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3308Walrus Zoid 2 in the rain

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  • Justin E. Vlietstra
    Jun 4, 2001
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      I got out this weekend and had really wet weather to test the zoid 2. To
      summarize the experience, it was not particularly pleasant but we stayed
      dry. The tent and fly do not stay taught when wet. The inside of the tent
      gets wet when the doors are left open. On the good side, there was no
      condensation anywhere inside the tent to cause stuff to get wet. I was
      particularly shocked to find the foot of my sleeping bag dry in the morning.
      All of the condensation stayed under the fly and was not on the tent body
      walls. In general I thought the tent worked well and future experience
      should help my figure out how to get around its problems.

      I went to hike in the southern Adirondacks in NY and it has been raining
      frequently for the last few weeks. It rained for several hours Friday night
      during my hike in and nicely let up for a few minutes when we got to camp at
      10pm. The forest floor was soft soaking wet duff that was quite loose but
      the curved tent stakes held up well. I only used 6 stakes and no guy lines.
      Shortly after setting the tent up it started raining again and the rain
      lasted all night. Night temperatures were in the upper 40's-- the
      conditions were ideal for loads of condensation. Every time I try to set
      the tent up I can't figure out which end of the fly is which. I was
      particularly annoyed about the fly confusion when setting the tent up in the
      wet weather in the dark. I'll have to figure out some way to remedy the
      problem.

      I never bothered to figure out how to cook from the tent in the rain, I just
      went outside and cooked in the rain. My large pack did manage to fit under
      the vestibule, all 4700 cubic inches of it (macpac ravine). But if the pack
      was under the vestibule you could not easily get in or out of the tent
      because you had to climb over the pack. The underside of the fly was soaked
      so climbing over stuff got me wet. I didn't trust the vestibule to keep my
      boots dry so I put them inside the tent above my head. There is enough
      extra room to put stuff inside the tent. Another note is that you can't
      easily put your boots on (or off) if you have a large pack under the
      vestibule. In the future I'll just leave the pack outside like I have
      always done in the past. It is nice to have the pack under the vestibule
      when packing or unpacking your stuff.

      After I setup the tent the rain soaked the fly and it stretched quite a bit
      and started to sag. The vestibules sagged a lot and I found the end of my
      pack sticking out in the rain. There is no way to tighten the vestibule
      other than to restake it. I couldn't justify climbing out in the rain to
      use the bathroom so I most certainly wasn't going to go out to retighten the
      fly. The top of the tent started to sag too and tightening that would have
      required staking out the entire tent or using the guy lines. Sitting up
      would cause my head to brush against the top of the tent. Walrus advertises
      that their diamondback rain flys are designed to reduce sagging when wet. I
      am disappointed to see that the fly sags quite a bit. In the morning I
      found some good size puddles on the top of the tent. Much of this sagging
      could be corrected by using guy lines, but I'd rather not carry them and I
      would rather not take the time to set them up. I think the problem would be
      better corrected with better fabric. I would like to see walrus add some
      way to tighten the vestibule from the inside of the tent. I think I'll add
      a short adjustable line for staking out the vestibule.

      It was quite a pain to setup gear in the tent in the rain (particularly when
      two people are trying to do it at the same time). I have a sleeping bag
      with no bottom insulation (macpac pinnacle) and sliding the pad into the
      bottom was quite a pain in the cramped interior of the tent. When its dry
      it is easy to stand outside and toss it in through the large doors. Opening
      the doors lets rain inside the tent. I briefly opened the doors and held
      them open with the toggle, threw my stuff in, then immediately closed the
      door and went inside to setup. I didn't appreciate fumbling with the toggle
      when rain was getting in the tent so I may replace it with velcro that is
      quicker, lighter, and brainless.

      The tent kept us dry all night. I noticed no leaks and no condensation on
      the tent body walls. The inside of the fly was covered in condensation but
      the fly never touches the mesh tent body. Even the waterproof bottoms of
      the walls remained dry. The foot of my sleeping bag stayed dry despite
      rubbing against the tent walls all night. I was quite surprised to find my
      gear dry in the tent in the morning, so I must commend walrus for their
      excellent design. The fly and its taped seams worked great. I seam sealed
      the floor but I wouldn't have expected a problem if I hadn't. I made sure
      to set the tent up in a well drained location. In the morning the ground
      under the tent was dry. The other person's tent in the group was a sierra
      designs meteor light CD and their gear got wet inside the tent. Backpacker
      magazine describes the meteor light as "quite possibly the ideal backpacking
      tent." So the zoid 2 performed extremely well. It exceeded my expectations
      for dryness.

      I was also quite surprised to find out how easy it is to clean out the
      inside of the tent in the morning. After removing the poles and stakes you
      can open a big side door and two people can easily shake all the junk out.
      I always thought freestanding tents were at an advantage in this respect--
      one can pick the whole tent up with the poles in place and shake it out. My
      reservations about using a tent that is not freestanding are pretty much
      gone.

      Another note is the tent fly did not dry quickly the next day. The tent
      seemed to dry somewhat, but leaving the fly out for a couple hours in high
      humidity and 60 degree temperatures did nothing.

      Anyway, despite my complaints about various problems in the rain I thought
      the tent performed quite well. My opinion is that it should at a minimum
      keep me dry in wet weather, be comfortable in normal weather, and work
      acceptably in bad weather (comfort is not required). I'll try to figure out
      some ways to work around the problems I found to make it more comfortable in
      bad weather. It will be quite helpful if I get a chance to spend some time
      in the tent in the daylight when it is raining. We'll see if my next two
      trips in June will offer some good test conditions.

      -Justin
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