Last year I bought the new Zpacks tent – after much internal debating, as I’m not a huge fan of the duplex (too small, too exposed for my tastes), I was a bit slow to pull the trigger on the Plexamid. However, after seeing a few initial reviews of how big the tent was, I decided to go for it. I don’t normally worry too much about cost as it easy to get the money back when selling.
My initial impression when I received the tent was “damn this is light” – followed by, shit it’s going to be too small. After setting up the plexamid and playing with it for about 20 nights out and 7 months later, I can say that it’s not too small. In fact, the tent gives me more liveable space than the Duplex. Even when I slept in the Duplex diagonally, it was too small for me. Meaning I had to basically use the entire internal space of the Duplex, just for my sleeping pad. Kind of sucked.
Anyway, this is not a review, but simply an overview of the Plexamid, as I want to give this tent a thorough beating before I give a true review.
A video overview:
What is it:
The Plexamid is the newest ultralight solo tent by the Florida based cottage company Zpacks. Zpacks specialises in ultralight, dyneema made gear. The tent weighs just 439grams on my scale, with guy lines without tent pegs and center pole.
It’s a big solo tent – I’ve actually slept with my son in the tent a few nights and there is plenty of room for us.
Performance so far:
One of the reasons I am not willing to do a proper review yet is that the weather and conditions I’ve had the Plexamid in have been relatively mild so far. 15mps winds (34 mph) and two days of rain. In those conditions, it has held its own, and the size of the tent makes the heavy rains bearable. Though, in prolonged rains, the condensation does become an issue. However, as the tent is quite large and the sides sloped as they are, the condensation just runs down the sides and out through the mesh onto the ground – and not onto your gear and sleeping bag.
I have used this tent enough to confidently say that If I were to do the PCT, the Plexamid would be the tent I bring – no doubt. I am confident enough with the tent to have it as my only tent for the next 6 months while in Zambia. It’s big, light and stable.
It’s about time again for me to clear out my closet.. especially now when I am living in a much smaller apartment here in Umeå… Most of the equipment can be shipped throughout Europe – But I prefer not to ship outside the EU as shipping costs usually negate the cost savings for the shopper. This will probably be updated throughout the coming weeks with more gear.
Shipping in Sweden: 49kr
Shipping throughout the EU: 99kr
If the item is sold I will mark it as sold
Payment made via wire transfer or Paypal. Swish in Sweden
Nemo spike storm 1
Designed with guidance and testing from professional hunters and anglers, the Spike™ Storm is a truly minimalist shelter that will get you further off the beaten path. Its trekking pole-supported design is meant to shed every ounce possible, and resulting in a shelter that is just over a pound and packs incredibly small. Silicone-treated fabrics increase strength, durability, and waterproofness, and are free from toxic fire retardants. Unlike the original Spike™ floorless minimalist shelter, the Spike™ Storm has an added floor and mesh door for use with any bag and added protection from insects.
Tent is more or less new – used and tested just a few times.
Vargo Hexagon TI wood stove
Used woodstove – works like it’s suppose to. Lightweight and pretty awesome 🙂 Already have one.
Price: 490 kr
BRS-3000T ultralight stove
yes, they are the lightest gas stoves made. I bought a bunch of these to resell on backpackinglight.se – unfortunately the quality is not up to my standards. They will (should) hold for a season or two. But much like most of the cheap stuff from china, they are built for one season use and then throw away. These are new, in package.
Six moon designs – Newest model – New tent – Seam sealed and ready to go
I brought home a few Lunar solos to seam seal and sell. I did this one and thought, screw it. So A completely new Lunar solo, seam sealed and ready to go.
Price: 2490kr – kan även köpas genom backpackinglight.se
Nemo Spike 2 – shelter
An excellent hunting shelter – large, light and easy to use. This tent is more or less new – I have used it for 3 nights outs. Comes with tent pegs and guylines.
Gossamer gear Kumo 36
A great lightweight backpack in near new condition. I have the older model and wanted to try this model to see the difference. A big difference, but I don’t need two Kumos 🙂 This is the newest model of the Kumo 36.
Price: 1390kr SÅLD
Klymit inertia x-wave
Same here – used it on my Iceland trek, and realize I don’t like torso pads. Great shape.
Price: 390 kr SÅLD
Trail designs Caldera cone – for Vargo bot 700
This is with the KOJIN burner. More or less new. Used on just one occasion. Already have 10 different stove systems.
Price: 490kr SOLD
Thermarest xLite Small
Used a few times, but realize I prefer regular or large for my oversize body. This is the torso length version
Price: 890 kr SÅLD
Soto Amicus burner
I used this for testing. Excellent condition, in box, like new. A great burner from Soto. Guarantee available
Price: 390kr SÅLD
This tent is in good but used shape. No rips, holes or any noticeable problems with it.. A little dirty and some leaves left in it 🙂 This is my third iteration of the Zpacks Duplex and the third one I’m selling off. I have it had for about 20 nights on the trail. Great for shorter people under 185cm.
Price: 5900kr – SÅLD
Hyperlite mountain gear Echo Shelter II
This kick ass modular tent I have had for a few years, and it looks and feels used. No leaking, and still has a few more years of useage left in it. I will include a cuben repair kit as well in case leaks do start to appear.
Price: 3190kr SÅLD
Six moon designs Lunar Duo explorer
This tent was bought by a customer at backpackinglight.dk – used without being seam sealed and some of the seams broke. So I patched it up – no structural weakness, more looking bad. The tent needs to be seam sealed, and other than the stitching done, it looks and feels like a new tent.
Today I decided to start a new section here on ultralightandcomfortable.com that I think could be pretty cool: Your gear closet. Basically I want you (the visitors to this site) to take a pic of your gear closet and send it in and I will feature it here. I will start off with a picture from my gear closet and a quick description of what I have here.
In you description you can add website links (your own blog), specify what gear you have and if possible a cool thing would be to include weight (I use excel so I will just print out my list). I think to make this a little fun we should focus on the big three and maybe that “1” luxury item that we all bring with us. A bit wacky, not essential but makes the trip so much more enjoyable! Read More
The tent is by far at least for me the funnest part of the whole transition. As I wrote in earlier posts it was actually the Hilleberg Akto that showed me the way. It’s not exactly light or large, but it is lighter than most 2 person tents – and that’s it really for me – I always thought I needed two person tent in-order to be comfortable. Or course after buying and testing about 15 different tents I realised this to be true. I do need at-least a two person tent to be happy and comfortable. I just don’t need one made for everest style expeditions that weigh 3-4 kilos.
I imagine that most people will ignore my other posts and jump directly to the tent purchasing phase – which is just fine of course, not many of us have any willpower to speak of; So I get it. Buy the tent first 🙂 I purchased and tested many different tents over the years some of the reviews you can read on this site, other reviews I haven’t gotten around to posting yet and a few more I haven’t even started writing. I enjoy being out in nature more than sitting in front of my computer screen. Here is a list of some of the different tents I have tried over the last 5 years:
Zpacks Hexamid solo
Tarptent double rainbow
Hilleberg Nallo 2
Six moon designs Skyscape trekker
Gossamer Gear Qtwinn (tarp)
Zpacks winter hammock tarp w/ doors (used even as ground tarp)
These are the ones I remember at least for the time being. Anyway, I found that I prefer the single wall two man tent style. The double rainbow by Tarptent is one that I can recommend to just about anyone making their transition over to lighter gear. Its large, relatively light 1.1kilos on my scale, more traditional tent feel and is also relatively cheap for what you get. It can be set-up as a free standing tent or stakes in ground. You can even purchase an inner tent cheap for it.
I sold my Double rainbow because I started using walking sticks and wanted to be able to use my sticks as tent pole instead of having to carry that extra weight of the tent poles. That led the way for the more popular single wall tarps such as the MLD Trailstar and Qtwinn. The trailstar is nice and roomy, quite large floor space actually and a very large vestibule when it rains if you just want to hang out in the tent. But the tarp didn’t work for me for a number of reasons, mainly because I don’t like the idea of having to add-on an extra inner tent in order to keep bugs out and close up shop. Of course you don’t have to have this option, but most people, including myself do eventually get the add-on for the comfort. Also, I prefer now the headroom of the Duomid. On top of that I thought it could be a pain at times to set-up on forest trails – it requires a lot of ground space, most of my trips or in forest and tight spaces. The trailstar Just didn’t work out to well for me. Though I am willing to give it a shot again in the future and see if my opinion changes on it.
That is when I made my move over to the Qtwinn – single wall cuben fiber tarp. This was excellent for weight to size ratio. 300 grams on my scales and large innerspace for two people. The problem here of course is that it can’t be shut, and in Sweden bugs are rampant which meant I would bring a ground floor and innernet. It became more hassle than just setting up a traditional two man tent with poles, and I didn’t have enough room under my bugnet to even read a book. Now I know there are more bad ass alphas out there that love the tarp and getting eaten by bugs, but it’s just not my thing. My site is after all called ultralightandcomfortable.com. My reviews and why I don’t use the Hilleberg akto and Skyscape trekker
The Zpacks tents were fantastic, both of them, just not really what I was looking for. I have gotten to the point where I don’t want a floor on my tent – I think it’s just an added bit of comfort and simplicity not having a floor that I really like. I like being able to walk into my tent without worrying about all kinds of shit and dirt getting in. In the winter I like being able to dig snow caves and have the tent as a roof. On top of that my preferred rain gear is the Zpacks poncho ground floor. So it is a fantastic ground sheet, large and roomy (I have the two man version) and it is in my view more practical as raingear compared to rain jacket or umbrella. – Even if it looks terrible.
So eventually I found my way to the older MLD pyramid tarps after a quick try with the Lotus Gear Khufu – which this was a very quick trip down Lotus gear lane as the pyramid was way to small for me. Both my feet and head touched the sidewalls at the same time. Anyway, the first MLD pyramid I bought was the Supermid because I had fantasy of bring along my family with me on trips.. of course this ended up just being a fantasy. In any case I found the Supermid to be fantastic in the winter – big and roomy
Just not something I wanted to carry with my during my other trips. It’s just way to big for a solo adventurer such as myself. Massive in fact – but still weighed less than 1 kilo. It is also a bit of a pain to set-up as I had to strap both of my trekking poles together in-order to make the tent stand. I prefer simplicity over complication. SO from the Supermid I tried the solomid – too small. Again, I am 190cm and 95kilos, I prefer my comfort. Also the weight saving from the duomid to solomid in my mind is rather negligible. So I eventually found a Duomid on ebay with a sewn in perimeter bug net for 150usd.
I found the Duomid with perimeter bug netting to be the perfect tent for my style of backpacking. Larger than most 3 man traditional tents, took less ground space than the Trailstar, can be zipped up and closed off completely, can be opened up completely to give a massive panorama under the stars feel, simplistic to setup and tear down and for what you get the weight is 743grams with guy lines, seam sealed, stuff sack and bug netting – is amazing. So that’s where I am now. The MLD Duomid with perimeter bug netting could only be better if it was en cuben fiber. Which I will eventually purchase – just not yet.
So what tent would work for you?
I have no idea, I wrote what works for me and why I have the tent I currently have. Everyone’s journey is different. I can however give a few tips and some things to think about.
For one, do you use walking sticks? if not, why not? Anyway, if you have walking sticks than it is only logical to have a tent that you can setup with only walking sticks. You don’t have to worry about the hassle or weight of tent poles.
Do you need double wall? – if so why? Is it because you are scared of being in the wild? The icky bugs or water? then perhaps a tarp is not your optimal solution, nor the Trailstar as you can’t close it off. What purpose does the double wall tent serve? Less condensation? warmer? – I haven’t noticed any of these advantages when compared to the Duomid – though very prevalent in other tarps and tents – even the double rainbow lets in a lot of wind, which can get very chilly in the middle of the night. Are you traveling where there is a lot of sand and dust in the air? perhaps double wall is that best solution.
Do you need a floor? Again, why? This is different for different people: I found bringing a ground sheet was a better solution than having a floor built in. My reasons of course I already wrote about.
Also, how big of a tent do you need? I am a big person hence I need or at least want a big tent – if you are small then a lotus gear khofu or MLD Solomid would probably be more than suitable.
I think a pretty good guideline is to keep your total tent weight to under 1 kilo. In my next post I will go through one of the philosophies of the lightweight movement which is called the 3 for 3 – your three biggest pieces of equipment – tent, sleep system and backpack for 3 kilos.
There are an unlimited amount of suppliers that sell 1 kilo or less tents. Though if you want a double wall tent your options are pretty limited to expensive and tiny tents such as the Hilleberg Enan (around 1 kilo), the Terra Nova laser and the Nordisk Telemark. That might work for you, but I go insane in such tiny little shelters.
If you can upgrade your beta ways and enjoy the freedom of a single wall tarp or tent than your options become very open and very enjoyable.
Such suppliers I have already mentioned are:
Mountain laurel designs
Six moon designs
Hyperlite mountain gear
Henry shires tarp tent
Buying a tent much like buying gear in general is a pretty personal experience. You have to find and buy the gear that works best for you. A general guideline is to keep the tent at around 1 kilo. Also, know where you will be camping, there is no such thing as the one tent for all trips. For 99% of your trips a floorless, single wall shelter is probably more than adequate. My shelters have to have a bug net, I find that the duomid with perimeter netting works superbly well even in the densely bug populated regions of northern Sweden.
Also, don’t be afraid to check out and purchase different gear – usually the resell value on a good shelter from the smaller producers don’t lose much if any value – if anything they gain value because the wait time is non-existent. I have bought and sold many shelters on Ebay at a profit. Buy gear, try it and if it doesn’t work for you sell it on.
So, in earlier parts of this series I have gone through the why to go lighter, then the first step which is to weigh what you have. Now in reality step two is probably more reading and checking out other blogs for lightweight tips and know how. To help get you started here are a few that I recommend Read More
It’s about that time, fall is here, it’s rainy and cold.. I’ve been stuck indoors and getting desperate to get out! In lew of getting out i’ve acquired a bad case of GAS (gear acquisition syndrome), in other words I keep buying new gear. This time around I bought a Zpacks arc blast backpack. Read More