Zpacks Offset Solo Review
The best 1P tent from Zpacks
January 3, 2024 – If you’ve ever felt cramped in a 1P tent, Zpacks Offset Solo is your ticket to spreading out comfortably. This two-door, two-vestibule ultralight DCF trekking pole shelter offers truly exceptional interior volume and floor area, easily accommodating wide pads, tall hikers, and plenty of gear. It is a top tier performance option for solo hikers, thru-hikers, and fastpackers. Shop now.
Offset Solo is brand-new as of late November 2023. While we have pitched it in the backcountry and our early experiences have been positive, our total time with this tent is still quite limited and parts of this review are reliant on our experience with its larger siblings which you can read more about in our Offset Duo Review and Offset Trio Review.
- Price: $749
- Weight: 18.8 oz (with carbon fiber end strut)
- Interior Area: 23.5 ft²
- Vestibule Area: 9.0 ft²
- Area/Pound: 12.5 ft²
- Height: 48 in
- Fly Material: Dyneema
- Pros: Ultralight. Best-in-class materials. Largest interior area in 1p category. Exceptional headroom. Vents. Magnetic toggles. Made in USA. Complimentary DCF dry bag.
- Cons: Expensive. Can’t be pitched alone if you snap a trekking pole. Small vestibules. Head-end storm side of storm doors cannot roll up.
You make Adventure Alan & Co possible. When purchasing through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Here’s why you can trust us. Now back to the Zpacks Offset Solo Review.
Construction & Features
Think of the Zpacks Offset Solo like a tricked out, 1P version of the famous Duplex. It’s a bit narrower to account for being a solo tent, but still wide enough for a 25″ wide pad with room to spare, and 94″ long. The interior is large enough that, while it has two vestibules, you hardly need them for anything other than dirty shoes or wet gear. A backpack fits at your feet and excess clothes or knickknacks fit on either side of your pad. The interior is very, very spacious!
Unlike most 1P models, Offset Solo is a dual-apex pitch, meaning it goes up with two trekking poles instead of pyramid style. Ergo, two doors, two vestibules, and significantly better air flow as-needed. What’s more, it greatly reduces the amount of incidental contact you get with sloping side walls and condensation-prone fly-fabrics. Big advantage for comfort!
The namesake offset-ness of this tent refers to bumping the ridgeline back a bit towards the head end, which greatly increases the amount of headroom above where you actually sit up, rather than squandering it over the foot-end. But thanks to the carbon fiber end strut with guy lines, the foot-end ceiling is medium, rather than low. This system creates convexity, and there is plenty of height to prevent the foot box of your quilt/sleeping bag from brushing wet end walls. Seriously, this is the largest useable interior area/volume in a 1P tent.
We love that Zpacks Offset Solo comes with all of the best features and materials. Not only is it DCF for ultimate fabric strength, waterproofness, and sag-prevention, you also get magnetic door toggles, two peak vents, two interior mesh pockets, and a complimentary Dyneema dry bag (~$40 value).
One potential downside to dual apex solo tents is that if you snap a trekking pole while in the field, you may be S.O.L. for pitching. A makeshift setup will likely be good enough with a big stick, but there’s no guarantees. None of this changes our minds though – dual apex is overall quite superior to pyramid for a 1P 3-season tent because of the vertical side walls.
A final downside to call out with this tent is that while it has two vestibules, both are quite small, and only the foot-end side of the storm doors can be rolled up. The head-end storm door must remain tensioned out to maintain a taut pitch.
Why Choose the Zpacks Offset Solo?
As you’d expect, the Zpacks Offset Solo is basically perfect for any solo excursion from an overnight to a thru-hike. Due to its spaciousness and improved ventilation, it compares very, very favorably to other 1P models in the Zpacks lineup, including the Plex Solo and Altaplex. The only reason left to choose those tents is that they are a few ounces lighter, weighing in at 13.9 and 15.4 oz respectively. That weight delta will only matter in super ultralight fastpacking scenarios, but to the average ultralight backpackers, it’s a small weight penalty for a big comfort boost. Nine out of ten hikers should choose Offset Solo over the other two 1P options.
A final consideration would be choosing this vs its 2P sibling the Offset Duo, which is only marginally heavier for a nice size and versatility boost (18.7 oz vs 20.6 oz – factoring in the carbon fiber pole weight), as it can be used solo or shared by two backpackers. People who hike solo will appreciate saving 2oz and $100, but as the Offset Duo would almost certainly represent an upgrade over your current best 2P option, it’s worth considering to fill both slots in your quiver.
We like this tent so much that a better question would be, when not to choose it. Of course, there are times when only a freestanding tent will serve, such as camping on desert slickrock or man-made tent pads. The same goes for four season conditions. This tent is good in wind, though it’s not designed for severe winter storms per se. But again, for 95% of wilderness backpacking, Zpacks Offset Solo is ideal.
Zpacks Offset Solo Review Verdict
Early testing has been positive and Zpacks Offset Solo is primed to become our 1p tent of choice for 2024 and beyond. It has incredible DNA, best in class materials, all of the right features, and a more spacious interior with more useable interior volume than anything else in its category. This is one helluva solo tent!