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  1. #1
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    Default 3 person tent, small and light?

    Anything I should consider against the zpacks triplex?

    So a lightweight replacement for my REI half dome is the last major purchase I need to make. Have been leaning to the zpacks duplex for a long while. Price is probably the only reason I've delayed so long. I really only planning for a week section of AT or another trail next summer and some shorter stuff, nothing like a through unfortunately....although i would love to work up of a through of the JMT or other shorter long trails like that....

    but something that has been troubling me is space. I have three kids, & I'm really hoping that two will join me on some backpacking. I really want to facilitate the option.... and currently watching a youtube that is reinforcing my dream for them, a video about a guy and two sons on the JMT
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANdF14sya8A

    Anyway, the triplex looks to be the same as the duplex except 15 inches wider, only cost 3 more ounces but a lot more dollars. 15 inches doesn't seem like a lot really making it really an extra roomy 2-man but perfect for an adult and a couple kids....but considering this is primarily a tent for me, its really silly big for one and will take up more space in my pack when I don't need it.....

    so I'm hesitant.

    Other ideas?

  2. #2
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    We have a Triplex, and it really is great for two adults. One adult and two kids ought to work well, too. I'd probably not be happy with three adults, but then I like my space and privacy I don't see a huge downside to carrying it for a solo tent, it's still very light and compact compared to lots of solo tents out there. I guess the one downside is that it requires a pretty big tent site to pitch.

    When our daughter was 12 or so and we started doing serious section hiking, the only lightweight 3-person tent on the market was the Tarptent Rainshadow, now confusingly called the Rainshadow 2 (implying it sleeps two...). Well made, good width for the three of us, but it had the door at the head end which is less convenient, and there wasn't much usable interior height. Tarptent now makes the Cloudburst 3 which looks terrific -- lots of headroom, should be very weatherproof, but I've never seen one in person. It weighs just over 3 pounds and costs $369, so twice the weight of the Zpacks and half the cost
    Ken B
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  3. #3

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    Why not use two tents? Get yourself a Duplex, which is perfect for one, two in a pinch, and use your existing half dome for the kids when they tag along? It sounds like it’s a maybe at this point that they will go with you?

    This gives you the benefit of the Duplex and the flexibility for when the kids come along. Two smaller tents would be much easier to find a spot for than one large one. I sometimes have trouble with my Duplex to get a perfect spot. I wouldn’t want to mess with a Triplex.

    TarpTent products are also good as well. You could buy 3 single person TarpTents for the price of a Triplex if you wanted to.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by soumodeler View Post
    Why not use two tents? Get yourself a Duplex, which is perfect for one, two in a pinch, and use your existing half dome for the kids when they tag along? It sounds like it’s a maybe at this point that they will go with you?
    My thought exactly. My kids did not warm up to - you put it aptly - "my dream for them" ... turned out it wasn't their dream. To their credit, at least they tried it. I sold the big tent with far less use out of it than I hoped.

  5. #5
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    Honestly, until you know everyone is on board, hump the cheap heavy tent(s).

  6. #6
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    Not sure how old your kids are or how big but could probably all fit in Duplex. I started taking my son at 8 and the solong6 worked for us and our small dog! Itís a one person tent, buy for your primary use. Iíd wouldnít want a 3 person tent if most of my trips were solo...requires to large a space to set up and eats up lots of room in your pack....Cuben doesnít pack that small....


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  7. #7
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    The duplex is fine. But, if you want space for two adults, you should look at the triplex. If you are really certain it is just going to be you and maybe you and a dog, then the duplex is a winner. Compared to humping almost any other two person tent, you still are saving anywhere from 1/2 pound to a pound with the triplex at only 24 ounces. And saving yourself a two adult option. YMMV.

  8. #8
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    I'm in roughly the same boat as you. Got my daughters into backpacking last year. I wasn't sure they would like it so I bought a cheap 3 person tent from Dicks. Yes, it's heavy, but it was worth it to see if they liked hiking. Luckily they do, so now I'm in a hammock and the two of them use that tent until I get a lighter one for them. Since we only make it out roughly twice a year, it's not really that big of a penalty. I'm still carrying less weight than I did 20 years ago.


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  9. #9
    Leonidas
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    Probably going with a Triplex myself. My wife and I will use it for us and move the kids to the SMD Lunar Duo. You mentioned the Triplex being a lot more dollars compared to the Duplex but it is only a $100 difference. Not a large amount IMO when you are already dropping $600 for the Duplex.

    I would agree though with a lot of the sentiment here. If you aren't sure you will most generally always have at least 2 people in the tent, I would go Duplex. My wife always backpacks with me so the Triplex makes sense for us.
    AT: 471 mi

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  10. #10

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    My vote is multiple tents any way you look at it. If you were going out for weekend trips, I would say pile into the tent. But keep in mind several things that IMO do not make multiple people in a tent realistic.
    1- You've been walking in the rain all day. You need more space when things are wet so you can lay them out in hopes of drying it out a bit(hardly every dries). But all the same when your walking clothes are soaked, shoes are soaked, you need extra room.
    2- Its 3am and somebody has to go potty, if your one of the 2 door people its not that big of a deal, still a ruckus and others are going to wake up, but if you are the middle guy? Now we are having to crawl over others to get up and although I have not tried it, I know the door design of the duplex/ triplex and I know it would be quite the hassle to try and get over said door person, his pad and then at that get thru the door and little vestibule.
    3-Out for a week? You stink, your two lovely children stink, and most all your stuff stinks too. Not only do you stink, but people need alone time and privacy when spending that much time together, and having separate tents is a good time to get a break from the others on a trip.

    I just spent 16 days with one of my best friends on the AT. We had a great time. We tented separately every night and had a blast. I know 100% that if we had tried to tent together, even in a 3 man tent we would have gone bonkers and would not have looked forward to night time. Ont he other hand, we both carried our Henry Shires Stratospire 2 man tents and after many back to back 20 mile days, always looked forward to crawling into bed lol

    Cost point...2 or 3 Stratospires is about the same cost as 1 zpacks. I have used my TT for over 120 nights on the trail and have carried it 2000+ miles and it is just now getting to the point where I need to start thinking about replacing it.
    AT Shuttle List
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    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  11. #11
    Registered User Grunt's Avatar
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    Boy... I keep expounding the virtue of my purchase of the Pryamid 4 from MyTrailCo (old Golite) three years ago.. It has served me WELL for the last 400 miles. My buddy and I did away with our individual tents and each carry 1/2 the Pryamid which is 3lbs each. It give 84 sqft of SPACE... it's a teepee design and most people can actually stand up in it. When not on the trail, I use it with my two grandsons when car camping. Whereas you normally would never cook or eat in a typical backpacking tent... there is so much room that if the weather turns you can do whatever you want inside. Actually by sleeping in the tent together has provided us with some really wonderful conversation time that normally wasn't there when your tents are apart. It works for us... happy trails

  12. #12
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    +1 on the Stratospire 2. In my view, it is a 3-person tent, despite the "2" in the name. Not 3 large adults, but 1 adult and two teens, easily. I have done that for years with my two kids, and we have fantastic memories with that tent.

  13. #13
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Viper View Post
    +1 on the Stratospire 2. In my view, it is a 3-person tent, despite the "2" in the name. Not 3 large adults, but 1 adult and two teens, easily. I have done that for years with my two kids, and we have fantastic memories with that tent.
    Iím glad someone was reading my mind. I was going to mention this yesterday. By the time the kids grow up, you can get an SS1 for you.
    Wayne


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  14. #14
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    I'll look at those. Lots of great points here, thanks!

    I have considered using my half dome and a new one in combination....but my kids are small and I figure if I can carry the tent that will help things all around. The half dome is a 2 and not big enough for three of us even though the kids are small for their ages of 9 and 12...and it's heavy at over 6.5# with groundsheet and all.... (could be stripped down a bit for backpacking but still heavy..)

    I originally bought it with the potential for backpacking in mind but now I think it's heavier than I want to carry.
    I have been figuring I could use my half dome + my son's big Alps 3 man for front country camping my wife and 3rd kid coming along too....but that wouldn't be a long hike.

    Grunt
    A while back I was reading about a scout troop that used teepee tent for the whole patrol....much larger than yours but still I a similar experience. Sounded like fun for the scouts. Very interesting concept

  15. #15
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    I have two tents. A duplex for most trips which usually includes one of my boys. If more kids are going or, my wife got tricked into camping, we take a second tent, a BA Copper Spur HV UL2. Between the two tents we are good.

  16. #16

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    If still open to tent options for 3 people I would sugest a tent that has 2 key features.

    - A head door entrance vs side door for ease of middle person to get in and out.

    -A tent with good ventilation.

    TT Cloudburst 3

    TT Rainshadow 2
    AT Shuttle List
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
    AT Trips: 67
    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  17. #17
    Registered User Grimelowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blw2 View Post
    Anything I should consider against the zpacks triplex?

    So a lightweight replacement for my REI half dome is the last major purchase I need to make. Have been leaning to the zpacks duplex for a long while. Price is probably the only reason I've delayed so long. I really only planning for a week section of AT or another trail next summer and some shorter stuff, nothing like a through unfortunately....although i would love to work up of a through of the JMT or other shorter long trails like that....

    but something that has been troubling me is space. I have three kids, & I'm really hoping that two will join me on some backpacking. I really want to facilitate the option.... and currently watching a youtube that is reinforcing my dream for them, a video about a guy and two sons on the JMT
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANdF14sya8A

    Anyway, the triplex looks to be the same as the duplex except 15 inches wider, only cost 3 more ounces but a lot more dollars. 15 inches doesn't seem like a lot really making it really an extra roomy 2-man but perfect for an adult and a couple kids....but considering this is primarily a tent for me, its really silly big for one and will take up more space in my pack when I don't need it.....

    so I'm hesitant.

    Other ideas?
    I have the Zpacks Triplex. It is the best and lightest tent I've ever had...hands down. I can't recommend a better option...unless you tried a cuben fiber tarp.

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    If still open to tent options for 3 people I would sugest a tent that has 2 key features.

    - A head door entrance vs side door for ease of middle person to get in and out.

    -A tent with good ventilation.

    TT Cloudburst 3

    TT Rainshadow 2
    yes, interesting points.
    Ventilation is deffinitely important to me... the door thing though not such a huge deal for my use. If I were to do this, it would primarily be for 1 -2 people. I'd only squeeze a 3rd in if it were my kid. They can crawl over me no problem....besides, being the old guy I'm the late to bed and the one most likely to be early to rise to go pee

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimelowe View Post
    I have the Zpacks Triplex. It is the best and lightest tent I've ever had...hands down. I can't recommend a better option...unless you tried a cuben fiber tarp.

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
    curious about your primary use... for 1, 2, or 3?

  20. #20
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    I'm noticing a trend to tarp tents....hmmm.....

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