Published on June 8th, 2010 | by Greg0
Truly Outdoors in Summer 2010: Kamp-Rite & Sierra Designs
We’re back outdoors again, following up on our last exploration a couple of days ago. For those of you who live in San Francisco and love to camp, we know that although there is nowhere in the city to go (besides your local benches), we would suggest Angel Island as a quick retreat from the hustle and bustle, though you need to be prepared to carry and/or transport your equipment up to 2.5 miles.
Kamp-Rite is known for their interesting designs, which we appreciate when we are out camping. Carrying a tent and cot can be an annoying and often heavy task, but thanks to Kamp-Rite I am now taken care of. My other half can fend for himself in the wild- this is a one-person contraption. At 15 pounds, it’s definitely a lot of burden to shoulder, since you will likely want a sleeping bag as well, but it does replace your tent and any cot you may need.
When we first saw the CCTC by Kamp-Rite, we were a bit confused. Surely this thing must have conflicting roles as we couldn’t decide what it was: a tent? Maybe a cot? Actually, it is 2-in-1. Often, devices that try to do multiple things end up doing them poorly, but in this case, the focus is actually on a comfortable single-person sleeping solution. Kamp-Rite has taken their formula for success with the TENTCOT, and applied it to the Collapsible Combo Tent Cot. The outdoors are more enjoyable, comfortable, and drier with these two separate but much needed camping items in one pack.
We were able to unzip the upper part (shelter) of the tent from the cot base and separate. Setup is pretty easy, and sleeping in the tent portion is kind of like sleeping in a cocoon, kind of like the sealed camping hammock we’ve tested, but on a raised platform. We were comfortable as we weren’t laying directly on uneven ground or partially concealed rocks- though for those of you who are claustrophobic, you should try out before you are actually in the woods. Also, it certainly looks a bit odd, but almost futuristic. The main downside, though, it that it can feel a little unstable- not much, but enough to make you nervous at first.
We could also use the cot base as a stand alone cot. A rain fly was included and though it didn’t rain on the night we camped, we must say we got a decent night’s sleep. Nothing beats our own bed, but pair it with a decent sleeping bag and you’re well set. At $140 or so and available online, it’s worth considering especially for wetter and uneven areas.
We’ve always liked Sierra Designs- a good balance of making camping more affordable and enjoyable. We had the pleasure of sleeping in the Vapor Light 2 Tent with good results so we thought we would try another 2 person tent.
The Zeta 2 Tent was designed with livability in mind as the ‘Tunnel Dome’ design maximizes floor space. The Swivel Hub design raised the verticality of the sidewalls, though without the odd box effect of another recent tent we’ve been trying, and without a doubt improved the functionality. We definitely had enough room as this tent, and the usable space in the tent is better than many comparable ones. The Zeta 2 has 32 sq. ft. of interior space with a front and rear vestibule offers additional room- we had no issues fitting in our fairly large bags. We appreciated the sewn-in interior pockets so we had yet more space in which to safely store our belongings.
We were able to set this one up easily and though we had two people, one could have done it without much difficulty. The only slight trouble came from the fly, which wasn’t hard to get on so much as a little difficult to get to stay straight and tight. The floor is made of the same 70D, 3000mm as some other tents we’ve been using- sturdy, durable, and pretty waterproof. A separate, specially-made footprint is available for $35, but we didn’t have an opportunity to try it.
The Zeta 2 is made for two so in this case, I didn’t make my better half fend for himself- it felt pretty comfortable. We were able to purchase online for around $200. If you need more space for more people, take a look at their other tents, including three and four person versions of this one. We would also suggest staying in warm in the Men’s Verde 20 sleeping bag, as you will feel safe, dry, and it is even made out of recycled materials.