After battling on a few overnight and multi-day solo hikes with a 2.8kg 2 person tent that was coming on 8 years of age, the time had finally come to find me a new tent. I had also started leading more groups without hubby to share the weight and sleeping space.
Getting my own tent finally seemed like a rite of passage for this wannabe adventurer!
How I chose this tent
After a fair bit of research and with a watertight budget, I decided to purchase the Zempire Mono. Low-cost investments always feel a little risky. I was wary, to begin with, and did need some convincing before I made my decision.
I had checked reviews, compared sizes, weights, prices and brands. I spoke with salespeople and asked questions. I had narrowed it down to the Zempire Atom and the Zempire Mono, both single person lightweight tents. Everything was telling me to give this Mono ago.
After doing a test set up at home on the back lawn, I worked out that I could set it up without the help of another human. Winning! I realised I had the exact number of pegs needed. I felt confident that tenting solo would not be a problem.
At 1.38kg the Zempire Mono is ideal for the weight-conscious hiker. We know of a few people carrying these on tracks like the Heysen, Bibbulmun, and Te Araroa over in NZ.
As most of my hiking avoids snowy places, this 3 season tent would do the job in the places I find myself trekking. Especially the stunning patches of South Australia, such as Deep Creek, Mt Crawford, and the Ikara-Flinders Ranges.
The first test run
My first trip with the Mono was a bushwalking leadership technical skills weekend in the northern Mt Lofty Ranges, at Caroona Creek Conservation Park. After the initial set up, peg hammering (on hard ground) and bed set up, I realised while sitting up and awkwardly changing into my thermals (always a challenge in any tent) that this little Mono was alright.
Cosy, simple, and with room for my pack in the small vestibule. Even my big hair fits in the tent – just! As I am 165cm tall I still had plenty of space for my legs and feet.
With this room, I was able to create a bit more space between myself and the top edge of the tent.
All set up on hard ground at Caroona Creek.
Performance of the Mono
Having full mesh inner meant that there was plenty of airflow, and no condensation in the morning. I always put a tarp down under my tent floor to make the rolling up and packing away clean and easy and this would no doubt extend the life of any tent giving it another layer between any sharp bits, tree roots, rocks or stones on the ground.
We had dry conditions and light winds, and a fairly mild night for August, up at Caroona. I am yet to put the Mono through the big test – wet and wild weather. I also managed to slightly bend a few pegs with my enthusiasm for hammering them into the hard ground.
These were replaced when I returned with no fuss or bother from my place of purchase – Snowys Outdoors.
This is what you get when you buy a Mono. Quality bags and sleeves. The pole comes with a repair sleeve. And well-designed alloy pegs.
Would I recommend this tent?
So, do I recommend this tent? For a low-cost starting point for the wannabe solo hiker, yes. You will need to be aware of the comfort (height/length) restrictions as the tent is on the smaller side, especially height-wise which is 150cm in the centre.
For those with hair wider than mine, you might need a hair tie, head sock, or beanie to reduce volume and create headroom. I’d give the Mono an 8 out of 10!
What do you like most about solo hiking?
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