Durston X-Mid 2P Review
Sep 14, 2021 at 9:00 am #3727348Sep 14, 2021 at 10:56 am #3727364Jeff McWilliamsBPL Member
I really like the sweet spot in design that the XMid strikes, and I find myself wanting a 2P XMid to replace my SS2. My wife isn’t a fan of single wall shelters, and I think the XMid has some advantages over the Stratospire 2 (easier to pitch, won’t sag when wet) that would allow me to justify getting one and selling the SS.
My one criticism of your review is the last paragraph under “Fabric”. You’re talking about strength limitations of the Polyester compared to Nylon, specifically Nylon 6,6. I just don’t see how a fabric’s ability to be recycled has anything to do with the strength of the XMid’s Sil/PEU polyester vs SilNylons used by other tent makers. If I’m worried that the XMid fabric may fail while I’m pinned down in a gale, the fact that it’s recyclable would be of small consolation. Perhaps you were thinking that over the long term, the fact that the XMid fabric may wear out more quickly and be discarded by the user is offset by the ability to recycle the fabric (or make the fabric with a cheaper carbon footprint to begin with). Do people make purchasing decisions based on that type of factor?Sep 14, 2021 at 2:06 pm #3727378
Jeff – I addressed strength in the previous paragraphs and then shifted to talk about the environmental impact of fabrics in the last paragraph. I see those as two separate things. I believe some people do take those things into consideration and I wanted to address it for those folks. It’s more about the initial carbon footprint of poly vs nylon in general, not about people actually recycling the tent. Are you saying I should have talked about fabric strength in the durability section and then environmental impact in its own section? In my opinion, it made sense to talk about them both under the fabric section.Sep 14, 2021 at 2:09 pm #3727379
I reread it and I think I understand what you’re saying now. Yes, I do believe that people will take carbon footprint into consideration, choosing a weaker fabric over a stronger one in some cases. I’m undecided on it myself, but yes it’s a thing.Sep 14, 2021 at 4:17 pm #3727392Jeff McWilliamsBPL Member
Thanks for clarifying. Perhaps the “thought transition” was just hard for me to follow. It was in a new paragraph. According to my flawed memory of writing class, that’s probably sufficient for beginning a new thought. Maybe I was just being obtuse at the time.
It’s still a great review for what I think is a really good product.Sep 14, 2021 at 8:54 pm #3727398Rex SandersBPL Member
Great, thorough review. Sorely tempted to replace my “good enough” trekking pole tent that’s a PITA to set up sometimes. A few thoughts:
– Maybe leave the 6-inch guylines in place, and take simple “extension” guylines separately for unusual tie downs. More pieces, but less likely to stake incorrectly. Or add 6-inch marks to longer guylines, at least to start.
– Thanks for covering recyclability and climate impact. I think both need more emphasis and commitment from the backpacking gear industry.
– I don’t use trekking poles, and most of the available poles don’t adjust in height. How important do you think adjustable height is to the X-Mid 2p?
– If you want read more about Dan Durston’s design process and decisions, I interviewed him for BPL earlier this year:
— RexSep 15, 2021 at 8:46 am #3727412
Rex: I think adjustable height is pretty good to have for trekking pole tents in general. It’s not essential but pole height in the field varies due to uneven ground, how high you pitch the fly (e.g. how long the corner cords are) and as you fine tune tension on the tent. I don’t think the X-Mid is more sensitive to that than other trekking pole tents, but we do recommend having adjustable poles so the pitch can be fine tuned. Certainly non-adjustable can work (lots of people do this) but adjustment sure is nice.
Ruta Locura sells adjustable folding poles, as does Lightheart Gear (although heavier). We have some adjustable poles in the works also. That design is basically done but with production backlogs we won’t have them until late 2022.Sep 15, 2021 at 2:14 pm #3727440Rex SandersBPL Member
Dan: Glad you are working on adjustable poles. The LightHeart AL poles are almost too long for your tents at 49-53 inches, could trim at home. And a pair of adjustable Ruta Locura CF poles cost about half the price of your tents to save roughly an ounce, so tough to justify.
— RexSep 15, 2021 at 4:36 pm #3727449
Yeah I agree the current options out there aren’t ideal. The Ruta Locura ones are expensive, complicated to order, and their “spike” is too long so it needs trimming. Ours are going to be really nice, lighter, easier to use, and more affordable. Really high quality too (same factory as makes Black Diamond trekking poles). It’s too bad the wait is so long but the carbon pole factory is backlogged so our production slot is next summer.Sep 15, 2021 at 5:31 pm #3727452
Dan, any preliminary estimate on the weight of your poles?Sep 15, 2021 at 6:11 pm #3727455
They’re about 90g (3.2oz), which is as light as possible for a decently stiff adjustable pole.
That’s quite a bit lighter than the non-adjustable aluminum poles on the market (e.g. Tarptent at 120g). It’s bit lighter than something comparable from Ruta Locura (~95g). Non adjustable carbon poles are a bit lighter yet since they don’t have the adjustment mechanism (e.g. Zpacks at 74g) but we think the adjuster is weight well spent. I think the lightest possible poles are the SMD ones at 65g except IMO they are too thin/flimsy to be a wise option. In general, tent poles don’t make good vertical support poles because they’re designed to bend rather than be stiff.Sep 15, 2021 at 9:46 pm #3727461lisa rBPL Member
@lisina10Locale: Western OR
I got the 1P XMid this year. I’ve only used it for about 7 nights so far since I ended up doing fewer solo trips than usual, but I quite enjoyed the tent. I spent several long afternoons sheltering from storms and appreciated it’s roominess. I also found I was able to get a good pitch rather quickly when I was rushing ahead of a deluge. Most of my campsites were well-established so I have yet to see how it pitches with less ideal conditions. I also haven’t experienced significant wind beyond a few gusts that caused no problems.
I just got back from a week in an older model BA Copper Spur and I was reflecting on how much I appreciate the lack of sagging in the Xmid and the vast vestibules. Things I’d like to see improved are the interior mesh pockets (one side of mine works fairly well though it’s still fairly shallow; the other side isn’t sewn as tightly and won’t really hold much); two-way zipper on the fly doors (I like being able to poke my head out to look around); an easier way to clip corners of inner to outer that doesn’t require laying on the ground and using two hands stretched into the corner; and that it came ready to pitch mesh-only rather than having to do my own retrofit. I did replace my guylines with something a bit heavier and longer.
For years I’ve used a 2P tent for my solo trips because the 1Ps I was familiar with were too claustrophobic. I really like this design, which allows me to feel not at all cramped in a 1P.Sep 15, 2021 at 10:55 pm #3727465
Glad you’re liking the tent Lisa. Yes the lack of sag that polyester has is awesome.
For the door clips, if you find it hard to clip/unclip from the D rings at the 4 corners you can clip instead of the grosgrain (webbing) inside the corners. If you clip to that it’s much easier to do up and undo. If you simply find the location hard to access, two options are to:
1) Clip them on from outside the tent. Toss the cords out from under the fly and walk around the outside and clip them to the corners, or
2) Reverse the cords so they are tied at the corners of the fly and clip to the corners of the inner. This may be the solution you prefer.
Our next batch of the X-Mid 1P launching in a few months is a second generation design that amongst other things does have a different style of ridgeline pocket that holds weight better. The main change for the second gen is that the inner is quite a bit more spacious yet, while keeping the weight and size of the fly the same.Sep 16, 2021 at 8:14 am #3727473
Our next batch of the X-Mid 1P launching in a few months is a second generation design … The main change for the second gen is that the inner is quite a bit more spacious …
I’m guessing “spacious” doesn’t mean it’s any longer?Sep 16, 2021 at 2:33 pm #3727499
The inner is wider, longer, and taller.Sep 16, 2021 at 6:49 pm #3727540
The inner is wider, longer, and taller.
Hmm. If the 1P is like the 2P, a noticeably longer inner would just about be touching the outer. Are you just teasing us tall folk?Sep 16, 2021 at 7:27 pm #3727544David UBPL Member
Looks like a fantastic offering to the market.
Just wanted to say – Congrats Dan. Wonderful to see your progression from someone very new to backpacking, to successful long distance backpacker, to entrepreneur over the years.
Cheers,Sep 16, 2021 at 8:26 pm #3727550Paul SBPL Member
We like ours! Can pitch low to ground, or high. Vestibule very useful when the weather is bad-we especially like how you can lean your backpack upright against the trekking poles. So you can easily put boots and pack in one corner of the vestibule, leaving quite a lot of vestibule space for other stuff. The vents are nice. It would be nice if the zippers were two-way (with a zipper garage up top) so that you could open from the top for extra ventilation, and for looking out of the tent when the weather is bad. We’d love to see a lightweight mostly-fabric inner-tent (with mesh doors) option for the colder months. Note: Our black diamond poles seem like the tips are too long for the tent. Nothing has happened, but it looks like they “could/might” pierce through. Dan, any info/insight on this?Sep 18, 2021 at 12:09 am #3727595
Todd: The original 1P had larger gaps between the inner and fly than the 2P because I was very conservative on the gaps the first time. Just moving to the same inner-fly gaps as the 2P (which is still probably larger than average) adds about 4″ of length to the inner.
Dave: Thanks Dave! I certainly was green when I first showed up on BPL sometime around 2008.
Paul: Glad you’re liking the tent. That first picture is awesome! For the trekking poles, there are a few uncommon models of trekking poles that have an unusual tip shape (longer/narrow metal ends) which ends up protruding further through the grommet than regular poles. Back in 2019 we had a handful of issues with these poles, where the tip could pressure the fly which wouldn’t damage the black reinforcement inside the peaks but the pressure bump could result in the outer fly fabric at the prssure spot because it’s less stretchy. We revised the peak design in late 2019 to move the grommet a bit lower and add a piece of webbing on top of the grommet which disperses that pressure better. We’ve never had a report of damage since, but with those poles there can still be a bit of a pressure bump which may look unnerving. This shouldn’t lead to any issues, but using different poles should alleviate the bump. It seems like we have it resolved, but our next batch switches to using a thicker webbing on top of the grommet that distributes any pressure even more for an additional safety margin.Sep 18, 2021 at 8:46 am #3727600
Just moving to the same inner-fly gaps as the 2P (which is still probably larger than average) adds about 4″ of length to the inner.
Okay! So what’s your estimate of the tallest guy it can accommodate? I have a 2P and, for reference, at 6’5″ I figure nobody taller than me would fit in it. It’s roomy when I can lie on the diagonal. I haven’t slept in it double yet, but figure it would just barely work with some care.Sep 18, 2021 at 11:24 am #3727663
The usable length on the updated 1P will be very similar to the 2P if you’re sleeping straight (non-diagonal) in the 2P. We’re holding off on releasing the exact specs until the launch in a few months, but it is similar.Sep 19, 2021 at 8:05 am #3727719Melissa PBPL Member
I actually quite appreciate the included update about availability! I am on the “Notify Me” email list due to the production delays. I am happy to know dates & details.
Every once in a while I think “Well, maybe I’ll just order this other tent…” – but I have to say that reading your article, Ben, solidifies my decision to wait for my turn for the Durston X-Mid 2P.
Very well done piece, and I also appreciate the replies and discussion!
One question. I am ordering the 2P for 1P (that’s me) and one 70 lb. Sheepdog. Any concerns with doggie toenails on the floor of the inner? Recommendations to extend the life of the floor in such a situation?Sep 19, 2021 at 9:53 am #3727726Chris RBPL Member
Don’t know about the floor but watch out for the mesh. We had doors on either side fully open one time and our husky cross took a short cut from one side to another.
You could always add a polycryo sheet inside the tent. Our dog sleeps outside usually regardless of the weather.Sep 19, 2021 at 5:30 pm #3727780Kevin BabioneBPL Member
@Melissa P – Think about your trips and when you might be able to use the 2P without the inner. That would do two things for you:
- Save the floor of the X-Mid (you could use a replaceable piece of polycro for a floor)
- Give you a bunch more usable space with your puppy
If you carry a piece of foam or Thermarest for your dog then setting up the tent in tarp mode would also allow you to work on training them to go straight to their “bed” in the tent without risking your inner floor at all. I’m guessing that a dog that size is as tired at the end of the day as we are and will settle down quickly.Sep 19, 2021 at 7:00 pm #3727784George WBPL Member
Will the 2P get a makeover in a similar way in the near future?
I’m on the wait list.
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