The particle confinement in a magnetized plasma torus with superimposed vertical magnetic field is modeled and measured experimentally. The formation of an equilibrium characterized by a parallel plasma current canceling out the grad B and curvature drifts is described using a two-fluid model. Characteristic response frequencies and relaxation rates are calculated. The predictions for the particle confinement time as a function of the vertical magnetic field are verified in a systematic experimental study on the TORPEX device, including the existence of an optimal vertical field and the anticorrelation between confinement time and density.