testing for Zpacks Offset Trio Review

Zpacks Offset Trio Review

The most spacious fully-enclosed 3P ultralight tent we’ve covered

November 1, 2023 – We’ve pitched the Zpacks Offset Trio Tent a few times now, and are excited to share our findings in this review. In short, it’s a top-tier 3P ultralight tent with unmatched stats and good backcountry performance, despite the unusual and somewhat wonky looking geometry. Offset Trio has a jaw dropping interior-size-to-weight ratio, an impressive feature set, and good DNA based on our extensive experience its forebears, the Triplex and Offset Duo.

While our time with Offset Trio is still fairly limited, we can tentatively say that it’s one of, if not the best ultralight 3P tent we’ve covered, though 3P UL tents are quite niche. We’ll revisit this review once we’ve had a full season under our belt. Until then, if you purchase this tent, please drop us a line in the comments to let us know what you think! Shop now.

You might also be interested in our full-length Zpacks Offset Duo Review, our favorite 2P ultralight tent, and Zpacks Offset Solo, 1P ultralight tent.

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 Trio Review.

Zpacks Offset Trio Stats

  • Price: $899
  • Weight: 22.8 oz
  • Material: Dyneema
  • Interior: 41.9 ft² | Vestibules: 12.5 ft² | Total Area/Pound: 40.1 ft²
  • Peak Height: 48″ | Width: 66″ tapering to 60″ | Length: 94″
  • Pros: Ultralight. Interior is longer/wider than average 3P. Excellent headroom. Best-in-class materials. Durable floor. Vents. Magnetic door roll-ups. Sturdy in wind.
  • Cons: Very expensive. Not freestanding. Small vestibules. Dual end strut adds extra setup. Head-end storm door cannot be rolled up. Large chassis bears extra wind burden.

Zpacks Offset Trio side view

Zpacks Offset Trio Pitch Architecture

To understand the bizarre-looking Offset Trio’s architecture, begin by picturing the classic Duplex/Triplex, for which you are likely already familiar. That is to say, at baseline, Offset Trio is still an ultralight, dual apex, fully-enclosed, single-wall, trekking pole-supported shelter made with Dyneema.

However, Offset Trio (just like the Duo) immediately deviates from Duplex/Triplex’s design by bumping the ridgeline closer to the head-end, creating an asymmetrical tapered pitch. If the base of the head end situates at 0% and the base of the foot end is considered at 100%, the ridgeline is approximately at the 40% mark. The namesake Offset creates more room directly above where users sit up, decreasing the likelihood of brushing your head against condensation by sacrificing unused ceiling space above your legs and feet.

Also unlike Duplex and Triplex, Offset Trio has a tapered width. It is 66″ wide from head-end to ridgeline, from which point it tapers down to 60″ at the base of the foot end. The fact that there is less headroom, and less width at the foot end requires campers to choose where they want their head and where they want their feet before setting up the tent. Make sure to check for the slope angle!

Saving the best for last, we now address the dual 32″ end struts. This unique feature was first brought to market in the Offset Duo, which has a single foot-end strut. The Offset Trio comes with the addition of a second end strut at the head-end. While adding a tiny bit of additional work to the setup process, these mini-poles are very simple to use, and truly take performance to the next level.

Primarily, they lift excess fabric upward to prevent sagging and drooping, adding large swathes of additional headroom by creating a convex shape, rather than the traditional concavity overhead. Secondly, they reinforce the pitch against wind by increasing tension on the Dyneema head/foot end walls, which tend to bear the brunt of large gusts. Based on our experience pitching it in strong wind, Offset Trio is quite sturdy. That being said, the 3P chassis is wider, and takes an increased amount of wind-pressure, so it’s extra important to properly tension out the guylines. Sections of the foot-end and head-end wall are nearly vertical when lifted by their respective end struts, so we recommend pitching the side walls into the wind so as to reduce pressure on the ends. The ridgeline’s perpendicular tension supported by trekking poles is stronger than the parallel tension supported by end struts.

view of foot end

Zpacks Offset Trio Features

The Offest Trio has so many great features, the following of which are most important to us (in no particular order):

  • Head-end and foot-end struts to raise the ceiling and increase storm-worthiness
  • Dual peak vents for condensation reduction
  • User-friendly magnetic storm door and bug mesh door roll-up toggles
  • L-shaped bug mesh doors which drape down to reduce likelihood of mosquitos drifting in while you enter/exit
  • Tall bathtub floor made with extra thick and durable Dyneema
  • Long foot-end storm doors that can be rolled up without losing tension
  • Screen door pull back feature helps keep tent dry in light rain when one door is left open
  • Trekking pole tabs lock the bathtub floor in place and prevent flapping
  • Super high visibility guy lines and effective/easy to use linelocs
  • Peak loops accommodate Gear Nest or clothes line.
  • Comes with Dyneema stuff sack
head end of offset trio

Why Should You Choose Zpacks Offset Trio

The Zpacks Offset Trio is the best option for three ultralight backpackers wanting to share one shelter. It’s also excellent for two ultralight backpackers who both use wide-width pads, while still providing the optionality to sleep a third if they don’t mind using regular width pads. It’s our top recommendation for two large and tall bodied hikers (though three large bodies will be too much). It’s also great for couples with a child or dog.

The only use-cases we wouldn’t recommend it for are those intending to use it solo, for which it is simply too much tent to bother with. If you mostly hike solo and sometimes bring a partner, choose the Offset Duo instead.

tent pitched, shot from below

Compared to Triplex & Triplex Zip

It’s worth comparing the Zpacks Offset Trio to their other 3P tents, the original Triplex, and Triplex Zip. And immediately we have a strong preference for the Offset Trio.

  • Offset Trio (22.9 oz) is lighter than Triplex Zip (23.4 oz) and heavier than Triplex Original (21.6 oz)
  • Offset Trio is longer (94″) than Triplex Zip and Triplex Original (90″)
  • Offset Trio is wider at the head end (66″ vs 60″) and equal width at the foot end  (60″ vs 60″)
  • Offset Trio has more usable head room, thanks to the offset ridgeline and end struts which create convexity.
  • Offset Trio ($899) is more expensive than Triplex Zip ($829) and Original Triplex ($799)
  • Offset Trio is more storm-worthy, because its head and foot end are reinforced by end-strut tensioning
  • Offset Trio has a shallower vestibule (18″ deep) than the Triplex Zip (24″ deep) and Original Triplex (24″ deep)
  • Offset Trio has magnetic toggles, Triplex Zip has magnetic toggles, original Triplex has traditional toggles
  • Offset Trio has L-shaped mesh doors which we prefer to the rainbow-shaped doors on Triplex Zip and original Triplex

carbon fiber end struts

Compared to Offset Duo

It’s also worth comparing the Zpacks Offset Trio to its smaller sibling, the 2P Offset Duo. Lots of people prefer 3P tents to 2P tents, because they allow two campers to each use a wide-width sleeping pad and/or have room to spread out, while still maintaining the optionality to sleep three campers in a pinch. And to be honest, Offset Trio compares quite favorably to Offset Duo on a lot of metrics aside from price.

  • Offset Trio ($899) is $100 more expensive than Offset Duo ($799)
  • Offset Trio (22.9 oz) is 3.2 oz heavier than Offset Duo (19.7 oz)
  • Offset Trio (66″-60″) is 16″ wider than Offset Duo (50″-44″)
  • Offset Trio has more total area per pound than Offset Duo (40.1 ft² vs 35.7 ft²)
  • Offset Trio has an additional end strut for additional storm-worthiness and convexity at the head-end
  • Both tents have a foot-end-strut
  • Both tents are 94″ long
  • Both tents have similar ceiling heights
  • Both tents have a shallow vestibule depth of 18″

sleeping pad layout configuration

What Could Be Better?

Our biggest gripe about the Offset series is that these tents have small, shallow vestibules, and the head end cannot be rolled up. This is true of both the Duo and the Trio. Both models have 18″ deep vestibules with 12.5 sqft. in combined area. All other Zpacks tents have 24″ deep vestibules. For a standardized comparison, top tier lightweight freestanding models like the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2, have 18 sqft. of total vestibule area.

What’s more, the Offset Trio vestibule area feels even smaller than it actually is. That’s because the majority of area in the foot end half must be kept clear for entry/exit use. That leaves only the head end for gear storage. In practice, these vestibules are more suitable for storing shoes than packs.

The good news is that nearly all of these vestibule issues are resolved by the sheer length of the interior, allowing users to easily store their packs at their feet. The standard length of a sleeping pad is 6′, and the Offset Trio is just shy of 8′. So there’s plenty of room for gear storage in the foot end, without even fulling abutting into the head end wall.

This pure speculation, but we can’t help but wonder if the foot-end strut should be converted into a full-on third ridgeline point with a trekking pole insert instead of a guy-out point.

Oh yeah, and the price… $899 makes it the most expensive tent in the 3P ultralight class.

zpacks offset trio review

Offset Trio Review Verdict

The Zpacks Offset Trio is a very compelling 3P ultralight tent. It takes everything we love about the 2P version, and adds more of it. The end result is a palatial shelter with exceptional headroom and the best interior-area-to-weight ratio we’ve ever seen. While our backcountry experience is still limited, what we have seen thus far tentatively indicates the potential for a GOAT-tier 3p fully enclosed ultralight tent. While it’s possible that further backcountry testing could illuminate issues with the unusual new-to-market geometry, for now at least, Offset Trio gets three thumbs up from us!

We’ll revisit this Offset Trio Review once we have more experience in the backcountry.

testing offset trio