New Free Duo tent from Zpacks

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Home Forums Gear Forums Gear (General) New Free Duo tent from Zpacks

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    Doug Coe
    BPL Member


    Locale: Bay Area, CA, USA

    Just noticed this. Brand new, I guess. ZPacks Free Duo tent.

    Not hardly freestanding, contrary to their description.

    Monte Masterson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Changes Often

    Interesting. I would definitely opt for the .74 DCF with this tent. Hopefully Ryan can do a wind test on one sometime.

    Dan Durston
    BPL Member


    Locale: Canadian Rockies

    The structure is a head scratcher for a few reasons. First, the pole structure is in two halves (e.g. not solidly joined at the peaks) like the Flex poles for the Duplex, which gives up a lot of rigidity. This disconnected design won’t be nearly as robust in the wind compared to if they joined the two poles with an elbow that would allow them to tension the tent across the top. It’s a bit baffling because an elbow would be easy to add.

    Also, virtually all traditionally poled tents curve their poles around a curved tent body because that makes sense for a lot of reasons (e.g. even load distribution and stress). Here the poles run over peaks instead, which is an odd way to do it. The Duplex Flex kit does that, but because it’s a retrofit on a trekking pole shelter. If you’re designing a freestanding tent from scratch you wouldn’t normally keep the peaks – especially with disconnects in the pole structure right at the peaks because that is the highest stress part. If you do have a traditionally poled tent with a sharp bend in the shape, you’d always see a beefy elbow there but here there is the weakest part of the structure at the highest stress part of the tent.

    IMO, they should at least use elbows instead of not joining the poles so they could tension it and one side of the frame would support the other. Much better would be to round off the peaks and run curved arch poles over them instead of kinked. Without tension here, there isn’t sufficient tension across the top of the tent, hence why they have to add guylines off the end walls. Those guylines primarily pull outwards on the pole structure which is what tension across the top would have avoided the need for. Even with these guylines, a wind gust on the end wall is going to post a much bigger challenge compared to a similar design but with normal curved poles instead of disconnected peaks.

    To illustrate, if you bend a stick it is likely going to snap near the middle because that is where the leverage/force is the greatest. If the stick has a sharp kink in it near the middle, it is almost certainly going to snap there because now the stress is focused (like bending it over your knee). And if the stick had a sharp kink AND isn’t even joined at that kink – well it’s just not in the same league for strength as normal stick.

    My guess is that they opted for the peaks because that was a much simpler thing to manufacture compared with a curved shape, even though there is a big loss in rigidity and also gains in complexity and weight (i.e. added stakes and guylines). All that is to say, I’m skeptical this is a particularly windproof tent. It’s probably good enough, but there appears to be clear concessions in structural robustness to make it easier to manufacture.

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