Looking for good entry-level bikepacking tent options, we tested out the Alpkit Jaran 2, a two-person packable tent that retails at £179.99 and weighs in at 2,290g.
Lockdown restrictions didn’t make testing easy, so my thoughts derive from testing in the garden, during a week-long car camping and mountain biking trip in the Tweed Valley (highly recommended), and from a bikepacking trip around East Devon. More extensive testing in all weathers to follow!
Why the Jaran 2? In this case, we wanted to test a tent that would be a good choice not only for bikepacking trips, but also for other outdoor trips. Therefore, we didn’t go down the extreme 1-person coffin route (although there’s certainly merit there), but rather opted for a more sociable and spacious 2-person tent. The theory was that I would then be able to split carrying parts of the tent with my partner or a friend to total just over 1kg of packed weight each, but in reality due to Covid I ended up having the tent mostly to myself and carrying the whole lot solo on the bike!
The first question on most people’s lips when it comes to sleeping kit choice for bikepacking: the weight. The total weight of the tent, including the footprint (250g), pole (530g), pegs (100g), flysheet (750g) and inner (670g) comes in at 2,290g. The footprint is optional, though I think I’d recommend it, both just in case of wetter weather than you might expect or dew, and to prolong the life of your inner groundsheet. As it is totally detached from the rest of the tent, you can always choose to leave it at home if you’re heading out on a very hot and dusty trip and you’re really trying to minimise weight!
Both the flysheet (outer) and groundsheet (bottom of the inner) are made from Nylon ripstop in a 40d weight, with a lighter 15d ripstop inner blended with a breathable mesh. The pole is constructed from lightweight 7001-T6 aluminium alloy.
There are entrances on either side, both of the same size, so you don’t have to crawl over your friend in the middle of the night to pee. Internally, there are also handy pockets in each corner which come in especially handy on multi-night trips when you’re trying to organise small pieces of kit.
There are also some large vents in the outer to aid breathability without letting the rain in.
Packed down, the tent bag measures 15 x 42 cm. Having said this, I’d recommend splitting the tent down for bikepacking trips into smaller bags to make storage easier. In my case with a front Specialized Pizza Rack and small Restrap panniers, I loaded all the soft parts and pegs into the base of one of the roomy panniers and then strapped the pole bag on the top of the rack with a few voile straps.
As it is a two-person tent, I would really recommend splitting the load with your riding buddy (unless you want the palatial space all to yourself), so you can split the inner, outer, pegs and footprint into smaller dry bags which will make packing into smaller strap-on bikepacking bags much easier.
The single pole construction in its bag measures 39cm long, so have a think about where that would work best for you: strapped to the bike, in a frame bag (if your bike is big enough) or on a rack, for example.
With a little prior tent pitching experience, the Jaran 2 is a really straightforward pitch. In fact, it’s simplified by the single pole that easily connects to provide the framework, which is attached to the inner via hooks and the corner holes.
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After joining up the pole and connecting to the inner, you can then set the footprint, add the outer over the top and peg down. Colour co-ordinated blue or red toggles help you to orientate the outer flysheet. There are ten pegs supplied, but you can pitch with as little as six, adding guy ropes for extra stability.
Packing up is about the same as you’d expect for a tent of this size, nothing too complex. Thankfully the tent bag isn’t too snug, and features a drawstring design rather than a zip closure too, so slightly less breakable…
Our stay in the Tweed Valley gave us the weatherproofing test we needed, with torrential rain and howling winds on the first day of our holiday. Classic. I have to say it kept us dry, and even though pretty noisy in the wind, certainly did the job. There are two little porch spaces (126 x 76 cm) between the inner and outer on either side by the door: enough to store helmets, shoes and bike bags overnight to stop dew or worse, which is a great little feature.
The Alpkit Jaran 2 person tent verdict
Retailing at £179.99, the price of the Jaran 2 is really competitive, and you’re unlikely to find it further discounted elsewhere. As a comparison, the Wild Country Zephyros 2 is a similar option, although marginally lighter at 1.95kg and a little more pricey at £220 RRP. The Jaran is also available as a roomier 3-person tent at £229.99. The newer pole-free Aeronaut 2 retails at £199.99 and will shave 500g off the pack weight, so that might well be worth a look too.
The Alpkit Jaran 2 tent will never claim to be the lightest or most packable tent on offer, but for the price I believe it represents great quality and will last for many adventures to come.
Last modified: 4th June 2021