Are you looking for a lightweight tent to take on your next backpacking adventure? We’ve got you covered with our comparison of two popular ultralight tents: the Gossamer Gear The One and the ZPacks Plex Solo.
I’ve broken down their specs and features so you can consider which is the perfect one for your needs.
Overview of Gossamer Gear The One
Gossamer Gear The One is a lightweight and versatile single-wall tent designed for solo hikers.
It is made from ultra-lightweight materials and features a broad, spacious interior that comfortably accommodates one person and their gear.
The tent also has a waterproof outer wall, a durable floor, and mesh between them for improved ventilation and condensation drain.
It is designed to be easy to set up and take down with its dual trekking pole design and very fast assembly.
The One has a super light starting weight of 17.7 oz or 503 grams for the tent alone and with the tent stuff sack, eight stakes and sack, clothesline, and guy lines come out to an additional 4.3 ounces or 122 grams.
Its lightweight and simple design make it an ideal choice for those looking to cut down on their pack weight without busting their budget on a DCF shelter.
Who Is Gossamer Gear?
Gossamer Gear is an outdoor company that specializes in ultralight gear, with a focus on backpacking and camping.
Founded in 1998, the company has been producing high-quality, lightweight gear for over two decades. Gossamer Gear is well-known for its ultralight backpacks, trekking poles, and tents, such as the Gossamer Gear The One.
The One is a single-wall, ultralight tent designed specifically for one person, making it the perfect shelter for solo hikers or backpackers.
It is made from breathable, waterproof silnylon material and features a simple, easy setup and takedown. It is also lighter than most other single-wall one-person tents, making it great for long-distance hikes.
Overview of Zpacks Plex Solo
The Zpacks Plex Solo is a newer version of a favorite the older Zpacks Plexamid and was designed to be an ultralight, single-wall tent that is perfect for the adventurous solo hiker.
It features a pyramid shape that is designed to be aerodynamic and efficient, while still providing ample interior space to accommodate a single person and their gear.
It is constructed of lightweight Dyneema Composite Fabric and uses just a single trekking pole. Since it is Dyneema it is also waterproof and has full mesh between the bathtub and tent wall for maximum condensation relief and ventilation.
The Zpacks Plex Solo can be set up in just minutes and is easy to take down and store. It has a single wide door for easy access and a large vestibule for gear storage.
It also has a peak height of 52 inches, so there is plenty of room for sitting up and changing clothes. The Zpacks Plex Solo is also one of the lightest single-wall tents on the market, weighing in at just 13.9 oz or 395 grams.
Who Is Zpacks?
Zpacks is a small, family-owned business located in West Melbourne, Florida that specializes in ultra-lightweight outdoor gear.
Founded in 2005 by Joe Valesko, their mission is to provide hikers and backpackers with the lightest, most durable, and most functional gear.
Their flagship ultralight 1-person product is the Zpacks Plex Solo, a single wall, ultralight tent. It is made of lightweight Dyneema Composite Fabrics and is designed to provide shelter in the harshest of conditions.
The Plex Solo is a great choice for those looking for an ultra-lightweight and durable tent.
In the weight comparison between Gossamer Gear The One and Zpacks Plex Solo, the Zpacks tent is lighter, weighing in at 13.9 ounces compared to Gossamer Gear The One’s 17.7 ounces.
This is a significant difference for a solo hiker looking for an ultralight tent and a lean backpack. However, as you may know, the weight of a tent doesn’t always reflect the quality of the tent.
It is important to look at other factors such as durability, materials, and features before making a decision.
When it comes to durability, both the Gossamer Gear The One and the Zpacks Plex Solo are highly durable and will withstand the elements.
The Gossamer Gear The One is made of lightweight, waterproof silnylon that is abrasion-resistant and highly tear-resistant.
The Zpacks Plex Solo is made of Dyneema, which is a material that is extremely lightweight and waterproof, as well as very strong and durable.
In terms of durability, both the Gossamer Gear The One and the Zpacks Plex Solo are excellent choices and will provide many years of use.
In this section, we will be comparing the materials used in the Gossamer Gear The One and the Zpacks Plex Solo.
Both tents use lightweight fabrics, but the Gossamer Gear The One uses a Custom 10D Nylon Ripstop SIL/PU fabric for its walls, while the Zpacks Plex Solo uses a .55 oz/sqyd Dyneema® Composite Fabric for its walls.
The Gossamer Gear The One also uses 10D Nylon Ripstop SIL/PU fabric for its floor, while the Zpacks Plex Solo uses a 1.0 oz/sqyd Dyneema® Composite Fabric for its floor.
While both tents are lightweight and durable, the Zpacks Plex Solo is more durable due to its use of DCF fabrics.
When it comes to ultralight tents, the price can be a major factor in making a purchase decision.
When comparing the Gossamer Gear The One and the Zpacks Plex Solo, there is a significant difference in price.
The Gossamer Gear The One retails for $299.25 and the Zpacks Plex Solo retails for $599.00. The price difference is mainly due to the material used in the construction of each tent.
The Gossamer Gear The One is constructed with a Custom 10D Nylon Ripstop SIL/PU fabric and the Zpacks Plex Solo is constructed with a much thicker 0.51oz Dyneema Composite Fabric.
This adds to the weight difference between the two tents but also affects the price.
Ventilation and Comfort Comparison
When it comes to ventilation and comfort, both the Gossamer Gear The One and the Zpacks Plex Solo offer excellent options.
The Gossamer Gear The One features vents on both sides of its walls to allow for maximum airflow while the Zpacks Plex Solo’s outer wall can be adjusted to create more air circulation.
Additionally, both tents have enough space to comfortably sleep one person and their gear.
The Gossamer Gear The One is arguably larger and offers more headroom than the Zpacks Plex Solo, which gives users more room to move around without feeling cramped.
Interior Space Comparison
Interior space is an important factor to consider when selecting an ultralight tent. The Gossamer Gear The One offers a spacious interior with a floor area of 33″ at the head end and 21″ inches at the foot end while having a peak height of 45 inches.
The Zpacks Plex Solo, on the other hand, is designed specifically for efficiency for one person. It has a floor width at either end of 31″ and gets wider in the middle at 38″ and a peak height of 52 inches.
This makes it a great option for solo adventurers who don’t need a lot of space and want to minimize weight.
Set-Up and Takedown Comparison
Setting up and taking down a tent can be a daunting task, especially if you’re trying to do it in a hurry.
Fortunately, both the Gossamer Gear The One and the Zpacks Plex Solo make the process relatively easy.
The Gossamer Gear The One is a simple trekking pole pitch, so the setup is fairly straightforward. All you need to do is locate and place your two trekking poles and stake out the structure.
The Zpacks Plex Solo is also a trekking pole tent, meaning it requires one trekking pole for setup. The pole is inserted into the tent body, and then the tent body is tightened out with stakes.
Both the Gossamer Gear The One and the Zpacks Plex Solo have a single-wall design, meaning there’s no external fly to set up. This makes for a faster, easier setup process.
In terms of takedown, both tents are equally as easy to take down and pack away with the exception being silnylon will absorb moisture where Dyneema doesn’t.
This means a silnylon tent can be heavier after a storm and require more time in direct sunlight to air dry.
Outer Wall Comparison
The outer wall of single-wall tents is an essential part of any tent, providing protection from the elements and extra insulation when the temperature drops.
Both the Gossamer Gear The One and the Zpacks Plex Solo have walls that are constructed from lightweight materials and provide good protection from rain and wind.
The Gossamer Gear The One features a ripstop nylon wall with a waterproof PU coating, while the Zpacks Plex Solo has a Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF) wall which is also waterproof.
The Gossamer Gear The One wall will be slightly heavier than the Zpacks Plex Solo wall material, but both provide good protection from the elements.
When it comes to features, both tents offer plenty of options that will make anyone start to salivate when looking for their ideal shelter.
Gossamer Gear The One features include:
- easy side entry
- both doors open for max ventilation
- impressive headroom
- a gigantic vestibule with great protection
- a venting system to keep condensation levels low
The Zpacks Plex Solo features include:
- requires just a single trekking pole
- a minimum of 6 stakes
- independent storm doors
- a large screen door that has a rainbow zipper for easy entry
- a canopy that overhangs the bathtub floor and the screen doors by 4-5 inches
The Gossamer Gear The One is a great one-person tent that is better on the budget along with being lightweight and durable, while the Zpacks Plex Solo is the lightest single wall ultralight tent on the market.
For myself, if budget isn’t a concern the smart choice would be to take the Zpacks Plex Solo as it drops around a quarter pound and provide solid waterproof shelter.
Additionally, both tents are designed with durable materials that can withstand harsh weather conditions.
Ultimately, hikers will have to decide which tent is the best option for their needs based on weight, durability, material, price, ventilation, interior space, set up and take down, and feature comparison.