Zpacks Duplex: Is It A Good Investment For Thru-Hikers?

Are you looking for a lightweight tent that can handle any adventure? The Zpacks Duplex…

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Are you looking for a lightweight tent that can handle any adventure? The Zpacks Duplex is one of the most popular options on the market, and it was designed with hikers and backpackers in mind.

In this blog post, we’ll help you decide if the Zpacks Duplex is worth considering and what features make it stand out from the competition.

Zpacks Duplex shown at multiple angles to showcase the layout and look of the dcf tent

Introduction to the Zpacks Duplex Tent

The Zpacks Duplex is an ultralight tent that offers incredible durability and wet-weather protection.

It is designed for two people but can still be incredibly lightweight due to the use of Dyneema for the tent body and trekking poles make for easy setup and tear down.

The Duplex is pricey, but it offers excellent value in terms of weight savings and long-term durability.

It is also a great option if you are taller but looking for a two-person tent thru-hiking tent as the ability to angle yourself within this tent allows those over 6′ to fit comfortably.

For those looking to save weight while still having enough room to sleep two, the Zpacks Duplex is an excellent choice.

Pros of the Zpacks Duplex Tent

The Duplex offers a variety of advantages that make it a great choice for those looking for a lightweight, durable, and waterproof shelter.

As previously mentioned, the Duplex is incredibly light while providing solid durability and wet-weather protection.

It also sets up and takes down quickly, meaning you can get in and out of your shelter quickly and easily each day.

All in all, these features make the Duplex an excellent choice for anyone looking for lightweight and waterproof performance from their shelter.

Lightweight and Durable

The Duplex tent is a masterpiece of design and ingenuity, making it lightweight yet durable and spacious enough for two people.

It weighs a minuscule 18.5 ounces, making it close to if not the lightest two-person tent available.

This is done through being constructed with Dyneema Composite Fabrics (DCF), which offers an impressive overall performance.

It also stands up to high winds easily and is highly resistant to tears, making it a reliable shelter for nearly any adventure.

Waterproof Design

The Zpacks Duplex is specifically designed to be waterproof, it features a high bathtub floor and a sewn-in bug protector, both of which help to keep moisture and bugs out.

The outer fabric is made from waterproof Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF), designed to repel water and keep the interior dry.

DCF is also incredibly durable, so you can be sure that your shelter will withstand any wet weather you might encounter.

Thanks to these waterproof design features, you can trust that the Zpacks Duplex will keep you dry in even the most inclement of conditions.

Easy Setup and Takedown

The Zpacks Duplex is incredibly easy to set up and take down as its one-piece design with trekking poles makes it simple to erect, or if you add on the Duplex flex kit it can become fully freestanding without trekking poles.

This makes it ideal for extended wilderness trips where you want to leave your campsite quickly and efficiently.

Furthermore, its generous inside headspace allows for two people easily, making it useful for couples.

The Zpacks Duplex offers an excellent balance of lightness, ease of use, and durability, making it a great choice for those looking for a reliable two-person tent.

Cons of the Zpacks Duplex Tent

The Zpacks Duplex offers an outstanding balance of weight and durability, but there are some downsides.

First, it’s expensive compared to other tents on the market. It also can be drafty in heavy winds, though this is common for most ultralight tents.

Finally, the two-person size may be too large for some solo backpackers, as it can be challenging to fit into tight spaces.

However, if you plan to use the tent often or need extra space for gear, the Zpacks Duplex is definitely worth the money.

Duplex Price

The Zpacks Duplex is expensive when compared to other tents, but this is to be expected for a tent of its quality.

It comes with a high price tag, but it’s well worth it if you plan on getting a lot of use out of it or if keeping your base weight low is a priority.

Additionally, the Zpacks Duplex Tent has an excellent resell value so if you decide you no longer need it after your adventures, you can sell it and recoup some of your costs.

Zpacks Duplex on a grassy bald

Comparing the Zpacks Duplex to Other Tents

When comparing the Zpacks Duplex to other tents, it’s essential to consider its lightweight design and durability.

The Duplex is made of Dyneema, one of the lightest and hardiest materials on the market. It is a great option for thru-hikers looking to save on weight without sacrificing quality.

It also has a waterproof design, which can withstand heavy rain and other elements. However, it is not as tough as other tents because the light materials are more prone to punctures.

But if you’re looking for a two-person tent that is lightweight and reliable, the Zpacks Duplex is worth considering.

It offers more room than many competitors, which allows a single hiker to spread out gear or room for two people to stretch out comfortably with plenty of space for their equipment.

The Cost of the Zpacks Duplex

The Zpacks Duplex Tent has a hefty price tag; it costs $699 plus an additional $149 for the Freestanding Flex Kit if you want to use it without trekking poles.

Do remember that this will be your home for a four to six month thru-hike making the investment in housing a paltry $100-$125 a month when weighed out over the trek.

This is significantly more than other tents on the market, like Gossamer Gears ‘The Two’ and the Lanshan.

However, this price reflects the quality of the tent: it is lightweight, durable, and waterproof. It is also easy to set up and take down, making it ideal for those constantly moving.

The Duplex also holds its resell value, making it a significant long-term investment. If you plan on getting a lot of use out of your tent or need to lower your base weight, you may find that the cost of the Zpacks Duplex is worth it in the end.

What You Get for Your Money

When you purchase the Zpacks Duplex Tent, you get more than just a lightweight and durable shelter.

This tent also offers a superior waterproof design and easy setup and takedown. While the initial investment may be steep, you can rest assured that the cost is worth it.

This tent is designed to last, so you’ll get plenty of use before replacing or reselling it.

Plus, you’ll never have to worry about being uncomfortable or wet in the rain – this tent is guaranteed to keep you safe and dry no matter what mother nature throws your way.

The Durability and Resell Value of the Zpacks Duplex

The Zpacks Duplex is renowned for its durability and retains its resell value over time.

It is lightweight yet robust enough to withstand the elements, making it an ideal choice for any outdoor enthusiast who wants to stay light and mobile.

The tent fabric is waterproof and breathable, which keeps you dry and comfortable in wet weather.

Furthermore, the Duplex is designed to be easily set up and taken down, making it a convenient choice for those on the go.

While it’s pricier than other two-person tents, its sturdy construction and long-term value make it a worthwhile investment.

Do You Really Need a Two-Person Tent?

When considering whether or not to invest in a two-person tent such as the Zpacks Duplex, it is important to ask yourself how often you will be using it.

If you are an avid backpacker or plan on hiking with a partner frequently, then investing in a two-person tent can be a great way to save on weight and cost.

On the other hand, if you are an occasional camper who mostly goes solo, investing in a one-person tent may be the more economical option.

Additionally, the Duplex might be the perfect fit if you camp alone but would like extra room to store gear during your trips.

Ultimately, it all comes down to your personal needs and how often you plan to use your tent.

How Often Will You Use the Zpacks Duplex?

The Zpacks Duplex is an excellent option for a two-person ultralight tent.

Its lightweight design and durable construction make it suitable for long-distance hikes, making it the most used two-person ultralight tent on the AT, CDT, and PCT.

Since it is lightweight and durable, it can withstand long-term use without any issues. As such, people have been able to use the Duplex for an entire thru-hike without problem (180+ nights), representing an average of 7-10 years of regular use.

If you want to get the most out of your investment in a two-person tent, then the Zpacks Duplex is worth considering.


In conclusion, the Zpacks Duplex Tent is an excellent choice for serious thru-hikers who need a two-person tent that is light and durable.

It offers excellent weather protection, a comfortable living space, and bug protection. It is a bit on the pricier side compared to other two-person tents, but it is well worth its price.

The materials are high quality, so you know you’re getting your money’s worth. Additionally, it retains its resell value, making it an excellent investment for long-term use.

If you want to look at my table, allowing you to compare all tents based on your essential criteria, then click here!

Josh Koop

I turned 40 and realized I needed to change my life from being a desk-bound IT worker slowly dying in a cubicle. I have been working on ways to build my knowledge and skills, along with gear. I have plans to do a thru-hike on the Lone Star Hiking Trail, Ouachita Trail, and Pinhoti Trail in the next year.

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