There are two vis-a-vis (bedrooms facing each other) tents that could be a great alternative to the air tents I compared not so long ago (8-Person Large Family Air Tents Head-to-Head), offering space for the whole family for a very reasonable price. You’ll find out from this Hi-Gear Zenobia 6/8 review what to look out for if you are considering on of the Zenobia Nightfall tents, and if there are any other options that may be interesting.
Although the two tents are very similar, and you’d think apart from their size they are almost identical, it’s far from the truth.
Who are the Hi-Gear Zenobia 6 and 8 tents for?
Vis-a-vis family tents always focus on the sleeping space, rather than the living space. It’s the limitation of the design. The Zenobia 6 and 8 are for those who can accept that the living space is limited, and don’t mind that the family will have to spend most of the time outside the tent during the day. However, both Zenobia tents have a living room large enough for the whole family in case it rains.
While they are great for families, they also make great tents for groups of friends, who need a decent festival tent for example.
Size, layout, space
To start with the obvious…both tents offer good amount of space.
The bedrooms compare well with other manufacturers’ similar tents. There is more than enough space in every direction: the sleeping are per head is 70 cms (73 cms in the Zenobia 6, while industry average is closer to 60 cms), the length of the bedrooms is 210 cm so there’s some space for gear / equipment / bags in the back. There’s full head height throughout the entire length of the tents, however the Hi-Gear Zenobia 6 has a more sloped roof: higher ceiling at the middle, lower at the back of the bedrooms.
The Hi-Gear Zenobia 8 has two, 4-berth bedrooms. Each bedroom is divided into two sleeping pods. The Hi-Gear Zenobia 6 has two, 3-berth bedrooms, 220 cms wide each (73 cms per head).
The bedrooms are made of a darker material and they are called ‘Nightfall’.
The enclosed living rooms are of average size, also considering the limitations of the design: the Hi-Gear Zenobia 6 has 5.5 square metres, the Zenobia 8 has 6.7 square metres. There are tents with smaller (Eurohike Genus 800) and bigger living rooms (Berghaus Air 8), the living room of the Zenobia 8 is roughly the same size as the Vango Longleat II 800 has.
Doors, windows, ventilation
We have two doors on each side. The doorsteps don’t fold flat, so it’s a bit inconvenient. Although it may help keep the dirt out, once it gets in, it makes it a bit more difficult to sweep it out and keep the living room clean.
The Hi-Gear Zenobia 8 looks more professional with the little rain canopies over the doors. These prevent rain falling inside the tent.
The Zenobia 6 does not have this over its doors, so get an umbrella ready if you’d like to keep the tent as dry as possible.
The windows don’t have a mesh panel, but they do have privacy curtains that roll up. Sadly, the Hi-Gear Zenobia 6 is not very user friendly in this respect, as the curtains are outside. The side-doors have full mesh, so as the bedroom doors.
As for ventilation, there are various air vents, I do like te window vents that help a lot keeping a steady airflow across the living area and the bedrooms.
The Hi-Gear Zenobia tents don’t have anything to be ashamed of on this front. They both have sewn-in ground sheet, taped seams, and a 4000mm HH rated waterproof polyester flysheet. The flysheet has a 68D thickness.
They also come with an upgraded set of pegs with included guide, which surely has a positive impact on their stability in windy weather.
Transport and Pitching
The ‘official’ pitching time is around 20-25 minutes, which is very realistic.
The packed size of the Zenobia 6 is 68 x 33 x 33cm and it weighs 18.1kg – this is absolutely manageable and fantastic for a tent that’s 7 metres long.
The Zenobia 8 quite understandable is a bit bulkier and heavier: packed dimensions are 73 x 45 x 45cm and it weighs 29kg. This is just too big to handle by one person and it does not fit into any roofbox either.
Pitching time is around 20-25 minutes, which is average for tents of this size and is actually achievable even if you are not an experienced camper.
The bag is an ‘easy-pack’ bag with ‘loose’ sidewalls, so the tent will always fit in it.
I can wholeheartedly recommend the Hi-Gear Zenobia 8, because it ticks all the boxes: the bedrooms are large and darkened, the living room functions well. Overall weather protection is good with some premium stakes coming in the package. The only downside is the size and weight of the packed tent, but, afterall, it is an 8-person tent. The take-home price of the Hi-Gear Zenobia 8 is £385 at Blacks, which makes it more expensive than the Vango Longleat II 800X, but it’s ‘only’ £349 at GoOutdoors.
The Hi-Gear Zenobia 6 is actually missing quite a few of the comfort feature that the Zenobia 8 does have, and there are some outright odd things about it such as the outside privacy curtains. However, it costs only £219 if you take out the discount card at GoOutdoors, which is a very good price for a 6-berth tent in my opinion.
I have already mentioned the Vango Longleat II 800XL. The Longleat is slightly smaller as it comes with the ‘standard’ 120cm bedrooms but otherwise it is very similar. It is equipped with Vango’s storm protection system, and it is slightly cheaper than the Hi-Gear Zenobia 8. You can see more details on the Vango Longleat II 800XL here, or you could check out this post on 10ts-tents: 8-Person Large Family Air Tents Head-to-Head.
In the post a linked above, you’ll find the Eurohike Genus 800 air tent too, which is actually much cheaper than the Hi-Gear Zenobia 8. The only issue with the Eurohike Genus 800 is that its living room is quite small, but it has an additional sun canopy over the side door (sold separately). It is a very popular model, so you need to be quick to get one though…
As for the Zenobia 6, the Regatta Karuna 6 family tent seems to be the obvious alternative, although the Regatta Karuna does not have darkened bedrooms and it’s slightly more expensive than the Zenobia 6.