and boots in there, but not easily and it will make getting in and out complicated. A slightly larger vestibule would be appreciated.
Other features: I wanted a freestanding tent so that it could be used in a variety of terrain, this tent is freestanding and seems very stable. Another nitpicky requirement is that the tent should blend into the surroundings. The Zephyr is mostly a pale green with rusty orange accents, so it does pretty well on this point. The final item on my wish list was a window on the vestibule. I was prepared to compromise on this and I was pleasantly surprised to find that this tent has a small window on the upper part of the door, a feature that is not listed on the manufacturer's website.
One possible drawback is that I do not think that this tent can be set up in a fast pack configuration with just the fly and footprint. This doesn't bother me but might be a factor for some.
In summary, this tent met or exceeded every single one of my hopes. And you can find it online for just a little over $100! Everything I see about this tent appears to show solid construction and well-thought-out design. I could not be happier with this purchase.