The Paria Outdoors Zion 2 is a spacious, freestanding two-person tent with two doors ($155) that can actually fit two people with room to spare. It comes complete with aluminum poles, a footprint, and good quality tent stakes. With a trail weight of 4 lbs 2 oz, the Zion 2 is great for car camping, base camping, and casual backpacking trips where you can split the tent weight with a second person. While it is not as high quality (details below) or cutting edge as a Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 or comparable premium tents, it’s a decent value for 1/3 of the price.
Specs at a Glance
- Capacity: 2 people
- Doors: 2
- Design: double-wall
- Mfg Dimensions – fully rectangular floor, 85-inch length x 53-inch width, 38-inch height
- Actual Measured Dimensions – 82-inch length x 52-inch width, 38-inch height, 6-inch deep floor
- Packed size: 17 inches long by 7 inches in diameter
- Trail weight – 4 lbs. 2 oz. without stakes and footprint (4 lbs. 4 oz. measured)
- Packaged weight – 4 lbs. 15 oz. includes everything (4 lbs 11.5 oz measured)
- Rainfly: 20 Denier rip-stop nylon with dual silicon/PU coatings
- Tent Floor and included footprint: 40 Denier rip-stop nylon with dual silicon/PU coatings
- Mesh: 20 Denier no-see-um fine polyester mesh
- Poles: 8.5 mm 7000-series aluminum alloy
- Waterproofing: Dual silicon/PU coating with factory taped seams, HH 3000 mm
- Accessories: 8 aluminum alloy Y-stakes, reflective 1.75 mm Dyneema guy line, one pole repair splint
Freestanding Tent Design
The Zion 2 is a two-person freestanding tent with two vestibules and D-shaped doors. The tent comes with one 26 segment series 7000 aluminum pole that has two three-way hubs at the ends and a horizontal crossbar in the middle to flatten the ceiling and increase its width. The pole ends slot into grommets in the corners of the inner tent and the inner tent clips to the poles. Aluminum poles are much more durable and break far less frequently than the fiberglass poles that come with inexpensive tents, so this is a big plus. If you buy a tent with fiberglass poles, you’re basically throwing money away.
The rainfly clips to buckles in the corners of the tent, making set up a snap. You still need to stake out the tent corners fully stretch out the length, but it is truly a freestanding tent that you can pick up and move around intact before staking it back down. You can also pitch the tent with the footprint and rainfly only, for a lighter-weight shelter without insect protection. Many big brands make you pay extra for a footprint, so this is another value add.
The inner tent has a true rectangular inner tent floor, not a tapered one, so you can use it with full-width sleeping pads and still have room for your shoes in the tent. I like the fact that both ends of the tent are symmetric because it’s more comfortable that way and you don’t have to think about how to position the tent so your head is at the right end (on a slope in the dark in the rain.)
At 85″ (82″ measured) in length, the interior is well-sized for taller individuals, and while it’s easy to sit up inside, the 38″ (38″ measured”) ceiling height is 1-2 inches lower than what I’d consider optimal. Still, the lightly colored fly makes the interior feel spacious and roomy, without blinding you with morning sunlight the next day.
The vestibule doors have a one-way zipper down the middle, while D-shaped mesh inner tent doors (with two zippers) provide an easy entrance to the inner tent. The vestibules provide plenty of gear storage and can be used without blocking door access. The rainfly has rain flaps that cover the vestibule zippers and the zipper top is covered so rain won’t pour on your head if you unzip the fly on a rainy night. There are also velcro patches along the fly so you can secure the door without the zipper for convenience or better airflow if you choose. Full-width kickstand vents at the ends of the tent add additional ventilation, which is a nice feature.
The inner tent has overhead loft pockets for each occupant along with a center hook for hanging a lantern. There are also two tent-wide pockets at the end of each side, split down the middle, that provides plenty of extra interior storage space. I can’t remember the last time I used a two-person backpacking-style tent that’s had this much internal storage or is this comfortable for couples-based camping.
The Zion 2P comes with eight beefy Y-stakes (my tent had nine), comparable in size to MSR Groundhogs, that have good holding power. They’re pre-threaded with reflective Dyneema guyline, which I appreciate since so many premium tents come with stakes that don’t have pre-threaded cordage.
Where Does the Zion 2P Fall Short?
While the Zion 2P is a good value for the money, it’s not built as well or as robustly as much more expensive tents. I don’t think any of the items I list below are that important for a car camping tent, base camping, for more casual use on backpacking trips but I wouldn’t opt to take the Zion 2P on more rugged backpacking trips where bad weather and high winds were the norm.
- There’s no easy way to connect the rainfly to the poles for added strength and reduced flapping in windy conditions.
- The clips used to attach the inner tent to the aluminum pole are lighter duty than on a premium tent.
- The vestibule door tiebacks are simple nylon loops and not very robust.
- The vestibule doors don’t have a 2-way zipper, so it’s harder to create a transom to vent the interior or recover from a zipper failure.
- There a few threads in the inner tent ceiling that are untrimmed and could be bar-tacked more securely to keep them from unraveling. I think adding some seam grip in a few spots would secure the threads and lock them in place. Still, you shouldn’t have to do that in a new tent. The sewing and seam taping on the rest of the tent, including the rainfly and zippers, is otherwise quite strong but could be neater.
Comparable Tents Priced Less than $250
|REI Passage 2||2||4 lbs 2 oz||included||$159|
|3F UL LanShan 2 Pro||2||2 lbs 0.3 oz||no||$195|
|Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 2||2||5 lbs 2.7 oz||included||$250|
|Marmot Catalyst 2P||2||4 lbs 11 oz||included||$183|
|Dan Durston X-Mid 1||2||1 lb 11.7 oz||no||$225|
|Six Moons Designs Lunar Solo||1||1 lb 10 oz||no||$230|
|Sierra Designs Full Moon 2||2||3 lbs 15.5 oz||no||$200|
|REI Trail Hut 2||2||4 lbs 14 oz||included||$199|
|NEMO Aurora 2P||2||4 lbs 9 oz||included||$250|
|The North Face Stormbreak 2||2||5 lbs 5 oz||no||$159|
Note: We’ve listed trail weights not fully packaged weights, above. This includes the inner tent, rainfly, and poles.
The Paria Outdoors Zion 2 Tent has a lot going for it, although it’s not as fully featured or high quality as tents from Big Agnes, MSR, NEMO, or REI. The best features of the Zion 2 are its rectangular and symmetric design which makes it very easy to set up and use and its interior dimensions which provide plenty of space and interior storage for two people to get comfortable. The inclusion of a free fast-pitch footprint, a gear loft, and good quality tent stakes are also great value-adds.
While I like the Zion 2, the loose threads in the inner tent give me pause. That’s not the type of product defect you the consumer should tolerate in a new tent and I’d give the Zion 2 a pass until the manufacturer fixes it. (Other Amazon reviewers have noted the same defect.) It’s too bad because otherwise, you get a lot of bang for the buck with this tent at a very competitive price.
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