MSR Zoic 2 Tent
Toby Archer enjoys the living space on offer from this summer-oriented backpacking tent, but he's not sure it's the best choice for the UK's full-on wet weather.
We're big fans of going nice places and doing good things, more often than not this involves taking some kind of shelter with us, whether traveling on foot, by bike, or by car/train/helicopter/boat/yak then something to keep the elements at bay is pretty much essential.
We've had a range of tents since the early days of Alpkit and have added to this collection significantly in recent years - for Spring 2019 we have 2 exciting new additions.
So whether you prefer tent, tarp or bivvy or a combination of these we should have something for you.
New for summer 2019 are our first 1 man tent and our lightest ever bivvy bag.
The Soloist is our first one man tent and encapsulates everything we love about just getting out and enjoying wild spaces. It is light and small enough to carry, easy to pitch, spacious and stable, providing comfort and security when you need it.
Carrying everything yourself you know you have to be super aware of what you put in your pack or strap to your bike. We have used lightweight, packable fabrics and short pole sections to create a package that weighs 1200 grams and isn't much larger than a bottle of wine.
Soloist uses a single hubbed pole system. It is simple for one person to set up and forms a stable, freestanding structure. Snap the poles together, insert the tips into the eyelets and suspend the inner from the poles.
Throw the fly over the top and guy out. Get a brew on. As with all lightweight tents you do have to use your campcraft skills to take into account the extremes of weather which can happen any time of the year.
We talk a lot about liveable space so we made sure that Soloist is tall enough and wide enough so you can sit up in it. Hubbed, pre-bent poles significantly increase useable space in the roof and at the head and tail ends. It has a generous porch for storing your muddy shoes, a stash pocket for your keys or head torch, and a hanging loop for your head torch or your smelly socks. The pole configuration maximises the internal space and keeps the inner from flapping around your face as you sleep.
In hotter, drier climes you can pitch the inner only and enjoy the cool night air safe from hungry bugs. A seperate footprint is also available to protect your groundsheet on rougher pitches. If you have the footprint you can also leave the inner at home and pitch Soloist as a 'tarp tent', saving yourself half a kilo and vital space.
The venerable Hunka bivvy bag has been a maintsay of the Alpkit range for many years and a constant companion for many occasional and regular overnighters.
We all regularly use the Hunka and they often sit in the bottom of our packs just-in-case but we have always thought about doing a lightweight alternative. Finally we found a suitable fabric and the Kloke arrived.
Conceived as one of the lightest and most packable fully waterproof bivvy bags on the market. Kloke uses fine 7 denier nylon in the face and back with a super fine PU membrane sandwiched in between and comes in at just 265g.
We sourced the lightest 3-layer waterproof fabric we could find. It's also incredibly breathable (30k MVTR), which helps to reduce condensation on the inside of the bag.
Kloke's zipped closure protects you in wet weather, but when conditions are good you can unzip and enjoy sleeping under the stars. You'll need to leave a gap of about 6 inches for airflow when you zip up, so we've used a 2-way zip that lets you choose where you want that gap to be.
When it's time to get up and hit the road again, Kloke packs back down to a miniscule 20 x 12 cm, smaller if you compress it. In fact, it's so miniscule that you can throw it in the lid of your pack as an emergency shelter even when sleeping out isn't on the cards.
Although Kloke has similar dimensions to the Regular Hunka it actually has greater volume.
This means it is suitable for a winter bag alongside your sleeping mat. Alpkit designer Rowan is 6ft 4" and he fits into Kloke just fine.
So whether you prefer to camp or a super-minimal bivvy we have something for you.