Zpacks – Quite Possibly the Best Tent Ever

Zpacks – Quite Possibly the Best Tent Ever

Zpacks makes exceptional gear, and their Solplex (1 person) and Duplex (2 person) tents are great examples of that. Made with waterproof Dyneema Composite Fabric, and weighing close to nothing, these tents are something to be excited about.

During a recent summer, some friends of mine and I hiked the John Muir Trail during the only continuously wet 23 days I have ever heard of in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It was not what we were expecting! We were rained on daily, but there was great comfort in knowing that I would be warm and dry once I pitched my Solplex. It not only kept out the rain, but because Dyneema Composite Fabric (formerly Cuben Fiber) doesn’t stretch, the tent stayed taught and didn’t sag.

Staying dry is just one reason I chose to bring the Zpacks Solplex on my hike. The other was weight. The total weight for the Zpacks Solplex tent, including the doors, floor, screen, taped seams, and sewn in linelocs is 15.5 ounces (439 grams). Not even a pound! For the ultralight hiker or someone who just wants to get their pack weight down, this may be the way to go. Plus, you can pitch it with your trekking poles or purchase freestanding tent poles.

If you are looking for a 2 person tent the Duplex is a fantastic choice. The Zpacks website really sums it up. “The Duplex Tent is the sweet spot when it comes to size, weight, and features. It has ample space for one person plus gear to spread out, or it can fit a partner. It has two doors, so you get ventilation, views, and vestibule space on both sides of the tent, plus you don’t have to climb over your partner to get out. Plex tents have a solid sewn in bathtub floor, a tall entryway, and storm doors for 360° rain protection and vestibule space. They are made from ultralight Dyneema Composite Fabric and set up with trekking poles. They are also available as tarps without the screen or floor. Linelocs and cord are cut and attached for you. All Zpacks shelters have waterproof taped seams. No seam sealing necessary.”

The total weight for the packed Duplex tent is 21.0 ounces (595 grams). This includes lines, line locks, and stuff sack!

Definitely check out all that Zpacks has to offer. They manufacture a wide variety of hiking gear including backpacks, rain gear, sleeping bags: the list goes on. I’m a huge fan and customer!

The opinions expressed in the article are mine alone. I was not given any items to review. I purchased all items myself at retail value.


Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon located on Navajo land east of Page, Arizona and a definite “must see.” The Canyon is comprised of two separate slot canyon sections called “Upper Antelope Canyon,” or “The Crack,” and “Lower Antelope Canyon,” or “The Corkscrew.” We toured Lower Antelope Canyon and it was spectacular!

Lower Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon was formed by erosion of Sandstone, primarily due to flash flooding. Rainwater, sometimes from far upstream, runs into the basin above the slot canyon sections, rushes into the narrow passageways, and erodes the walls with the sand and debris picked up along the way. Over time the passageways have eroded, making the corridors deeper and smoothing hard edges creating the ‘flowing’ shapes in the rock.

In order to tour the canyon you must go with a guide since it’s on Navajo land and is deemed a Navajo Tribal Park.

You can see from the photos, how truly beautiful it is. It’s totally worth the trip.

Lower Antelope Canyon


Lower Antelope Canyon Tours

How to Sled in 100 Degree Weather

How to Sled in 100 Degree Weather

As we raced down the steep, sandy mountain…no. As we sped down…no. Ok, as we scooted down the steep sandy incline, expecting a scene similar to Clark Griswold rocketing through the woods and buildings in the movie Christmas Vacation, we were sorely disillusioned by the amount of manual force involved with sledding in sand. To be fair, we did not purchase the wax offered to us at the gift store that was supposed to turn our otherwise sluggish “sled” into a lightning fast, land speed record setting, Olympic winning machine. Instead, we scooted, but our day was filled with laughter, sunburn and awe at the beauty of the mountainous gypsum landscape. Oh, and we found a Yeti/Bigfoot print. ?
Bigfoot Print at White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument in New Mexico is one of the world’s great natural wonders. Encompassing 275 square miles of desert, these great dunes of glistening white gypsum create a great big playground. While Lindsay and I mainly hiked and sledded down the hills, there are numerous other activities including back-country camping, photography, and activities that need either a permit or reservation like weddings, ranger programs and commercial photography and video.

We had a blast at White Sands National Monument and hope you add it to your bucket list. We’re glad we did!

Operating hours vary by season, so it’s best to call the visitor center when planning your trip. Their number is 575-479-6124


Vogelsang High Sierra Camp

Vogelsang High Sierra Camp

We found Yeti / Bigfoot! More on that in a minute. ?

Vogelsang High Sierra Camp in Yosemite National Park, was established in 1940 and is a great basecamp for hikes to the surrounding alpine lakes such as Evelyn Lake, Ireland Lakes, Emeric Lake, Booth Lake and Vogelsang Lake. At 10,000ft elevation, it is the highest of the High Sierra Camps and a fun destination in itself.

Lindsay and I left from Yosemite on a 3 day adventure to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp and back. The hike was a 26 mile loop beginning and ending at the John Muir Trailhead, across from Dog Lake parking area. The first couple of miles followed the John Muir Trail along the Lyell Fork of the Tuloumne River. At Rafferty Creek Junction, begins a 1,200 ft ascent to Tuolumne Pass. We stopped to camp before Tuolumne Pass where we enjoyed dinner wine and pop rocks. Yea, we wanted to really hear those pop rocks pop!

Pop Rocks and Wine

Because Pop Rocks REALLY pop with wine!

The next morning we packed up camp, left no trace, and pushed forward! We had no idea what lay ahead. Literally, we didn’t know what a High Sierra Camp consisted of. We were just happy to have permit for a trail! On the way we experienced some of the most amazing scenery we have ever seen, and we’ve seen some beautiful sights. 

Of course, our adventure wouldn’t be complete without a Bigfoot/Yeti sighting! You can see in the snow where the Yeti left a footprint! After seeing this we were hopeful to find the man himself, Mr. Yeti! After all, we were on Yeti Nother Adventure. Now, if you look at the next image you’ll see the real deal. When he saw us, he stood motionless. Motionless for 2 days! You can tell it’s Bigfoot because the picture is blurry. How many times has Bigfoot been photographed and not been blurry?

Yeti/Bigfoot Sierra Nevada

He’s just a blurry kind of guy. We were also impressed with how well he was camouflaged! He blended in with the rock perfectly.

So the hike continued through more beautiful scenery past lakes, wildflowers, bald eagles, and marmots. It just didn’t end. As we were walking along, I mentioned to Lindsay that I thought Vogelsang HSC was an actual camp with tent cabins and possibly food that didn’t need to be re-hydrated, but that was just speculation. I was probably just hungry and hoping for an oasis. About 10 minutes later we looked up only to see tent cabins in the distance. It IS a camp! And there may be REAL FOOD!

Not only did they have real food. They had the most amazing food imaginable. Fresh Salmon with a creamy dill sauce, over a bed of wild rice and asparagus. This, a salad and homemade bread.
Vogelsang High Sierra Camp


Oh, did I forget dessert? Dessert was amazing!

Vogelsang High Sierra Camp Dessert

The next morning we did some fly fishing and exploring. We were in constant amazement of the beauty that surrounded us. After a seated breakfast consisting of eggs, bacon, toast, fruit, orange juice and coffee, we packed up our campsite and headed back to the trail for the long, downhill hike back to the car.

This was probably one of the best three day getaway’s we’ve ever been on. I can’t describe anticipating re-hydrated food only to find gourmet seated meals. It was a fun treat. There will be plenty more times to enjoy our re-hydrated food.