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Zpacks Duplex Review


By: Tamara | Last updated October 4, 2018


PROS:
  • Extremely light
  • Superior Cuben Fiber material
  • Great insect protection
  • Spacious
  • 2 double doors and 2 vestibules
  • Great water protection
CONS:
  • No poles and stakes included
  • Pricey
  • The single wall design favors condensation
SUMMARY:

The Zpacks Duplex is a 3 season, 2-person tarp tent, made of a really premium material (DCF, a.k.a. Cuben Fiber). It is a bit expensive and it doesn’t come with included stakes, but you don’t need tent poles to set it up, you can use your trekking poles instead. The Duplex is insanely compact and light, copes great with rain and it offers top-notch insect protection.


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Zpacks is an American company that specializes in outdoor equipment: clothing, shelters, sleeping bags and more. Zpacks is on the market since 2005 and boasts on the fact that all their gear is built in their US workshop.

The Duplex has managed to become a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts. It is one of the lightest tents you can buy, has a tarp-style design and a capacity of 2 people.

Here are its main specs:

  • Capacity: 2-person
  • 3-season
  • Weight: 19 ounces
  • Exterior dimensions: width including vestibules: 86.5”; Length: 100”; Peak height: 48”
  • Floor width: 7.5 feet
  • 3 models of Dyneema Composite Fabric to choose from
  • 2 double doors
  • 2 vestibules
  • 2 mesh pockets

The Duplex is insanely light and small, even though you can fit 2 people in it and it is quite roomy on the inside. It doesn’t come with tent poles, you have to use your own trekking poles or buy their Straight Poles, at your choice.  The tent requires 2 trekking poles and 8 stakes, which are not included either. It has a single-wall design, which is actually a drawback because it favors condensation. On the other hand, due to this single-wall design, the tent is considerably lighter. And in order to improve ventilation, you can also sleep with one door open, when possible.

The fabric used in the Zpacks tents is of superior quality. It is DCF (Dyneema Composite Fabric) and it is better than other materials in several aspects: it is naturally waterproof and doesn’t absorb water, it isn’t coated with chemicals, it is lighter, it doesn’t tear easily and offers you privacy. You can only vaguely glimpse the silhouettes through it and only in bright sunlight, while in dim light, you can’t see anything through this material.

DCF is indeed a quality material but it is also more expensive. DCF is also known as Cuben Fiber.

The Duplex comes in 4 different colors: Olive, Blue, Camo and Green, with the latter ones costing you an extra $15 (for the green) and $30 (for the Camo).

The Duplex is really small and doesn’t come with a separate rainfly. The body and fly are not separate, it is an all-in-one tent. The Duplex is fully enclosed and has a fully enclosed bug screen with very small holes that don’t allow even the smallest insect to enter, which is really useful when you are camping in nature.

The tent has 4 storm doors (or you can consider them 2 double ones) and 2 vestibules, which is convenient when 2 people share it. The ceiling in the middle is high enough so you can sit up comfortably in it. The doors can be opened or closed independently, depending on your preferences.

Each wall has its own door and the zippers don’t get caught in the mesh.

The bathtub floor is really resistant to abrasion and it is thicker than the rest of the tent, for added durability. It is 8-inch tall and it is kept elevated by an elastic cord.

The Duplex is not a free standing tent and it requires 8 stakes to be set up. As we’ve already mentioned it, it also doesn’t have that typical 2-pole design, you have to use your trekking poles or the poles sold by Zpacks. You will need some time to master the art of setting up the Duplex properly, but once you learn how to do it, it will be a 5 minute job. One thing to consider is that this type of tent needs more space for the stakes and guy lines.

The Duplex is spacious enough for two people and the 2 vestibules are good for storing your gear. You also have 2 mesh pockets inside the tent, but, unfortunately, no light pocket in the ceiling.

The Duplex behaves really exemplary in storms/when it rains. All the outer seams are taped so moisture is kept out and there’s no water absorption to worry about.

When it comes to packability, the Duplex really shines. It is really small and light, especially since you don’t have to carry tent poles with you, because you can use your trekking poles. When properly packed, you can even fit the Duplex in your backpack.

The Duplex is not exactly affordable, but depending on your priorities, it can really be a great value. It is durable yet extremely light, the DCF fabric is definitely a plus and the insect protection feature is another thumbs up.

You can buy the Zpacks Duplex for $600. Poles and stakes are not included in this price. If you opt for the Spruce Green color, you have to pay an extra $15 and if you opt for Camo, an extra $30.

E-mail: support@zpacks.com

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