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Gear talk: fitting magnetic door closures to my Zpacks Duplex

Fitting a magnetic closure system to the doors on a shelter is a pretty simple task. Three Points of the Compass recently spent half an hour modding his Zpacks Duplex

Magnetic vestibule door on Zpacks Duplex

Someone asked recently on the Reddit/Ultralight group what mods people had made to their [Duplex] tent. One of the replies was for a lighter and simpler alternative to a system that I have occasionally used, so I decided to adopt it. The Zpacks Duplex, in common with many other shelters, has doors that are rolled up and fastened open with a loop passing over a toggle. Many users will be familiar with how these can be a tad awkward to use at times, sometimes tight and fiddly, especially so when the fingers are cold.

I have occasionally taken a pair of magnetic silicone cord organisers with me and these can hold rolled vestibule doors open instead of using the toggle closures. Cheap and brightly coloured, they are not easy to lose in the grass and work pretty well. However it is yet another piece of gear to carry and quite often, they start off in a gear list prior to a trip but then get excluded at the last moment. The guy on Reddit suggested fixing rare earth magnets directly to the shelter. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it myself as it is a simple solution. I have also since found out that Tarptent fit magnetic fly door tiebacks to their Notch Li shelter.

Suitable rare earth magnets
Three Points of the Compass had various sizes of rare earth magnets sitting in a toolbox somewhere so these were dug out and eight of a suitable size selected. These are 10mm x 3mm and weigh 1.7g each. I could have gone smaller but wanted something that is going to resist coming unsnapped in a breeze but was still lightweight. Eight magnets weigh 13.6g.
I sourced some adhesive DCF repair tape from Wild Sky Gear and cut this into eight squares roughly 30mm across and gave each corners. This helps them resist peeling when applied.
I sourced some adhesive DCF repair tape from Wild Sky Gear and cut from this eight squares roughly 40mm across and gave each rounded corners. This helps them resist peeling when applied.
It is handy to prepare the eight magnetic patches in advance. Also, mark each attracting face of a pair of magnets with a sharpie. This prevents any mistakes in having the wrong face of a magnet exposed. Note the top magnet in the image. This has been damaged by dropping it, these little magnets are surpringly brittle
It is handy to prepare the eight magnetic patches in advance. Also, mark each attracting face of a pair of magnets with a sharpie. This prevents any mistakes in having the wrong face of a magnet exposed. Note the top magnet in the image. This has been damaged by dropping it and was replaced. These little magnets are surprisingly brittle
Pair of fitted magnets
Pair of fitted magnets

This is a simple job but it is sensible to take your time doing it. Checking once and checking again, that everything is where it should be and that magnetic ‘pairs’ are correct and that they meet in the right place.

I have kept the original toggles and loops in place as I still want the option of using these in wilder conditions where the magnets may not suffice. I have also fixed the magnets to the outside surfaces so that they work through the adhesive repair patches rather than through the shelter material. This should help prevent any wear to the Duplex itself.

There is a small air bubble around the 3mm thick magnets beneath each DCF patch. I cannot see any reason why this would matter long term but if you adopted a similar system then thinner magnets would not have so much of an air bubble..

Standard toggle door closure on Zpacks Duplex
Standard toggle door closure on Zpacks Duplex
Rolled door magnetically held open
Rolled door magnetically held open
Rolled Z Packs Duplex vestibule door magnetically held
Rolled Z Packs Duplex vestibule door magnetically held

I’ve still got plenty of magnets and tape left, now where is my MLD Duomid…

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