ALPS Mountaineering Zenith 2 AL Tent

rated 4.0 of 5 stars

The Zenith 2 AL Tent has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best three-season tents for 2020.

photo: ALPS Mountaineering Zenith 2 AL Tent three-season tent


Price Historic Range: $79.00-$129.95
Reviewers Paid: $82.46-$90.00


4 reviews
5-star:   0
4-star:   4
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

Excellent value...quality materials, good design

In the midst of making future plans to Thru-Hike the AT I figured I needed a newer, lighter weight 2-man backpacking tent (have a North Face Westwind bought in 1982). I'm not crazy weight conscious so a few extra pounds are fine for added comfort. 

Saw this tent on Sierra Trading Post, seemed the right size and style, and with a coupon it was the deal of the century ($84 and free shipping). Set it up in my living room...determined it would take a few practice runs before I could do it in the dark but was not difficult.

Because I like to have some essential gear inside with me the interior footprint is important...the dual side door design and dual vestibules are nice but makes the interior a bit tight and overall footprint more square (along the lines of a dome style) so may limit tenting site options over a longer front entry design.

Since designs are balancing external/internal areas to achieve overall usable tenting space I should note this tent does that well, although interior width would be tight for two people. It would be perfect for one person and gear. I am 6'2" and it did feel tight over what I am used to. Sitting height is fine but length is a bit short and I determined the foot of my sleeping bag would easily get wet as it would be pressed against the tent wall, which is the only reason I returned it and decided to continue using my Westwind.

I will say lighter weight tent bodies that are all mesh do pose a few problems with rain and wind...they tend to leak more and wind goes right through them...which means a quality fly design is paramount and integral to reasonable functionality. This tent has an excellent fly design and I believe would function well at keeping occupants dry during wet weather. I should add that unlike solid fabric body tents the Zenith would be marginally comfortable on colder nights, so like most in its class it pushes 3-season use.

Regardless my concerns (more like preferences), ALPS really has created an excellently designed tent at an exceptional value...quality workmanship and materials are evident. Unless you really need to shave some weight with a more expensive brand, and despite me ultimately not keeping the Zenith (due to length), I would highly recommend this does everything similarly designed $300-$500 tents do for a fraction of the cost.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $84


For when are you planning an AT thru hike, Paul?

5 years ago
Paul M

Every ten years for the past 40 years! Actually had planned for a 2014 trek but could not leave for the four months...maybe next year as schedule may allow. Growing up in PA the AT was up the road so hiked most of The state a.hence the bug to do it, besides, unlike Colorado, you can practically eat your way up the trail and can pair down the gear requirements.

5 years ago

You'll be more than ready when you finally get to do it, Paul! Good luck.

5 years ago

Good semi light tent for desert mtn backpacking for two.


  • Good price from STP dealflyer
  • One of the lightest tents in its class and price
  • Good zippers
  • Simple to set up
  • Works well for my wife and I
  • Vents well


  • Could use a better tie system at the bottom of the rain fly door

I have had this tent for two seasons backpacking in the SW mtns for 4 to 6 weeks of hiking each time. The weight is much better than my old North Face 2-person 6 lb tent, but the Alps has less protection from the wind and the rain. We did stay dry in the rain, but the vestibule fly door could be anchored better at the bottom and the tent is cooler because of the total mesh, which is nice when it is hot but a little cold when it's not.

We had a pole failure two days out in NM Wilderness, the end split, some trusty duct tape to finish that hike and a small hose clamp to finish the season and I can't say enough about Alps Mtn company. I sent the defect poles in and they sent me a new set of poles.

It would be nice to go lighter but for the price this tent works nicely. It's a good high desert mtns tent and worked well for the two of us. The zippers still work fine after all that use which is a plus and the tent still looks great. I use the foot print from my North Face and it works fine.

I would look for a tent with a better rain fly system and taller sides in places that have heavier weather like the Tetons, Bridger Wilderness etc. It would work, but when you get out four days you want to be sure you are covered. 

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $90

Great design.


  • Lightweight
  • Sturdy

Design is great, I love these tents.

The door zippers could use a little work though. I have two of these tents and one zipper is a little difficult.

Source: bought it new

All I can say great little tent. I found the Zenith 2 AL for sale on the Sierra Trading Post website. It was just the tent I was seeking for since I do solo backpacking. Very lightweight and pitching is quick and very simple-under three minutes for me. I'm currently using this tent in Ohio's Wayne National Forest at the Lamping Homestead Camp Grounds in Monroe County.

This tent offers a full-coverage rainfly with two stake-out vestibules. I stay nice and dry in this tent, even in the hardest of rains. Just the right amount of room inside this tent. Though this tent is rated as a two-person model, I find it a wee bit small for two adults. Better as a one person tent with enough room without that "claustaphobic" feeling. I think I found the perfect tent for backpacking. Nice colour too-rust with sage green trim.

This is the perfect one person tent in my opinion. However I should point out it is better suited for warmer times of the year, since the tent body is all mesh. A bit cold for colder months. Does not hold heat in as a result.

I know I will run the risk of being persecuted by certain people on the forums due to the fact I do not endorse those BIG name brands (such as Sierra Designs or Mountain Hardware for example). Let them insult me--ALPS still makes good gear. Case closed.

Design: three-season freestanding dome
Sleeps: 1
Ease of Setup: extremely quick and simple
Weight: 4lbs 8ozs
Price Paid: $82.46

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