Kit review: How to have a “sardine experience” in a tent


The label clearly said “two-man tent” but I was dubious about that definition. They were two bloody small men by my calculations. Maybe the manufacturers were basing it on men who had trekked for a hundred days and nights through brutal extremes, living off foraged food and who had lost half their body weight – oh and were really short. Either way, getting two people in that tent was going to be a mission. I scratched my head. And where the hell were the bags supposed to go?

The supposed two-man Zephyros 2 Wild Country tent by Terra Nova can be described as compact but, remember, it is targeting the avid hiking community when weight matters. So, at a mere 1.7kgs, this tent is an attractive weight-saving option (particularly if you’re the one having to carry the tent – thank you boyfriend). And hence why it was duly purchased for our various hiking adventures and an essential on our month-long trip to New Zealand back in March.


Now I like being cosy and snuggled up, but there is a fine line between cosily snuggled up and coffin-like claustrophobia. This tent is bordering on the latter. With two people, plus bags (I’m still not sure where the hell they’re supposed to go but under the feet or as a pillow are serious contenders) there isn’t much in the way of wiggle room, and head space is something you clearly have to pay a premium for in an upgrade. And when nature calls in the middle of the night, the side opening means having to clamber over the boyfriend to get out, which of course, results in waking him up.

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The most fun, however, was deep in New Zealand’s volcanic heartland in the central North Island. Night one on the Tongariro Northern Circuit and the wind was howling. Getting the tent up had been somewhat interesting – there were other campers who were less successful with theirs – but once up it stayed solid through the night.


Night two on the Circuit and the rain was constant. The next morning it was still coming down so I had the ingenious idea that we should stay put in the tent, change and pack up before venturing into the wet. That way us and the kit wouldn’t get a soaking. In theory, a brilliant idea; in practice, a logistical nightmare.

No headspace, meant we couldn’t sit up. No sideways space, meant we couldn’t move or extend. So what transpired was a dodgy dance (though more like a squirm) involving one and then the other, contorting ourselves into yoga poses while the other jerkily removed themselves from the sleeping bag and got dressed – all the while trying not to accidently punch the other in the face. It should have taken us about 10 minutes to dress and pack – but in a tent similar to a sardine can, it took us an hour. It was a tense and uncomfortable, profanity-laced yet sometimes hilarious experience.

Night three, back in Whakapapa Village, and the rain really decided to come down, the shattering sound on the tent like an army chucking buckets and buckets of water over it. And yet the inside of the tent largely stayed dry. It was something of a miracle.

So, on the pluses, the two-man Zephyros 2 Wild Country tent by Terra Nova is light-weight, sturdy and waterproof. But in terms of space, luxury and the convenience of going to the loo in the middle of the night, it’s not brilliant. But then if you wanted a luxury camping experience you’d just go glamping, right?


These opinions are my own.


3 thoughts on “Kit review: How to have a “sardine experience” in a tent

  1. Pingback: My top 10 most read blog posts for 2017 | Katrina Megget

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