Results 1 to 20 of 20
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-04-2013
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    4,046

    Default zPacks Duplex - Campsite selection

    I'm a longtime solo user of the zPacks Hexamid Twin which I love (and is still serviceable) but is seven years old, so I recently purchased a zPacks Duplex as a replacement. For some of my plans this year, I'd feel better having a new tent.

    Today, I set The Duplex up for the first time and, WOW, it is going to require a lot of land to pitch this thing properly, both in terms of finding good flat spots and more importantly, having room to guy it out properly. My Hexamid Twin also was not a small footprint but I feel like it could be put in smaller sites than the Duplex - in fact looking at them side by side, I know that's the case. I can think of several campsites that I have used my Hex Twin in where the Duplex just wouldn't work, which sucks because some of those sites are my favorites...

    They don't make the Hexamid Twin anymore so that's not an option for a new tent but I have some real misgivings on the Duplex ... what have owners of the Duplex experienced in terms of practical setup issues in smaller campsites? Would be curious to have some feedback on this point.

    Right now, I'm conflicted on whether to keep the Duplex or either return it to zPacks (it's still within the 30 day return window and brand new) or sell it here on WhiteBlaze. But if I sell it or return it, I still will be in the market for a replacement for my Hexamid Twin ... any ideas?

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-08-2012
    Location
    Taghkanic, New York, United States
    Posts
    3,087
    Journal Entries
    11

    Default

    I thought the Hexamid took up a lot of room, but using it one learns where it can fit and where it can't. One learns some shortcuts and advantageous ways of setting it up. It takes experience with the tent to know it. I think you just need some time with it.

  3. #3
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-20-2012
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Age
    64
    Posts
    4,364
    Images
    3

    Default

    I'll have to set my two up side by side sometime, I first owned the Hexamid Solo+, which I believe has the same footprint as the Hexamid Twin, but with only a single pole, and the ends taper slightly in width. That tent is now 7 years old too, still usable, but it's starting to make me a bit nervous on its water repellancy... I bought a Duplex a few years ago, for when my wife joins me, and to tell you the truth, I didn't notice it being any larger.

    But yeah, these tents both do require space to pitch. You can always snug the corner cords down to only a few inches or so; I've had to do that a few times.

    I will say this though, the Duplex, however big the footprint of it is, is probably my all time favorite tent.

    Here's some shots of both a Hexamid Solo+ (my pal was borrowing it) and the Duplex, pitched along the SHR a couple years ago ; too far apart to see size difference though.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4

    Default

    When I first got my Hilleberg Keron tent I was really worried about finding spots big enough for the beast---at 15 feet long and 5 feet wide. It was needless worry---as all I really required were long rectangles.

    Your brain and eyeballs get used to the geometry and you'll find spots for your tent at places you never thought existed. I'm so used to the size now that I can go nearly anywhere and find a suitable spot.

    The people I worry about are the ones carrying big tipi tents like the Kifaru for 8 people etc. These things require a really big patch of ground---a big circular piece of ground---something not so common in the woods.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-14-2016
    Location
    West-central Indiana
    Posts
    380

    Default

    I feel the same way about my HMG Ultamid 2. Huge footprint.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-04-2013
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    4,046

    Default

    I've got to say that the Duplex was great when hanging out inside for a few minutes after I got it set up. The sense of space in there is way greater than in the Hexamid Twin or any other shelter I've used as a solo hiker. It would be a good setup if I had to spend a lot of time in my tent. I'll have to give it some more thought...

  7. #7
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-23-2019
    Location
    Harpers ferry wv.
    Age
    56
    Posts
    882

    Default

    Yeah my half dome 2+ probably takes up 4'+ , × 8'+ . Alot of space needed but never really been to big a deal. It's great having the room inside.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-04-2013
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    4,046

    Default

    I will say that they are both very nice tents. I might have to just spend some time with the Duplex. I'm set in my ways and know the Hexamid so well that any change is bound to be uncomfortable!


    79AD6B7A-2043-4005-87A6-D64829AA385A.jpg5AE3CADF-36C0-48B1-8550-8183C4BA06DA.jpg

  9. #9
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-23-2019
    Location
    Harpers ferry wv.
    Age
    56
    Posts
    882

    Default

    What the hell me and coffee just posted exactly at the same time 00:06!? weird man!

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-27-2013
    Location
    WMNF, New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,535

    Default

    I've setup my duplex hundreds of times. It's got over 400 nights now.

    It definitely does not have a small footprint however its also not thatttt large.

    The rectangle, symmetrical design actually helps when finding campspots.

    The thing with the Duplex, in my experience. In order to get a good pitch. You have to pitch everything out. Moving stakes in closer to the tent and such makes a terrible pitch.

    The best way to pitch it is not how Zpacks describes to. I have always done it the "bigfoot" way. Following Bigfoot has a video on youtube about pitching the duplex.

    This method is wayyyyy better than staking out all four corners first.

    In my hundreds of nights in a Duplex. Ive only not had a perfect pitch a few times. Probably less than 6. This was do to me being extremely lazy, or cramming then tent in somewhere it doesnt belong.

    The Duplex is super easy to pitch and get a good pitch. When you get a feel for its dimensions and layout, you can start to squeeze it into smaller spaces.

    Overall... for a non freestanding two person tent. It actually is very efficient. .

    Furthermore. When you realize you don't need to have the storm doors closed 95% of the time. You can setup the tent in even tighter areas.

    I've definitely setup next to bushes and stuff that wouldn't allow me to close one of the doors. However, The forecast is good enough that closing said doors was very unlikely.

    When you dont pitch a duplex optimally, the canopy is usually still pretty good. The bathtub floor is what gets wonky.

    When pitched corectly, the bathtub floor should float off the ground with no weight in it. When you throw your gear inside. You end up with a very acute, wide, steep bathtub floor. Very spacious and protective.


    Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-04-2013
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    4,046

    Default

    Thanks for mentioning the video - I believe this is the one you referred to. I'll give that a try!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTiFRlBjwcY

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-27-2013
    Location
    WMNF, New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,535

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    Thanks for mentioning the video - I believe this is the one you referred to. I'll give that a try!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTiFRlBjwcY
    That it is and I get a perfect pitch everytime.

    Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk

  13. #13

    Default

    I wish I could spend a winter backpacking in one of these uber light tents---but we have such tremendous condensation at times in the Southeast mountains that a single wall might get messy. When conditions are just right---still air, 100% humidity, wet snow at 20F or sleetstorm---14-20 hours stuck in a tent---man, things can get CONDEN-SATED. I like to have a second canopy tent inside and under the fly to shunt off this dripping fly water.

    I looked at the TarpTent Hogback but it isn't really a double wall tent since it uses an inner bug screen roof---essentially a canopy ceiling with thousands of small holes.

    I know, people will post "I use XX tent and never ever get a single drop of condensation!!"---and I have to seriously wonder if we're camping on the same planet.

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-27-2013
    Location
    WMNF, New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,535

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    I wish I could spend a winter backpacking in one of these uber light tents---but we have such tremendous condensation at times in the Southeast mountains that a single wall might get messy. When conditions are just right---still air, 100% humidity, wet snow at 20F or sleetstorm---14-20 hours stuck in a tent---man, things can get CONDEN-SATED. I like to have a second canopy tent inside and under the fly to shunt off this dripping fly water.

    I looked at the TarpTent Hogback but it isn't really a double wall tent since it uses an inner bug screen roof---essentially a canopy ceiling with thousands of small holes.

    I know, people will post "I use XX tent and never ever get a single drop of condensation!!"---and I have to seriously wonder if we're camping on the same planet.
    I would say the Duplex does really well at mitigating condensation because of how much ventilation you can have.

    But if you close all the doors it would be a nightmare. And you would in winter.

    Why not looking into something more along the lines of a HMG Ultamid with insert? SUPER pricey but a legitimate ultralight 4 season design.

    Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-04-2013
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    4,046

    Default

    My zPacks Hexamid Twin does have significant condensation issues when I close the doors, there's high humidity, and little wind. In such conditions, the humidity can get pretty bad and I have to be careful not to make contact with the canopy or even shake it because then water comes dripping down. Normally, water will drip down the sides and onto the mesh, draining to the outside, but any contact can cause problems. I expect that the Duplex will have fewer issues than the hex twin because there is way more room inside and if I keep one or both doors open, which would be my intent except if needed for rain protection, the ventilation should be really good. At least for hiking in the Sierra Nevada, I wouldn't expect too many problems. On the AT, perhaps more. Right now, I'd love to get out for a winter trip somewhere but I doubt I'll be able to. The Foothills trail was a great winter hike five years ago - or Shenandoah. Thing is being in Louisiana limits my options a great deal in terms of getting to any decent backpacking at all.

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fastfoxengineering View Post
    Why not looking into something more along the lines of a HMG Ultamid with insert? SUPER pricey but a legitimate ultralight 4 season design.

    Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk
    I spent several hours recently researching the Ultamid 4 with insert---I do like the Tipi design of course---but the insert is still just netting with no solid canopy. And total price is $1,155.

    [email protected]
    Here's the 4 with the mesh insert without floor.

    2018_ULTAMID4-INSERT-WITH-FLOOR-MAIN-PDP.jpg
    Here's the 4 insert with the floor.

    DRAWBACKS
    ** Large footprint requiring big tent site (for the 4).
    ** Ground water without insert with floor . . . "choose a spot very carefully."
    ** Condensation still a problem with a mesh insert.
    ** Hate having to use two hiking poles to erect this tipi---as I only hike with one pole. Plus, for $1,155 you'd think the company would throw in a tipi center pole!!

    ** Billowing umbrella effect---Yes, I lived in a similar Chouinard Pyramid back in 1986 and these tipis were designed to be used with snow placed on top of the bottom perimeter to keep the thing from billowing up like an umbrella. The Ultamid 4 videos show a good amount of space between the bottom perimeter and the ground---so in a big open meadow windstorm you're gonna get not only the umbrella effect of the thing trying to lift off the ground---but you'll get alot of cold wind blowing thru it at ground level.

    Trip 189 (317)-XL.jpg
    Black Diamond version of the Chouinard Pyramid.

    And really, the Ultramid 4 is just a simple tarp---and not much different than a blue walmart tarp--except it's cut to an intricate pattern and uses Dyneema.

  17. #17
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-20-2012
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Age
    64
    Posts
    4,364
    Images
    3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    I wish I could spend a winter backpacking in one of these uber light tents---but we have such tremendous condensation at times in the Southeast mountains that a single wall might get messy. When conditions are just right---still air, 100% humidity, wet snow at 20F or sleetstorm---14-20 hours stuck in a tent---man, things can get CONDEN-SATED. I like to have a second canopy tent inside and under the fly to shunt off this dripping fly water.

    I looked at the TarpTent Hogback but it isn't really a double wall tent since it uses an inner bug screen roof---essentially a canopy ceiling with thousands of small holes.

    I know, people will post "I use XX tent and never ever get a single drop of condensation!!"---and I have to seriously wonder if we're camping on the same planet.
    Regarding your last statement, I would suppose people making that claim are mostly hiking out west. And of course they are probably exaggerating a bit, as it DOES get humid out west sometimes.

    I haven't done much cold-humid camping in the east, other then on the AT in March, and yeah, our single-wall Duplex did have quite a bit of condensation, especially since there were two of us in it. We lived with it.

    It is interesting though, some of the best Mountaineering tents are single wall, like the old Todd-tek fabric Biblers (now owned by black diamond), and there are a bunch more, like some MSR's and Rab's. I've used my bibler often in the severe cold, but your moist breath just freezes on the inside of the tent fabric, never drips!

    Not actual winter, but we had a surprise dump of snow in the Sierra a couple years ago in early September... I was sleeping soundly, and started noticing the tent fabric getting closer and closer to my face... didn't understand it... finally figured out we had received 6-7" of wet heavy snow over night, yikes, but the Duplex held up OK, though the pitch had loosened up a bit.

    For the record, that bent-over tree in the pic below was already like that, not created by the surprise dump.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    It is interesting though, some of the best Mountaineering tents are single wall, like the old Todd-tek fabric Biblers (now owned by black diamond), and there are a bunch more, like some MSR's and Rab's. I've used my bibler often in the severe cold, but your moist breath just freezes on the inside of the tent fabric, never drips!
    You bring up an important point---there's a world of difference between inside frozen condensation and inside liquid condensation. Single wall tents make suitable mountaineering tents when it never rains and temps never get above 20F etc.

    In my experience a frosty inner tent is easier to deal with than a water droplet inner tent---as the icy frost tends to stay put in wind gusts while the liquid does not, so you're a little more dry when inside the tent.

    What's neat is packing up a frozen frosty tent dislodges all this ice and when you get to your next camp and set up the tent all this ice falls off and/or can be shaken off and piles of the stuff sits on the tent floor for easy removal. I've taken out a liter or 2 liters of ice from a tent before. Here's a pic example---


  19. #19
    Registered User Engine's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-29-2009
    Location
    Citrus Springs, FL
    Age
    55
    Posts
    1,673
    Images
    10

    Default

    Coffee,
    Your concern is very understandable. Caboose and I purchased a Triplex for the AT in '17 and when I pitched it in the yard I thought suitable tent sites would be a frequent issue during our hike. In reality, there were only a couple of times the footprint of the tent was a problem, and even in those circumstances we were able to make it work. A friend we met on the trail used a Duplex for solo hiking and he had nothing but high praise for the tent, just as we did about our Triplex. Best piece of gear we carried, hands down. Keep the Duplex and give it a go, you won't be sorry.

    Engine
    “He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.” –Socrates

  20. #20
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-22-2002
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Age
    58
    Posts
    7,906
    Images
    296

    Default

    We took a Hexamid Twin on our Long Trail e2e hike. Great little tent, but a bit cramped for general use. I was able to get it pitched in some really small spaces, though.

    When we got back, we bought a Triplex as our main backpacking tent (to replace our elderly SMD Lunar Duo.) Yeah, so I get your concerns about finding space to pitch it, but in reality we've not had any problems. But we hike mainly in the South.

    Tipi Walter, yes, you are correct about condensation inside single wall tents. I see it as the tradeoff for a very light shelter, and have learned to handle it.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •