I knew I wanted to test and put together a Zpacks Altaplex Tent review after looking over its specs when Zpacks brought back the Altaplex. It looked like one of best ultralight one person tents I’d come across, but field testing is how you find out how a tent really performs.
Coming in at an insane 15.4 oz (without poles or stakes), this is the lightest one person, floored tent I’ve tested to date. It is the perfect combination of lightweight, functional, and durable. I was blown away at the combination of weight and space the Zpacks Altaplex Tent gives you.
Looking for something similar to this Zpacks Altaplex Tent, but for two people? You’ll want to check out the Zpacks Duplex Tent. We’ve been using the Duplex for years now and it’s a favorite of mine. Check out our Zpacks Duplex review here!
Zpacks Altaplex Tent Review: Best Ultralight 1 person Tent
If you are looking for one of the lightest one person tent options on the market, the Zpacks Altaplex Tent is definitely one you should consider. This is by far the best ultralight tent I’ve tested for the ultralight ounce counter. Given its weight it would be normal to question its durability, but the Dyneema fabric used by Zpacks make this much more durable than you’d think. What you end up with is a very durable tent with a TON of space, especially given its incredibly low weight.
The Zpacks Altaplex Tent is built specifically for tall folks with a massive 56-58 inch peak height and 7.5 ft interior length. Even if you aren’t tall (like myself at 5’11”), I loved having the extra length to spread out. Because of its size, durability, weight, ease of setup and how compact it rolls up, it quickly earned its way into the class of “best backpack hunting tents” category for me.
Our Zpacks Altaplex Tent Rankings
Zpacks Altaplex Tent Review: The Testing
As we always do here at Backwoods Pursuit, for this Zpacks Altaplex Tent review we put it through a full season of field testing to see if the Altaplex was one of the best backpack hunting tent options on the market. Sure, great specs are nice to have, but specs mean nothing if that doesn’t translate to good usable space, a tent that keeps you dry, and something you don’t have to fight with to get set up. There’s simply no better place to test out gear than in the backcountry.
Zpacks Altaplex Tent Review: the Specs
The Zpacks Altaplex Tent is flat out impressive in the specs department. There’s simply no other way to put it. Massive interior space, super tall peak height, and impressive length combined with a fairly easy setup make this thing a real gem, even for tall folks. Here are the detailed specs on the Zpacks Altaplex Tent:
Zpacks Altaplex Tent Review: Non-Freestanding | Single Wall
The Zpacks Altaplex Tent is a non free-standing, single wall tent that uses just one trekking pole (or Zpacks 60 inch Carbon Pole) to be set up. Because this tent is set up at 56-60 inches peak height, you’ll need to use either one of the Zpacks Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles (just 7.2 oz), the Zpacks 60 inch Carbon Pole, or your own trekking poles. If you are using your own trekking poles, make sure they’ll extend to at least 56 inches. If they don’t, you can either make your own trekking pole extender like I did (see my video below) or purchase one of the Zpacks Trekking Pole Jacks. It must be staked out to be usable.
Being a single wall tent, condensation is always a concern, but I had zero issues with condensation while testing for this Zpacks Altaplex tent review. Given how the Altaplex pitches with the sides not coming all the way to the ground (when pitched at max peak height), good ventilation seemed to easily occur, even without opening the doors at all. The non-zippered doors actually help allow a draft in to keep the condensation to a minimum. You can also sleep with one or both doors rolled back in the open position to allow good ventilation (assuming weather permits) if condensation is an issue, but I had no problem with this even when it got down to below freezing.
Zpacks Altaplex Tent Review: Materials Used
Zpacks uses two different high-quality Dyneema Fabrics. The canopy and walls are made of .55 oz per square yard Dyneema with a hydrostatic head rating of 15,000 mm, while the floor is made with 1.0 oz per square yard Dyneema which has a hydrostatic rating of 20,000 mm. Zpacks wisely constructs the floor with a thicker floor material to aid in durability and an increased waterproof rating.
For more on Hydrostatic test ratings, check out our “Basics of Choosing a Backpacking Tent” article.
One thing I love about the Dyneema fabric is that it is naturally waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about the waterproof silicone or polyurethane wearing off.
Zpacks Altaplex Tent Review: Ease of Setup
I found the Zpacks Altaplex Tent to be very easy to setup. It did take a few practice runs to get the angles just right, but after a few times it really was a breeze. At times it can be a challenge to get it pitched perfectly if you find yourself having to sleep on a steep side-hill, but otherwise it was really easy. The Altaplex can also be tough to set up if you find yourself in a rocky area where getting stakes in the ground is challenging, but that’s the case with any non-freestanding tent.
Zpacks Altaplex Tent Review: No Zipper Design
One of the things that makes the Zpacks Altaplex tent one of the best backpack hunting tent options is this ingenious no-zipper design. I didn’t know if I’d like the no-zipper setup of the vestibule doors, but the design really is awesome. The Zpacks toggle clips securely hold the doors in place, and you have the added option of securing the mid-section of the door with an elastic tie down.
Being a single wall shelter, this no-zipper design really makes a TON of sense. While one of the issues that single wall tents face is condensation, this design allows the tent to breath very well, even when it’s fully closed off, which in turn minimizes the potential for condensation. Of course if you leave one or both of the vestibule doors open, you shouldn’t experience any condensation problems at all.
While I never experienced any problems with the no zipper design, I could see that if the wind really got whipping, it could cause some extra draft and/or noise. You’d want to be cognizant of this and set the tent up with that flap upwind to minimize any extra draft or noise. If you tighten down the vestibule tension, you shouldn’t have any issue at all.
Zpacks Altaplex Tent Review: Huge Doors
The Zpacks Altaplex Tent gives you a huge door that is 36 inches in height and zips/unzips the entire mesh side of the shelter. Combined with the bathtub floor, it’s incredible that this shelter comes in at only 15.4 ounces. Getting in and out of this tent is a breeze, and the full size zipper also gives you easy access to the entire vestibule.
Zpacks Altaplex Tent Review: Mesh Screen
For this Zpacks Altaplex Tent review I was able to try out the mesh as some of the temperatures I tested it in reached the mid 90s. Of course, bugs can be an issue in that kind of heat, but the .67 oz/sq yd Ultralight Nano-Noseeum Insect Netting that Zpacks uses did a fantastic job of keep all unwanted visitors out of the tent. I never had an issue with it ripping or tearing, and the zippers used were smooth and easy to operate.
There are just so many things that make the Zpacks Altaplex Tent one of the best backpack hunting tents for me, and generally one of the best ultralight one person tent options out there.
Zpacks Altaplex Tent Review: Massive interior Space
The amount of space inside the Zpacks Altaplex Tent is one of the first things you’ll notice. It gives you enough room to get up in the morning and get dressed without feeling cramped or as though you are playing a game of Twister while trying to get your clothes on sitting inside. In fact, I had plenty of room to slide my pad over and sit on the tent floor while getting dressed, putting on my boots, etc. You even have plenty of headroom to fully sit up or kneel if you need to slide on your pants.
Zpacks Altaplex Tent Review: Build Quality
I’ve owned a couple of different Zpacks tents over the last few years and have yet to have any issue whatsoever with the quality of the construction. Zpacks uses top-notch materials and builds a great tent. I’m sure mistakes happen, but so far I’ve been nothing but pleased with my Zpacks Tents.
Zpacks Altaplex Tent Review: Compact Size
The Altaplex tent packs up nice and small to take up a minuscule amount of space in your pack. While silnylon arguably is a little more compact, I like the weight savings Dyneema offers if you can swing the price tag.
Zpacks Altaplex Tent Finicky Setup
While field testing the Zpacks Altaplex Tent for this review, I found setting up the Altaplex proved a little tougher to set up than others. In those situations where you find yourself on especially steep ground, where some of the stakes are uphill or downhill from the other side of the tent, I struggled to get a solid pitch out of the Zpacks Altaplex. Those are the times when you wish you had a freestanding tent, but personally I’ll take the occasional inconvenience of a less-than-ideal tent setup to save the weight.
I also found that using the extra guy out points gives you a little extra interior room, but didn’t feel like it is necessary unless it’s especially windy.
Zpacks Altaplex Tent Review: Privacy Concern
If you like your privacy in a shelter, something else I noted through this Zpacks Altaplex Tent review is that it is somewhat see-through. You can make out a silhouette due to the super thin material. While this didn’t bother me at all, I suppose it may be an issue for some. Fabric transparency is one of the things that you get with some of the Dyneema material colors. Zpacks does offer other colors (and a thicker Dyneema option) that reduces the transparency of the fabric if that is a concern.
Zpacks Altaplex Tent Review: Price Tag
The biggest downside I could find after doing this Zpacks Altaplex Tent review and test is the price tag. Coming in at $585 for just the tent, the price could be a deterring factor for some. Add one of the carbon fiber poles, a trekking pole jack, and a set of stakes and it’s a chunk of change. As we all know, you are going to pay extra for the combination of ultralight, durable, functional, and super high quality. This shelter encompasses all of those things amazingly well.
Zpacks Altaplex Tent Review: What I liked
There was so much that I grew to love about this tent while doing this Zpacks Altaplex Tent review. While the list is very long, several of the things mentioned above stood out the most to me:
- Massive interior
- Crazy low weight
- Incredible height
- Zpacks no-zipper doors
- Large door with rainbow zipper
- Great ventilation
Zpacks Atlaplex Review: What I didn’t Like
There wasn’t much I didn’t love about the Altaplex, but there were a few annoyances. Setup can be a bit finicky if you find yourself in certain terrains, and the Altaplex is a bit more drafty than other tents I’ve tested. I actually found the drafty nature of the tent to be a plus in a lot of situations (particularly on warm nights), but it was very unwelcome on those cold nights with a breeze.
- Finicky setup
- Price tag
Zpacks Altaplex Tent Review: Accessories
As I mentioned above, Zpacks offers you a number of accessories to pair with your tent. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most important ones I would consider adding:
Zpacks Trekking Pole Jack
I ended up making my own trekking pole extender for my Altaplex because they were out of stock when I put in my order, but the extender offered by Zpacks makes life in the backcountry a little easier.
Zpacks Tent stakes
Zpacks also offers a number of different stake options to go with your tent purchase. I haven’t tested any of these, but they are nice and lightweight!
Zpacks Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
Zpacks makes some super lightweight Zpacks carbon fiber trekking poles to pair with this Altaplex tent as well. Again, I haven’t had a chance to test these out, but I do love the weight!
Check out Our Zpacks Altaplex Tent Review
Zpacks Atlaplex Tent Review: Conclusion
The Zpacks Altaplex tent earned its stripes as my favorite, ultralight, one person shelter when every ounce matters (at least for now). It’s loaded with features like the no-zipper design, spacious interior, Dyneema fabric, and super compact packed size. While the price point is a bit on the steep side, you get a super durable, lightest of the light kind of tent that you hardly feel in your backpack. For me, the Zpacks Altaplex tent is the best ultralight one person tent I’ve tested so far. See how it stacks up against some others I tested in my full Backpacking Tent Review!
Check out Backcountry Camp Part 1: Basics of Selecting a Tent to help you select the right tent. Make sure to check out all of our other tent reviews as well! We’ve been testing tents for a while now, and have a good number of backpacking tent reviews.
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