The Terra Nova Laser Competition has won multiple awards for being one of the best lightweight one-person backpacking tents around. But while its weight of just 930g is appealing, its price tag of £320 is far less enticing. So Terra Nova has released the Zephyros 1 under its Wild Country brand, promising the same living space as the Laser Competition, but for just £150.
On first appearances the design of the Zephyros 1 looks identical to that of the Laser Competition. One of the common criticisms of the Laser was that an external rain cover had to be fitted over the main pole to prevent leaks along the seams. But with the Zephyros 1, there is no rain cover as the fly material is seam-sealed, as it is a PU-coated polyester, rather than a silicone-coated nylon. So you just need to slip the pole through the sleeve and locate the ends. This makes pitching a little easier.
When it comes to pegging out the tent I was pleased to find the Laser Competition’s needle-like 2g titanium wire pegs have been replaced by conventional alloy pegs. This again makes pitching easier and means I no longer kept losing pegs as I did with the Laser.
Get inside the Zephyros 1 and it feels very spacious for its class, with enough space in the porch to store gear easily. In fact it’s a few centimetres bigger than the Laser Competition in terms of length, height and width, which really does make a great deal of difference to living inside this tent in comfort.
So the Zephyros 1 lacks the drawbacks of the Laser Competition, and at under half the price it’s hard to see why you would not rush out and buy it. However... the Laser Competition weighs in at 930g and packs down to 40x12cm, while the Zephyros 1 weighs 1570g and packs down to 52x14cm. So which tent appeals more will be up to the individual.
For walkers I think the Zephyros 1 is light enough. But if every gram really matters, the Laser Competition remains a better option.
Design transverse ridge
Poles shock-corded alloy Wild Country Superflex
Materials outer PU-coated polyester, 3000mm hydrostatic head; groundsheet: PU-coated polyester, 5000mm hydrostatic head; inner: polyester with mesh panels
Internal dimensions length 230cm; width 90cm; height 95cm
Packed size 52x14cm
Made in China
Stockist details www.terra-nova.co.uk
The Wild Country Zephyros 1 may not be the lightest tent available, but for most solo walkers its benefits of price, size and ease of pitching far outweigh the fact you’re carrying a little extra weight relative to the very lightest tents. And at 1.5kg, it’s still pretty light!
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine December 2011