Tent Review - MSR Zoic 1 Backpacking Tent

MSR Zoic 1 Backpacking Tent

3 out of 5 stars

As I began the 2020 backpacking season, it became apparent I needed to purchase a lighter tent. It was time to go to a single-person backpacking tent.

Camped along the Flat Laurel Creek in Pisgah, near Black Balsam Knob

With the COVID crisis entering the early stages, backpacking tents became a hot commodity. I had been looking at the MSR Hubba series since late 2019. In late May I was unable to find what I wanted. The MSR Zoic 1 was available. I purchased it for $300.

There are some good points about this tent, but I’ll cover the negatives first.

The rainfly does not have any vents. This is a possible factor, discussed below.

It leaked. I ended up having to seam-seal the rainfly. And even then, it did not completely fix all of the leaking. But I was able to sleep dry in the main body portion of the tent. More on this.

In its current state, after the seam-sealing, this is a good tent. The tiny leaks appear to occur in the vestibule area, and was during a very heavy rain. If I had not been critically looking for leaks I may not have noticed. During a 4-hour heavy rainstorm, I remained completely dry inside the tent.

  • My main complaint here is that I had to seam-seal the rainfly in order to get the performance I would expect from a MSR tent.

More on the current state of water proof. The small amount of water I noticed on the last heavy rain I encountered might not be due to leaking at all. I was unable to discern if the small water droplets I witnessed on the netting of the main body tent was from condensation, or actual leaking. I suspect it was condensation given the lack of a vent on the rainfly.

As a result of these issues I ended up replacing this tent with the one I had wanted in the first place. I found a MSR Hubba NX Solo for half price. You can read that review here.

A footprint was not included. I purchased a MSR universal footprint for single-person tents, which I now use with my Hubba NX.

At 3 lbs 5 oz, this tent is not as light as I ultimately ended up with when I found the Hubba NX. Adding the footprint and stuff sack, this tent ended up weighing right at 4 lbs. In my opinion, this is a bit too heavy for a $300 backpacking tent.

Some of the positives. It is almost a single-pole system. Only the crossbar at the top is detached.

The main body floor is 88” by 35”, which I consider quite spacious for a single-person tent. This tent has multiple cargo pockets; on the sides and at the top. Very nice for storing stuff, which I like and use.

Camped on top of Standing Indian Mtn, in North Carolina. Not much of a view that morning.

I have not given this tent up yet. The main thing preventing this tent from being a 4-star rating is the condensation factor. For now, I will keep it as a loner tent.

Note. I am budget conscious in all backpacking gear purchases. My reviews are based upon multiple uses, spanning months or years.

About The Author

My name is Jerry. Trail name is Monsoon. In addition to running a hiking club, I also own and operate a coffee shop & bookstore. Check it out here.

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