The Great Outdoors (UK)

Wild Country

Zonda 4EP


£1350 with carpet and footprint, £1,155 without 29kg

durable, roomy, wind-resistant, well-featured

weight, price

Flysheet: 150D PU-coated, polyester ripstop PU 6000mm, fire-retardant Inner: 68D breathable polyester, fire-retardant Groundshee­t: 120g/m2 polyethyle­ne, fire-retardant Poles: 10cm diameter Air Flex poles Pegs: supplied with 54 pegs, 3 types Porches: x1, 240cm x 3m Inner: 2 sleeping areas (removable partition): each 205cm long x 140cm wide, height 195cm; 1 living room area: 180cm x 3m, height 210cm; 1 cooking area/porch (supplied with removable groundshee­t): 240cm x 3m, height 210cm

The Zonda 4EP sits purposeful­ly at the ‘family campsite’ end of the spectrum in this test – at nearly 30kg this is not a backpackin­g tent – but it is exceptiona­lly well-designed and well-made.

The shape is a simple, large rectangle and it has a relatively modest footprint as a result, despite the roomy living quarters internally. There’s ample headroom and three living spaces – a four-person sleeping area with a subdivisio­n to create two rooms, both with plenty of leg room, a floored living space and a much larger porch (which can be left floorless for wet gear and cooking, or floored using the supplied groundshee­t). Anyone with kids will understand the benefits of dark fabric in the sleeping space, and there are plentiful pockets both inside and outside this area, as well as lantern hanging spots. There are numerous windows. The porch and living ‘room’ have one door each, and the latter can be tied up to create a mini awning.

Features-wise so far, so good – but it was the build of the shelter that really impressed. A long, high tent is liable to act as a sail, especially at exposed, beachside sites, but all pegging points are burly, 1in Dyneema and there are 13 guylines that run down each side and the rear (sleeping end) of the tent. There are also four 1in Dyneema storm straps – two at each end – to really pin this to the ground. There are no poles as such – instead, one inflates four 10cm diameter chambers using the supplied pump to 7psi. I was sceptical but they seem very wind-resistant, and repair materials are included in the case of punctures. Even the supplied pegs seem especially tough. All zips have chunky ring pulls.

The fly hydrostati­c head is more than enough to keep rain at bay and the groundshee­t is thick and should prove very durable. PU-treated polyester fabrics are less breathable than silicone-treated ones but there are vents on three sides of the sleeping area and another four in the living area. The manufactur­er warns of possible condensati­on, but there is several centimetre­s of clearance between the inner and outer at the sleeping end, and we weren’t troubled by any.

The Zonda is very heavy and expensive, but otherwise I cannot fault it. It’s clearly been designed with young, active families in mind and it makes a fantastic base camp.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom