ALPS Mountaineering Zenith 3 AL Tent
This is a great tent—easy to set up, roomy, and…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $130
This is a great tent—easy to set up, roomy, and dry inside despite the weather. For a bomb-proof tent great for backpacking (even though it's not ultralight), you can't beat the Zenith for twice the price!
I notice the review info denotes this tent as discontinued, and that's not entirely true. ALPS makes the Zenith for Sierra Trading Post, and it's intermittently available. Beyond that, ALPS also makes this same tent for other retailers under the Zephyr moniker. The Zephyr is readily available, and identical except for color schemes, to the Zenith.
- Waterproof top and bottom!
- Relatively light for a 3p tent
- Easy setup
- Not ultralight
- Packs a little bulky
My 11-year-old son and I were planning our first backpack camping trip with his Scout Troop, and I wanted a tent with good features and a little extra room, that didn't weigh too much. After looking around locally, listening to complaints friends have with various tents, and researching online, I ran across ALPS.
Comparing features to price, ALPS appears to offer just about the best bang for the buck. We ended up buying ALPS packs, sleeping pads, and this Zenith 3 tent. All the gear is high quality, and service through ALPS has been first rate in terms of answering questions and providing replacements for a couple of busted barrel locks.
The Zenith 3 tent is under 6 lbs even after I added several extra guy lines and the optional footprint. And you should definitely buy the footprint. Unfortunately, Sierra Trading Post doesn't have it, so I went to ALPS directly and they were able to help me out.
So, for less than six pounds, what do you get? Well, you get a sturdy tent that is completely waterproof, with room for two full sized men and some gear. I'm not sure me and two other men would fit in this 3-man tent, and at 6.2" and 225lbs, I'm not a huge man. But it's roomy enough for two with comfort, for sure. Might even get your packs in the tent if you're willing to work at it. The vestibules make a great place to leave your boots and pack, though. May as well have room in the tent to get comfortable.
The first time we pitched the Zenith we learned it is fully waterproof. It started raining about 12:30 a.m., and rained hard until about 6 a.m. The inside of the tent stayed bone dry. Not a single drop got it. And, with the fly guyed out properly (with the help of some of the extra guy ropes...) ventilation is good enough to avoid condensation drips. Close it up and don't guy out the fly, and you'll get more condensation, but if you put it up properly, it won't bother you at all. The zippers work well and don't snag.
The overall setup is sturdy and the "sitting up" design of the interior is also a nice feature.
I won't have any hesitation buying other ALPS gear in the future.
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.