View Full Version : Tentalizing Decision: Zpacks Duplex or Lightheart SoLong 6 Cuben Tent?

12-08-2013, 17:09
So I've narrowed my tent down to these 2 options. Would love your input/experience to help me decide.
http://zpacks.com/shelter/duplex.shtml vs http://www.lightheartgear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=&products_id=28
Both are good companies w/great reputations - not worried about the "quality" of either.
I need a very spacious, yet lightweight tent for my AT thru. I want to be able to keep all of my gear inside the tent with me.
I plan on tenting as much as possible, will be starting in Feb, so want some extra room for comfort since I'll be spending so much time in it.
I'm finding it a bit tricky to compare the weights accurately.
Definitely want 2 doors and the entire tent and floor in cuben. (standard on the Duplex; +$100 for cuben floor in the SoLong which puts the pricing w/in $20 of each other).
Looking for thoughts/advice on: 1) which thickness of cuben to go with for either tent
2) which thickness of cuben to go w/for the floor of the SoLong
3) confused about the "fly style" options with the SoLong (again, I want 2 doors, so what's best option for that?)
Other thoughts so far: On the one hand, I'm leaning towards the SoLong because it seems to have a little bit extra room, more options on the design and I like the fact
that your hiking poles are set up inside the tent. On the other hand, the Duplex also has some nice features and seems to be lighter when you spec the same & include stakes...
I sure would appreciate any thoughts you might have to help me decide. Thank you!

12-08-2013, 17:36
I hear you on #3. I too was confused on the fly styles. I just ordered two 'demo' tents from Lightheart Gear, and Judy the owner, said I could use them to check out the options.

I ordered a Solong 6 and a Solo. I haven't decided how much room I really want yet, but it will be between the two. Once I decide then I'll order a cuben model. Gotta do it before 12/31 though, to get that 20% discount.

12-08-2013, 17:50
re: LightHeart Gear fly styles; The AWNING which comes standard on the SoLong 6 is like a covered porch. It does require a 3rd pole - or stick etc to support it, it can also just be tied out to a conveniently placed tree or shrub etc. This gives more ventilation, even in the rain, if you ever feel claustrophobic in a tent with the fly on - you can't see what is going on outside when things go 'bump', this solves most of that problem. (on that side of the tent at least). On hot muggy nights when you don't know if it's going to rain or not - you can leave it up and still get some air, if it starts to rain you are protected. I will not say you can cook under it as it's a fire hazard. As the manufacture of the tent I have to advise against this. In a driving rain, if the rain is blowing into the tent, the awning comes down, folds together with a carabiniere and gives full protection of the 'regular' fly. This can easily be done from the inside of the tent.

As for the different weights of cuben, well, that can be a personal choice. are you careful with your equipment? why are you choosing cuben in the first place? because it sheds water better? Are you trying to go as light as possible? if every gram of weight is an issue, go with the lightest stuff, if you want more durable - go heavier, remember too that on the SoLong 6 door zippers weigh about 1 oz, fly zippers weigh .5 oz, so with only one door you save an ounce. If you are sharing or potentially sharing the tent with a hiking partner, then 2 doors is a good option. I do recommend having a zipper in the rear fly - without it you cant fully open the rear fly for ventilation, it will roll up about 1/3 of the way, but that's all. Also, if you want, you can get just a 'half' door on the back side so you can reach through to the vestibule, - except that for one person there really is no need for this as you can easily get all your stuff inside, leave you shoes in the front - I also leave my stove in the front vestibule. I have made a lot of tents with 2 awnings - sort of reminds me of the Flying Nun! but this gives even better ventilation and views.

12-08-2013, 17:51
One more thing - if you do have the awning tied out to a tree etc, you cannot close this from inside the tent, so if it's raining, and you want to close it,you will have to get out (and get wet!)

12-08-2013, 17:59
I have the LHG solo with the awning in Cuben and love it. On the other hand, Joe and Matt from ZPacks came down and spoke at our local trail club last month. Their tent would save me 2 or 3 oz, but it is smaller and it is a single wall tent. Judy's is a double wall tent and it has never had condensate. The ZPack one will have some, but if it is set properly it will drain to the ground. You really can't make a bad choice with either. As far as weight of the Cuben, I would suggest phoning Joe/Matt or Judy and ask them. I did that with Judy and I followed her recommendation (don't ask me what it was) and have no complaint. That's really the great thing about working with small businesses; it's always personal! Same with ULA. If they ever make a tent, the decision will be even harder.

12-08-2013, 18:02
I have not used the Z-Packs, but I have seen it. I have the Solong 6.

The LH looks a bit more weather proof, although I am sure the Z-Packs would be fine 95% of the time. The bathtub floor on the LH is much taller, splash in heavy rain does not get inside the tent.

The LH looks like a quicker setup. 6 stakes and done. the Zpacks takes 8. Not a big deal one way or the other.

The awning on the LH is nothing less than awesome when it's hot and raining. I have never used a tent with ventilation as good as the LH and still stay dry.

I was very impressed with the Zpacks when I saw it, but I would not trade in my Solong 6 for anything on the market today except for a Cuben one :)

12-08-2013, 19:42
Thanks for the replies. Does anyone know if there's a good video showing set up/take down of the current, cuben version of the SoLong6? with the 2-awning option would be even better. (a highly "visual" newbie learner here :D ) Thx!

12-08-2013, 19:49
video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqF5OUPoQQM) This is a you tube that Balls and Sunshine did of their tent last year. They (father and daughter) shared it on the CDT. it's not the best set up video, but I don't have one.

12-08-2013, 20:08
I think I have one of the first generation LH Solo cuben tents and it has held up like a champ. No problem, no complaints.

12-09-2013, 10:31
Not to hi-jack this thread, but...if any Solong 6 owners (or Judy) can comment on whether or not two adults would fit comfortably (with 20" width pads), that would be awesome. Tossing up the idea of the Solong or the Duo. I know the website says it's possible, but I just wanted to get feedback from someone that has done it a few times. Thanks!

12-09-2013, 10:41
Question for the OP - Curious what makes you more interested in the zPacks Duplex vs. the Twin. I have the Twin (purchased it early this year before the Duplex was released) and find it very spacious for one person with all my gear. My twin weighs in at just over 20 ounces with some extra guyline I typically pack. The Duplex does look even more spacious than the Twin but it appears to require an even larger footprint if one wishes to stake out both vestibules fully.

I've read great things about the Lightheart shelters as well so I doubt you will go wrong whichever way you go!