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Gear talk: a replacement of the Zpacks Duplex vestibule double-hook apparatus

Backpacking the Southern Upland Way recently, I reached out one evening to close and tighten the vestibule doors- twang! One of the hooks had broken. I tied it shut for the remainder of that hike and simply used the other side of the shelter. Back home, I found thirty seconds to replace it with one of those sent to me by Zpacks

Day thirteen on the Southern Upland Way. Due to a broken hook, the vestibule doors nearest are simply tied shut
Day thirteen on the Southern Upland Way in 2022. Due to a broken hook, the vestibule doors nearest are simply tied shut here

There isn’t much to this repair so there isn’t much to this post either. Three Points of the Compass is a big fan of the Zpacks Duplex. I used one for over three thousand backpacking miles and when that wore out I was happy to purchase a second. This second one is now approaching five hundred trail miles and I expect to get a few more years out of it. This is the first issue I have had with the two double-hook apparatus used on the Duplex to hold the two vestibule doors on each side. It is a simple and effective method but not repairable in the field unless you have a spare. So rather than just use the one remaining hook on that side and keep the other door rolled, I tied the two doors on one side shut for the remainder of the trip and just used the other side of the tent to enter/exit which simply meant a little more thought each night to ensure that the correct side of the shelter was facing where I wanted it.

Two replacement Double-Hook Apparatus Lineloc V (1-2 mm cord) sent to me by Zpacks
Two replacement Double-Hook Apparatus Lineloc V (1-2 mm cord) sent to me free of charge by Zpacks

I emailed Zpacks on my return and within a couple of days had a reply asking for my UK address for this US company to post me a pair of gratis replacement hooks. Excellent service and also what I would expect from them. The metal hook design has been tweaked very slightly with thicker metal however the Lineloc 3’s have changed to Lineloc V’s that have a more defined v-notch to stop the (up to 2mm) cord slipping. Not that this has ever been an issue for me. I am interested to see how the change in Lineloc transmits to use in windier conditions. To give the whole its correct Zpacks moniker, it is a Double-Hook Apparatus Lineloc V, for 1-2 mm cord. I notice that Outdoor Gear Essentials also sells these as an upgrade to those used on the Lanshan.

Broken and replacement hooks with Lineloc 3 and Lineloc V

The repair of the broken hook took a grand total of thirty seconds. Untie the knot on the end of the guy, pull it out of the broken hook, put another on (correctly orientated) and knot the end of the guy again. Now that is my sort of undemanding and uncomplicated repair! No sewing, no fuss. Because I was sent two and had a spare and improved design of hook, I also replaced the unbroken one on the other side of the shelter. And what of the unbroken one I removed. Should I slip it into the ditty bag or leave it in the gear locker at home? I am not sure I need such a belts and braces replacement attitude on trail. One replacement combination metal hook and lineloc weighs 2.1g. The old ones weigh 2.3g each.

Old (left) and new (right) style metal hooks. The newer design has thicker metal
New (left) and old style linelocs. A v-notch has replaced the former simpler non-locking slot
Underside of the two types of Lineloc. A locking v-notch on the Lineloc V’s has replaced the former simpler non-locking slot on the Lineloc 3

Having used one of two Zpacks Duplex shelters over hundreds of nights on trail, frequently in quite awful and demanding weather conditions, this has been the first issue with one of these hooks and I am not inclined to think there is any great problem with them. It is simply- one of those things, a very infrequent failure and easily got round in the field and just as easily repaired afterward. Zpacks have obviously appreciated that there might be a slight problem with these hooks very occasionally snapping under strain and as well as the (hopefully) improved locking lineloc the latest design has a very slightly thicker metal to rectify any issue with snapping hooks. I continue to have great faith in this shelter and this is what I will be using on my next longer backpacking trip in just a few weeks. Thanks to Zpacks for both an excellent shelter and excellent customer service.

Zpacks Duplex on the Cleveland Way in 2019. This shows how the double hook apparatus can be used to fasten either one of both doors
Zpacks Duplex on the Cleveland Way in 2019. This shows how the double hook apparatus can be used to fasten either one of both doors

A quick glance at my replacement Zpacks Duplex

Fitting magnetic door closures to my Zpacks Duplex

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