Free Duo Tent
Last night was a big test for this tent. Storms were coming and winds were going to be in the 20 mph range. Not only did it handle the high winds for over 30 minutes, not one drop of rain came in. Love this tent!
A perfect choice for those packed down campsites in the Sierra or camping along the beach, the Free Duo is a 1 or 2 person ultralight freestanding tent designed with versatility in mind.
Featuring a unique H-Pole frame design, the lightweight Free Duo excels in high wind situations.
This freestanding tent is ideal for hikers who regularly pitch on a variety of tough surfaces like bedrock, compacted dirt, sand, snow, or other places where using stakes may be difficult.
The Free Duo provides the versatility of a freestanding tent with all the benefits of an ultralight shelter made from Dyneema® Composite Fabric. It is truly a go-to tent for just about any backpacking trip.
An optional flat groundsheet is available for added protection here.
Check out The Trek's review of the Free Duo review here.
The Free Duo is a dedicated freestanding tent which pitches with two included ‘H’ shaped tent poles. It can be pitched on difficult surfaces like bedrock, compacted dirt, sand, snow or other places that staking is inconvenient. This tent CAN NOT be set up with trekking poles.
The included ‘H’ shaped Easton Carbon 6.3 tent poles are made with proven technology and are the cutting edge of strength and weight. These poles are thicker and stronger than the Easton Carbon 3.9 poles used on our Duplex Flex shelter.
The Free Duo is our best tent in demanding, high wind situations. The Easton Carbon poles can handle a gale with minimal deflection. The tent body comes down nearly to the ground at the ends to help block cold wind. It pitches with a lower profile and a smaller footprint compared to our non-freestanding tents.
The tent can be picked up and moved around after inserting the poles to find the perfect root-free spot.
The tent can be pitched with zero stakes in calm, dry weather, however 2 stakes are required if you wish to deploy the storm doors. Up to 8 stakes should be used in windy weather.
Any of the four storm doors can be opened or closed independently. Leave all four open on nice weather nights for a breeze and great views. Close the upwind doors to block cold wind, or close all four for 360° rain protection. The overlapping doors are closed with custom made metal hooks, with a toggle at the center to keep them pinned.
The tarp overhangs the bathtub floor by 4-5 inches (12 cm). In calm rain or under wet trees one or two doors can be left open for air flow without water dripping on the floor space. In almost all conditions at least one downwind door can be left open for air.
Rainbow zippers on both sides of the tent allow easy entry regardless of which doors are closed, and they give you access to every vestibule area.
This tent has a solid, sewn in 6 inch (15 cm) tall bathtub floor. The bathtub floor is a rectangle 42 inches wide by 7.5 feet long (107 cm x 2.29 m). The floor width will fit two adults side by side on standard width sleeping pads, or the tent is excellent for one hiker to spread out with gear. The freestanding poles lift up the head and foot ends of the tent for excellent space so that you don’t contact the walls.
Mesh pockets are conveniently located near each screen door so that they can be accessed from inside or outside the tent. They are a good place to store your cell phone, glasses, headlamp, the tent stuff sack, and spare seam tape (included). The pockets are about 8" x 8" (20 cm x 20 cm).
A separate groundsheet is NOT required for this shelter. The floor material is reasonably durable, and all Dyneema® Composite Fabric gear can be easily patched in the field with repair tape. If you do prefer to use a groundsheet as a precaution, Flat Groundsheets are available.
There is screen between the bathtub floor and the walls at the ends of the tarp. The edges of the floor are elevated ensuring the screen slopes downwards away from the bathtub. Any condensation, which single wall shelters may experience, will run down the walls and out through the downward sloping screen, rather than onto the floor. Click here for tips to avoid condensation.
The tent packs down small, around 6” x 12” (15 cm x 30 cm). It ships in a loose 7” x 13” (18 cm x 33 cm) stuff sack. The tent poles fold to 20” (51 cm) long and have their own stuff sack. They pack well standing vertically in your backpack’s side pocket, or inside your pack.
- Dyneema Composite Fabric is naturally waterproof and is not treated with any potentially harmful chemicals such as flame retardants or water repellents.
All Zpacks gear has a two year limited warranty against defects in materials or workmanship. Please see our return / warranty policy.
Made in the USA.
The total weight displayed near the 'add to cart' button includes tent, tent poles, guy lines, sewn in linelocs, taped seams, and stuff sacks. A piece of repair tape is included with the tent. Your choice of canopy material will change the total weight.
Tent: 16.7 oz (473 g) or 18.7 oz (531 g)
Medium-Plus Stuff Sack: 0.28 oz (8 g)
Tent Poles: 12.9 oz (365 g)
Tent Pole Sack: .21 oz (6 g)
Up to 8 stakes are required and are not included. We have a variety of Ultralight Stakes to choose from.
Peak height: 42" (107 cm)
Ridgeline width: 45" (114 cm)
Width including vestibules: 75" (190 cm)
Vestibule space: 15" (38 cm) depth on each side
Length: 92" (234 cm)
Peak height: 42" (107 cm)
Floor width: 42" (107 cm)
Floor length: 7.5 feet (2.29 meters)
Zipper entry height: 36" (91 cm)
Tent body: 7" diameter by 13" tall (18 cm x 33 cm) / 520 cubic inches (8.5L)
Poles: 2.5" x 20" (6 cm x 51 cm)
- Our tents are made from Dyneema® Composite Fabric. Dyneema® Composite Fabric has several advantages over other materials:
High strength to weight ratio – the material can handle high wind force and does not tear easily.
Chemical free, PFC free
Waterproof – there is no DWR or coating to worry about wearing out. The material will not absorb significant water that will add water weight to your pack
Stretch-free – the tent will stay taut all night. Nylon material by comparison can stretch and sag, especially if it gets wet.
Taped seams – our seams are sewn for strength then taped water tight. The tie outs have bonded reinforcements for high strength. No seam sealing will be necessary!
Easily repairable – Any damage can easily be fixed in the field with our Dyneema® Composite Fabric Repair Tape.
- This tent is semi-transparent. In bright sunlight, a fuzzy silhouette of a person sitting inside the tent would be visible, but you cannot see any details. It has a suitable amount of privacy for changing clothes.
In lower light (such as in the evening or at night), you cannot see through at all. We also have thicker, darker material available as an upgrade that you can choose. Another nice thing about this material is that you can see the outlines of trees and your surroundings for a more immersed outdoor experience.
- This tent has fully enclosed .66 oz/sqyd (22.7 g/m²) insect screen. The holes in this screen are super tiny, so even the smallest insects cannot get through. Our tent screen is about 30% lighter than comparable Noseeum screen with no noticeable decrease in durability.
- The bathtub floor is made from 1.0 oz/sqyd Dyneema® Composite Fabric. This material weight is more than twice as thick as the canopy material and is more resistant to abrasion and punctures. It is also easy to patch with tape.
- Lineloc V adjusters are sewn to all tie outs. Bright yellow Dyneema® Z-Line cord is cut and attached for you. The yellow lines are very easy to see night or day, and Dyneema® has very low stretch.
- The expected life span of this shelter is at least one full 2500+ mile thru hike, or many years of casual use with some care.
Made with Bio-Based Dyneema® Fiber
Reduce your carbon footprint with DSM’s bio-based Dyneema® fiber technology. Sourced from renewable, bio-based feedstock, it is the first ever bio-based ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (HMPE) fiber. Commit to sustainability and help reduce our reliance on fossil fuel resources and rely on the trusted performance of the world’s strongest fiber™. Click here to learn more about our sustainability initiatives.
Made in the USA.
Free Duo Instructions
Click here for a printable version.
Guylines are pre-cut and attached for you. Linelocs are sewn in place for adjusting the lines. If you choose to switch out your lines for a different cord, there are six pieces of cord, each cut at 54 inches (137 cm). The front center stake loop is tied at 20" (51 cm) from the end of the cord.
In windy conditions orient the end of your tent with the overlapping storm doors upwind. The Zpacks labels at the corners indicate the upwind end of the tent
Splash-up can occur when camped on hard packed surfaces during heavy rain. Our tall bathtub floor and overhanging canopy helps to keep mud and water from splashing up into your tent, but for best results please choose camp spots on leaves or pine needles when possible. Remove any pointy twigs and sharp objects to protect your tent floor but leave as much rain-dampening cushioning as possible to minimize the potential of splash-up.
Insert the the tips of the "H" shaped tent poles into the rings at the corners and peaks of the tent. The center part of the "H" should be horizontal. Make sure that the tips at the peaks of the tent are criss-crossed. Crossing the tips at the peak helps keep the tent splayed open.
Clip the wall clips to the horizontal part of the "H" poles. They may be tight, especially on the first few pitches.
- If conditions warrant it, stake out the storm doors, the side walls, and the corners. In strong wind use all eight stakes for the best stability.
Any of the four doors can be clipped down, or rolled up independently. The storm doors can be clipped down to the front center guylines, or rolled up depending on the weather. Leave at least one down-wind door open for air flow unless the weather is very bad.
All Zpacks shelters have taped seams and bonded tie outs! No seam sealing necessary.
Click here for full instructions on how to wash our Dyneema® Composite Fabric tents and tarps.
Very light and very functional. Hiked the Tahoe Rim Trail recently with this awesome tent.
Love the idea but not quite for taller folk
Along with many other zpacks products, I have purchased three zpacks tents: duplex w flex poles; altaplex; and free duo. I now only have the altaplex, plus a 4-pax pyramid tent from another manufacturer. Here’s why: I’m 6’2” and 210lbs. Backpacking alone I like the altaplex for the great combination of interior space, packed size, and weight. But I backpack often with a partner, 5’6”120lbs. In this case we greatly prefer a semi freestanding tent. And the duplex “flex poles” pull the fabric out away from head/foot ALMOST enough to be okay. Add in 2.5” thick air pad, size 13+ feet, and 2” of down over the feet, and you have near constant contact with fabric at head and foot. The duplex would be okay for me alone sleeping diagonally, but I have the altaplex for that. The DupleXL appeals, but doesn’t have the flex pole option. If so, it would be my go-to tent for sure. So, enter the free duo. I had high hopes that the more vertical wall geometry would solve my issue. However, it remains just a couple inches short. An 8’ (vs 7.5’) interior length would be perfect and roomy for my use case. And the width of the duo is effectively more narrow than the duplex. I would consider the free trio for two people, but 7.5’ length is the same as the duo, so don’t feel it would be a good fit either. So, for 6’2”+ hikers with a partner, who want a semi or full free standing tent, no great option exists here. Keep trying zpacks—we really appreciate you adding XL versions. How about flex poles for XL? Or how about simplifying and unifying your shelter line at an 8’ length? While redesign must be a challenge, a little extra weight per shelter would reduce inventory complexity, expand the customer base to 6’4”+, and simplify the entire line for customers. Overall, thanks for what you guys are doing—and love your stuff for long distance hiking.
Great Light Weight Tent
I have spent about 15 nights so far in my Free Duo. I often have to setup on hard ground in the Sierra, so I prefer a freestanding tent. This tent handles the wind and heavy rain rain very well. I have had no issues. Setting up and taking down is a breeze. I prefer this as a single person tent and purchased the Free Trio for when my wife comes with me on trips.
The Best Tent I've Owned!
This tent is a bit of a mind blower! So finely crafted, light weight, easy to set up and a pleasure to camp in. I bought it for my bikepacking trips as I was tired of small light weight one man tents with only one door side. This tent weighs less than the BA one man tent that it replaces and has great ventilation due to the two door set up. Here in sunny AZ, the nights can stay fairly warm so the comfort level is great. Also, the extra room of this compact two man tent with a nice tall ceiling makes this tent super livable. The dual doors also make for a very comfortably vented tent during the late afternoon if you want to take a quick snooze. My only issue was the length of the carbon tent poles when packed as they are a bit longer than the interior of any of my bags. I discussed this with ZPacks and they very generously sent me at no charge a set of stick on webbing loops that I attached to the Dyneema tent pole bag. I just strap it on my handlebar bag or along the side of my seat bag and the loops guarantee that the poles can't go anywhere. Zpacks was super helpful and I did discuss the option of creating a shorter pole set as this has been an issue for some outdoors folks. They made the point that it would really add to the cost and complexity of the set up and after using the tent I would 100% agree with them. The pole system is just a smidge too long but not in anyway a real issue once you actually travel with the tent. Again, a premium product and worth every penny!
I've had this out on 4 trips so far. It's ultralight, easy to setup and take down solo, and being freestanding gives flexibility in choosing campsites. It's absolutely bombproof weather wise! Second trip I got hit with an unexpected night of hail, freezing rain, wind and a low of 23°. My dog and I stayed warm and dry. This is now my go-to tent!