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Reader Response: LightHeart Duo vs. SMD Lunar Duo vs. ZPacks Duplex

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LightHeart Gear Duo Tent

Reader Question: 

Hi Dave,

I’m looking to buy the LightHeart Gear Duo tent. Could you elaborate on some the pros and cons you have experienced as well as how it compares with other two person single wall tents?

Below are some specific questions I have about the Duo.

1) Why did the Duo not make your ‘best backpacking tents for 2015‘ list?

2) Did you use this tent in heavy rain? If so, did the tent sag a lot due to the material?

3) Did you find this tent to be roomie?

4) Could you elaborate on some of the biggest differences you have experienced when using the Duo versus the ZPacks Duplex tent?

Something else I wanted to ask:

5) I am heavily considering ditching my Asolo boots for trail runners. What brand do you recommend for the socks you have found to be successful on you adventures?



My Response:

Hey Sean, 

Thanks for the questions. Here are my thoughts on the LightHeart Gear Duo tent. I hope they help! 

1) The LightHeart Duo didn’t make my best backpacking tents list because of a couple of factors, but mainly because it’s similar to the Six Moons Designs Lunar Duo (even in name!), which I like a little better. That said, the LightHeart Duo is definitely a solid lightweight tent, so if you prefer it’s design, I say go for it. That’s why it’s on my lightweight shelters gear list. Many people really enjoy it. Here are the bullet point reasons for my top tents comparison:

  • The LH Duo has a pointed top design, so there is less headroom than the Lunar Duo, which has a straight pole design with rounded top bars. This is probably the biggest differentiator of the two tents – much more interior space in the Lunar Duo.
  • There is a small difference in cost between the LH Duo and Lunar Duo when you take seam sealing into account. You’ll definitely want to seam seal either option.
  • The weight of the LH Duo and the Lunar Duo are almost identical (depending on the color you choose for the LH Duo).
  • The LH Duo has slightly smaller doors, but their designs are very similar.
  • The LH Duo has a slightly higher bathtub floor than the Lunar Duo, which is better, but not a huge deal.
  • Both tents provide excellent weather protection when seam sealed, and both tents have vents to prevent against condensation. But condensation is a factor for all single-wall tents and neither design is immune.
  • The awning of the LH Duo is a nice touch, but I’d rather have the interior space of the Lunar Duo, which also has large vestibules on both sides.

2) Because it’s rainfly has more surface area, the SMD Lunar Duo will sag more when cold and wet than the LightHeart Duo. That said, all silnylon tents sag a bit when cold and wet. Cuben Fiber is much better in that respect (the ZPacks Duplex tent is made of CF). The LH Duo isn’t too saggy though. 

3) Yes, The LightHeart Duo is a roomie tent compared to most other ultralight options. As I mentioned before, not quite as roomie as the Lunar Duo, which is a big differentiator for me. 

4) The ZPacks Duplex is obviously much lighter and more expensive than the LightHeart Duo. The Duplex is a little narrower and shorter too, but it does have a good amount of headroom because of the straight pole/wall design. In my opinion, the ZPacks Duplex is a good balance of space and weight for an ultralight tent. Cuben fiber is also a material that performs better in wet weather than silnylon because it won’t sag at all. But again, the Duplex is obviously much more expensive choice, so it depends on how much you backpack or if you’re planning a thru-hike. 

5) Definitely ditch the boots! Here are 5 Reasons to Ditch Your Backpacking Boots. I wear lightweight trail running shoes – I’m currently using the Saucony Peregrine 5 shoes and I love them. I don’t need any special socks for these shoes and I don’t get any blisters. I usually just use trail running socks and lightweight trail gaiters. I’m not too picky about my socks, so I try to choose socks that will last a long time.

I hope those answers help provide some clarity on your choice. I don’t really think you can go wrong with any of the options you’re choosing between. Best of luck and let me know how it all works out!