Free Duo Tent
A perfect choice for those packed down campsites in the Sierra or camping along the beach, the Free Duo is a 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.
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.
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 Free Duo in the standard .55 oz/sqyd Dyneema® Composite Fabric material weighs a total of 30.1 ounces (852 grams) including tent poles, guy lines, sewn in linelocs, taped seams, and a stuff sack. A piece of repair tape is included with the tent.
Tent: 16.7 oz (473 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.
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.
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.
Good so far. I tried it for one overnight. I bought the most opaque color and you could still see silhouettes pretty well in the tent. It had decent room for myself and a friend with our packs in the vestibules. It is not intuitive to set up and doesn’t come with instructions. I had to watch the promo video and try to figure it out. After I did, it was easy, though. I’m hoping to do a long distance hike next year and am super excited to use this. The fabric is amazing: super light and strong. I love the free standing design. Great product!
Overall I am very happy with my recent Zpacks purchase. I love the Z-line and whats not to like? For the same weigh/bulk you can take twice the amount of Z-line(or more) vs Paracord and your same knots will work. I absolutely love the tarp. Weighs nothing and provides great protection when and if needed. As for the Free Duo I am kinda torn and thats only because my first purchase from Zpacks was a Duplex tent and thats what I am comparing it to which is both a compliment and a lofty bar to reach. What I didn't like or had to get use to was the poles overall length when stored. Most of my gear rode inside my packraft tubes and I ended up rolling the Free Duo tent poles up in my Therm-a-rest mat which worked extremely well and in hindsight I can't really say is a negative but I did wish they were shorter. The other thing I missed was the extra width compared to the Duplex tent. If I never had used a Duplex before I doubt very much that I would have even thought about the Free Duo space because for one person it is excellent but the Zpacks Duplex has spoiled me so again I doubt this is a negative in reality. Condensation is an issue but its an issue in the Duplex and any other single walled tent and many doubled wall tents for that matter so have a rag at hand and you will be fine. The vents to the outside work a lot better than the Duplex. I also really liked the small sewing kits.They take up no space and are extremely handy. Well done Zpacks.
I hiked thru-hiked the John Muir Trail in 12 days in August 2020 with the Zpacks Free Duo Tent and it worked perfect on the JMT. It was great having a freestanding tent and being able to use no tent stakes, 2-4 tent stakes, or all 8 of the tent stakes. The tent is very easy to setup and roomy. I did get some afternoon and overnight rain and wind on my hike and the tent worked flawlessly. This will definitely be my preferred lightweight tent option on all of my future backpacking trips. For reference, I also own the Zpacks Solplex and Duplex Tents, which are also great tents.
I finally bought this tent after drooling over it for some time. Needless to say the wait and the price were worth it. It’s an incredible tent. So light. So versatile. The only thing is if you are not far away from others, the tent is basically see-through but in the dark without lights on inside, it’s fine.
I live in the Pacific North West, I Cross Country Ski in Winter and Hike the other 3 seasons. I was waiting for a tent that would be easy to setup in mixed conditions, including on the snow. In particular I was looking for a freestanding DCF tent, my goal was under 2LB, so the specifications of the Free Duo, exactly met my needs. I've had the chance to take the Free Duo on 4 weekend trips to date either 1 or 2 nights each trip. I've pitched the tent on snow every single night out so far and it's rained every weekend and pretty much all of the nights and into the mornings. So far my experience has been excellent and the tent has offered a safe and efficient means of protection from the elements. Some things that I like: - It's super easy to pitch. With 4 stakes, it ensures that 1) the large vestibules can be leveraged for rain/wind protection, 2) extra head/foot room at each end and 3) allows maximum airflow at each end. - The carbon H poles provide excellent structure. The 4 clips from the tent onto the poles provide maximum head/foot space while you are laying down or resting on a side or elevated on an elbow. There is essentially the peak in the middle providing headroom when you are sitting up, then a peak at each end providing headroom while you are laying down. I'm 6'2" and it's a good fit. - The performance in rain. There are really no bells or whistles on this tent. The design is simple and very effective to provide protection from the elements. The vestibules, the bathtub floor and the mesh are all perfectly cut to ensure there are no leaks or overhangs where water may enter. There are fasteners on each corner of the bathtub floor that ensures that it won't move outside of the tent walls. - The combination of the doors, vestibules & mesh on both sides of the tent offer maximum flexibility for both venting and generally utility. By utility I mean entry /exit, cooking, storing shoes/boots or gear, protection from wind, taking advantage of views, bug protection. Not having to use trekking poles means the whole sides are totally clear. - The size of the tent. It's a 2P tent, however like most tents 2P would mean regular size sleeping pads and gear storage /packs in the vestibules (not something that I have tested). That is not my usage however since I purchased this for 1P comfort and to ensure that I can fit a wide pad, my gear and pack comfortably inside. So this is perfect for solo traveller's. Some things that I have not tested: - High wind scenarios. The tent is cut taught and the frame is solid, so I predict that it will function well. Especially because of the low to ground pitch which it defaults. - Trying with 2 people /sleeping pads. I think this is not a scenario that will work favorably for this tent. It will be tight. - Snow load. I am interested to see how the H pole setup works with snow load. I predict they will be stable. Some things that I don't like: - I would like to hang a line inside to dry socks, however I don't see any obvious way to do this so far. Same for hanging a headlamp as well. - I am not sure why the mesh pockets are attached to the bath tub floors by each door. They seem like an after thought and could be better positioned, perhaps higher up, so you could hang a headlamp. - The toggles on the vestibules are small and difficult to manage with cold fingers or gloves. Not a big issue. - Since I've pitched it in the rain most times (aka a quick pitch), I've noticed that I didn't get a perfect pitch, with the side guy outs, which meant that the vestibles were not always taught. This is no fault of the tent and can easily be fixed by just staking the side guy outs at 90 degrees to the tent and to the full length of the guy out line. This weekend I'll aim for the perfect pitch the first time ️ Hopefully I can update this review over time, my final summary of this tent for what I will call "first impressions" would be... I feel like it might be a piece of gear that you can just forget about because it performs without issue and does its job well. That is the kind of gear that you dream about.