Tarptent StratoSpire Li vs Zpacks Duplex
Jan 20, 2020 at 7:28 am #3627992
I’m looking for your thoughts.
I have a Zpacks Duplex which I absolutely love. I’ve experienced many tents over the past few years and I’ve come to the conclusion that this “form factor” is what I’m staying with.
Here’s my situation. I plan on backpacking the Kungsleden this year and I’m not sure that the Duplex would be the best choice. Most of the time (fair weather) the Duplex performs splendidly and I want no other tent but there have been two occasions that give me pause. Once during a two-week TGO trek across Scotland and the other a one-week trek bushwhacking through the Catskills in upstate NY. Both times had severe inclement weather – lots of wind and rain. I’m a tall person and my quilt has the consequence of pushing up against the end walls. Being mesh and single-walled, water would easily find its way into the Duplex either via up-splash or capillary action. Not a happy camper.
I love the design of the Duplex and seeing the StratoSpire Li, the Henry Shires’ tent appears to be an unfair-weather version of the Duplex. For the Kungsleden in mid-June, I’m thinking that this would be a better option. And if I do the TGO again, definitely a better option.
As an aside, when I did the TGO, I was stunned at the number of Tarptents that I saw. They appear to be extremely popular in the UK.
Thanks for your help.
…oh, and to make matters more indecisive, I was just made aware that Hilleberg is releasing their version of a Duplex this spring. Hmmm…Jan 20, 2020 at 4:17 pm #3628048Buddy BBPL Member
For the record I am no expert in gear, backpacking or extreme weather trips.
I purchased my Stratospire Li in (SSLi) December 2018 with both inserts. I just returned from a 2 day 2 night trip with DTHs in the 30’s and NTLs in the 20’s with a windchill in the single digits during the overnight using my Stratospsire Li with the silnylon/dyneema insert. The solid interior does keep the wind from coming under the outer tarp from sweeping across you at ground level.
I tend to use SSLi with the solid insert when the weather is going be foul and I may spend additional time in my tent and I want to spread out. The vestibules are generous especially when you want that hot cup of coffee before climbing out of tent when it cold is windy and some from water is falling all around. I personally haven’t had any issues or concerns with the tents ability to withstand the weather.
I do use it during the summer with the screen mesh/dyneema insert, but mostly when my wife tags along for weekend trips, (I prefer the Aeon Li for milder weather solo trips.) and as just a tarp when it isn’t buggy.
I really where the SSLi shines is in it’s versatility, you can use it as just a tarp, or use the inserts depending upon the conditions expected for your trip. One tent to rule them all…maybe!?!
The footprint is large for some areas of the AT I frequent, and site selection can be challenging.
I haven’t had any regrets with this purchase.Jan 20, 2020 at 4:53 pm #3628050Franco DarioliSpectator
@francoLocale: Gauche, CU.
“I was just made aware that Hilleberg is releasing their version of a Duplex this spring”
Hilleberg , in 1973, had the Keb
this was the 3 person versionJan 20, 2020 at 6:27 pm #3628067JCHBPL Member
Everything old is new again.Jan 22, 2020 at 3:49 am #3628245
That’s a good point regarding wind that I had forgotten about. There have been a few times with the Duplex where a cold wind has blown all through the night and swept right across the bottom making for a chilly sleep.
Thanks for the feedback.Jan 23, 2020 at 2:33 pm #3628426Gunnar HBPL Member
I would say that a Stratosspire Li with a solid inner is clearly better than Duplex and even more so if you have problems stying dry in your Duplex. I have used one in that area and the wind will make your Duplex colder, but as long as you are have a slightly warmer sleeping bag you should be OK. There are also cabins where you can bail out along all parts of Kungsleden except one. The cabins opens 18/6 but there should aways be one room open anyway.
I trust you are aware that it is very early in the season. Expect quite a bit of snow unless it is an earlier than normal snowmelt.Jan 24, 2020 at 6:59 pm #3628624
I appreciate the concern. I’m thinking of backpacking the trail late-May through early-June and, as such, I’m debating whether it might be better to begin south in Hemavan and head north as it gets warmer.Jan 25, 2020 at 4:08 am #3628647Gunnar HBPL Member
Ok, that is well before the summer season. Thinking about it again, I spontaniously think it is not possible to do Kungsleden then unless you are prepared to stop for a couple of weeks to wait for the thaw to complete at some major water crossings. Your best bet is probably to hope that the spring is not earlier than normal so you can do 90% on skis at night and early mornings. (There will be light and lovely mornings if you are lucky with wheater, so that in it self is not negative.) However, as you know there are some boat passages and it seems inavoidable to be stuck at someone of them during the period where the ice will not carry but the water is not open enough for boats. The boats starts regulary when the huts opens, but you can maybe find someone that can help you with that, the main problem is unreliable ice hindering the boats at the major crossings. You should also have be well experienced at winter/spring above the treeline even for Kungsleden when going there in this most difficult of periods. There will surely be lovely days in total solitude though. I guess you will hardly meet anyone before getting close to Abisko. You cold consider alternatives as having a hice winter hike in mild March/April, waiting until the cabins open 18/6, there will still not be much people that early, or being more stationary i. e. in the Abisko area having nice days and doing what is achievable. The mountain station will be open and there you should be able to rent skis or snow shoes depending on what the spring has on offer.Jan 25, 2020 at 6:05 am #3628649David CaudwellBPL Member
@dcinbcLocale: Gulf Islands, Coastal BC
I wouldn’t imagine the Hilleberg “Duplex” to be a direct contender – if it’s true to Hilleberg form it will weigh considerably more than the other two. The published weight is a “very light” 1.3kg!? (For a trekking-pole supported tarp-tent!). It’s almost like “I know we can do it! We can duplicate that design at double the weight. I know we can!” Their tents are beautifully made but they are never knowingly under-built!Jan 25, 2020 at 1:57 pm #3628716Franco DarioliSpectator
@francoLocale: Gauche, CU.
“We can duplicate that design at double the weight”
I have already pointed out that Hilleberg had that design in 1973 , called the Keb.
Decades later that designed morphed into the Rajd, still before Zpacks started to make tents.
(Photo from a BPL article)
Now it’supdated again with the Anaris
to me clearly Hilleberg .in this case. is not the one copying anyone else.Jan 25, 2020 at 2:45 pm #3628727David CaudwellBPL Member
@dcinbcLocale: Gulf Islands, Coastal BC
No, I get that, and I saw your other comment.
The Duplex and the Keb and the Rajd and the GG “The Two” all share basic A frame DNA. But the Anaris looks a lot more like a Duplex than its direct predecessors and the success of the Duplex was at least partly in the mind of the designers, I’m sure.
In the end no one is copying anyone – it’s all variations on a theme!
Nonetheless, the point (and the fondly-intended joke) was that the Anaris is not a contender for someone looking for a UL alternative to DCF tents like the Duplex and the StratoSpire Li .Feb 2, 2020 at 8:32 am #3629582John “Jay” MennaBPL Member
I have both the Z packs triplex and the stratosphire Li Henry’s tent is the better Tent.Jul 11, 2020 at 4:20 am #3657515Jacob CBPL Member
This was great, thank you. Have you/can you set the Stratospire up with just an insert? (I’m assuming you have the double insert option?)Jul 15, 2020 at 2:28 pm #3664512Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Tarptent has set a high bar (IMHO) for DCF tents with the following:
-> the most DCF tent designs
-> the best DCF tent designs (including reinforcement of all stress areas, waterproof zippers and very good ventilation options)
-> easiest to set up (fewest guy lines for normal pitch)
-> the best DCF tent build quality (esp. now that all TT DCF tents are made in a top tier Chinese factory)Jul 29, 2020 at 3:51 am #3667172
Looked at the link to the Duplex, expecting something competitive with the TT SS, and found a single wall puptent. Except its walls are not breathable, there are no peak vents, and it’s only 45″ wide for two people; so the inevitable condensation soaks everything. But it’s made of material that costs an arm and a leg, so costs six Benjamins even though the joinery is amateur and “earplugs are not a bad idea for windy nights.” The only possible explanation for all this is a bit less weight. As Jay Leno remarked, how lazy can we get.
For all this dough, at least TT has made their plastic puptent workable, with a double wall, good workmanship, and a novel design twist a la Andrew Skurka. No wonder the highlands are full of Tarptents. Thank you, Henry, there may be hope for us yet.Jul 29, 2020 at 6:27 am #3667175JCHBPL Member
Bought my Duplex in Nov 2013, pretty much weeks after it was released. At that time it was unique and exciting and I loved it from first pitch. It’s still my main tent but realizing its end of life is approaching I started searching for a replacement.
I REALLY don’t want to spend almost $700 (again) on a tent, but damn if the SS Li isn’t the mac daddy…clearly…arguably without equal. Design, construction, the small details, all at the pinnacle.
That said, I jumped on the X-Mid 2P when it was announced because the design is similarly unique and exciting and…1/3 the cost with only a 10 oz weight penalty. With COVID…Florida is the dumba** capital of the US…local daytime temps in the mid to upper 90s and travel pretty much out of the question I have not had a chance to put it to use. But if the X-mid fails to live up to expectations, the SS Li *will* be purchased. It will be painful, but the decision is easy.Jul 29, 2020 at 7:38 pm #3667284Jul 29, 2020 at 7:39 pm #3667285
Having read the compliments, the tent requested a showing here.
Two things the X-Mid 2p has on the SSLi are interior space and interior space/vestibule ratio. The SSLi’s vestibules are really too big, but they have to be to create the superior wind-shedding geometry. For a couple used to narrow inner tents, though, the Li is perfectly fine. It’s like a small spacecraft sitting in the woods.Jul 30, 2020 at 8:52 am #3667600David UBPL Member
“Two things the X-Mid 2p has on the SSLi are interior space and interior space/vestibule ratio.”
How so? I believe the X-Mid lacks headroom with part of the inner hanging in your face but I could be wrong.Jul 30, 2020 at 4:57 pm #3667646
Re: “I believe the X-Mid lacks headroom with part of the inner hanging in your face but I could be wrong.”
David, aside from possible confusion between the X-Mid 1P & 2P, I’m wondering what led you to believe that. The diagram and photo of the 1P with Dan sitting at the open entrance door seem to show plenty of inner room at either of the possible head ends. There is a review stating: “Well, the inner gets pretty close to you and even touches you sometimes when living in this tent, but I don’t find it annoying at all.” But that appears to be a reference to brushing the inner walls while moving about; not to the inner hanging in your face. Perhaps the 28″ width of the X-mid floor (and netting above) is what you could be getting at. The 2P inner is 50″ wide, and the tent come in under 2.5 lbs. Or perhaps you are quite tall, and your head projects into the wedge shapes at the floor ends.
With a trekking or other vertical pole supported tents there is a conundrum, because flexible poles cannot be used to bow out the sidewalls of the tent. Not bowed enough to hinder wind shedding as is unfortunately often the case, but enough to provide more headroom without increasing the tent’s footprint. But the walls of trekking pole tents must slope on a flat trajectory to the ground, and increasing internal space produces a larger footprint. Don’t think you can have it any other way. This also applies to some extent to “semi-freestanding” tents, with vestibules that also slope flatly to the ground, and can be close to worthless for that reason.
More space inside, or more sloped walls outside to shed wind, creates a larger footprint. Don’t think that more boxy tents with smaller footprints, and more vertical walls vulnerable to winds, should be the be-all & end-all, especially for trekking pole supported tents. I’ve sometimes had to hunt while hiking for suitable pitching space, or even stop and poke around; but think this is a small price for a protective and spacious tent that will keep me comfortable, and most important, keep me dry and safe.
But you have alerted me to a more general issue; that is, that the use of nylon netting, which if it sags like nylon fabric, could make an otherwise tautly pitched tent uncomfortable overhead when lying down. Was sold on nylon netting due to its strength compared to polyester, but now am not so sure.
I understand that woven dyneema is made, but is currently off the charts in price. The next evolution in tents may be half ounce (or 14 gm) woven fabric from dyneema, spectra or some other manufacturer. I’m assuming that a woven material will be more flexible as a canopy material than a rigid plastic covered material like DCF. By all accounts, there is adequate flexibility with woven polyester, which may be the only woven option for now to avoid sagging.Jul 30, 2020 at 6:19 pm #3667654David UBPL Member
Thanks for that. I don’t own the tent so I don’t know but given the diagram of the inner and the offsetting poles (diagonal from the top) led me to the thought that the inner would sag where it attached to the tent opposite of the poles. I am sure I am not explaning myself but having been in an SD High Route, that was one of the things I noticed. Perhaps Dan’s creation does not do this but I can’t tell from pics. I do know that the TT SS is essentially a box.Aug 2, 2020 at 2:00 am #3668092
I don’t own a TT SS1 either, but looked at the latest version (not changed much), and could not see the boxiness, despite TT’s many pics. The walls between the two pitchlocks, are at a very gradual slant, so are definitely not boxy, and the front and back altho closer to vertical, are still not boxy. Yes, if the rear were facing serious winds, I would guy it out. There is a little confusion, because, the inner floor is slightly diagonal to the line between the pitchlocks. The pitchlocks are well placed, because along with the trekking poles, they support the longest, unsupported (and closer to horizontal) surfaces:
I’m not a fan of the trekking pole tents, or any that use just vertical poles, but understand their attraction to those who carry two trekking poles – saves them a lot of extra weight. With the advent of lighter and decent flexible carbon poles, though; I think some pole curvature in a tent design provides more headroom space and canopy support under long spans of fabric. It doesn’t have to be a “semi-freestanding” dome; it can be a hooped tunnel, a single hoop, or something more creative, just as long as the total pole length is minimal to save weight. I’ve used anything over 26′ total pole length or tubing over a quarter oz per foot on poles for a solo tent as too much in terms of weight.
See what you mean about the SD High Route, also similar to the Skurka design. But also note that the SD 1200mm HH fabrics are well below Tarptent’s 3000mm HH fabrics. Would love to see an SS on a rainy, humid day. But the netting is another matter, and could raise its own sagging issues. So as said, appreciate your getting me thinking about that. Don’t see the bomber 1 oz netting that used to be on RBTR. Fortunately there are a good number of outdoor materials suppliers, both here and abroad, so it is time to test a variety of nettings and solid inner fabrics for sagging in moist conditions to be sure that there is no netting or inner fabric ‘hanging in my face.’Aug 4, 2020 at 5:54 pm #3668927Johnny MikesBPL Member
Since I looked at this thread before buying a Stratospire Li last year, I thought I’d mention that I just posted my comments on the Stratospire Li in the Stratospire Li Review forum and it does happen to contain a few comments in comparison with the Triplex that some might find useful wrt the original Z-Packs/Duplex comparison question here.Nov 20, 2020 at 12:08 am #3684900Nov 20, 2020 at 9:28 am #3684924Johnny MikesBPL Member
Just use the search function (top left) on the Backpacking Light website and it’ll pop up. You’ll likely need to scroll down past the first few results to get to the internal sites/what you’re looking for.
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