/ REVIEW: MSR Zoic 2 Tent

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It's a great tent for warmer conditions Toby Archer enjoys the living space on offer from this mid-range backpacking tent, but he's not sure it's the best choice for the UK's full-on wet weather.

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olddirtydoggy 22 Oct 2019
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Great review. Looking at the tent, the materials and concept are very similar to our Mountain Hardwear ghost UL3. Great tent in warm conditions or lowland campsites but a bad weather or mountain tent it isn't.

TobyA 22 Oct 2019
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

Cheers! Does the MH one come with taped seams? 

I think if the Zoic had done (or if I had thought about it more and seam sealed them myself) the review would have been more - "this tent is surprisingly solid in really poor weather", because actually it does. In heavy rain and strong winds once pegged out well and guide down I really had no worries about it at all. But waking up next to a small pool of water (admittedly much better than waking up in a small pool of water!) is quite a big distraction from storm performance!

leon 1 22 Oct 2019
In reply to TobyA: This is a backward step by MSR in my opinion. Its not as though it doesn't rain in Seattle or Ireland where their HQs are. It certainly wont help sell tents in the UK.

From the MSR site

Beginning in 2019, MSR’s ultralight tents and shelters feature our unique Xtreme Shield™ System that does away with conventional seam taping for durable, precision-stitched seams that last far longer on lightweight tents. If you anticipate camping in heavy or extended rain, we recommend sealing the seams where necessary. Seam sealing will ensure maximum waterproof defense and a tent with exceptional longevity. It’s easy to do with GEAR AID® Seam Grip +FC™ Fast Cure Sealant or use the Seam Grip +WP™ for ultra-long-lasting performance.

Xtreme Shield is featured on these tents and shelters starting in 2019:

Zoic™ Series
Hubba™ Series
Hubba™ Tour Series
GuidLine™ Pro
Thru-Hiker Mesh Houses
E-Bivy™
Pro™ Bivy

And in 2018 for the FreeLite™ series.

Post edited at 16:46
olddirtydoggy 22 Oct 2019
In reply to TobyA:

The MH tent is fully seamed up. We've used our tent extensively abroad in some pretty foul weather and the only issue we had was draught from the mesh inner. It does amaze me how solid these ultra lighters can be in bad weather but you do have to understand what these tents are designed for and where the limits are. Odd that this Zoic tent isn't seam taped.

TobyA 22 Oct 2019
In reply to leon 1:

Yeah, I read all of that when I reading up on it. I took it from "our unique Xtreme Shield™ System that does away with conventional seam taping for durable, precision-stitched seams that last far longer on lightweight tents" suggests the construction of the fly, and presumably things like the thread used for stitching should be inherently quite water resistant - and from some drizzly nights in the Zoic, I guess it is. But water resistant isn't the same as waterproof I suppose!

MSR's reasoning is at https://www.msrgear.com/blog/xtreme-shield-system-extends-the-life-of-your-tent/ (the page Leon took his quote from). Interestingly it doesn't seem that the Access range isn't included, whilst those seem to be the 4 season tents that MSR have pushed here most prominently (and if I remember from UKC reviews, other reviewers have been quite impressed with) - so presumably they have pre taped seams to keep driving rain out?

Post edited at 18:35
Deadeye 23 Oct 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> Yeah, I read all of that when I reading up on it. I took it from "our unique Xtreme Shield™ System that does away with conventional seam taping for durable, precision-stitched seams that last far longer on lightweight tents" suggests the construction of the fly, and presumably things like the thread used for stitching should be inherently quite water resistant - and from some drizzly nights in the Zoic, I guess it is. But water resistant isn't the same as waterproof I suppose!

> MSR's reasoning is at https://www.msrgear.com/blog/xtreme-shield-system-extends-the-life-of-your-tent/ (the page Leon took his quote from). Interestingly it doesn't seem that the Access range isn't included, whilst those seem to be the 4 season tents that MSR have pushed here most prominently (and if I remember from UKC reviews, other reviewers have been quite impressed with) - so presumably they have pre taped seams to keep driving rain out?


That sounds like bollocks to be honest; and the quote in Leon's post too.

Seems to me that by not taping the manufacturer can:

- quote a lower weight;

- build to a lower cost; and ( the biggest of all)

- avoid all the warranty issues where taped seams fail by saying you should do it yourself.

That's out of order and MSR should be ashamed of it.

TobyA 23 Oct 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

Might be true but if it is, how come the cheaper Elixir range is fully taped?

Deadeye 23 Oct 2019
In reply to TobyA:

New policy?

TobyA 23 Oct 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

> New policy?

I don't know but I actually doubt that. I think it is more to do with different materials being used in the fly sheets. Some of the more expensive silicone nylons I meant to be very difficult to get tape to stick to.

Deadeye 23 Oct 2019
In reply to TobyA:

So they're trying to present a problem as an improvement?

TobyA 23 Oct 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

I think that's unfair. They are using a different material on the Zoic (and other top end tents) from the Elixir range. Their website says "40D ripstop nylon 1500mm Xtreme Shield™ polyurethane & silicone" versus "68D ripstop polyester 1500mm Polyurethane & DWR" used on the Elixir range.

MSR says the more expensive material "resists the premature degradation that traditional tent PU coatings experience" and therefore "we’re proud to say MSR’s lightweight tents deliver far more years of use—staying in the field longer, out of repair shops and out of landfills." It seems implicit from that that you can't expect so long a life from a cheaper Elixir tent. But if the claim is true, then fair enough. These things are always a balance between different features, advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps some people are perfectly happy to seam seal their tent if they know they'll get 5 or 10 years more usage out of that model, than a cheap model with taped seams.

I've been interested in tent designs, and have bought and used lots of different ones, for about 30 years! There have always been some - often premium designs - that weren't seam taped due to the materials used. Hilleberg for example also don't seem to tape seams (and claim they don't need to be sealed - their seam design and sewing should be waterproof enough). And the Zoic definitely keeps some rain out without the seams being sealed.

Deadeye 23 Oct 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> I think that's unfair.

And I think you're being over-generous.  The one thing you really want your tent to do well is keep rain out.

> keeps some rain out without the seams being sealed

!!!!!

Post edited at 22:04
TobyA 23 Oct 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

> > keeps some rain out without the seams being sealed

> !!!!!

Well, it does. The first photo in the review was taken up on the plateau of Kinder, just behind Upper Edale Rocks if you know it. I arrived there at about 2300 in low cloud and drizzle and it was still much the same at about 0730 when I got up, the fly was really wet but none had come through. Plenty of folk don't use their tents in worse weather than that. The night in Wales was a storm. It did leak then after about 8 hours of heavy rain. So if you expect weather like that, find another tent with taped seams and hope the tape lasts, or paint the sealant on yourself.

I reviewed a Macpac a few years ago which needed seam sealing - Macpac supplied a tube for users to use if they wished. https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/camping/tents+bivvys/macpac_sololight_1-person_tent-11253 I don't think its so unusual for tents to come un-taped. The tape is failing on my 19 yr old Terra Nova but it happens to some people much quicker than that.

Anybody reading this with a Hilleberg? Their website makes its sound like they don't seal the seams on any of their tents. Do they leak? I've slept in a number of friend's Hilleberg tents but always in Nordic winter conditions, never in heavy rain, so don't know.

Deadeye 23 Oct 2019
In reply to TobyA:

Um, Toby please don't be defensive - you wrote a good review.  My issue is with tents that leak!

My quasar is old and, by today's standards, weighs a ton... but it doesn't leak

In reply to Deadeye:

> The one thing you really want your tent to do well is keep rain out.

This. I don't care if the seams are taped, if it's 2kg lighter, or whether they use secret fabrics stolen from Area 51 - if it leaks, it's a leaky tent. Nobody wants a leaky tent. 

TobyA 24 Oct 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

I'm not being defensive, beyond thinking that you're seeing this in a slightly too simplistic way. I think actually the full mesh inner is the bigger downside to the Zoic for its use beyond summer in British conditions. 

TobyA 24 Oct 2019
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

Again that's simplistic. What's a leaky tent? It's like saying what's a strong tent? You could say "nobody wants a weak tent" and we should all buy double poled Hilleberg tunnels that will stand up to a hurricane - but actually not many people do need that.

2
pasbury 24 Oct 2019
In reply to TobyA:

I can see what you’re getting at as in the U.K. hurricanes are rare but rain is extremely common; even when you least expect it and often comes with non-hurricane wind. For me the bare minimum for a tent is to stand up to a full night of blustery pissing down conditions without getting my sleeping bag wet, conditions that could happen any day of the year anywhere in this country.

In reply to TobyA:

Not that wet but wet enough to need a tent is such a niche market I don't know who will be buying this. You would always need another tent in case your trip was forecast for possible strong rain. Everytime you used it you would hope the rain wasn't too heavy. It's like buying a GTX jacket that leaks in really heavy rain. They've designed the softshell of tents, literally just to shave off a few grams. 

1
Andypeak 24 Oct 2019
In reply to TobyA

> Anybody reading this with a Hilleberg? Their website makes its sound like they don't seal the seams on any of their tents. Do they leak? I've slept in a number of friend's Hilleberg tents but always in Nordic winter conditions, never in heavy rain, so don't know.

They do not. Not quite sure how they manage it and why other brands can't do what Hilleberg do. 

TobyA 24 Oct 2019
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

> You would always need another tent in case your trip was forecast for possible strong rain.

Or, if you like this tent otherwise, just seam seal it yourself (as is the norm with lots of other tents).

2
Deadeye 25 Oct 2019
In reply to TobyA:

Also, just for transparency, what was the deal here?  Did they give you this tent or loan it? Did you get paid for the review?  Or is it one you bought yourself and thought it would be good for others to know your experience?

It would be good form to say this in the review.

Post edited at 22:38
TobyA 26 Oct 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

> Also, just for transparency, what was the deal here? 

Same as it has been for all UKC reviews for over a decade, it has been regularly explained either here in the forums and sometimes in reviews plus its in the gear "help" section from the drop down menu - so it's not a big secret. But I can ask Dan (gear editor for UKC and UKH) if they could put something in every review.

> Did they give you this tent or loan it?

It's given to the UKC/reviewer for reviewing, you keep it once you've reviewed in all but a couple of instances in dozens of reviews I've written over the last 13 years.

> Did you get paid for the review? 

Nope. If as result you feel I'm exploited member of the 'precariat', left trying to eek a living out on the fringes of the gig economy by the grasping bourgeois power structures, please direct your petitions to the bosses UKC Towers. More seriously, it's a hobby and an extra reason to get out climbing and hill walking regularly.

If you think that I'm in the pay of Big Tent, I'm afraid not. I'm going to spend the 8 quid or so (of my own money, earned from my real job!) for a tube of seam grip and go through the hassle of seam sealing the Zoic so I can use it again in really wet weather without worrying about drips. My partner and I have a previously great Terra Nova Solar 2, but we bought it in 2000 and after 19 years, now each time I try putting the poles through the pole sleeves, the mesh rips. So the Zoic is going to have to replace that tent best it can.

Deadeye 26 Oct 2019
In reply to TobyA:

Ha! Certainly wasn't accusing you of beinng a circus performer.

Just good to understand the setup; I wasn't aware.  Although tiresome, it's probably good practise to mention that it's a freebie in each review.


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