MSR Zoic 3 Review | Best Backpacking Tent

MSR Zoic 3 Review

The MSR Zoic 3 tent is specifically designed for travelers and hikers who prefer a spacious and ultra-breathable shelter, making this tent ideal for take-off on epic summer or warm-weather adventures. This tent provides ample room and superior ventilation, which ensures a comfortable and enjoyable experience. With its musing design and high-quality construction, the MSR Zoic 3 can be an excellent investment.

I had the opportunity to test the model for three people and will present it to you in all its important aspects such as durability, habitability, ventilation, protection against bad weather, installation, and more.

MSR Zoic 3 Backpacking Tent Review

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Main Features:

  • Seasonality: 3-season tent
  • Number of people: Three-person
  • Design: Self-supporting system with hub poles
  • Materials and coverings: Flysheet in 40 denier Ripstop polyester coated with Xtreme Shield polyurethane and silicone; floor in 70 denier Ripstop nylon, Xtreme Shield polyurethane coating and hydrophobic protection Bedroom
  • Dimensions: 223 x 191 x 100 cm (area of ​​approximately 2.3 m²)
  • Layout: A vestibule and three attics with integrated gears
  • Water column and waterproofing: 3,000 mm on the ground and 1,500 mm on the roof
  • Weight: 2,670 g
  • Supplied with: Tent body, poles, rain fly, pegs, guy lines, stuff sack, and set up instructions.


  • Lightweight
  • Easy installation
  • Freestanding system with hub posts
  • Good ventilation and good heat distribution
  • Spacious and wide floor plan


  • More suitable for two people than three
  • Excellent ventilation and airflow performance which can really refresh your nights

Construction (Weight, Materials…) and Durability

There is no need to emphasize the renowned quality of the MSR brand, and the MSR Zoic 3 unquestionably upholds the positive reputation associated with this famous tent manufacturer. It features a domed shape with a freestanding structure. It adopts MSR’s proven geometry and features strong, yet lightweight aluminum poles.

This tent is still light in weight (2670 g) when compared to the average three-person tent. I was particularly impressed by the meticulous selection of materials. For the floor, MSR used Xtreme Shield & DWR polyurethane 70D nylon taffeta, which is a noticeably thick and high-strength fabric.

As a result, the flooring of the MSR Zoic 3 not only ensures durability but also proves resistant to tears and perforations. Thanks not least to the material’s 3000mm waterproof rating, it holds up well in most circumstances.

This tent has a vestibule, which gives you a place to store shoes, clothes, and other belongings that may get dirty or muddy. There is also a gear attic inside for storing some of your belongings.  Additionally, the Zoic 3 tent has two doors, so you can easily get in and out, in the middle of the night if needed.

Habitability and Ease of Installation

The MSR Zoic 3 has an inner peak height of 109cm, which is a tiny bit smaller than the average height of the 3-4 person tents we have reviewed. The 223 x 191 x 100 cm bedroom offers an interior space (approx. 2.3 m²) slightly smaller than most models for 3 people. So this tent might be a little tight for you and two other campers. Despite its relatively small dimensions, the MSR Zoic 3 offers good roominess, making it ideal for traveling with family or friends.

As for set up, the freestanding system with hub poles makes pitching quick and easy: this tent doesn’t even need to be staked in most cases. But in strong winds, it is always best secured to the ground with the included steel stakes and guy wires. Installation instructions are also provided to guide you through the assembly process.

Weather Protection and Ventilation

Perhaps one of the main draws of the MSR Zoic 3 is its full and ultra-breathable canopy. This one is made from micro-mesh panels and keeps the interior cool and dry. For hot weather adventures, this tent would be a perfect choice: it prioritizes ventilation and offers great views.

There’s so little fabric obstructing your view that it can be easy to forget you’re inside a tent. Sleeping under the MSR Zoic 3 without the rainfly under a starry sky is a unique experience. Also, sufficient air circulates inside this 3-person tent, which almost completely eliminates the risk of condensation accumulation.

Keep in mind that the MSR Zoic 3’s excellent ventilation and airflow performance can do it a disservice on freezing nights, so you’d better pack a really warm sleeping bag. It should also be noted that this tent offers decent storm protection, thanks to the proven MSR design geometry, strong aluminum poles, rainfly covering the entire tent body from top to bottom, but also the long-lasting Xtreme Shield waterproof coating.

The Verdict

I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5.0, considering factors such as ease of installation, weather protection, price-to-quality ratio, design, and its commendable combination of lightweight construction and affordability.

For the price, few tents on the market offer the level of quality of the MSR Zoic 3. What we love the most about this lightweight tent featuring a freestanding system with hub poles are its excellent ventilation performance and humidity control. While providing ample roominess and exceptional views of the stars, the Zoic 3 is slightly smaller than most 3-person models, which may result in a somewhat cramped feeling for you and two other campers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the tent handle extreme weather conditions?

The tent is designed to withstand strong winds and is generally robust. It can handle a significant blow, making it suitable for various outdoor environments.

Are there any reported issues with water resistance?

We have reported minor issues with water droplets forming inside the rainfly during heavy rain. We recommend seam sealing for additional waterproofing.

How did the tent perform after seam sealing?

After seam sealing, we noticed an improvement in water resistance. Droplets were limited to the top of the rainfly, indicating that the sealing process helped mitigate the issue.

Is there a warranty provided by the manufacturer?

Yes, the MSR Zoic 1-Person Backpacking Tent comes with a manufacturer’s 3-year limited warranty.

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