Gear Review: Triplex Initial thoughts

We have been using a ZPacks Duplex as our primary backpacking tent for about 5 years and we have loved it.

When Toothless was born, we realized we needed some room for him to sleep next to us. We do not co-sleep at home and it is not safe to have an infant sleep on an air mattress. After a day of hiking, we are not comfortable sleeping on a foam pad anymore but he sleeps well on a firm mattress at home. Our baby sleep system plans are discussed here.

Although we seriously considered the Triplex from the start, we also compiled a number of options to make sure we were making the best decision.

We needed enough space next to for a foam pad and for our son to sleep. We needed something lightweight and we leaned towards single wall (can be stored on outside of a pack).

Ultimately the triplex was the best option we evaluated, and so we bought it on the ZPacks holiday sale at around Christmas time.

What did we buy?

We bought an orange coloured triplex. Do we love orange? Not really. But it’s an obviously different colour than our duplex so there is no risk of us bringing the wrong tent!

What have we done with it so far?

Admittedly, we haven’t camped with it yet.

We have test packed it in my backpack with our other gear and found that it fits in our custom nylon stuff sack we made for our duplex, and it fits on the outside of my pack.

It rolls up the same way as the duplex and so there’s nothing special there.

We rode our bikes to the park and set it up with our sleeping pads on a sunny day. Then inspected it, inflated and tested our sleeping pads and introduced Toothless to the tent.

The outcome

The build quality is great. All stitches are clean and consistent. The seams are tidy and the tent is symmetric. No flaws that I could find after pouring over it.

To make the tent wide enough, there is a seam down the length of the tent about 1/3 of the way in from the side. This is over my side so I paid close attention to the quality of the seam.

The reinforcements around the loops are all round. These distribute the load of guy lines better and let the DCF tent fabric stretch in a consistent way. Our duplex has squares that – despite never failing for us – seem to be a stress concentration location and cause the fabric to stretch unevenly.

There are some not very notable changes to the hardware compared to our duplex.

The toggles that hold the doors open are smaller than our duplex. I like this. Often, when inside the duplex, it can be tricky to unroll the doors quickly when a storm hits in the middle of the night. The toggles on our triplex are much easier to use so I’m hopeful this will be less of a problem.

The pockets are on the sides rather than head/foot of the tent. I don’t particularly like this. It makes items further away from the head of the sleeping pad and Toothless seems to love the pocket on his side so we might need to cut it off (and maybe sew it somewhere else).

The triplex has more guy lines than the duplex. We are able to use one peg here and it works pretty flat ground, so we may not need extra pegs.

The inside is roomy and fits our sleep system quite well. There will be plenty of space at Toothless’s feet. I’m not sure if we can safely store anything there, but it might be a good spot for a few of his items.

The footprint of the tent is WIDE. I knew it’s a big tent but it really sinks in in person. This will make the tent more challenging to pitch in some areas – we sometimes have to random camp and those spots can be a bit tight even for our duplex sometimes. This challenge is to be expected with any larger tent but seeing it in person makes me appreciate the challenge a little more.

Overall impressions

It’s a good tent that I think will work well for us on the GDT and on backpacking trips in general. I think the only challenge will be adjusting to finding appropriate campsites and even pitching it on normal sized tent pads.

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