Hprevious onto your butts, the subsequent huge factor from Zpacks is right here. Contemporary off their spring launch of the refreshed Duplex Zip, this ubiquitous UL model is lobbing one other new DCF shelter our manner. This one is known as the Offset Duo, and it appears to be like acquainted and peculiar on the similar time.

Like a stretched-out Duplex, with the Offset Duo, the great folks at Zpacks break the head-to-toe symmetry that has till now remained constant throughout the final decade of shelter choices. You may end up asking, why change now? Whereas the traditional Duplex has been one of many highest-rated and hottest shelters on the lengthy trails of America for so long as anybody can bear in mind, it has its downsides. 

Preserving all the most recent enhancements of the Duplex Zip, Zpacks stretched some dimensions, morphing their decades-long symmetry away from the head-to-toe symmetry that has till now remained constant throughout the final decade of shelter choices.

Zpacks Offset Duo At-a-Look

The Offset Duo is sort of a Duplex, however totally different.

MSRP: $769-$799
Shelter Sort: Non-freestanding, trekking pole shelter
Weight*: 19.7-21.7 ounces, relying on materials alternative, not together with 32” pole (Mine weighs 23.4 ounces with included third pole)
Stakes Required: Sure, 7-8 relying on situations
Supplies: Dyneema Composite Cloth (DCF),  bug mesh
Capability: 2 folks + gear
Variety of Doorways: Two
Ground Dimensions: 94” lengthy x 50” head / 44” foot
Peak Top: 48”
Packed Measurement: 6” x 12”
Bug Safety: Oh yeah
Nation of Origin: USA

*not together with stakes: Ultralight titanium stakes from Zpacks (0.2 ounces, $2.25 every)

Meant Use

The Offset Duo is designed to suit inside a really acquainted area of interest — ultralight taken to the intense. Weight is the enemy, and all the time has been to the oldsters at Zpacks, and the Offset Duo limits heft by using the robust and light-weight Dyneema Composite Cloth (DCF) all through. That is the material that thru-hikers dream of. There isn’t a scarcity of DCF shelters designed to go far and to final throughout a summer season on the longest trails, however that doesn’t imply there’s no room for enchancment.

This new shelter is the most recent try and clean out a few of the liveability points that hikers have wanted to cope with when reducing ounces in any respect value. Promising to be roomier in all of the necessary locations, the Offset Duo’s shifted pole design improves headroom and clears house in entrance of the door whereas conserving weight down.

Circumstances of Evaluate

The poles transfer from heart, which makes the cover steep on the head and shallow on the foot.

My Offset Duo remains to be new to me, making this very a lot a ‘first-impressions’ sort of overview. I’ve learn the directions and made a number of makes an attempt to set it up completely, with various outcomes. Even with intensive expertise with utilizing the Duplex, my eye has had bother adjusting to the brand new proportions of the Offset Duo, so I’ve discovered it troublesome to evaluate the standard of my work. Extra time and expertise are crucial earlier than I can solidify my opinion of this tent.

Zpacks Offset Duo Options

Peak vents have been launched on the Duplex Zip and now make the transition to the Offset Duo.

Offset peak: Keep in mind the great previous days of contorting across the trekking pole that sprouted smack dab in the course of your tent’s door each time you wanted to pee? Yeah, properly these days are sort of over. Now, do you bear in mind these good previous days of your tent cover encroaching in your face house whilst you have been mendacity down? These days are sort of over too.

By shifting the pole placement of the Offset Duo towards the pinnacle of the tent, Zpacks strikes that pesky pillar out of the doorway whereas making a steeper angle above the pinnacle, and thus extra face house.

Higher mesh door form: Gone are the rainbow doorways of the Duplex, and in are the L doorways of the Offset Duo. These will not be solely massive and simpler to make use of, however the hanging mesh material does an excellent job of conserving the bugs out even throughout these valuable seconds that it takes to zip up behind you. This door design additionally retains the mesh and zippers out of the dust, which was a nitpick of the Duplex.

Pole flaps: Connected to the perimeters of the ground, these flaps of material interface with pole tricks to preserve the bath anchored and unfold. No extra billowing tent flooring, and this nifty addition additionally permits for one-handed operation of the a lot improved L doorways.

Third pole: A byproduct of steepening the tent cover on the head is that the foot cover is now shallow. Anybody who has ever suffered from a moist footbox on a steamy night time is aware of that it is very important scale back contact between one’s sleeping bag and tent wall, and the geometry of the Offset Duo works in opposition to that curiosity.

To mitigate this challenge, Zpacks added placement for a 3rd pole. Included is a 32” carbon fiber pole that helps to extend the inner quantity of the tent across the ft. When sharing the tent, a 3rd trekking pole can take the place of this devoted one, reducing one ounce from the general weight.

Bathtub flooring: The ground of the Offset Duo is constructed with burly DCF that rises six inches from the bottom to kind a water-proof tub that protects from splashes and mist. That is traditional Zpacks, however the tapered dimensions are new. 50 inches vast on the head and 44 inches on the ft, it accommodates vast, tapered sleeping pads for some additional elbow room.

Zipper vestibule: Waterproof zippers substitute the old-style toggle closure. Little doubt about it, this design is extra climate resistant, although it comes with a weight penalty.

Vents: Peak vents positioned the place the trekking poles maintain the cover aloft present an avenue for moisture to flee even when these zippers are zipped tight. Single-wall shelters are infamous for gathering inside condensation, and these vents are an try and mitigate this challenge.

Offset Duo versus Duplex

I’ve used the unique Duplex quite a bit (150+ nights?), and I like that factor. For that reason, I’m naturally skeptical of the Offset Duo. Do we actually want one other ~20oz DCF shelter? Nevertheless, in my quick time with the Offset Duo, I’ve come to understand the advantages that it brings to the backcountry versus my beloved Duplex. They’re each good shelters, if not nice, so why would you select one over the opposite?

The footprint narrows to 44″ vast on the ft, however there may be nonetheless oodles of house, courtesy of the third pole.

Further room?

The Offset Duo positively feels roomier than the Duplex. Not solely is there extra airspace on the head finish of the tent, however it is usually wider. A Duplex for one hiker is a mansion, however put two in there, and elbow room can get scarce shortly. I’ve considerably much less expertise within the Offset Duo, nevertheless it feels considerably greater. That goes for the foot finish too. I’m not a fan of needing the third pole, nevertheless it does create a ton of house on the ft.

Clear doorways?

Moreover the additional headroom, the altered door design is the subsequent greatest distinction between these two shelters. The Duplex pitches with the poles smack dab within the heart of the doorway, which requires some acrobatics to enter/exit gracefully. The poles of the Offset Duo are, uhhh, offset. This retains them out of the best way of the doorway utterly, and thus, it’s simpler to keep away from them.

The outcome isn’t excellent, nevertheless. The poles are nonetheless essentially positioned on the tallest a part of the opening, which is exactly the place you don’t need them, however the challenge has been mitigated to a sure extent. It’s and enchancment for positive.

Mesh door design?

The rainbow doorways of the Duplex will not be its strongest characteristic. When opened, the mesh is susceptible to falling into the dust, and most of the time, my pitch creates a whole lot of stress throughout the opening, which might make zipping it closed a ache.

For the Offset Duo, Zpacks adopts an L-shaped door design, profiting from the bigger wall that’s unencumbered by the offset pole. And it’s superior. It’s massive, the mesh stays out of the dust (and retains bugs out higher) when unzipped, and it could actually actually be opened/closed one-handed(!).

Ease of setup?

The included 32″ pole may be changed with a 3rd trekking pole when you’ve got one helpful.

Finally, the method for organising the Duplex and Offset Duo is fairly related. Neither is simple, and each take some getting used to with a view to be taught the delicate tips for getting the stress excellent. I’m nonetheless studying the Duplex in spite of everything these years, so I’m not too optimistic about mastering the Offset Duo anytime quickly, nevertheless it works anyway regardless of my minor incompetence.

And regardless that the 2 tents are extra related than totally different, the third pole of the Offset Duo does demand another job of the drained hiker. Staking out the panel guylines of the Duplex is additional credit score, solely wanted on tremendous windy nights. Staking out the foot-end cover of the Offset Duo through the third pole is a requirement.

50″ vast on the head, the Offset Duo can accommodate two vast sleeping pads. Not attainable within the Duplex.


The general flooring space of the Offset Duo is barely bigger than that of the Duplex (31 sqft vs. 28 sqft), however that’s solely a part of the image. The Duplex is a real rectangle, measuring 90” x 45”. The Offset Duo makes use of a tapered floorplan, 50” vast on the head and 44” on the ft. Not solely does this imply extra shoulder room, however now two vast sleeping pads can match side-by-side so long as they’re of the tapered selection. The Offset Duo can also be 4 inches longer, though with the lower-angle cover, it’s unclear whether or not or not this additional size is actually useable. 

Ease of Use

The included 32″ pole folds up and hosters within the included sling.

Within the grand scheme of issues, the Offset Duo is about as straightforward to make use of as many two-person, non-freestanding shelters. A very good pitch requires expert balancing of guyline stress and stable stake placement. In tight areas, or on tremendous exhausting/comfortable floor this is usually a powerful ask.

Initially, the uneven design and third pole freaked me out. Nevertheless, setting it up is procedurally the identical as pitching a Duplex. The additional step wanted to stake out the 32” pole is trivial, and no totally different from anchoring the panel guyline of the Duplex, one thing I did continuously in a bid to extend headroom and scale back wind flap.

One factor that I’m not bought on is the zippered closure system of the vestibules. I by no means had an issue with the old-style toggle closure of different Zpacks shelters so the zippers really feel pointless to me. They add weight and a possible failure level whereas being rather less forgiving of a sloppy pitch. Additionally they in all probability enhance storm-worthiness and scale back wind-flappiness, however as I stated, I believe the previous system labored nice with out zippers. Nevertheless, with the current introduction of the Duplex Zip, it appears to be like just like the previous methods are underneath menace. There should be an excellent motive for this, proper?

Zpacks Offset Duo Execs

The pole tip flaps are easy but pay big dividends. They preserve the ground in place and permit for one-handed zipper operation. Magnifique!

Roomy: This tent is roomy in all the precise locations. The entire space is nothing distinctive, however the inner quantity is shifted to favor headspace within the dwelling space.

L doorways: These doorways completely rule. Really easy to make use of and a significant enchancment over the Duplex’s rainbow doorways.

Air flow: I don’t have sufficient expertise with this tent to say whether or not the height vents noticeably scale back inside condensation, however judging by Kelly’s expertise with the Duplex Zip, they need to do the job.

Pole placement: The poles are nonetheless sort of in the best way, however much less so than they’re with most trekking pole shelters. The only, bigger doorways on both sides are simpler to maneuver than the Duplex doorways.

Light-weight: I’m unsure how they did it, however the Offset Duo splits the burden distinction between the unique Duplex and Duplex Zip regardless of the elevated roominess. Add on one ounce in case you’re carrying the included 32” pole, and don’t overlook to deliver a minimum of seven stakes, however all mixed we’re nonetheless taking a look at a significantly light-weight shelter.

Protecting: DCF is waterproof when new, and the Offset Duo doesn’t maintain again on protection. All zippered up,  the cover and bathtub flooring ought to preserve out most moisture. When using all of the guylines, it ought to be fairly stable in wind too.

Sustainability: Detailed on their sustainability web page, Zpacks is making actual efforts to cut back their impression on the surroundings. The bio-based DCF is the sexiest speaking level, however sensible packaging and home manufacturing additionally do their half to cut back the injury wrought by every transaction.

Zpacks Offset Duo Cons

There are a whole lot of panels and angles to get excellent on the Offset Duo. I don’t suppose I’ll ever nail that excellent pitch.

Fiddly: Ahhhh, the perennial con of all trekking pole shelters. In contrast with a freestanding tent, all that stake placement and guyline tensioning is difficult to excellent, and every pitch will likely be totally different. Requiring seven stakes, three poles, and some workarounds to setup, the Offset Duo is certifiably fiddly.

Studying curve: I haven’t spent a lot time with the Offset Duo, however based mostly on my expertise with the Duplex, I’m sure that I’ll by no means absolutely get the grasp of the proper pitch. To today, I’m flummoxed by the connection between vestibule doorways and guyline stress.

If I pitch with the doorways open, then they’re virtually not possible to shut. With them closed, the entire tent will get saggy after I open them. Name me inept, however I’ve considered this quite a bit and nonetheless don’t have a solution. This actuality is not any totally different with the Offset Duo.

Zippers: The aforementioned problems with the earlier con are exacerbated by the zippered vestibules, for my part. This safer closure fashion might be superior in ways in which my cussed mind can’t respect, however I’d moderately save the burden and problem by sticking with the toggle closure of previous.

Worth: Yowza, $769 is a whole lot of cookie dough. Typically, I believe that DCF shelters are priced pretty, regardless that they’re extremely costly. Nevertheless, I could make the uninformed argument that the Offset Duo is overpriced. It’s basically a rearranged Duplex Zip, so why does it value $70 extra? That 32” pole can’t account for all of it.

Remaining Ideas

Many mountains await my Offset Duo.

I’m into the Offset Duo. I believe that we’ve an extended and fruitful partnership forward of us. Without having to, Zpacks has taken an opportunity in tweaking probably the most traditional of UL tents in a bid to enhance the minor points that many people have been muttering about underneath our breath for a very long time. The Duplex is nice, and I don’t suppose that the Offset Duo replaces it. As a substitute, it’s a stable various.

For taller hikers or those that use vast sleeping pads, the additional room will likely be a promoting level, however this dimensional optimization is useful to everybody. The improved L doorways are a further bonus, and are in all probability my favourite improve. If weight and value supersede all else, then the traditional Duplex will reign supreme. Nevertheless, the Offset Duo is price consideration by everybody out there for a DCF shelter.

Store the Zpacks Offset Duo

Comparable Ultralight Shelters

Zpacks Duplex Zip
MSRP: $699
Weight: 20.4 ounces
Materials: DCF

Learn our overview of the Zpacks Duplex Zip right here.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Unbound 2P
MSRP: $699
Weight: 24 ounces
Materials: DCF

Learn our overview of the HMG Unbound 2P right here.

Durston X-Mid Professional 2
MSRP: $679
Weight: 20 ounces
Materials: DCF

Tarptent Dipole 2 Li
MSRP: $799
Weight: 26.7 ounces
Materials: DCF

Disclaimer: The Zpacks Offset Duo was donated for the aim of overview.



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