The Gossamer Gear DCF Two is a single-wall, two-person ultralight trekking pole tent that weighs 20. 8 oz and costs $589. While it has a Dyneema DCF rain fly, the floor is made with a 7 denier Sil/PU nylon, an innovative combination that reduces the price of the shelter and makes it easier to pack, while giving you the sag-free performance and superior waterproofing associated with DCF tents. The DCF Two has two doors and two vestibules, making it ideal for couples, with all mesh interior sidewalls for three-season comfort. Internal livability is excellent with abundant vestibule storage and generous dimensions that will be appreciated by taller backpackers.
Specs at a Glance
- Weight: 20.8 oz (590g) – includes guylines (21.0 oz – measured)
- Dimensions (bathtub floor) – Length (84″), Head Width (48″), Foot Width (42″) (these are spot on, we checked)
- Minimum number of stakes required: 6
- Rainfly: 0.51 oz/yd2 DCF
- Bathtub floor: 7D sil/pu nylon ripstop
- Guylines: 1.8mm reflective nylon sheath 1 mm dyneema core
- Vestibule zippers: #3, waterproof
- Tensioners: lineloc 3s on all main tie-outs
- For complete details, visit Gossamer Gear
The Gossamer Gear DCF Two has a hybrid construction with a Dyneema DCF rainfly and 7d Sil/PU coated nylon waterproof floor instead of being made entirely of Dyneema DCF like the Zpacks Duplex. This has a number of benefits, not the least of which is reduced cost because only half of the tent is made with Dyneema DCF, which is quite an expensive material.
Improved Packability/Reduced Bulk
In addition to its light weight, people buy Dyneema DCF tents because they don’t sag when they get wet and because DCF is vastly more waterproof than tents made with conventional fabrics. However, the downside of all-DCF construction is that tents that are made exclusively with it are surprisingly bulky to pack. By combining the materials, DCF and Sil/PU coated nylon, the DCF Two rolls up comparatively small, making it much more manageable to carry in a low volume, ultralight backpack.
As a point of comparison, here’s a side by side comparison of the one-person, all-Dyneema Tarptent ProTrail Li and the half-Dyneema DCF Two that illustrates how much bulk is saved by using a nylon floor. As you can see, the 2-person DCF Two packs up smaller than the 1-person ProTrail Li, which is pretty remarkable in my opinion.
The DCF Two has two peaks corresponding to its two vestibules. The vestibule doors are split down the middle with a waterproof zipper, but you can roll back one or and both sides for added ventilation. These are fastened with conventional toggles that insert into DCF loops on the sides of the tent.
The tent requires 6 stakes to pitch, 4 in the corners and 2 for the ridgeline guylines which are staked out perpendicular to the sidewalls. In a break with convention, the ridgeline guylines run inside the vestibule when it’s zipped shut, rather than over it, with one half of the vestibule clipped to the base of the guyline with a buckle that decouples it from the tension on the ridgeline. The other half of the vestibule door does not connect directly to the ridgeline but is held in place by the zipper connecting the two halves of the vestibule.
This has a number of ramifications worth considering:
First, you can only clip one half of the vestibule to the guyline with the buckle and not the other if you like to sleep with one half of the vestibule open and the other half-closed. Since you probably want to have the closed door facing and blocking the wind, this makes the setup of the tent “directional” as opposed to bi-directional, forcing you to “think” about the direction of the pitch, potentially in the dark. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty stupid at that time of day.
Next, if the wind shifts direction at night, your only option will be to close both doors to block the wind, instead of switching which half of the vestibule is open and which is closed.
Finally, if the vestibule zipper, which is a tiny #3, fails, you’re going to have to rig something up to keep the door without the ridgeline buckle closed. It’s not obvious how to this because there isn’t any anchor point at the bottom of that door that you can attach another guyline or stake to. The use of a #3 zipper is a potential source of concern, particularly in sandy conditions. Mountain Laurel Designs and Seek Outside now use #8 zippers on all their zippered shelters. The weight penalty is negligible, especially considering the reliability that is gained.
The sidewalls of the tent, inside the vestibules, are made with fine mesh for insect and creepy crawler protection. L-shaped zippers open into the vestibules, which are well sized to hold gear. You can store quite a large pack in one half of the vestibule and still get in and out of the tent quite easily. There are large mesh pockets on each side of the tent for storing personal items.
When you set up the DCF Two, your trekking pole handles should be positioned in the vestibules and the tips inserted into the grommets that help stretch out the full width of the inner bathtub floor. The tops of the poles will be flared out slightly and not be perpendicular to provide more interior space inside.
The interior of the DCF Two is surprisingly long and wide, with plenty of space for taller hikers. You can also fit two wide 25″ sleeping pads inside or two 20″ pads if you want a little extra room for gear storage. The head and foot ends of the tent are tapered slightly (from 48″ to 42″) so you’ll want to orient the tent so that your head is on the wider end with the screen doors and that the head end is on higher ground if you pitch the tent on an uneven tent site. I always forget to do this when using asymmetric two-person tents, which is why I prefer ones where the foot end has the same width as the head end. Color coding the ends with different colored buckles or cordage would make it easier to tell which end is which.
I was pleasantly surprised by how long the DCF Two is because I was able to lie back on a thick 4″ sleeping pad without the tops of my feet or my face coming in contact with the ceiling. The tent also has panel pullouts that you can guy out to pull those areas out further if desired. However, the loops that you tie your cord to are impossibly small and hard to thread in the field, so you’ll want to probably want to add them at home and keep those guylines permanently attached.
Durability and Maintenance
The DCF Two is very well made with reinforced panel pullouts on all the guylines, seam-taped seams, and immaculate sewing. But it is lean and mean by design, so you’ll want to treat it kindly and maintain it after each use. For instance, the 7 denier floor is very thin and I’d recommend using a lightweight footprint with this tent if you camp one on the packed-earth or rock dust tent sites commonly found on prepared tent sites. Gossamer Gear sells a plastic sheeting called polycryo for footprints that is super lightweight but extremely tough or you can just buy window wrap on Amazon for the same purpose.
I’d also avoid putting too much tension on the #3 zippers on the vestibule doors when staking out the ridgeline and recommend cleaning and lubricating them carefully once or twice each year. Gear Aid sells a great zipper lubricant stick for this purpose and it lasts forever. I’ve been using the same one for over 10 years and it’s still going strong.
The Gossamer Gear DCF Two is an innovative two-person, single-wall, trekking pole tent that breaks the ultralight DCF tent paradigm by cleverly coupling a DCF rainfly with a nylon floor. The result is a tent that’s significantly less bulky, but excels in terms of livability with dimensions that will delight taller hikers and couples alike. While I’d prefer to see Gossamer Gear use a heavier duty zipper on the DCF Two vestibules, the tent is quite well built and will perform well with the proper level of care and maintenance required to use an ultralight tent.
While the all-DCF Zpacks Duplex costs $10 more than the DCF Two, it has a symmetrical footprint that makes set up easier because there is no “head” or “foot” end of the tent. The Duplex has a more durable and zipper-free vestibule design that allows you to open or close either half of the vestibule. Its rainbow-shaped inner tent doors also let you enter and exit the tent easily without worrying which side of the vestibule is open or closed.
The nylon “The Two” only weighs a few more ounces than the DCF Two but is virtually identical in design. It packs up even smaller (11″ x 5″ vs “19 x 5”) because it doesn’t have a DCF rain fly, and is less transparent, but will experience slightly more sag at night when if the rain fly gets wet.
Disclosure: Gossamer Gear loaned the author this tent for this review.
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