The Zpacks Plex Solo is an ultralight one-person, single-wall tent made with Dyneema DCF that weighs simply 13.9 oz. Retailing for $599, it has a hybrid pyramid form and comes with a built-in bathtub ground, insect netting, and a entrance vestibule. A 52″ trekking pole or tent pole (bought individually) is required to set it up together with six to 10 tent stakes. The inside is spacious with loads of room to sit down up and there’s additional room for inside gear storage. It’s backpacking tent to be used in average climate circumstances however can require a good quantity of tweaking to get a taut pitch.
Specs at a Look
- Kind: Single-wall, non-freestanding
- Capability: 1 individual
- Weight: 13.9 oz / 395 g
- Poles: 1 trekking pole (not included)
- Peak-height: 52″
- Doorways: 1
- Vestibule: 1
- Pockets: 1
- Dimensions: 7.5 toes lengthy, 38″ large within the heart, 28″ large on the ends
- Minimal variety of stakes to pitch: 6 (10 beneficial)
- Supplies: 0.55 ozsq/yd DCF (Fly), 1.0 ozsq/yd DCF (Ground)
- Hydrostatic head: Fly (15,000 mm); Ground (20,000 mm)
- Packed dimensions: 6″ diameter x 12″ size (5.6L)
- Guarantee: two-year restricted guarantee in opposition to defects in supplies or workmanship
- Made within the USA
The Zpacks Plex Solo is made utilizing Dyneema DCF, an ultralight however very robust waterproof materials that has little or no stretch, even when moist. There are two grades of DCF used on the Plex Solo: the ground is made with 1.0 ozsq yard DCF whereas the fly is on the market in two totally different weights relying in your selection of shade: 0.55 ozsq yard DCF (blue, olive drab, white) or 0.75 ozsq yard DCF (burnt orange grime, spruce inexperienced). Word: the load of the tent will increase to fifteen.4 ozif the 0.75 ozsq yard DCF is used. Each of those choices are extremely waterproof, exceeding typical silnylon, silpoly, or PU-coated tents by an element of 5 or extra.
The tent seams on the Plex Solo are sewn for power and manufacturing facility seam taped to be waterproof. The tent additionally comes totally configured with brilliant yellow 2.0mm Dyneema Z-Line wire guylines and LineLoc V guyline tensioners, which remove the necessity to tie any knots. A DCF stuff sack is included with the tent. There isn’t a footprint for this tent particularly neither is one actually required except you camp frequently on extremely abrasive floor. Zpacks sells DCF Groundsheets (3.1 oz) and Tyvek Groundsheets (9.2 oz), however you’ll discover that their Tyvek groundsheet weighs virtually as a lot because the tent! If you’d like a footprint that’s light-weight and inexpensive we advise utilizing plastic window wrap which is able to weigh roughly 2 ozfor this tent.
Plex Solo Tent Design Walkthrough
The Zpacks Plex Solo is greatest described as a pyramid-shaped monopole tarptent with a floating bathtub ground that’s linked to the rain fly with unfastened insect netting. One of these building is adaptable to uneven floor and annoying roots and rocks as a result of the tub ground can transfer up or down impartial of the partitions to adapt to the floor contour. For those who even have a thick inflatable sleeping pad, you’ll be able to typically flip a bumpy campsite into one thing extra tolerable for sleeping.
The Plex Solo requires one 52″ (132 cm) trekking pole to arrange, which is on the lengthy facet as trekking poles go. My trekking poles are simply barely lengthy sufficient when totally prolonged (well past their beneficial size). You may have to improve your poles to make use of the Plex Solo or to make use of a pole jack (bought individually) to make the pole longer. However you greatest verify your trekking pole size if contemplating this tent.
Whilst you can arrange the Plex Solo up with a minimal of six tent stakes, I’d suggest utilizing all ten guylines to maximise the inside quantity. It’s greatest to stake out the top corners and rear of the Plex Solo first, leaving numerous slack within the strains, which you’ll be able to tighten as soon as the trekking pole is inserted within the peak. While you insert your trekking pole, hold the grip on prime as a result of the height, whereas strengthened, doesn’t have a grommet inside to accommodate a carbide tip and would most likely be punctured in case you use the sharp finish. Having achieved this with different tents, that is one thing you wish to keep away from.
With the vestibule doorways closed and staked out, stake out the remaining guylines and rigidity them. You’ll discover that rolling again one or each the vestibule doorways or tensioning the tub ground contained in the tent can wreck your splendidly taut preliminary setup. That is an artifact of the tent’s uneven design.
For instance, I would tweak a guyline wire or roll open the vestibule solely to seek out that I’ve launched vital slack within the again wall. I’ve owned a number of one-person Zpacks tents and that is one thing that I’ve at all times discovered irritating with them. It’s one of many tradeoffs of utilizing an uneven design that’s designed for minimal weight since including extra materials or structural parts would make the shelter heavier. I liken it to proudly owning a Jaguar motor automotive: it’s quick and enjoyable to drive, however has just a few idiosyncrasies that you just have been unaware of if you purchased it.
The entrance vestibule has two overlapping panels that connect with a two-pronged hook on the entrance guyline so either side will be rolled again independently. This makes it simpler to dam the wind on one facet of the vestibule whereas conserving the opposite facet open for air flow. Using the two-pronged hook as a substitute of a zipper, improves the sturdiness of the tent since zippers are a standard level of failure.
The vestibule doorways don’t attain the bottom so as to ventilate the tent and to cut back inside condensation. The overhang gives sufficient safety to stop average rainfall and splashback from reaching the within of the tent. In additional excessive blowing rain, decreasing the trekking pole can also assist cut back splashback, however the rear partitions will go slack and are simply as prone to soak you with inside condensation. A greater wager could be to prop up your backpack or rain jacket within the vestibule to dam the rain.
The entrance of the tent behind the vestibule is all mesh with a rainbow-shaped doorway, which I personally like as a result of it’s so easy, however it may be vulnerable to zipper jams or failure as a result of appreciable rigidity is put onto the zipper when opening it or closing it. It’s greatest to seize the material on the finish of the zipper with one hand to supply a short lived anchor if you open or shut it.
The tub ground contained in the tent is sort of lengthy (90″) with a middle width of 38″ and a tapered head and foot-end width of 28″, with sufficient room to make use of a large pad and retailer a few of your gear inside with you. I’ve used the Plex Solo with a 77″ x 25″ inch inflatable pad and had additional room to spare.
The tub ground is 8″ deep, however typically lies flat on the backside of the tent except you tighten elastic cords that droop it from the rear panels. These cords assist angle the insect netting so condensation can run down the ceiling and drain by way of the netting, fairly than dripping on the ground. Nevertheless, in case you pull them too tightly they may trigger the rear wall of the tent to bow inwards.
The inside of the Plex Solo is surprisingly spacious. I’m 5′ 11″ and I can sit up comfortably inside. When mendacity down, I don’t discover the area over my head to be overly confining, and my toes keep away from the ceiling on the far finish.
Air flow and the airflow by way of the tent is nice so long as you retain each, or no less than one of many vestibule doorways open. The vestibule is pretty slender and received’t utterly cowl a big backpack. Alternatively, you’ll be able to improve one in every of Zpacks waterproof Dyneema or Extremely backpacks to keep away from carrying a sodden backpack the subsequent day
The DCF partitions of the Plex Solo are translucent and let a whole lot of mild go by way of the partitions. For those who’re involved about privateness, I’d suggest getting the rainfly in 0.75 ozper sq/yd DCF as a substitute of the 0.55 ozper sq/yd DCF as a result of it’s much less clear. Nevertheless, as a result of they’re translucent, the Plex Solo and different DCF tents can get uncomfortably heat inside in direct daylight. Whereas this may be an asset in colder climate, it could actually make the tent insufferably scorching and inconceivable to make use of till the solar goes down.
The Tarptent Aeon Li is a one-person DCF shelter with a facet door and vestibule just like the Plex Solo. It has a decrease peak peak and a smaller inside however will be pitched with an everyday size trekking pole. It’s barely heavier than the Plex Solo as a result of it consists of extra carbon-fiber struts within the corners that make it simpler to realize a superbly taught pitch each time. Learn our Aeon Li evaluation.
The Gossamer Gear DCF One is a one-person tent with a DCF rain fly and a Sil/PU coated nylon ground that makes it extra compact to pack than an all-DCF tent. It has a spacious entrance vestibule and requires two trekking poles to arrange. It’s nicely ventilated and simple to pitch however has barely much less inside area than the Plex Solo. Learn our DCF One evaluation.
The Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo is sort of comparable in design to the Plex Solo and makes an fascinating counterpoint as a result of it’s twice as heavy however lower than half the price. It’s made with low-stretch siliconized polyester (silpoly) that shares one in every of Dyneema’s most quoted advantages. Learn our Lunar Solo evaluation.
The Zpacks Plex Solo is the lightest weight tent Zpacks makes and at 13.9 oz, you’ll be hard-pressed to seek out an insect-proof shelter that’s lighter weight except you turn to a tarp and a bivy sack. It’s possible you’ll be tempted to purchase the Plex Solo just because it’s so light-weight and I wouldn’t blame you, as a result of I’ve achieved the identical.
However, I’d nonetheless encourage you to think about the professionals and cons of this shelter fastidiously. Whereas it has a comparatively spacious inside, it requires a protracted trekking pole (or pole jack) to pitch and has a reasonably slender vestibule that won’t utterly shield your backpack from the rain. It’s a single-wall shelter and due to this fact vulnerable to inside condensation except you retain the vestibule doorways rolled again for optimum air flow. Lastly, the uneven design could make the pitch a little bit fussy to dial in in case you like your tent to have drum-tight partitions, however with a little bit apply, you’ll get the hold of it and perceive learn how to choose tent websites that play to its strengths.
Zpacks donated a tent for this evaluation.
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