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A hiker adjusting the Zpacks Duplex Zip in a plateau with mountains in the background.
Picture credit score: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)

The Zpacks Duplex has been the go-to tent for ultralight hikers – together with us – for years. However over that point, there was one frequent criticism: the zipperless vestibules. In response, Zpacks launched the Duplex Zip to cater to those that have been involved about splashback and sideways rain getting inside. 

We put the Duplex Zip to the take a look at to see how this new model compares to the normal Duplex, and to search out out if it’s definitely worth the added price. Learn on to see what we discovered throughout our 500-mile take a look at hike on the Arizona Path.

Fast Specs


Zpacks Duplex Zip

Worth: $699

Listed Weight: 20.4 oz.

Measured Weight: 20.5 oz.

Dimensions (LxWxH): 90 x 45 x 48 in.

Word: Weights don’t embrace poles or stakes

Professionals

  • Ultralight
  • Sturdy materials
  • Packs small
  • Wonderful climate safety
  • Nice air flow
  • Spacious
  • Simple to pitch
  • Clean zippers
  • Massive doorways & vestibules

Cons

  • Costly
  • Inside condensation
  • Non-freestanding design
  • Deal with with care
  • Troublesome to shake out
  • Pockets solely okay

A hiker in the Zpacks Duplex Zip tent in the morning light with mountains in the background
Picture credit score: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)

Professionals


Ultralight

Similar to the usual Duplex, the Duplex Zip is extraordinarily mild. At simply 1 lb. 4.4 oz., it’s the second lightest two-person tent on our lists of the Finest Backpacking Tents and Finest Ultralight Tents (crushed out solely by the usual Duplex).

This low weight is much more spectacular when you think about that Zpacks doesn’t omit any of the practical particulars included on related tents. It has totally waterproof zippers on each vestibules, peak vents, and magnetic door closures. 

So how does the Duplex Zip obtain such a low weight? The principle motive it’s so mild is as a result of it’s non-freestanding. This implies there are not any tent poles – it depends on trekking poles or separate carbon fiber poles for the construction. However the Duplex Zip can also be lighter than different very related non-freestanding tents.

How does it try this? With some sensible materials selections. Let’s have a look at the practically an identical Hyperlite Mountain Gear Unbound 2 which is listed on the identical inside space because the Duplex Zip (28 sq. ft.) however weighs about 4 oz. extra. The Unbound ground is definitely made with a lighter materials (0.8 oz./sq. yd. DCF) than the Duplex ground (1 oz./sq. yd. DCF), however the Duplex makes use of a lighter mesh and lighter guylines. These small weight variations add up when unfold out over an entire tent, and that’s how the Duplex Zip stays one of many all-time lightest tents in the marketplace.

A hiker walking down the trail in Arizona with beautiful views of mountains in the distance
Picture credit score: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)

Sturdy materials

The Duplex Zip is constructed with .55 oz./sq. yd. Dyneema Composite Material (DCF) on the cover and 1 oz./sq. yd. DCF on the ground. These extremely mild materials have a excessive tensile power that makes them way more sturdy than their weight would recommend. 

We’ve used an ordinary Duplex (made with the very same materials) for hundreds of miles with no main tears or strains on the material, and it’s nonetheless going sturdy. We examined the Duplex Zip over 500 miles of climbing by the unforgiving Sonoran Desert, and the consequence was the identical. 

Usually the primary issues on a tent to go are the zippers. Zpacks deliberate forward for this and included two substitute zipper sliders with the Duplex Zip, and so they designed the doorways in a means that makes area restore simple.

Additionally included with the Duplex Zip is a size of restore tape for patching minor punctures and tears.

The Zpacks Duplex Zip tent in the early morning light with mountains rising over the tent in the background
A hiker stuffing the Zpacks Duplex Zip tent into its stuff sack while out in nature

Packs small/stuff sack included

DCF tents usually don’t pack down fairly as small as equally designed nylon or polyester tents, however the Duplex Zip rolls up right into a manageable dimension. 

The true professional right here, although, is the superb stuff sack included with the tent. It comes with a Medium-Plus DCF Drawstring Sack (included on our checklist of the Finest Stuff Sacks), which might run you $29 in the event you had to purchase it individually. Many tentmakers attempt to minimize a couple of grams by making the stuff sack simply barely sufficiently big to retailer the tent. However with the minimal effort the Duplex Zip matches proper into the stuff sack and not using a fuss.

A hiker holding the Zpacks Duplex Zip tent in one hand and a water bottle in the other hand to show the size of the packed tent
Picture credit score: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)

Wonderful climate safety

The Duplex Zip readily sheds wind and rain because of the additional wall guyouts, factory-taped seams, inherently waterproof material, and the addition of waterproof vestibule zippers. And within the off-chance that rain does discover its means below the vestibule, an 8 in. DCF bathtub ground retains you well-protected from splashback.

One constant criticism of the usual Duplex is that the hook closures on the ends of the vestibules depart a small hole the place blowing rain may creep into the residing house. We’ve weathered some fairly intense downpours in that tent and by no means discovered the vestibule closure to be a lot of a problem, however the Duplex Zip eliminates that potential drawback totally.

As if we hadn’t sung the praises of the DCF material sufficient, one other enormous profit is that it doesn’t stretch and sag when moist. A good pitch eliminates flat spots close to the height the place water may pool up, offers further construction to guard in opposition to wind, and helps shed inside condensation. With this tent, in the event you fall asleep with a taut pitch, you’ll get up with a taut pitch. 

The Zpacks Duplex Zip tent set up among trees with red dirt in the foreground and shadows across the tent
Picture credit score: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)

Nice air flow

In case you’ve used a single-wall tent earlier than, you’re conversant in the fixed battle in opposition to inside condensation. To keep away from the dreaded drippy inside, a tent must be very properly ventilated. The Duplex Zip is designed with a number of efficient air flow options, so you may get some good airflow in virtually any circumstances.

First, Zpacks added peak vents on the apex of every vestibule that are held open by a guyline. Although these aren’t the best defenses in opposition to condensation buildup, many UL tents – like the usual Duplex and Gossamer Gear The Two – fully omit peak vents. Others, just like the HMG Unbound 2, embrace vestibule vents however don’t present any means to make sure they keep open. By comparability, the Duplex Zip peak vents are an actual perk.

The Duplex Zip is designed with a floating cover. Which means the DCF cover tarp is totally separated from the DCF ground by mesh across the total perimeter. This enormous space of mesh can enable for some very nice airflow, however it additionally serves a extremely ingenious goal. On the head and foot, the mesh slopes downward away from the tent inside to supply an escape for condensation because it runs down the partitions.

The most important air flow profit lies inside the vestibule design although. Mesh partitions let surprisingly little air by, and their profit is enormously diminished with a strong swath of DCF material in entrance of them. The excellent news is that each side of the Duplex vestibules will be rolled again and secured with handy magnetic closures. Rolling again each doorways will present the utmost quantity of airflow, or you may roll again one facet at a time to stability inside consolation with what the climate is doing.

Spacious

Generally within the tent world, ultralight can imply cramped quarters. However the Duplex Zip inside has loads of house for 2 hikers and two units of compact UL gear. Although there’s not sufficient ground house for 2 large pads to suit with out significantly impeding the bath ground, you can fairly match one large and one common pad.

Headroom is the place the Duplex Zip actually shines. Whether or not you’re sitting up or mendacity down, there’s loads of house to maneuver round with out carrying the DCF partitions as a hat. The symmetrical design and parallel peaks guarantee each occupants have loads of room whereas sitting side-by-side. We favor this symmetrical design over tents with offset peaks, just like the Durston X-Mid Professional 2, the place one particular person will get the quick finish of the headroom stick if two hikers are occupying the identical facet.

The Duplex Zip is loads sufficiently big for 2 hikers simply needing a spot to sleep each evening, however pairs wanting somewhat extra wiggle room for taking part in playing cards or ready out rain will love the extra house within the barely heavier Triplex Zip.

A hiker sitting inside the Zpacks Duplex Zip tent smiling at the camera with a stuff sack on her lap
Two hikers laying down inside the Zpacks Duplex Zip tent looking at each other with smiles on their faces
Picture credit score: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)

Simple to pitch

Setup is fairly easy on the Duplex Zip, and the symmetrical design makes it fairly forgiving on uneven terrain or if the stakes aren’t at precisely 45° from the corners.

That stated, this level comes with a slight asterisk – the Duplex Zip is kind of fast and straightforward to arrange if you could have expertise with non-freestanding tents. However even in the event you’ve by no means arrange a non-freestanding tent earlier than, Zpacks offers an easy-to-follow tutorial video on the product web page that can have you ever pitching your tent like a professional very quickly. 

One other factor that makes the Duplex simple to pitch is the scale and form of the footprint. Most individuals could be happy to have a extra spacious tent. However as UL tents get greater and larger, we’ve seen that there’s some extent of diminishing returns. A tent just like the Durston X-Mid Professional 2 – which has a pretty big footprint – could be a bit limiting on the subject of campsite choice. 

Most backcountry campsites are located in such a means that they make the least affect attainable on the atmosphere, which implies they are usually small. On this case, it pays to have a tent with a smaller footprint – just like the Duplex Zip – to open up extra campsite prospects. And needless to say – as we outlined within the level above – a smaller footprint doesn’t should imply a good inside.

Clean zippers

This one is fairly easy, however it’s an excellent level of comparability with the very related Hyperlite Mountain Gear Unbound 2 tent. Throughout testing, we discovered the waterproof zipper on the Unbound 2 vestibule somewhat robust to function. Even after a number of hundred miles of use, we by no means obtained that zipper to a degree the place we may open it with one hand, and infrequently we would have liked to loosen the vestibule guyout to get it zipped all the best way.

In distinction, the Duplex Zip zipper was easy and straightforward to make use of from the primary time we arrange this tent. It may be operated with one hand – even when the pitch is basically tight. And it simply feels easy going up or down. 

A hand of a backpacker adjusting the zippers on the Zpacks Duplex Zip tent to show how they work
Picture credit score: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)

Two giant doorways & vestibules

Most two-person shelters embrace two doorways and vestibules these days, and the Duplex Zip is not any exception. The vestibules have loads of room to retailer your gear outdoors if that’s your factor, and the rainbow doorways open up large so it’s simple to get out and in of the tent. 

Some hikers don’t love the rainbow door as a result of it might fall onto the bottom and cling to grime and particles when opened up all the best way. However we’ve by no means been bothered by that, and we discover that the door is extra inclined to fall inward than outward.

A backpacker opening one door of the Zpacks Duplex Zip tent in the Arizona desert
Picture credit score: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)
A hiker adjusting the doors of the Zpacks Duplex Zip tent from the inside while in a sleeping bag sitting on a sleeping pad in the Arizona wilderness

Cons


A Zpacks Duplex Zip tent in the dark lit by a headlamp from the inside with stars shining above in the sky

Costly

The Duplex Zip is costlier than all of the two-person tents on our Finest Backpacking Tents checklist and the second most costly on our checklist of the Finest Ultralight Tents

comparable tents, the usual Duplex prices $30 much less and related tents constituted of sil-nylon/sil-poly – just like the Gossamer Gear The Two – will run you many hundred {dollars} much less. We expect the Duplex Zip is certainly definitely worth the added price over sil-nylon/sil-poly tents in the event you can swing it as a result of it’s lighter, doesn’t sag when moist, and the material itself is waterproof as a substitute of counting on coatings or tape for waterproofing.

However is it price the additional $30 over the usual Duplex? Since we’ve by no means discovered the usual Duplex vestibule flaps to be a problem, we’d save the cash and purchase that model. However for hikers who usually backpack in areas with constant nasty climate the place blowing rain is an enormous subject, the Duplex Zip could also be a worthwhile funding. You actually can’t go improper with both model.

Condensation will be a problem with single-wall tents

We’ve by no means examined a single-wall tent that was fully proof against inside condensation. However the Duplex Zip has numerous sensible options that assist handle moisture as we highlighted in our level above about air flow.

Nonetheless, with the correct (or ought to we are saying improper) set of circumstances you’ll doubtless get up to a humid Duplex inside within the morning. Sleep with the vestibule doorways open each time attainable to chop down on the quantity of condensation you expertise inside.

Don’t let this scare you off from single-wall tents, just like the Duplex Zip, although. Inside condensation is a minor inconvenience, and we normally simply carry a small Packtowl to wipe down the partitions within the mornings.

A picture of condensation that has formed on the inside of the Zpacks Duplex Zip tent
A hiker wiping off the condensation in the inside of the Zpacks Duplex Zip tent from the inside with a small pack towel
Picture credit score: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)

Non-freestanding design could make campsite choice troublesome

We love non-freestanding tents for journeys the place we wish to hold weight as little as attainable, however they arrive with potential pitching challenges in some environments. The construction of the Duplex Zip depends on the flexibility to tug the nook guyouts taut, however hard-packed floor and rocky terrain could make it fairly troublesome to get tent stakes secured.

With somewhat creativity, we’ve by no means discovered ourselves able the place we couldn’t get the tent pitched properly sufficient to get sheltered sleep. We’ve needed to tie the nook guylines to rocks, logs, or shrubs on a number of events, however there’s virtually all the time a method to get the tent pitched utilizing issues within the surrounding atmosphere. 

Nonetheless, it may be a problem to pitch this fashion, so that you’ll should resolve if that’s one thing you wish to take care of earlier than buying the Duplex Zip or every other non-freestanding tent for that matter.

A view of the guylines and tent stakes on the Zpacks Duplex Tent
Picture credit score: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)

Ultralight supplies must be dealt with with care

We talked about in our professional about sturdiness above that we’ve used the Duplex for hundreds of miles with none actual sturdiness issues. However that is nonetheless a bit of ultralight gear, and as such it actually pays to take some further care when deciding on your campsite. Taking time to ensure your web site is free from sharp rocks or sticks will go an extended method to prolong the lifetime of your Duplex.

The Zpacks Duplex Zip tent set up among trees with red dirt in the foreground and shadows across the tent
Picture credit score: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)
A backpacker holding the loose Zpacks Duplex Zip tent in his hands demonstrating how to shake it out
Picture credit score: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)

Troublesome to shake out grime & particles

Irrespective of how cautious you’re, you’re certain to trace some particles into the tent. While you roll it up, small twigs and pebbles left inside can injury the Noseeum mesh, so that you’ll wish to shake the tent out periodically to mitigate the chance. 

This can be a fairly minor gripe – as a result of it’s actually extra of an inconvenience than something – however the non-freestanding design of the Duplex makes it troublesome and awkward to shake out. As a result of the tent could have no construction to carry the doorways open while you choose it up, grime and particles are likely to get caught within the corners. This activity is certainly simpler if in case you have two individuals working at it – one particular person to carry the door and peak aside and one particular person to shake the tent – however solo hikers can simply flip the entire tent inside out and shake it to get stuff out.

Pockets aren’t probably the most helpful

That is on no account a dealbreaker, however the dinky little pockets within the Duplex Zip are subsequent to ineffective. While you’re sleeping two contained in the tent, the pockets generally tend to get misplaced below sleeping pad baffles, and something within the pockets is vulnerable to getting squished.

We wouldn’t put something tremendous essential in there, like glasses or a digicam, however it’s advantageous sufficient to retailer your headlamp in an easy-to-reach place for nighttime lavatory breaks.

An interior shot of a pocket in the Zpacks Duplex Zip tent with a headlamp inside the pocket
Picture credit score: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)

Backside Line


Total, we actually love the Zpacks Duplex Zip. It’s ultralight, very sturdy for the load, and it offers good safety from the weather. Although it’s actually costly, we expect it’s price the price if retaining weight to an absolute minimal is your precedence. And for the reason that DCF material is quite a bit harder than you’d suppose primarily based on the load, the Duplex Zip is an funding that may final for hundreds of path miles.

In case you’re caught deciding between the usual Duplex and the Duplex Zip, we advocate actually fascinated with the forms of environments and circumstances you wish to backpack in. Are you heading out into the Rockies throughout summer time monsoons or are you hitting the Sierra within the delicate early fall? Hikers who head to the mountains it doesn’t matter what the climate is doing might profit from the extra safety offered by the Duplex Zip, however those that look ahead to fairer climate will doubtless favor to avoid wasting a bit of cash and go together with the usual Duplex.

Irrespective of which possibility you select, you’ll be getting one of many lightest, most spacious, and hardest ultralight tents in the marketplace. Study extra about how the Duplex Zip stacks up in opposition to the competitors on our lists of the Finest Backpacking Tents and Finest Ultralight Tents.

A backpacker sitting inside the Zpacks Duplex Zip tent in a sunny field with desert trees in the background
Picture credit score: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)

Extra Info


We hope this evaluation helps you establish if the Zpacks Duplex Zip is best for you. As all the time, please depart a remark beneath if in case you have any suggestions, questions, or options or go to our Fb web page and Instagram to affix the group dialog. In case you discovered this evaluation useful, please share on social media and click on the little coronary heart button beneath to present us a digital excessive 5!

In case you appreciated this checklist, you’ll love the CleverHiker Gear Information the place we take a look at and advocate tons of out of doors journey gear from quite a lot of classes. listed below are some hyperlinks to standard articles:



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