comparing zpacks tents for how to choose

Testing Zpacks Offset Duo Tent for review

Logic For How To Choose Zpacks Tents

The shortcut answer to this question is that you should probably choose the Offset Duo because it is far and away the best 2P tent they make, and 2P tents in general are the most versatile as they can very effectively be used solo. This is so because, among their 2P tents, Offset Duo has the most interior area, headroom, and features, while maintaining the a very low weight. Choose Offset Trio for Mixed 2p & 3P use. Choose an Offset Solo for thru hiking or if you mostly hike alone or already have a 2P.

Basically, as long as you can afford it, from a technical perspective, you should always choose an Offset series model over a non-Offset. The Offset Solo, Duo, and Trio are all the best Zpacks tents in their respective size classes, and some of the very best tents in existence.

However, all of the Zpacks tents are excellent ultralight designs, and how to choose between them comes down to a combination of your budget, height and how many people will typically sleep in the tent. Because Zpacks tents are of such high quality and price, we recommend purchasing a 2P model like the Offset Duo first, because they are the most versatile, given the ability to sleep one or two campers, while keeping stowed weight and bulk to a minimum for solo travel.

Consider a dedicated solo tent, or Duplex Lite if you are a thru-hiker or building a multi-ultralight-tent quiver. Consider a 3P tent if you and your partner use wide pads, are restless sleepers, need 3P capacity, and don’t intend to use it solo. Choose tents with feature add-ons like Offset, XL, and Zip when you plan to use the tent at mostly full capacity (ex. mostly sleeping 2P in a 2P tent). Choose the more minimalist base models, which are lighter weight and less bulky when stowed, if you intend to use it mostly at less than full capacity, with the option to use it a full capacity from time to time (ex. mostly sleeping 1P in a 2P tent, but occasionally sleeping 2P in a 2P tent)

Camping Above Sprite Lake in the Zpacks DupleXL Zip Tent

Plex Solo vs Altaplex vs Offset Solo vs Duplex vs Duplex Lite vs Duplex Zip vs DupleXL vs DupleXL Zip vs Offset Duo vs Triplex vs Triplex Zip vs Offset Trio Tents 

Zpacks Plex Solo

Zpacks Plex Solo

13.9 oz | $599 | Second Best 1P, Lightest Weight, For Short-Medium Height

The Zpacks Plex Solo is, unsurprisingly, the best solo tent in the Zpacks Line. Notably, it is more like a 1.5P than a 1P thanks to its widened center. Though it tapers to 28″ at the ends, the 38″ center width of the Plex Solo is luxuriously spacious for one camper. Unlike the 2P and 3P Zpacks tents, the Plex Solo and it’s taller sibling Altaplex, have only one door, one vestibule, and are set up with one pole – which saves lots of  weight and bulk and setup time. But before you choose the Plex Solo, even if you have a big solo trip coming up, consider how likely it is that you may wish to sleep two in the future. The base Duplex is only 4.5 ounces heavier. Sure, if you’re thru-hiking or building out an ultralight tent quiver, those 4.5 extra ounces easily justify the Plex Solo. But Zpacks tents are expensive, and the Duplex is much more versatile for most people and still more than light enough to justify taking solo.

Zpacks Altaplex

Zpacks Altaplex

15.4 oz | $669 | Second best 1P For Tall Heights, Second Lightest Weight

As the name implies, the Zpacks Altaplex is the taller version of the Plex Solo, with many of the same design features. It is the single tallest in the Zpacks Line. Set up with just one trekking pole, the peak height is a whopping 56-58″ which is a whole 10″ taller than the base Duplex, and 4-6″ taller than its shorter sibling the Plex Solo. But as the base 1P Plex Solo is already the second tallest tent, you really only need to go for the Alta if you’re truly over six feet. We do not recommend thinking of the Altaplex as a more luxurious Plex Solo for the average hiker. Not only is it slightly narrower and slightly less sturdy in wind, unless you’re quite tall, the average sized hiker would get a bigger liviability boost and bigger versatility boost by upgrading to a 2P model. Another interesting thing to note is that, unlike DupleXL, which adds length-not-height, the Altaplex adds height-not-length. Which is more important to you? Another thing to consider is that tall tents are kind of rare, and if you are a tall hiker and you don’t already have a 2P tall ultralight tent, we would recommend getting the DupleXL before an Altaplex, because it’s more versatile and probably two upgrades for the price of one.

Zpacks Plex Solo

Zpacks Offset Solo

18.8 oz | $669| Best Overall 1P For Most Uses, Best For All Heights

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. The namesake offeset bumps the ridgeline towards the headline for more interior volume above where you stand up. A carbon fiber end strut adds convexity above the footend to prevent sleeping-bag-wet-fly-wall contact. It is a top tier performance option for solo hikers, thru-hikers, and fastpackers, and truly a best-in-class design. Shop now.

Read more in our deep dive Zpacks Offset Solo Review.

Zpacks Duplex Lite

Zpacks Duplex Lite

14.9 oz | $669 | Second Best for 1p, for Short-Medium Height, Second Lightest Overall, Worst For 2P

The Zpacks Duplex Lite claims the title of lightest 2P fully enclosed tent, weighing in at a scant 14.9 oz! It achieves this miracle by starting with the base Duplex chassis, narrowing it slightly, and utilizing a slightly thinner floor fabric and guy line cordage. While this is technically a 2P tent, there is zero width to spare, so it’s more like a 1.8P tent, and probably designed with thru-hikers in mind who are unlikely to ever use it at full capacity. The 25 sq ft interior floor is definitely cramped for two, but could be appropriate for fastpackers or a pair of smaller/shorter people who wish to prioritize weight savings over comfort. To be clear, we do not recommend this for general 2p use, but it is a great option for soloists.

Zpacks Duplex

Zpacks Duplex

18.5 oz | $699 | Second Best For Mostly 1P Some 2P, Short-Medium Height

Ah original Zpacks Duplex, the best Zpacks tent for backpackers who prefers going solo, but sometimes bring a buddy along too. It is the lightest weight, least bulky, and least featured 2P tent in the line. Because solo backpackers can’t share anything, they need to be extra cognizant about carrying less gear, and less weight. It’s more important for the soloist to carry less than it is for the duo to have more comfort features. Thus, base Duplex is still as relevant today as it’s ever been. If most of your backpacking trips involve sleeping two people in one tent, we recommend one of the larger and/or more fully featured models. But this the right choice for mixed 1p and 2p use. What’s more, it can even accommodate moderately tall soloists who have the ability to increase the usable length by sleeping diagonally.

Update Aug 3, 2023: We recommend the Offset Duo over the Duplex because it is wider, longer, and has better headroom for only 1.2 extra ounces. 

Zpacks Duplex Zip

20.4 oz | $729 | Second Best For 2P, Short Height

The Duplex Zip is an excellent and incredibly sweet ultralight Zpacks tent that gets pushed into a corner by its siblings. Thanks to the Zip feature set, it gets a zippered storm door, top vents, and magnetic door roll-ups. However, compared to base duplex, it’s bulkier and heavier and worse for 1P use. Compared to DupleXL, it’s roughly equal in weight and bulk, but we prefer the XL feature set to the Zip feature set. And lastly, compared to the DupleXL Zip, it slightly lighter and less bulky, but has fewer livability enhancements that two campers of average or tall height would strongly prefer. Thus, that leaves only short height backpackers who intend to use it as a 2P tent a majority of the time. But in that particular case, we would highly recommend it!

Update Aug 3, 2023: We recommend the Offset Duo over the Duplex because it is wider, longer, has better headroom and weighs 0.7 ounces less.

Zpacks DupleXL

20.8 oz | $699 | Second Best For Mostly 2P, Some 1P, Medium-Tall Height

The Zpacks DupleXL is the Zpacks tent for you if you are at least average height or taller, and plan to use the tent mostly with 2P, but occasionally as a 1P. Because of the XL design, it has six inches of extra length, and end struts which keep the walls from brushing your head or sleeping bag footbox. Great livability boosts! Among the four 2P Zpacks Tents, DupleXL is dead center in terms of weight and bulk to carry, but in the upper half of livability. It’s dreamy for 2P use, if not a bit overkill for 1P use. But DupleXL is so ultralight to begin with that it’s not the end of the world to carry solo. Read our full length review of the DupleXL

Update Aug 3, 2023: We recommend the Offset Duo over the DupleXL because it trades 2″ less length for 6″ more width (very favorable), and has better headroom (thus accommodating tall hikers better, and weighs 1.1 ounces less.

Zpacks DupleXL Zip

22.6 oz | $729 | Second Best For 2P, Medium-Tall Height

The DupleXL Zip is the only tent with both the XL and Zip bonus feature set, all of the bells and whistles, thus we consider it to be the Cadillac of the Zpacks Tents. From XL, it has the increased length and end struts. From Zip, it has the storm door zipper, magnetic storm door roll-ups, and upper storm door vent. As such, we believe it is the best dedicated two person Zpacks tent. However all of those features add weight and bulk, too much to justify carrying for a solo backpacker, as such we recommend it only as dedicated 2P tent. If you plan to mix 1p and 2p use, look to the base Duplex, or DupleXL. Read our full length review of the Zpacks DupleXL Zip.

Update Aug 3, 2023: We recommend the Offset Duo over the DupleXL because it trades 2″ less length for 6″ more width (very favorable), and has better headroom (thus accommodating tall hikers better, weighs 1.1 ounces less, and has all of the same features including zip, vents, magnetic roll-ups, and end strut.

Zpacks Offset Duo Tent

Zpacks Offset Duo

19.7 oz | $799 | Best Overall 2P, Best For Any Combination of Mixed 1P & 2P Use, Best For All Heights

On August 3, 2023 Zpacks launched the Offset Duo and immediately skyrocketed to the top of our Zpacks brand tents power rankings. Thanks to the spacious interior, exceptional headroom, sub 20 oz weight, and innovative offset + end strut design, we deem it the best of all worlds. It is has more interior square footage than all other 2P Zpacks options, and is the second lightest, only one ounce heavier than the baseline Duplex. It has all of the features of the Zip upgrade package (magnetic roll-ups, zippered storm doors, and peak vents) is only 2″ shorter than the XL upgrade package while also being 5″ wider (a net gain in square footage), and has better headroom than all of them thanks to the offset poles and tall end strut. Aside from its cost, which is quite expensive, there is simply no reason not to choose the Zpacks Offset Duo.

Read our full-length Zpacks Offset Duo Review.

Zpacks Triplex

21.6 oz | $799 | Best For Mostly 2P, Some 3P, or Restless 2P

The Zpacks Triplex, along with the Triplex Zip, are the only 3P tents on offer. And between them, base Triplex is lighter weight and less bulky to carry, and thus is more suitable as a majority 2P tent that can sometimes flex for 3P. We also recommend it highly as a 2P option for restless sleepers. Your tentmate would appreciate the extra width to create a buffer zone in the middle. For routine 3P use, look to the Triplex Zip which has vents.

Zpacks Triplex Zip

Zpacks Triplex Zip

23.4 oz | $829 | Best For Mostly 3P, Some 2P, or 2P Wide

The Zpacks Triplex Zip is the best Zpacks tent for three campers. It and the base Triplex are the widest models in the line. The namesake “Zip” means its storm doors have zippers and magnet roll-ups instead of toggles. But what’s most important is that the Triplex Zip has upper storm door vents. These are extremely helpful to relieve the enclosure of a third person’s worth of heat, moisture, and smells. That said, this is the heaviest and bulkiest Zpacks Tent to carry, so we only recommend it to those who plan to use it to its fullest capacity a majority of the time. It is also the best Zpacks tent for two wide sleeping pad users. But for for mostly 2P with occasionally 3P use, look to the original Triplex.

Zpacks Offset Trio

Zpacks Offset Trio

22.9 oz | $899 | Best Overall 3P, Best For Any Combination of Mixed 2P & 3P Use, Best For 2 Wide Pads, Best For All Heights

The Zpacks Offset Trio is the largest and most spacious of all Zpacks Tents, and easily the best 3P tent, but you’d never know it from the scant 22.9 oz weight. It has all of the features of the XL and Zip models (zippered storm door, magnetic toggles, peak vents, end struts, etc), plus an offset ridgeline for increased ceiling volume overhead. Dual end struts lift up the head and foot end to form convexity, further increasing headroom, and decreasing the likelihood of brushing against condensation. At 94″, it’s longer than the baseline models which are 90″, but shorter than the XL models at 96″. The overall increased length and width gives it the largest interior area. The downside is that it’s more expensive than the baseline Triplex by $100, and has much smaller vestibules.

Read our full-length Zpacks Offset Trio Review

Zpacks Tents Statistical Comparison Tables

Zpacks Tents: Price, Weight, & Interior Area Comparison

Zpacks Tents Price($) Weight (oz) Interior Area (sq ft) Interior Sq Ft/Pound
Plex Solo 599 13.9 20.6 23.7
Altaplex 669 15.4 22.5 23.4
Offset Solo 669 18.8 23.5 20.0
Duplex Lite 669 14.9 25.0 26.8
Duplex 699 18.5 28.1 24.3
Duplex Zip 729 20.4 28.1 22.0
DupleXL 699 20.8 29.3 22.5
DupleXL Zip 729 22.6 29.3 20.7
Offset Duo 799 19.7 31.5 25.6
Triplex 799 21.6 37.5 27.8
Triplex Zip 829 23.4 37.5 25.6
Offset Trio 899 22.9 41.9 29.3

Zpacks Tents: Interior Length, Height, & Width Comparison

Zpacks Tent Length (in) Height (in) Center Width (in)
Width/Person (in)
Plex Solo 90 52 38 38
Altaplex 90 56 36 36
Offset Solo 94 48 34 34
Duplex Lite 90 48 40 20
Duplex 90 48 45 22.5
Duplex Zip 90 48 45 22.5
DupleXL 96 48 44 22
DupleXL Zip 96 48 44 22
Offset Duo 94 48 50 25
Triplex 90 48 60 20
Triplex Zip 90 48 60 20
Offset Trio 94 48 66 22

Zpacks Tents: Feature Comparison

Zpacks Tent Storm Door Closure Storm Door Roll-Up Peak Vents End Struts
Plex Solo toggle toggle no no
Altaplex zipper toggle no no
Offset Solo zipper magnet yes yes, tall
Duplex Lite toggle toggle no no
Duplex toggle toggle no no
Duplex Zip zipper magnet yes no
DupleXL toggle toggle no yes, short
DupleXL Zip magnet zipper yes yes, short
Offset Duo zipper magnet yes yes, tall
Triplex toggle toggle no no
Triplex Zip zipper toggle yes no
Offset Trio zipper magnet yes yes, tall
testing zpacks triplex tent for a featured gear review

Zpacks Tent Modifiers Explained: XL, Zip, Offset, & Free

“Offset” Overview

Offset meaning: Two Zpacks Tents, the Offset Duo and Offset Trio currently comprise the Offset series. The word Offset signifies that the apex ridgeline is bumped closer to the head-end to creating an asymmetrical pitch with additional ceiling space directly above where users spend the most time sitting up. This decreases ceiling height above the foot-end. Compared to baseline series (Duplex/Triplex) Offset series is also 4″ longer and 6″ wider at the head end, tapering to equal width with at the foot-end. It has a higher interior volume, but smaller vestibules. It It also implies the addition of one or more 32″ end struts (mini-poles or use 3rd/4th trekking pole), to create convexity at the foot and/or head end, which further increases usable headroom and interior volume. This package also includes magnetic storm door roll-ups, magnetic bug mesh door roll-ups, peak vents, zippered storm doors, and trekking pole-to-bathtub-floor-connection flaps.

Our thoughts on the Offset features: The Offset package is the best upgrade in the Zpacks line. It has all of the zip features, with more interior area and larger end struts than the XL series. It is the biggest and best of all worlds, the most livable. It has the best headroom, thanks to the offset ridgeline. Only downside is the decreased vestibule space, and that it’s the most expensive of them all, adding +$100 on top of the baseline Duplex or Triplex, which are already pricey.

“XL” Overview

XL meaning: Two Zpacks tents end in “XL,” the DupleXL, and the DupleXL Zip. The XL signifies three changes from the base model. First is the elongated tent body, that bumps up from 7.5′ to 8′. The second addition is the end struts. These are one foot tall rods attached to guyout lines at the center of the foot and head end. When tensioned, they pull the tent fabric up and away from draping onto your head or the top of your sleeping bag’s footbox. Third and finally, the DupleXL and DupleXL Zip are one inch narrower in interior width than the base Duplex. The addition of six inches of length minus 1 inch of width nets a total of 1.2 extra square feet.

Our thoughts on XL features: We love the addition of the XL features. The extra six inches of length allow you to store your backpack at your feet (rather than vestibule) and extra gear at the head end, like water, fleece, headlamp, etc. This is the a huge benefit and incredible livability boost.

The ends struts are an excellent add-on, as they reduce the amount of contact between sleeping bag foot box and tent wall, which in turn reduces the amount of dampness that always seems to invade the footbox. They also reduce the likelihood of wind blowing the tent wall into your head during a storm. Despite the fact that they weigh virtually nothing, the struts do add a bit of annoying bulk and make packing up slightly more challenging, as you have to make sure they are situated parallel to how you are rolling up the tent. The loss of one inch of width is odd, we wish they had just kept it the same. However, losing a half inch of width per camper is marginal at worst, compared to all of the benefits of extra length.

“Zip” Overview

“Zip” meaning: Three Zpacks tents come with the “Zip” suffix – the Duplex Zip, the DupleXL Zip, and the Triplex Zip. Like the XL modifier, the Zip implies three distinct changes from the base model. First and foremost is the inclusion of a waterproof zipper closure system on the storm doors instead of a toggle closure. Second, and perhaps even more important than the zipper is the addition of the storm door vents, which help reduce condensation build up by dumping a bit of warm air that has risen to the top. Third and finally, is how magnets replace toggles for the storm door roll-up system.

Our thoughts on “Zip” features: The zipper comes with pros and cons, but once the dust settles, we could take it or leave it, to be honest. Obviously it’s faster and easier to use, especially when opening/closing from the inside. The zipper also creates a flush closure that prevents the wind from blowing into/flapping the gap in between the toggled-closure storm doors. The downside, of course, is that zippers are usually the first thing to fail on any given piece of gear, so we view the addition of the zipper as a small but notable hit to the overall lifespan of the product. Zippers can be especially difficult in sandy environments as they get clogged and damaged more easily.

But we love, love, love the addition of the vents. All single-wall shelters have condensation issues, and the vents help reduce that. They’re also great on warm nights. We hope that all of the Zpacks tents get storm door vents going forward, not only those with zipper closures. That being said, as single-wall shelters go, we’ve always found that Zpacks tents are breezy and well-ventilated with just the doors and the gap around the base/under the vestibule. Lastly, the magnetic storm door closure roll-ups are nice to haves, marginal but strict improvement. They hold surprisingly well and are much easier to un-do than the toggles, especially from the inside.

“Lite” Overview

“Lite” meaning: The Lite designation for Zpacks tents, currently found on Duplex Lite, refers to a weight savings package that reduces weight by ~20% over the base model. The weight savings are derived from three optimizations: (1) thinner DCF floor fabric, most Zpacks tents use DCF 1 oz/sq yd for floor fabric, but DCF .75 oz/sq yd is used for the Lite edition; (2) narrower width. The standard Duplex is 45″ wide, whereas the Duplex Lite is 40″ wide. This allows room for two standard width sleeping pads with zero to spare on the edges; (3) thinner guy line cordage on all cinches and pulls, down to 1.3 mm from 2mm.

Our thoughts on the “Lite” features: The weight savings optimizations are appreciated, and 14.9 oz for a fully enclosed Duplex Lite is impressive. However, the end result is a 2p tent is specifically designed for use by 1P, and while it technically can fit two campers, we would never actually recommend that as it’s just too narrow. Evaluating narrowness will need to be done on a case by case, and we’ll see if they make a Soloplex Lite or a Triplex Lite. But in general, we tend to prefer the extra width rather than sacrificing it. The thinner floor saves both weight and bulk, but will reduce the overall lifespan of the tent. We assume if you’re bothering with the Lite version, you are unlikely to use a ground pad since weight savings are the entire point. The thinner guy line cordage is another one where it probably only saved a fraction of an ounce and may harm useability in cold weather.

The phenomenon here is that we don’t love any of the individual optimizations comprising the Lite package, but the end result is certainly admirable. All said and done, if you aren’t into fastpacking, FKTs, thru-hiking, or shaving every last graham, you should probably avoid the lite series in favor of the other options.

“Free” Overview

“Free” meaning: Two Zpacks Tents are modified with “free”, the 2P Free Duo and 3P Free Trio, though they are not included in this how to choose article. Free implies that the tent is freestanding, rather than trekking pole supported, thanks to the addition of H-shaped carbon tent poles that affix to the exterior of the fly. This allows the tent to be set up on surfaces that cannot be staked, like rock or loose beach sand. The tent poles add about 10 oz of additional weight and $150-200 of additional cost.

Our thoughts on “Free” features: First off, we’ll admit that we don’t have personal experience with the freestanding Zpacks Tents, including the Free Duo or Free Trio, or the Duplex Freestanding Flex Kit. That said, as freestanding tents go, these compare favorably on spec to competitors. The 2P Free Duo weighs just 30.1 oz, 13 oz less than the Big Agnes Tiger Wall HV UL2, arguably the most popular 2P freestanding tent design on the market. That alone is a huge win for Zpacks. User reviews for the Free Duo are also very positive, averaging 4.7 out of 5 stars on 33 reviews at time of writing. That said, the additional weight and cost is a big ask for ultralight backpackers (the free tents are light-not-ultarlight) and we’ve managed just fine without freestanding setup for hundreds if not thousands of nights in the backcountry, all around the world and never has it caused a major issue.

Therefor, we view this as a fairly niche product that adds extra cost and weight with limited benefit. It’s likely that you already have a freestanding tent somewhere in your closet that would hold you over in the rare case you are camping on a surface without the ability to use stakes. If you’re building out a quiver of ultralight tents, we might recommend these as your fourth purchase, after you have acquired a 1P, a 2P, and 3P trekking pole supported option.

Zpacks Tents Fabric Thickness & Color

How To Choose Fabric Thickness

As you shop around a Zpacks Tent product page and shift between colorway selections, you might notice that the list weight changes. That’s because their tent flys are offered in two different thicknesses of Dyneema Composite Fabric, .55 oz/sq yd and .75 oz/sq yd.

While both fabrics are completely adequate in terms of durability and waterproofness, the .75 oz/sq yd is more durable and more waterproof while also slightly heavier. No one option is strictly better, and which is right for you depends mostly on your preferences.

Note, all Zpacks Tents except for Duplex Lite use 1 oz/sq yd DCF for the floor.

Which color is which fabric weight?

  • .55 oz/sq yd
    • Blue, Olive Drab, White
  • .75 oz/sq yd
    • Spruce Green, Burnt Orange, Dirt (brown)

Zpacks Tents Fabric Weight Considerations

We’ve run the numbers and here are the results. Our measurements are based off of the base Zpacks Duplex model.

  • The .75 is 65% stronger  when it comes to Tensile Strength
  • The .75 is 72% stronger when it comes to Puncture Strength
  • The .75 is 33% more waterproof
  • The .75 increases the total weight of a base Duplexl by 11%, from 18.5 to 20.5. An approximately two ounce total weight increase is standard across most models when switching from .55 up to .75
  • Not listed or measured, but the .75 weight is slightly bulkier and more voluminous when stowed
  • The .75 is more opaque and less sheer than the .55, though are unable to measure this

While we acknowledge that the .55 is sufficiently durable and waterproof, those are quite substantial performance increases across the board. For people who prefer backpacking gear that is average weight, lightweight, or ultralight, we would recommend choosing a .75 oz/sq yd colorways. For backpackers striving to go super ultralight, we would recommend the .55 oz/sq yd weight colorways.

How To Choose Fabric Color

Regarding sheerness/transparency and the white colorway

First and foremost, we will call out that the white colorway is quite sheer/transparent, and that in general, the three .55 DCF options are all more sheer than the corresponding .75 weight colorways. But the white in particular is more like a white-ish clear than a true white. While you cannot see detail through it, you can see the color of skin through it. All of the rest are sufficiently thick/colored to provide adequate privacy, but we recommend against the white colorway.

LNT Considerations

It is nice if your tent doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb, drawing the eye and interrupting other campers’ experience in nature. In that sense, consider where you are most likely to camp. Green tents are most respectful in a forest environment, red and brown tents are most respectful in a desert environment. Don’t worry about matching perfectly as you will probably travel between ecosystems and no one tent is perfect everywhere.

Safety Considerations

Opposite LNT is safety. A tent that stands out is more likely to be found in a search and rescue situation. While this is a marginal benefit as Zpacks tents are not offered in high vis colorways, it is worth noting and considering.

Photogenic Considerations

Like with safety, subject isolation is important to photographers. An orange tent looks good against the backdrop of a green forest. Conversely, a green tent would not stand out and would make for an inferior tent portrait photo. If taking pretty pictures of your tent is important, consider choosing a colorway that is opposite from the environment you plan to photograph most.

Interior Ambiance Considerations

Have you heard of “drunk-tank pink?” It is common tradition to place angry, drunken bar brawlers in a room the color of Pepto-Bismol pink. Whether or not that actual use-case is urban legend, it’s because pink creates a calming ambiance. But not just pink, warm colors like yellow and orange have been studied to have a similar effect. So in that sense, the burnt orange colorway specifically is the most likely to have a calming, pleasant effect and improve the ambiance.

Personal Preference

If you’re going to spend $600-800 on a Zpacks Tent, you should like how it looks. Choose a color that makes you happy, that you think looks good. Just like how well-plated food is perceived to taste better, gear that you think looks good might just perform better!

Which does the author choose?

The author prefers the burnt orange colorway. It is pleasant and warm feeling to be inside, and photographs extremely well in forests and meadows. At the same time, it is still a somewhat earthy color that blends in on dirt and is not high vis or disruptive to the LNT experience.

How should you choose?

First, rule out white since it doesn’t offer enough privacy. Then, decide between .55 oz/sq yd or .75 oz/sq yd. If you normally purchase super ultralight gear, choose .55 oz/sq yd. If you are anyone else, choose .75 oz/sq yd. Then think about where you are most likely to camp throughout the lifespan of the tent and if you want to contrast with that ecosystem (photographers and safety-firsters) or blend in (LNTers). Finally, just wind up choosing your favorite color.

zpacks duplexl internal space

How To Choose Zpacks Tents Conclusion

We can’t stress enough how excellent Zpacks tents are, and how highly we regard them. We’ve used them all over the world, and weathered serious storms, and been very comfortable. There is no single best option, how to choose comes down mostly to your height and how many people you intend to sleep in the tent given its most common use-case. But we’re confident that you’ll be happy with whichever you decide on.

We hope you found this guide helpful, and we’ll continue adding to it and updating as new Zpacks tents are released. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments. Happy hiking!

Backpacking Tent In Use Testing Zpacks Offset Duo Ultralight Tent review