zpacks brand tent in the spotlight

Spotlighting our favorite thru-hiker brand

The Zpacks brand is a top purveyor of performance ultralight gear catering to the needs of thru-hikers, and specializing in tents, backpacks, and sleeping bags. They are based out of West Melbourne, Florida, and manufacture products on-site for absolute quality control.

In 2004, unable to find adequately lightweight gear for his upcoming AT thru-hike, founder Joe Valesko (trail name: Samurai) set up shop in his apartment. And thus, Zpacks was born. Today, Joe is a Triplecrowner and his team has tens of thousands of collective trail miles under their belts. Every product they make is infused with all of that thru-hiking experience.

Zpacks brand products are constructed with the highest quality ultralight materials, including Dyneema Composite Fabric, and Challenge ULTRA, among others. Thanks to the combination of premium materials, innovative designs, and made-in-America production, Zpacks commands a top shelf price. But the value proposition is still favorable because the gear really is that good.

Even relative to other ultralight manufacturers, Zpacks brand products tend to be lighter weight; an impressive feat in a competitive marketplace. We have been using Zpacks gear for most of a decade, and it’s been with us all over the world, including Alaska, Patagonia, Europe, and criss-crossing on/off trails in every region of the contiguous United States. For your next ultralight gear purchase, we highly recommend Zpacks!

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Our Favorite Zpacks Brand Products

Zpacks Offset Duo

19.7 oz | $799

The Zpacks Offset Duo Tent is the best and most spacious 2P Zpacks brand tent to-date, and one of the very best trekking pole supported tents on the entire market. Offset Duo builds on the success of Zpacks’ flagship Duplex design by increasing its length and width, adding vents, zippered storm doors, magnetic roll-ups, a 32″ end strut, and ingeniously offsetting its trekking pole placement towards the head-end to maximize ceiling space directly above where users sit up. Learn more in our full length Zpacks Offset Duo Review.

Zpacks DupleXL Zip Tent

22.6 oz | $749

The Zpacks DupleXL Zip Tent is one of the most fully-featured, ultralight 2P shelters money can buy, and ideal for sleeping two backpackers. It is 8′ in length, allowing for the storage of packs and gear at your feet, rather than cramping your legs or clogging the vestibule. End struts increase usable space at the head and foot end, storm door vents increase air flow and reduce condensation. Read more in our full-length Zpacks DupleXL Zip review.

Zpacks Arc Haul Ultra 60L Backpack

Zpacks Arc Haul Ultra 60L Backpack

21.9 oz | $399

The magic of the Zpacks Arc Haul Ultra 60L Backpack is that you get a full external frame backpack at a super ultralight weight without any sacrifices other than the price tag. The pack is designed with Challenge Ultra 200 fabric, so it’s waterproof and has a better durability-to-weight ratio than Dyneema or Robic nylon.

We commend the Arc Haul’s old school full-external-arched-frame design for an incredible load transfer from shoulder to hips. While we feel it’s perfectly durable enough for typical on-trail hiking, it’s true ultralight backpacking gear and must be handled respectfully

Zpacks Nero Ultra 38 Backpack

Zpacks Nero Ultra 38L Backpack

10.2 | $249

Zpacks Nero Ultra 38 is the perfect vessel for carrying a super ultralight kit. Constructed with waterproof and tough-as-nails Challenge Ultra fabric, the base pack is frameless, hipbelt-less, and weighs only 10.2 oz when fully stripped down. Yet it is still very comfortable and well-featured with 2.75″ wide shoulder straps, a foam sit pad back panel, and a full-sized set of side and rear external pockets. This fastpacking pack has proven very effective for us in managing base weights under ten pounds.

Zpacks Solo Quilt 20

18.3 oz | $429

Zpacks Solo Quilt 20F is one of four ultralight backpacking quilts in a class of their own at the top of the performance rankings in terms of warmth-to-weight. This is thanks to the combination of baffles overstuffed with 900 fill power hydrophobic goose down, and 7D ultralight ripstop Ventum Nylon. This a seriously lightweight and warm quilt, and superior in performance to any traditional sleeping bag. And, it comes with a complimentary Dyneema dry bag!

Zpacks Mummy Sleeping Bag 20

Zpacks 20F Mummy Sleeping Bag

23.2 oz | $539

The Zpacks 20F Mummy Sleeping Bag is our pick for the best traditional sleeping bag, and the highest performance sleeping bag money can buy. At only 23.2 oz and over stuffed with 900 fill power RDS hydrophobic goose down. It is very easily the lightest weight hooded sleeping bag on the market, with the highest warmth-to-weight ratio. On colder nights, we love cinching down the hood to stay cozy, and on warmer nights, we love how it can fully unzip and convert into a blanket for better ventilation. The Zpacks Mummy Sleeping Bag 20 raises the industry wide performance bar on how good a mummy bag can be and it is our number one recommendation for anyone who prefers a traditional sleeping bag over a camping quilt. Read more in our full-length Zpacks Mummy Sleeping Bag Review.

Zpacks Vertice Rain Jacket

5.6 oz | $299

The Zpacks Vertice Rain Jacket is the best and most breathable super ultralight hard shell, and it blows mainstream outdoor brands out of the water in terms of pure performance. The Vertice membrane comes with a whopping 56k breathability rating (Gore-Tex is rated to 17k). And despite that, it maintains a waterproof rating of 20k – only a bit lower than most Gore-Tex. The Vertice even has pitzips, a remarkable feature-add, considering it weighs so little! Perfect for fastpacking!

Zpacks Vertice Rain Pants

Zpacks Vertice Rain Pants

3.2 oz | $149

Fully waterproof, preposterously breathable, and only three ounces, the Zpacks Vertice Rain Pants are top tier rain pants for minimizing weight. Vertice has a breathability rating of 56k, that’s more than than triple Gore-Tex, perfect for high intensity movement. True, this isn’t the most durable pair of rain pants, but we find them to be sufficient for on-trail use and are the current best option for an ultralight gear list.

Zpacks Goose Down Jacket

Zpacks Goose Down Jacket

6.8 oz | $399

The Zpacks Goose Down Jacket blows the hubcaps off competitors like the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer. In particular, it’s almost two times warmer for the weight. This is because it’s filled with top-tier 950 fill power down (and more of it) vs mid-tier 800 fill. And they didn’t skimp on features either. The Zpacks Goose Down Jacket still has a drawcord hood, two pockets, full front zipper, and drawcord hem to seal out drafts. It isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s still a great performance to value ratio costing only marginally more than Ghost Whisperer. Read more in our full-length Zpacks Goose Down Jacket Review.

Two Zpacks Tents by a lake


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