Macpac Duolight Tent Review | The Tent That Keeps On Giving

When you’re venturing into the mountains on an extensive and challenging expedition, having confidence in your hiking tent is crucial. Fortunately, Macpac has consistently proven its reliability, and you can expect nothing less from the Macpac Duolight Tent.

We have been putting the Macpac Duolight Hiking Tent to the test for over 5 years now, pushing its limits in the harsh conditions of Tasmania and New Zealand. To our surprise, the Duolight barely has a scratch to show for all its hard years of service.

If you’re reading this review, chances are you’re looking for a sturdy tent that can handle rough conditions and comfortably accommodate you and your gear. We’re happy to report that this is where the Duolight Tent shines. However, nothing is flawless, and there are a few aspects to consider before purchasing this hiking tent.

In this article, I’ll share my honest review of the Macpac Duolight Tent. You’ll find details about each component, the reasons why we chose this tent and how it has performed over the past 5 years.

Cooking dinner in my Macpac Duolight Tent during sunset in Kosciuszko National Park
Wilkinsons Valley, Kosciuszko National Park

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My Honest Review Of The Macpac Duolight Tent

Quick Info On The Macpac Duolight Tent

Price: $640 AUD (members price)
Fly Fabric: 100% 20D Polyester Ripstop with SI/PE coatings, 1200mm Hydrostatic Head
Inner Fabric: 100% 40D Nylon Ripstop
Floor Fabric: 100% 40D Nylon Ripstop with C6 WR/PU coatings, 10000 mm Hydrostatic Head
Weight: 2.17 kg 
Packed Size: 16 cm x 44 cm
Internal Size: 1050 x 2200 x 1400 mm
External Size: 1100 x 2250 x 2600 mm
Floor Area: 3.08m²
Vestibule Size: 0.66m²
Sustainability: N/A

Macpac Duolight Tent Product Photo


  • Affordable
  • Highly durable
  • Exceptional build quality
  • Larger than average interior
  • Quick set up and pack down


  • Heavy
  • Large packed size
  • Not sustainably made

The Macpac Duolight Tent is a free-standing 3 season backpacking tent designed with durability and comfort in mind. The spacious interior and impressive build quality make it a favourite for couples venturing deep into the rugged wilderness.

It’s difficult to find many negatives for the Duolight tent, aside from its slightly heavier weight compared to other popular 3-season tents – like the MSR Hubba Hubba or the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2. However, these lighter tents sacrifice size and comfort, not to mention the significantly higher price tag – which, in my opinion, isn’t worth it.

Who Is The Macpac Duolight Tent For?

Camping in the Macpac Duolight Tent in front of Mt Doom on the Tonagariro Northern Circuit in New Zealand
Tongariro Northern Circuit, New Zealand

The Macpac Duolight is the ideal tent for keen hikers with a strong need for a reliable tent to accompany them deep into the mountains. But it’s also a fantastic budget-conscious upgrade for beginners branching out to bigger hiking trips.

On top of its superior durability, the spacious interior is ideal for couples needing a little extra space to keep their belongings inside and safe from the weather and animals.

However, it’s because of these traits that the Duolight weighs slightly more than competing tents. So if you’re someone looking for an ultralight hiking tent to keep your overall pack weight down, the Macpac Duolight probably isn’t the tent for you. 

Packed Size & Weight

Macpac Duolight Tent packed into its tent bag

The Macpac Duolight 3-season tent certainly isn’t the lightest 2-person backpacking tent on the market, weighing 2.17kg. Its additional weight is primarily due to its larger size and high durability characteristics. While you may appreciate the added comfort and toughness, it’s important to remember that this is one of the heavier 3-season hiking tents out there.

The Duolight is not just heavy, its packed size is also quite large. When packed, it forms a cylinder around 16 cm in diameter and 44 cm in length – which could pose an issue if you prefer to hike with smaller backpacks.

In saying that, the Macpac Duolight is by no means excessively bulky or heavy.

While the packed size and weight of the Duolight are definitely drawbacks, I have personally never found them to be problematic. The Duolight fits perfectly at the bottom of my Osprey Aether 85L Backpack and I am more than happy to compromise on the extra weight for the benefits of its durable fabric and size.

If weight is your main concern and the added comfort of a spacious tent isn’t a high priority for you, I’d recommend you check out Nemo Hornet Elite Osmo 2P. This ultralight tent has a great reputation, though there is no doubt that the Duolight is cheaper and will be more durable in the long run.

Interior Space & Comfort

Cooking dinner outside our Macpac Duolight Tent camping in Tasmania
The Needles, Tasmania

If you’re looking for a backcountry tent that offers maximum space and comfort for livability, the Macpac Duolight will not let you down. The Macpac Duolight Tent boasts massive internal space when compared to competing tents in its category and was the ultimate reason behind our purchase.

The ample headroom and livable space that make the Duolight so comfortable are facilitated by a central ridge pole and its dome-like design. Despite its average peak height of 1.05 m, the pole structure maximises interior room, allowing more than two people to sit up comfortably. The freestanding construction also keeps the tent base taut, even when camping on difficult terrain like rock or alpine grass. 

Another major benefit of the living space that the Macpac Duolight offers is the untapered and large footprint. At 1.4m wide, it accommodates two standard sleeping mats comfortably, leaving ample space for boots and gear beside them. And the 2.2 m length also provides enough room to fit your pack at your feet.

Two large mats inside the Macpac Duolight Tent
Laying on a sleeping mat inside the large Macpac Duolight 2 person tent

In addition to the tent’s interior, having two doors and vestibules massively increases comfort in bad weather. This allows both users to get in and out of the tent quickly and provides space to remove wet gear without having to wait for one another. The vestibules also offer plenty of space for storing gear outside and serve as a great cooking space when the weather turns south.

Due to the above reasons, our Macpac Duolight always becomes the group tent when the weather turns south. And in the 5 years we’ve owned it, I’ve never regretted buying such a spacious tent.

Build Quality and Durability

Camping on rocks at Brewster Glacier in New Zealand
Brewster Glacier, New Zealand

The Macpac Duolight Tent excels in durability, continuously surpassing our expectations with its tough fabric and high build quality that withstand even the most ferocious storms.

The Fly is made from a 20D Polyester Ripstop Fabric that has proven to withstand the high winds and rains that frequent Tasmania. Furthermore, the inner lining and base of the tent are constructed with 40D Nylon Ripstop for even higher levels of durability. Thanks to these traits, this tent has kept us warm and dry on many hikes in Tasmania and New Zealand.

As far as the poles go, they show no signs of stress or wear and the shock cord is still as stretchy as it was when we first purchased the tent.

As good as this tent has been concerning durability, nothing is indestructible. The small issues we’ve faced during 5 years of heavy use have been a small rip in the mesh on the door panel (which was my fault), a tear in the tent bag and one of the guy ropes on the fly snapping. All of these issues were an easy fix.

But even with these small issues, the build quality of this tent has held strong throughout its life and only now has begun to show signs of ageing. While no holes have formed in the floor fabric – despite many nights camping on rock slabs and rough alpine terrain – the waterproofing has noticeably deteriorated in the base.

Now, if we’re caught in heavy rain, small puddles seep through during the night. While the current amount of water seeping in isn’t enough to raise any concern, it indicates that the tent is beginning to reach the end of its life. And let me tell you, it’s been a tough one.

Small puddles forming in the base of the Macpac Duolight Tent

With all that said, the Macpac Duolight has been our most reliable piece of hiking gear and has stuck with us since the beginning. It has endured the tough weather of the Western Arthurs Traverse, held strong in 80 km/h wind gusts on Mt Tyndall and saved us from the dreaded sandflies on Gillespies Pass Circuit. As a result, I highly recommend this tent to anyone looking for a reliable and tough backpacking tent.

Note: While Macpac states that this tent doesn’t need an extra footprint, we always place our emergency blanket under it for added protection.

Weather Protection

Camping on a rock shelf in Mt Field National Park Tasmania
Mt Field West, Tasmania

The waterproof fly is factory seam-sealed and features a silicone coating on the outside to repel moisture and a PE coating on the inside to ensure a high level of waterproofing during downpours. Despite its modest 1200mm Hydrostatic Head rating, we’ve never experienced water leakage, even in heavy rainstorms.

Macpac Duolight covered in frost while camping in Tasmania

The base of the tent is made from a 40D waterproof lightweight ripstop nylon tub floor, rated to 10,000mm Hydrostatic Head. This floor is definitely tough, providing ample protection from ground debris and drafts. And despite our extensive use, camping on all sorts of rough terrain, it shows very little signs of wear.

However, it is the floor that is beginning to fail in terms of waterproofing.

As I mentioned above, after 5 years of heavy use, water is beginning to seep through our tent’s base. Even though the amount of water isn’t concerning, we will need to buy a tent footprint and use it in conjunction with the Duolight from now on.

Apart from a dry night’s sleep, what truly impresses us is the Duolight’s capability to withstand high winds. We’ve spent multiple nights worrying that our tent would survive the night, but it has always pulled through for us, withstanding gusts of up to 80 km/h on several occasions.

Ventilation Of The Macpac Duolight

Top vent on the Macpac Duolight 3 season hiking tent

The main body of the Macpac Duolight is primarily constructed with 20D Polyester Ripstop Fabric. While this increases durability, it does slightly impede the ventilation made possible. That said, the large mesh panels on the doors do a great job of keeping airflow as high as possible and ensuring a comfortable sleep.

Additional ventilation is provided through the top vents located on the fly. These small vents are propped open by struts and fastened with velcro to keep them secure. Positioned on both sides of the tent, they effectively catch drafts and direct them through the mesh for increased airflow. Also, their clever design angle ensures efficient water runoff, preventing any water ingress during heavy rainfall.

We have primarily used this tent in cold environments. Throughout our adventures, we have always found the ventilation to be more than adequate, rarely feeling the need to open the top vents.

But if you live in a hot climate, perhaps a tent lined with more mesh – such as the Sea To Summit Telos Ultralight Tent – will be better suited to your needs.

Set up And Pack Down

The Set-Up Of The Macpac Duolight Tent

Macpac Duolight at Woolshed Creek Hut in New Zealand

Being a fully freestanding tent, the Macpac Duolight Tent has an extremely easy set-up process and can be fully pitched in less than 5 minutes.

To set up the tent, start by laying out the body on the ground and securing the corners to ensure a taut base. Take note of the corner with the yellow tag as this will help you align the fly correctly.

Macpac Duolight set up in New Zealand
Yellow tag to line up fly

Next, attach the shock-corded pole system to all corners of the tent using the press stud mounts. Then, connect the rest of the tent inner to the poles via the simple clips to establish the structure. The Duolight’s rectangular shape allows the poles to be set up in any direction, which is especially useful during challenging weather conditions.

Press stud pole attachment on the bas of the Macpac Duolight Hiking Tent

Finally, drape the fly over the tent and align the yellow tags for positioning guidance. Secure all four corners to the base via the simple clip system and peg out the vestibules and guy ropes to anchor the fly securely to the ground.

The Macpac Duolight has proven to be one of the easiest backcountry tents we’ve ever set up and after you do it a couple of times you’ll see why we have this opinion.

Note: We are highly impressed with the lightweight alloy pegs. Despite our frequent use, bashing them into hard ground, none have bent or deformed.

Pack Down

When it comes to packing down the tent, one of the most rewarding aspects is how easily it fits back into the tent bag.

To pack up, start by removing the fly and ideally hanging it up somewhere in the sun to dry. Then remove all of the pegs and poles from the tent and stow them in their respective pouches.

After that, fold the base into thirds (length-ways) before placing the poles, pegs, and fly on top. Finally, roll everything together to create a neat package stored in one tent bag for easy organisation.

If you would rather share the weight of the tent between you and your partner, you could keep the poles and pegs separate from the base and fly and pack them into different packs.


Camping on rock slabs in the Macpac Duolight Tent
Ben Lomond NP, Tasmania

Although the Macpac Duolight may not be sustainable in terms of materials, its impressive build quality ensures longevity, thereby reducing waste and contributing significantly to sustainability.

Macpac as a whole is striving to become more sustainable by introducing recycled products, using Bluesign-approved fabrics, incorporating fair trade materials, and maintaining their commitment to producing durable, high-quality gear.

Plus, Macpac offers a repair service in which they will assess and hopefully repair your gear at a fee. We can’t comment too much on this service as we’ve never needed to use it.

Although it would be great to see Macpac developing more recycled content in their tents, built with the same ingenuity to ensure longevity, they just aren’t quite there yet.

If you would rather have a tent built with sustainability at the forefront, we recommend looking into the Nemo Dagger OSMO. It’s one of the only tents you’ll find made with 100% recycled materials and also has the quality to back it up. If we were looking for another 3-season tent, this is the one we would buy.

Value Of The Macpac Duolight

The Macpac Duolight offers great value when you consider what you’re getting for the $640 AUD it will set you back. While I have mentioned that the weight is somewhat of a turn-off for ultralight hikers, you will be hard-pressed to find a lighter tent in this price range.

To unlock the discounted Macpac price, you need to become a member – which is free to do and just a way to add people to their email list. But after you purchase the tent, you can unsubscribe if you prefer not to receive marketing emails.

My Experience With The Macpac Duolight Hiking Tent

Why I Chose The Macpac Duolight Tent

Camping in harsh terrain in Tasmania's backcountry in the Macpac Duolight Hiking Tent
Camping on rocks at Brewster Glacier in our Macpac Duolight Tent

I chose the Macpac Duolight as our backcountry tent mainly due to its durable 40D nylon base and spacious living area. As I touched on earlier, the slight increase in weight wasn’t a concern for me as I would rather have a tent that can withstand the elements.

Some other features that have proven invaluable are having doors on either side of the tent, spacious vestibules that are great for cooking or changing out of wet gear and very solid pegs.

How It Performs

The Macpac Duolight has never let us down, exceeding our expectations in durability and space. It has kept us sheltered from the elements in many testing cold weather environments.

Camping at the Needles in Tasmania on rough terrain in the Macpac Duolight Tent
The Needles, Tasmania

The only small issue we’ve faced up until now was one of the guy ropes snapping. This was mainly due to the rock slabs we were forced to camp on – but this was easily fixed by tying a simple knot.

Only now, after 5 years of heavy use, the base has begun to seep water. However, I believe that for most users, this tent will last much longer before encountering this issue. We will resolve this issue by purchasing a separate tent footprint.

Overall, I would have no hesitation recommending this tent to anyone looking for an extremely reliable shelter for the backcountry.

Where Do I Take My Macpac Duolight Tent?

This tent has been with us since before the beginning of Tracks Less Travelled, over 5 years ago. It has accompanied us on all of our hiking expeditions throughout Tasmania and New Zealand.

Camping on Shelf Camp on the Mt Anne Circuit during sunrise
Mt Anne Circuit, Tasmania

We have seen this tent flourish in all kinds of bad weather and have set it up in all sorts of difficult terrain – including rock slabs, alpine grass, rough forests and light snow.

I do not regret buying the Macpac Duolight at all and if I needed to purchase another 3-season tent, I would happily buy it again.

Final Thoughts

Other than a few minor issues, I am extremely happy with the Macpac Duolight Hiking Tent and would recommend it to any adventurer who is looking for a reliable tent for backcountry trips.

I hope this detailed Macpac Duolight Tent review has helped you make an informed decision on whether it is the right hiking tent for you. If you have any further questions or require any extra information, please leave a comment below or DM us on Instagram.

Happy Hiking 🙂