Lightweight shelters–which is your favorite? (Z-Packs Duplex vs Duomid vs ???)
Jun 6, 2016 at 1:47 pm #3407386Jacob HBPL Member
I’m in the market for an 2-person ultralight shelter, probably something used off of BPL or eBay. I used a Tarptent Contrail on my last hike and didn’t like the silnylon construction. It sagged in the rain, forcing me to go readjust it in the middle of the night in the rain. And what’s the point of a shelter if it forces you to go out in the weather you brought it to get out of? I was pleasantly surprised by the few condensation issues I experienced even though I was in a deep valley next to a body of water during the rain storm.
That being said, I’m looking to find a lightweight shelter that suits my needs. I’m gravitating towards single-walled, 2-person cuben shelters like the Duplex and the Duomid. Does anyone have any experience comparing these two shelters? Or do you recommend a different shelter altogether? I’m on a budget so I’d welcome any suggestion that isn’t a Bugatti-equivalent of tents. Below are my general criteria:
Jun 6, 2016 at 5:10 pm #3407422BeanBPL Member
- 2-Person (min.) capacity
- Cuben construction
- must provide insect/floor protection (no tarps–I’m a mosquito magnet)
- Preferably single-walled
This is what it boiled down to for me:
Is there a situation with the duomid where I wouldn’t take the bug netting? Am I going to use this shelter in snow conditions?
If I wanted the versatility of not taking the bug netting… duomid. If I was using this shelter in snow… duomid.
However, I’m typically a pretty fair weather backpacker, and mainly just want bug and small thunderstorm protection… so I went duplex.Jun 6, 2016 at 6:42 pm #3407438jimmy bBPL Member
A while ago I posted the same question inquiring about the duplex vs the duomid. My question was based on using them for 2 people though. The duplex pretty much won hands down in the comparison for use with 2 people which has moved me as of late to place my order for a camo duplex. Not sure which way I would have gone if solo. Anyway if you can find that thread it may be very helpful with the pros and cons of the 2 shelters.Jun 6, 2016 at 7:13 pm #3407446Franco DarioliSpectator
@francoLocale: Gauche, CU.
“It sagged in the rain, forcing me to go readjust it in the middle of the night in the rain. “
Shelters like the Contrail can be re-tensioned from the inside by increasing the pole height. That is provided it was set up taut in the first place.
If using a fixed length pole the trick is to either start with the pole at a slight angle (straightenig it up later will increase the height) or putting something under it like a rock or your boot.Jun 6, 2016 at 7:16 pm #3407447Jennifer MitolBPL Member
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
after trying several different shelters over the years, I’ve pretty much completely settled on the duomid. I love the simplicity, I really like that it is modular (no inner, solo inner, duo inner…!), and you absolutely cannot beat the ease of set up.
it is NOT a 2 person shelter. Honest. You’d have to go supermid or the Bugatti/HMG Ultamid. Maybe check out Locus Gear’s offerings… but the MLD Duomid is not a good shelter for 2 peeps. Consider it a 1+.Jun 6, 2016 at 7:19 pm #3407449James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Well, getting tension on a Contrail is easy. Just add 2 or 3 elastic hair ties to the staking points. With the Contrail, you can fold a hair tie in half, then catch both loops in the stake around the supplied line, rather than just anchoring the line. This will give you about 25-30 pounds per stake and about 1-1/2 to 2″ of stretch to maintain tension. Anyway, the Contrail isn’t really a 2 person shelter. I would suggest looking at a Double Rainbow.Jun 6, 2016 at 8:04 pm #3407462
If you don’t mind front entry I love my Yama Cirriform SW. I wanted a true two person so the duplex was out. The cost and large ground coverage of the triplex pretty much knocked that one out of the race. I went with the Cirriform in .51 cuben with a silnylon floor and it’s 24.5oz on my scale. It is seriously huge inside for a front entry.Jun 7, 2016 at 5:09 pm #3407597John MacriBPL Member
I own a Zpacks duplex, a very versatile shelter. You can even purchase a Flex pole kit which converts recent models to free standing.Jun 7, 2016 at 10:25 pm #3407636Window walkerSpectator
“I wanted a true two person so the duplex was out.”
Hoosier, please explain. Does “true” mean 2 wall?Jun 8, 2016 at 1:10 am #3407656MarkBPL Member
For me it came down to waking up with a decent view.
Mids only have 1 door and tend to go floppy if that’s left open, with the Duplex you have 2 big doors and the tent is still very stable if both are left open.Jun 8, 2016 at 3:27 am #3407663Aaron SorensenBPL Member
@awsorensenLocale: South of Forester Pass
Love my “2-stake” tarp set up.
I’ll have to make a .93 membrane one for my PCT thru hike.Jun 8, 2016 at 5:16 am #3407668
Hoosier, please explain. Does “true” mean 2 wall?
Meaning that many use the Duplex as a solo shelter plus gear. It’s only 45″ wide so not even enough room for our two 23″ pads without slightly collapsing the bathtub floor. The Cirriform, on the other hand, is 54″ wide so I would consider it to be more of a “true” two-person shelter. There are umpteen thread/posts for this reason where people say, without hesitation, to get the Triplex for two people.Jun 8, 2016 at 6:55 am #3407678John MacriBPL Member
I use my Duplex as a solo shelter.
Original poster didn’t mention how many people would be using the tent. Many solo sleepers gravitate toward 2 person tents because one person tents are often too tight for comfort.Jun 8, 2016 at 8:41 am #3407698Dean F.BPL Member
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
You say that you want a minimum 2P shelter, but I’d have to ask what your intent is. Are you actually camping with a partner, or do you want to use a 2P shelter as a comfortable palace for yourself only?
Because both of your candidates are tight for two, but great for one.
That said, I’m a bit of a pyramid shelter pimp. In this I agree with Jen Mitol. I think they are the Perfect Shelter, and my solo shelter is a DuoMid- I consider it a solution for 95% of the conditions I’ll ever find myself in. In fact, I think that a 2P pyramid and a light silnylon bivy like the MLD SuperLight or Katabatic Bristlecone is the Perfect Shelter System. I prefer the bivy to an inner net because of simplicity, it acts as a groundsheet, and it protects from rainspray, bugs, wombats, etc. The bivy is also nice for bug-free cowboy camping on clear nights without the pyramid. It also probably adds a couple of degrees to your sleep system, though I like ones with a large mesh area over the face- MLD offers this as an option.
Setup doesn’t get more simple than a pyramid (though the TT Moment comes close)- stake out the four corners in a tight square then insert the center pole for a perfect pitch every time. They’re relatively bomber (by UL standards, mind you)- you can pitch tight to the ground in bad weather, or high in good weather for ventilation, and a full bomber pitch involves up to a dozen tent stakes, which is rather reassuring. About the only UL shelter that beats them in this regard is the TrailStar, which is arguably a form of pyramid itself. You can leave the door open for night-time views in good weather (or go cowboy, as I mentioned). And they are light. Oh, and you don’t have to blow the money for cuben with a pyramid. Just pitch it tight with the center pole at a slight angle, and if it sags in the night you just straighten the pole out a bit to tighten things up. And for that matter since it’s floorless you can also reach all of the linelocs from inside the shelter.
Ahem. Well. As I said, I’m a bit of a pyramid fanboi.
So I guess I’d just say that however many peopel you’re camping with an appropriately sized pyramid is a great choice. I use an MLD SuperMid for 2 to 3 people. The only annoyance is that the larger ‘mids like the SuperMid can’t just use a trek pole as the center pole- they need a dedicated long center pole or some sort of cobbled-together tied trek pole setup. (The 65″ Luxury Lite Big Stik works well, but it’s pricey.) The DuoMids OTOH can use a single trek pole, perhaps with a polejack or just set on a rock. (If it had existed when I was buying a shelter I would have gotten a DuoMid XL.)Jun 9, 2016 at 12:05 am #3407868Andrew PriestBPL Member
@Dean F I am curious as to why you feel that going with Cuben (with a mid) is blowing money? Considering your suggestion of a DuoMid plus SuperLight bivy, the weight difference between Cuben and SilNylon is 115 grams at a cost of US$190 which is $1.65 a gram … okay maybe that is pricey for the weight saving.Jun 9, 2016 at 12:50 am #3407872Arne L.BPL Member
+1 for a pyramid for all the reasons Dean F. stated.
However, for European conditions, I like a inner in my Locus Gear Khufu.
Oh well. There’s probably no shelter as versatile as a mid. I can take a lightweight bivy, a 2/3 inner, or nothing at all. I think it’s brilliant.Jun 9, 2016 at 1:09 am #3407874Julie GBPL Member
I’ve been considering both these tents myself and would have chosen the duplex for my use (summer hiking). One thing I have been wondering is how the duplex performs above treeline. How stable is it in windy conditions? It’s a single wall so it’s going to need more venting than a double walled tent (I’m guessing). Is it going to be significantly colder in the tent compared to, for example, my TarpTent Stratospire 1 with solid walls?Jun 9, 2016 at 1:29 am #3407875MarkBPL Member
2 grown adults blokes fit easily in the Duplex, there is even room spare for gear.
Not found a 2 person tent that offers as much room as the Duplex, i’d guess my SS2 is wider but the Duplex offers a lot more room length wise.
It’s not the best option for very windy conditions Julie, it holds up as good as any other tent in my experience, the problems are:
1/ You cannot have the outer dropped to the floor and still have any sort of bathtub on the inner, with the outer dropped to the ground the inner is as flat as a pancake, not exactly ideal for wet and windy conditions
2/ The tent is very very well ventilated which is fantastic in mild conditions, on very windy nights it’s very very windy inside the tent, to the point where we had a stuff sack blowing around INSIDE the tent.
No doubt in my mind my Strato2 offers more shelter in bad weather.
But then the fabric TT use is absolutely terrible IMO, it soaks up moisture, you have to re-tension and the floor is like trying to catch a chicken on a bouncy castle after someone pours 100 litres of butter on it.
I love the design of the Strato, i think using the material they did on a tent with such big panels is a fundamental design flaw though.
I think it’s more likely i’d be able to catch that chicken, but if TT offered a strato2 in Cuban i’d be first in line to give them my money.
Also worth mentioning that you can’t really compare the SS to the Duplex, the Duplex is nearly 1/2 the weight and double the price.Jun 9, 2016 at 4:00 am #3407878Julie GBPL Member
Thanks, Mark! Yeah, it’s not fair to compare the two. I only ended up with the SS1 because I thought it might be a bit more storm worthy and it’s a good sized solo tent (especially coming from a Hilleberg Akto). I would love to see a cuben version of the SS, but I’m guessing that’s unlikely, and I haven’t seen anything similar in cuben (?) Are mids the only cuben tents on the marked suitable for hiking above treeline?Jun 9, 2016 at 8:03 am #3407902Dean F.BPL Member
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
I’m not sold on cuben. But if you’re a cuben fanboi all I’ll accomplish by delineating why is to provoke you. :)Jun 9, 2016 at 9:27 am #3407930Bob MoulderBPL Member
@bobmny10562Locale: Westchester County, NY
My favorite is… Both!
I like the Duplex for 3-season and the silnylon Duomid for the 4th season.
Both have plenty of room for me and my 60-lb pooch. I always pitch the Duomid using the inverted V arrangement with the poles, especially with the dog because dogs tend to plop down and knock things over.
In the summer, with all the door panels rolled up, the Duplex is such a marvelous, bug-free haven. And it can handle storms pretty well when it’s well pinned down and buttoned up. In the winter the Duomid is pitched tight to the ground or to snow, and blocks out wind superbly. And ice really shakes out of the silnylon very easily, IME much more so compared to Cuben.Jun 9, 2016 at 12:21 pm #3407956Dillan RBPL Member
“2/ The tent is very very well ventilated which is fantastic in mild conditions, on very windy nights it’s very very windy inside the tent, to the point where we had a stuff sack blowing around INSIDE the tent.”
Does anyone else have input on this? I am considering a Triplex, but I don’t want to have to deal with lots of winds inside the tent.Jun 9, 2016 at 12:30 pm #3407959
The above is something I have seen quite a few people repeat so it was a large contributing reason for me to skip the Plex tents. Unfortunately as they’re otherwise beautifully designed.Jun 9, 2016 at 1:36 pm #3407972Jeff McWilliamsBPL Member
I’m struggling to find the perfect 2 person shelter (FOR TWO PEOPLE!) for similar reasons.
I bought a ZPacks Hexamid Twin tent back at least a year before the Duplex and others were available. We really tried to like it, and almost did. However, in heavy rain, it seems too fiddly: either the tent is pitched perfectly, or things would shift allowing the mesh & bathtub floor to peak out on a corner, allowing water would drip into the tent. The person in back always suffered from a lack of room and being squished up against the back wall. it was also a pain in the ass for the person in the back of the tent to use the bathroom at night, because they had to climb over the person at the front.
My wife still insists on a fully enclosed bug net, so my replacement choices are limited to shelters that provide such an option. The ZPacks Duplex looks interesting, but the crazy high cost plus the fiddle factor of the doors has me looking at other options.
The MLD Duomid XL with nest is interesting, but the single side-door is a deal breaker for the same reason we didn’t like it on the Hexamid.
The Locus Hapi has the door on an end which would make it easier for two person use, but without seeing one in person, I’m hesitant about dealing with steep sidewalls and a $550 price tag for mid + nest.
Right now I’m leaning toward the TT Stratospire 2 with solid inner or the SMD Haven + Nest for a reasonable compromise between price, weight, headroom, and livable space.
Reading about other people and their experiences is always educational and interesting.Jun 9, 2016 at 1:41 pm #3407974
We were so close to going with a Haven for the same compromises. The vertical side walls next to the sleepers (like the Plex shelters) makes for a roomy setup. However, the inner of the Haven is only 44″ wide which is way too narrow for two people to be comfortable in my opinion.
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