Posted by Miles Arbour
Florida-based Zpacks is perhaps best known for their lineup of ultralight Dyneema Composite shelters, many of which are non-freestanding and are particularly popular amongst trekking-pole-toting backpackers. Last year, Logan reviewed the Zpacks Duplex tent and Freestanding Flex Kit, and although he spoke very highly of it, he did notice it was no match for high winds and bad weather. The new Zpacks Free Duo Tent aim to improve the concept.
The Zpacks Free Duo is an ultralight freestanding tent that’s designed with versatility in mind. It’s constructed from 0.55 oz/sqyd Dyneema Composite and weighs in at 852 grams (30.1oz) including tent poles, guy lines, sewn in linelocs, taped seams, and a stuff sack. Stakes are not included. Unlike the majority of their other tents, the Free Duo can’t be setup with trekking poles. Rather, it relies on two ‘H’ shaped Easton Carbon 6.3 tent poles. The Free Duo retails for $699 USD and is available in four different colours: blue, camo, olive drab, and spruce green.
Continue on for a list of features straight from Zpacks, followed by their overview video.
- 100% freestanding design. It can be pitched on difficult surfaces like bedrock, compacted dirt, sand, snow or other places that staking is inconvenient.
- The Free Duo is our best tent in demanding, high wind situations. The Easton Carbon poles can handle a gale with minimal deflection. The tent body comes down nearly to the ground at the ends to help block cold wind. It pitches with a lower profile and a smaller footprint compared to our non-freestanding tents.
- Any of the four storm doors can be opened or closed independently. Leave all four open on nice weather nights for a breeze and great views. Close the upwind doors to block cold wind, or close all four for 360° rain protection.
- The tarp overhangs the bathtub floor by 4-5 inches (12 cm). In calm rain or under wet trees one or two doors can be left open for air flow without water dripping on the floor space. In almost all conditions at least one downwind door can be left open for air.
- Rainbow zippers on both sides of the tent allow easy entry regardless of which doors are closed, and they give you access to every vestibule area.
- Mesh pockets are conveniently located near each screen door so that they can be accessed from inside or outside the tent. They are a good place to store your cell phone, glasses, headlamp, the tent stuff sack, and spare seam tape (included).
- A separate groundsheet is NOT required for this shelter. The floor material is reasonably durable, and all Dyneema® Composite Fabric gear can be easily patched in the field with repair tape.
- There is screen between the bathtub floor and the walls at the ends of the tarp. The edges of the floor are elevated ensuring the screen slopes downwards away from the bathtub. Any condensation, which single wall shelters may experience, will run down the walls and out through the downward sloping screen, rather than onto the floor.
- The tent packs down small, around 6” x 12” (15 cm x 30 cm). It ships in a loose 7” x 13” (18 cm x 33 cm) stuff sack. The tent poles fold to 20” (51 cm) long and have their own stuff sack.
The Zpacks Free Duo tent is made in the USA and is available now for $699 USD from Zpacks.com.