- Oct 7, 2019 at 7:00 am #3612924
What about the rip in the fabric above the hem?
Reinforcing the hem is good. Maybe let a single layer of the reinforcing go up the inside to cover the rip? If the hem is restored, a single layer for the rest would be fine.
CheersOct 7, 2019 at 7:46 am #3612927
The rip above was going to be repaired first with tenacious tape on inside + silicone on outside before restoring the hem. I am thinking it would be good to avoid stitches into a single layer of fabric that are more likely to stretch/tear into said fabric with stresses over time.Oct 7, 2019 at 8:48 am #3612928
Which is probably how I would do it – provided the inside surface is PU, not silicone.
CheersOct 7, 2019 at 2:17 pm #3612941
@groovygeek – that looks like it was an awesome trip! The best trips always seem to involve some sort of issue to overcome :)
I assume you have carefully inspected the perimeter of the shelter…have you found any evidence of abrasion elsewhere?Oct 7, 2019 at 11:50 pm #3612992NoCO-JimBPL Member
Boyan, looks like a pretty challenging trip…my compliments for not bailing.
Just a short question: Did you use hiking poles to pitch? Tips up? Brand?
CheersOct 8, 2019 at 1:24 am #3612999
@JCH – it was dumb of me not to check, but now that you have suggested it I did check all hems, and there is another location where the hem fabric is rubbed through, so this is starting to look like a systemic problem. The integrity of the material appears suspect when you pitch this on rocky terrain in windy weather. This rub spot was on the INSIDE of the hem. All locations where the tent was pitched on this trip were tundra with rock outcrops. I tried to remove whatever was removable, but there were a few that were outside the outline of the inner and I did not bother with them – which in hindsight seems to have been a bad decision. I am starting to have second thoughts about taking this tent on trips that involve challenging terrain
@NoCO-Jim: tips up all the way, I use the cheap Cascade Mountain Tech poles. For those contemplating fixed length 46″ struts I would say think again. Uneven terrain, soft terrain, snow all require the ability to adjust the pole height in order to get the outer taut. On a related note, on the second day of the trip I slipped on a snow-covered talus, lost my balance and fell down. I was using the poles to help me keep my balance with a heavy pack (~55lbs, before every gasps more than 20 of that was photographic equipment, I do landscape photography as a hobby), one of the poles got caught in a crevice and broke. Fortunately it broke in a way that made it usable for pitching the tent, but that is a lesson learned the heard way – when using a pole supported tent don’t use the poles on challenging off-trail terrain.Oct 8, 2019 at 1:48 am #3613001
I am sure it has been stated somewhere in this thread, but could you let us all know again please – what is the fabric?
CheersOct 8, 2019 at 1:51 am #3613002
To quote Dan’s own description
The tent is made of 20d 420T 100-percent polyester with a 2000mm sil/PU coatingOct 8, 2019 at 2:55 am #3613006
CheersOct 8, 2019 at 3:12 am #3613008jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
Boyan, you used this tent in pretty challenging weather conditions and terrain. Is this tent designed for four season use? I understand that you weren’t in winter conditions, but perhaps you exceeded conditions that this tent was designed for?
well, actually no ‘perhaps’ about it.Oct 8, 2019 at 3:59 am #3613013
Hi Jeffrey, we have to agree to disagree on whether I exceeded the conditions the tent was designed for. There was NOTHING about the trip that should have required a 4-season tent – and by that I mean a Trango class tent. Every high quality 3-season tent should be able to take a) up to mid single digits of snow b) a day or two of rain c) 30-40 mph wind gusts on rocky terrain. All of the above are conditions that any thru or section hiker is bound to encounter on a week+ long hike. IMO the only possible area where I may have pushed 3-season conditions were low temps in the teens, but the tent has no role in protecting me temperature – that is entirely up to the pad, sleeping bag, and clothing.
As best as I can tell the failures I am observing are triggered by the wind gusts + rocky terrain, where the integrity of the hems is compromised by the wind dragging them over the rock tips. The design of the tent is such that the panels will surely flap in wind gusts exceeding 20-30mph, which are hardly conditions that would not be encountered on a typical hike. If I need to dig out every rock within the footprint of the tent then I might as well save myself the hassle and carry a different tent.
I think that Dan is onto something really good with the basic design of the tent!!! However the material robustness appears to make this a fair-weather tent to be used for short hikes where the shelter does not play a critical safety role. Perhaps in the quest for hitting this magical sub-2lb packed weight the material robustness had to be sacrificed somewhat. Not quite sure I understand root cause – many silnylon tents use 20d fabrics, perhaps PU is less abrasions resistant? Nothing in my brief Google searches seems to indicate so.
To be clear, I am not bashing the tent. I will spend the money to repair it, may even buy another one at the next drop. However, given this experience my use of the tent for the foreseeable future will be weekend trips in the Southwest where conditions are generally mild. I don’t think I can trust it on a trip where I need to rely on the tent to keep me dry and/or wind-free 3+ days away from the nearest trailhead.Oct 8, 2019 at 5:29 am #3613024
Regarding repair, I think your method would work well. It looks like it would be plenty strong for the hem, which is the main thing. With a solid hem, the rest of the fabric won’t have much load to bear and pretty much any method of sealing the rest of the tear should be sufficient.
I am a bit hesitant about doing the tenacious tape and silicone first though because I don’t know what it’s like to sew though tenacious tape and/or silcone sealant. Some adhesives gum up the sew machine needle so it skips stitches and is sloppy/hard to sew. Having the tenacious tape go under the patch would be ideal, but it might be better to apply it after and then put a dab of sealant where the tenacious tape meets the hem to reinforce that interface. For the other abraded spot, I think a dab of silicone here would do the trick.
With regard to the performance limits of the tent, I think the tent can generally take 30-40 mph winds, extended rains and moderate snow loading. Many folks including myself are successfully using it in those conditions. In this instance, there has clearly been substantial abrasion along the hem of the tent which obviously isn’t good but I suspect is not a typical result (e.g. no one else has reported similar). The fabric is light and that does play a role in how much abrasion will occur, but even a heavier fabric like a 30-40D nylon is going to suffer from abrasion if high winds are rubbing it against sharp or abrasive rock for hours or longer, so ideally this would avoided. A 30-40D X-Mid likely wouldn’t have abraded to the point of failure, but probably would show pretty obvious wear in these spots. Additionally, there is the possibility that the fly edges were weighted by snow against the rocky ground while rubbing under high winds, where the added weight would be an uncommon mix of conditions that greatly accelerates abrasion. I agree the fabric plays a role, but think the underlying problem is elsewhere.
The X-Mid has a “full coverage” fly so it extends to nearly the ground while many UL tents have a higher cut fly that is lighter but provides less coverage against drafts, spindrift and spatter. A vulnerability with this lower fly edge is that it can rub on the ground in some circumstances, as we see here. Typically the bottom edge has about 3″ of clearance, but that can be reduced for a variety of reasons including snow loading, fabric sag, poor pitch, uneven ground, or the hem being staked to the ground. With any tent that has a low fly hem, potential contact between that and the ground is something to watch if the tent is pitched on abrasive ground and sustained winds are possible since that’s going to be hard on any material. With the X-Mid, it should be possible to raise the fly further to avoid this. The fly can be pitched a bit higher by extending the four cords at the corners to give more clearance over the rocks, and/or the mid hem guyouts could be deployed to pull the hem more up/out than down. Obviously I don’t know the specifics of the instance here, and I’m not saying something was done wrong but generally speaking it should be possible to pitch the tent in such a way that it won’t flap/rub against the ground during high winds.Oct 8, 2019 at 11:11 am #3613032
“…but now that you have suggested it I did check all hems, and there is another location where the hem fabric is rubbed through, so this is starting to look like a systemic problem”
From what you have told us, I’m going to have to agree with Dan…
“…the possibility that the fly edges were weighted by snow against the rocky ground while rubbing under high winds, where the added weight would be an uncommon mix of conditions that greatly accelerates abrasion”
…and conclude the main issue stemed from rough terrain + high winds + snow loads (that you showed accumulating along the lower edges of the fly). Given all that, it’s hard to imagine any trekking pole supported shelter design I have seen fairing any better…I’d hate to think how my Duplex would have faired :) Of course everything I have said is all just armchair quarterbacking and could well be total bullshank.
Regardless, many thanks for your report as it allow us all to learn from your epic trip experience.Oct 8, 2019 at 3:06 pm #3613049jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
Hi Boyan: in my post I phrased my last remark poorly. I really was floating a question; it sounds like I was blaming you. Not at all.
Just to clarify.Oct 14, 2019 at 2:30 pm #3614001
Drop is live again, delivery in November. Just signed up for another tent. Al seamstress will repair the hems of my existing one for $20. As I said, I liked the tent very much, except for the fact that Drop is now price gouging and charging $200 instead of $199. I guess when they stopped the “mass” from their name they decided to charge prices not accessible to the masses :-)Oct 18, 2019 at 1:32 am #3614427JoelBPL Member
Hi. I’m still on the fence between a (regular) Notch and an X-Mid. I’ve seen people mention owning both or planning on owning both, but has anyone actually used both enough that they can give a comparison and indicate which they like better — even if it’s situation dependent? Obviously the Notch is lighter but costs more. Aside from that though..Oct 18, 2019 at 5:41 am #3614441
Three key differences to consider when comparing the two: ease of pitch; height; and placement of poles. Whichever one you choose make sure you are comfortable with these characteristics.Oct 18, 2019 at 5:47 am #3614442
There’s some discussion on that topic over at a UK forum by people that have used both but it is spread across a lot of pages. I think it’s mostly between pages 20 and 30:
Probably the most commonly noted differences there are that the X-Mid has more headroom, quicker pitch, and is less drafty because the fly extends to the ground instead of being higher cut (although there have been a few versions of the Notch).
The Notch is a great tent. IMO it’s the strongest competitor to the X-Mid. There’s a lot of differences so the right choice depends on a users needs. In my non-neutral opinion, the main advantages to each are:
– Smaller footprint (fits into small sites)
– 2-3oz lighter
– Stronger 30D fabric
– Simpler pitch
– More headroom
– More vestibule area
– No struts, so it can pack horizontally
– Larger/more functional vents (e.g. they open/close)
– Door zippers rather than clips (which many find fiddly)
– No sag / water absorbing fabric
– Better snow shedding (b/c no flatter roof panels)
– Factory seam taped
– Fly extends to near ground to block drafts
– IMO, higher construction quality and materials (e.g. no exposed raw fabric edges, genuine ITW hardware).
So to actually sum that up, I think of the X-Mid as more of a tough conditions shelter due to features like no sag fabric, better vents, full coverage fly, actual door zips, whereas the Notch is a smaller shelter and chooses to save weight rather than offer more protection in tough conditions, as it makes choices like a raised bottom fly edge (lighter but drafty), clips instead of door zippers, tiny vents etc. If you need to fit into small sites then the Notch is better. Otherwise, I’d say it’s mostly a question of whether you’d prefer to save ~2oz or have features like door zippers, super simple pitch, larger vents etc.Oct 18, 2019 at 7:35 am #3614443Mole JBPL Member
I have an earlier (winter 2016) zipped Notch. (so my comparison is mainly with this model – not the current one or the Li). Which I’ve spent maybe 35 nights in. (Have other solo shelters, and much of my backpacking is using a Stratospire 2 with partner).
I recently bought an X-Mid. I also have camped a few times with a friend who got an X mid in April this year (first run) so have had a chance to compare side by side several times. In good and bad weather. In spring in highish winds (30mph+gusting 40+). Last weekend in heavy all night rain. (The 2 nights we were out we had a month’s worth of rain).
What Dan says mostly rings true for me.
There really isn’t a lot between either tent.
With a full set of stakes for both (neither are supplied with sufficient for a full bad weather pitch. X mid needs 4 more hefty pegs for the corners, and IME Notch needs apex pegs, intermediate skewers and replacing the useless too short blue eastons for longer golds) Both my shelters weigh just over 900g full equipped, within an ounce of each other.
The newer Notch is a little lighter.
I find the Notch easier to pack for now with my system, as I’m used to sliding Tarptent models vertically down inside one side of my pack outside of the pack liner. The X mid is a lump in the top that takes more volume, but I’ll get used to that.
Notch has smaller footprint. No doubt. And in marginal terrain its easier to arrange the pitch over the one space a body can lie comfortably.
I find the Notch faster to pitch. So far. And pitch it faster than my friend gets his xmid up.
The Xmid is less aerodynamic in wind due to bigger steeper panels, which bow in on the windward side. But it seems good enough.
My Notch sheds wind very well and doesn’t flap either, if intermediate hem stakes used, and can be pitched low and fairly close to the ground, but not as tight as the Xmid. End vents on the Notch give pretty good airflow if there is a breeze.
Where the Xmid wins for me is head and foot areas- steeper and further from the outer fabric. In the Notch I always end up brushing the roof when sitting up, and sometimes get dripped on by condensation from the roof above my face due to its proximity.
And the bonus of the Xmid is that without the inner, its a 2person tarp if sleeping head to toe.
I’d think the Xmid far more suited to snow camping due to shape.
Ps. The comments about sag of Tarptents, I really don’t recognise as a feature of the tent, more to do with users not pitching tight enough all round to take account of fabric properties. E.g last weekend we had 2 nights of solid rain (temperatures in 40s °F and my Notch and friends Stratospire 1 were drum tight each morning just as pitched the night before, no different than the Xmid. The silnyon shelters definitely absorb significant water though, and end up quite a bit heavier until dried out. The Xmid fabric wins there.
(I’ve seen a 2019 Notch. The doors look vulnerable to windy weather and thevelcro/ clip fastening a PITA; and though no real experience of using them ITRW, I’d probably be unlikely to buy that version now as I dislike faff.
So, as the models now stand, I’d look at the Xmid, especially for winter use. If Tarptent made a Notch with similar waterproof zipped outer doors and a solid roofed inner, I’d as likely buy that.Oct 18, 2019 at 5:25 pm #3614484JoelBPL Member
Well, I suppose I’ll pull the trigger on the X-Mid then. I guess it’s nice that we’ve come to such a state of affairs that I’m deciding between a great tent and a great tent. =) Thanks.Nov 2, 2019 at 4:51 pm #3616993matthew kModerator
I saw this photo on SectionHiker’s review of the SO Silex tent and thought it might be a good solution for those of us who like to pitch handles up in an X-Mid. It’s just a simple loop of shockcord and a cordlock. It seems simpler to use than TarpTent’s handle adapters.
Nov 2, 2019 at 6:18 pm #3617003
Wonder if it could be simplified even more, by creating the loop at such a size that it stretched just enough to accept and hold the handle?
When my X Mid 2P arrives (in April 2020…whimper) this is def a mod I will be looking into.Nov 3, 2019 at 5:16 pm #3617119
FWIW, the 2P version of the X-Mid has shockcord loops on the side of the floor at the base of the trekking poles, which can connect to the trekking pole. These are optional, but the advantages are (1) they pull the floor tighter, and (2) they anchor the bottom of the zipper so it operates easily with one hand in both directions. These aren’t on the 1P because the smaller floor is less in need of being pulled taut.
These loops will connect to both tips and handles, but they do connect a bit nicer to the handles since they are wider and grippier. If you do pitch handles up, then you’d have tips at the bottom which will work fine to tension the floor, but the loops that connect at the bottom might slide up the tip so they may be less effective for anchoring the zip. Of course you could add a cordlock there to cinch them smaller if desired.Nov 8, 2019 at 7:55 pm #3617813Bill in RoswellBPL Member
@roadscrape88Locale: Roswell, GA, USA
I like the mods that Robin has done to his X-mid at Blogpackinglight. After using my X-mid for a few nights I thought of another helpful mod. The unzipped netting bugs me when putting on/taking off my shoes as it is in my way. There is a cord to tie the net out of the way, but it is fumbly in use. Borrowing H. Shires magnet idea seemed like an easy solution. The hardware store has tiny but powerful magnets. I had some steel washers laying around. As a test I taped a magnet on the inside apex of the zipper curve. I taped the washer next to the cord toggle for the netting. The magnet holds the netting open enough for me without rolling the netting up. Satisfied with the location, I’ll glue magnet and washer in place with Seamgrip. A piece of Gear Aid repair tape on both spots should help dissipate stress on the netting. The magnet is actually on the zipper tape, not stressing the netting.Nov 8, 2019 at 8:05 pm #3617819
I have done most of these mods (without seeing the blog until now). On my recent Yukon trip when I had to deal with wind I also used a second apex guyline but I just ran it at about 60 degree angle off the existing tieout. Worked well without the fuss of running it inside the tent
I agree that the inner door loop is a bit fussy, but that is true of pretty much any tent I have ever owned. Will have to think about the magnet idea, thanks for the suggestion.
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