Mar 23, 2020 at 8:49 pm #3637430Will BBPL Member
I spent seven nights in the tent this past summer. We awoke most mornings in inclement weather and inclement places, and I don’t ever remember thinking, “oh man, Dan sure is taking a while to get the tent in the stuff-sack while I’m getting rained on.” I know it’s his tent and all but I imagine anyone can get used it pretty fast, be they someone’s granddaughter or someone’s grandson.
I also think the amount of moisture that a tent is going to transmit through a non-waterproof stuffsack is minimal, even if packed wet. I wouldn’t pack it next to a down jacket or your sleep socks, but it should be fine packed next to things that can get a bit of moisture on them. There’ surface area just isn’t all that big even if the stuff sack is transmitting some moisture.
I rarely need more than a tarp for the areas and times of year when I’m out and about these days, but if I needed a new tent and could buy it without getting excoriated by the person who shares my closet I would absolutely buy one of these.Mar 24, 2020 at 4:50 am #3637473JCHBPL Member
I find the supplied stuff sack to be sized perfectly well…no trouble at all fitting the shelter in it. I use the STS Nano because I prefer a totally waterproof tent sack and the 8L is the smallest size they make that will work.
Funny. Such a nice tent and all we can talk about is the stuff sack :)Mar 27, 2020 at 8:23 am #3638026
Well, stuff sacks need respect too – I’m sure that their mothers love them.
I proudly set up my X-Mid 2-P in the yard. Like the 1-P, it took a few tweaks to get the pitch just right. I expect that this will be the case whenever it is set up, due to uneven ground, etc. I put two 25″ wide pads inside, and there was plenty of room for them. When 2 people are sleeping side by side, one has extra room at the foot end, while the other gets the extra space at the head end. There is very generous head room, and of course the vestibules are huge. I have just a few comments/questions about the tent thus far:
1) What are the the loops sewn on the outside near the pole for? Are we supposed to insert the poles through them for some reason?
2) I would suggest that a second loop be added toward the bottom of the long side of the vestibule flap. If I want to open the side for maximum ventilation, the main loop keeps the top of the flap out of the way, but the bottom ends up just dangling down. I will have to add some sort of second something-or-other (maybe Velcro?) to support the dangling bottom of the vestibule flap. I used a medium size binder clip which worked fine, but this is something that could easily be lost. I know, picky, picky, picky…
3) The overall footprint is fairly huge, but this is to be expected for a 2-person tent with large vestibules
My initial impression of this tent: It is every bit as excellent as the 1-P version. Workmanship is superb, features were well thought out, and the total weight is impressive. And of course, Dan Durston is one heck of a guy, so what’s not to like? (I also like the fact that we were given a 15% discount when we ordered these tent back in July, compared to the current Drop price of $280)Mar 27, 2020 at 8:28 am #3638029JCHBPL Member
Even at list of $280, compare this to $600+ for a new Duplex or $690 for the SS Li. Yes, those tents are awesome too, and lighter, but at some point I just can’t keep shelling out 6 or 7 large for a tent.Mar 27, 2020 at 9:05 am #3638036
I don’t see where I can edit my last post, so I’ll just do another. I had earlier mentioned that the S-to-S Ultra Sil stuff sacks don’t have a ‘dust flap’ at the opening, which would make them pretty much waterproof (kinda). I chose to place a 4″ x 4″ piece of cuben (DCF) to act as a removable waterproof dust flap. This should work OK to keep moisture out (or in). Of course, it is something that could easily be lost or misplaced. I will need to be vigilant about putting it in the tent stake bag or some place.Mar 29, 2020 at 10:48 am #3638457
1) If the bottoms of the poles are placed through those loops it has two advantages. First, is that it can be used to better tension the floor (e.g pull out on it) so it sits nicer with fewer wrinkles. To do this you put your handles through the loops and shift them out a bit to pull the floor tight. Secondly this anchors the bottom of the inner door zippers so that can better operate one handed. Without this, the zipper will likely smoothly move downward around the corner one handed, but moving it upward the zipper might catch around the corner as the floor lifts up, so anchoring the floor here ensures smooth one-handed zipper operation in both directions.
2) It is a larger doorway so I agree that it’s harder to hold the entire door open with just one attachment point. There are a few ways of rolling/scrunching up the door, where I think some of them work pretty well. The door can be rolled up starting at the corner, or rolling up along the bottom edge, but I find it works best to roll up starting along the zipper edge while keeping that tight, then if you do have a tight/nice roll then it should pretty much hold the entire doorway open. We could add a second clip but I think that it may be just as quick to do a more careful/tight roll, than to do up two clips. Here is a picture showing the door fully rolled. This is the 1P but the doorway is only 1-2″ shorter than the 2P.
3) Indeed the footprint is larger. There’s not much getting around this while keeping it a nicely sized 2P tent (e.g. good room for two plus nice vestibules). I think it’s worth it, but some people that frequent tight camping spots may prefer a smaller tent. The diagram below show the X-Mid 2P in comparison with other popular tents. The fly has virtually the ideal area (63 sq ft) as the StratoSpire 2.Mar 29, 2020 at 11:39 am #3638466
Now I get it about those loops, Dan. Since I placed pins into the top of the pole handles to engage the grommets (and keep the pole handles off the ground where mini-bears can chew them for the salt), this ‘pole tip into the loop’ thing will be easy. I look forward to seeing how this might tension things.
I’ll keep playing with the larger doorway issue. Maybe I can figure out how to do the proper “Durston tight flap roll’. If all else fails, I can just find the right (UL) binder clip, or maybe even a small potato chip bag clip.
Man, this tent is a work of art, Dan, just like the 1-p version. It has a pretty large footprint though, which is to be expected.
Thanks for taking the time to respond here.Apr 3, 2020 at 1:08 pm #3639490Max OBPL Member
Dan, thanks for the tent and tweaking the Design even further. I like the New vent lockarion a Lot. Not so the thin new cordage in the smaller linelocs. The latter are for me clearly harder to grip and to use and I am not quite sure about the cord. Its very strexhy and seems quite weak, I probabl will exchange them. Or can you say something great about them? :)
Also the little bungee loops? They dont seem long lasting to me tbh.
And theres just one thing I’d really ask for, and that would be a second zipper on the upper eend of the door zips on the outer. I really use this feature a lot when its raining… Or is it a problem with the wp zip, and you’d need a zipper Garage then to not let water in?
Do you know if aftermarket zipper solutions can be added to this wp zip?
All in all: very nice tent and project, also having the ability to communicate with you as Designer is much appreciated!Apr 5, 2020 at 9:23 am #3639768
There’s nothing special about that thin cord. In testing we tried the 1.5mm cord on the fly to potentially save a few grams and then thicker 2.5mm cord which is a bit easier to use. Both seem to bite well. The 2.5mm does ultimately hold stronger and is a bit easier to handle, but adds those few grams. I had mean to spec 2.5mm at the four corners for the production tents since there isn’t much cord anyways and only keep 1.5mm on the longer peak guylines, but there was a miscommunication so the lighter cord got used at all the tensioners. Certainly you can switch to something a bit thicker. I wouldn’t go thicker than 2.5mm or you exceed the upper limit of the tensioner and it might not bite as well.
For the zipper, we could add a second slider at the top but it would either require a garage or users to be okay with potentially getting in a drip or two of water (which would just fall in the vestibule). A seamstress could retrofit one by disassembling things at the top of the zipper but it’s not particularly easy. Still, any clothing tayloring/mending place or outdoor gear shop could add one for $20 or so. We don’t have these stock because the metal #5 sliders are surprisingly heavy at about 8g each, so it’s over half an ounce for one on each door. Not a big deal by itself but there are lots of little decisions like this where I need to stay disciplined or the weight really creeps up.Apr 14, 2020 at 5:13 am #3641303Max OBPL Member
Some more thought and a question:
What was the thinking behind placing the vents where they are on the 1P? I guess it didnt just happen, did it?
And as I pitched the X-Mids again I really would like to have some tension relief on the zipper (hook and loop would do, buckle would me more convenient to use) on the inside of the outer tent. Could double in function as an alternative to a second slider to keep the door shut when unzipping. Would add some weight yes, but I feel your tent is about beeing reasonable light with good real world usability ;)
Which is quite important to me at least…
I see the zipper beeing stressed quite a lot beein totally inline with the tension, I guess it will reduce its lifetime noticable.
And a toogle to fix the small side of the door for panoramic view would be seet as well! :)
And maybe a solid inner tent… I know its not christmas yet, just dreaming :)
Are the tents selling as planned?Apr 14, 2020 at 11:32 am #3641327
The vents are a tricky one because there are so many competing objectives. In some circumstances good (e.g big) vents are great, while in other circumstances they don’t do much yet having bigger vents add weight and cost, plus can mean the doorway needs to be smaller. The X-Mid has larger vents than most competitors because I value that, but that does mean some extra weight and I don’t love having the vent strut, but without the vent is much less effective. So I am regularly thinking about the vents and mulling over how to do it better.
The 1P puts the vents above the doorways because that works the best for adding the poles via the vents with the downside of limiting how tall the door zipper can be. The 2P moves them to the end wall where they are a bit smaller and thus not quite as nice to insert the poles through, but you can just add the poles via the doorway and the end wall vent allows for a taller entranceway which some prefer. So there’s pros and cons to both arrangements and I’ve tried them both to see if there is a consensus on a preferred style, but I don’t really think there is.
Longer term I’d like to get the vents simpler (no strut nor velcro) while remaining functional. One possible approach is TarpTent’s newer vent style where the fly zipper has dual sliders and one opens up behind the vent. I like the simplicity of this but the second slider weight likely offsets the strut weight so it’s not lighter, and I’m concerned about how much venting it really does because you can’t open the zipper this far if it’s raining plus the stiffener brim of the vent is prone to being scrunched after being packed, so in real world rainy conditions I suspect you get not that much venting from a pretty small zipper opening behind a scrunched brim. Basically this style omits the strut but adds both a stiffener and second slider. Could be worthwhile if the stiffener was really good (not prone to bending/scrunching).
Regarding a possible buckle on the fly zipper, this is a tough one because I agree with you that sometimes it would be nice and that this tent is about being “reasonable light” instead of “stupid light” but at the same time all this stuff adds up quickly. If I make the two fly zippers a few inches taller (+0.25oz), add a second slider (+0.5oz) and add buckles (+0.4oz) the tent is over an ounce heavier than the current version just with a few simple tweaks. That would be >2oz heavier than a lighter setup with #3 zippers that some competitors use, and compared to the lightest possible option (door clips) this is 3-4oz heavier. 28 vs 29 vs 30oz doesn’t sound like much, but buyers are comparing 29oz X-Mid vs 27oz competitors then being 2oz heavier for 3-4oz does sway people. We’ve never had a zipper failure yet because the #5 zippers are pretty beefy, so it’s one of those changes that does make the tent better for harsh conditions but 95% of customers wouldn’t have value for it. More broadly, everyone has a bit of weight they’d like to add to the tent in an area they value (e.g. tougher floor, more space, stronger zips etc) and they’re all legitimate desires, but hard to satisfy because any individual change is minor but saying yes to many of the good requests would make it uncompetitively heavy. At least for the fly zipper buckle it’s something that users can add themselves relatively easily. I agree there is some stress here but don’t anticipate a large reduction in lifespan because other similarly sized tents (e.g. TarpTent StratoSpire) don’t use buckles and fly zipper issues are very rare.
One possibility that I have pondered is reducing the zipper from #5 to #3 but then adding the buckle. With the buckle taking strain off it might be just as strong or stronger than a #5, and would be lighter. The problem is that the sliders wear out faster on #3 zippers and a separating fly zipper would be a real bummer in a storm. Of course many companies use them (e.g. Locus Gear, Big Agnes etc) and the slider would be pretty easy to swap down the road if needed.
Right now the tent does have grosgrain loops on both sides of the door, so you can use cords attached to that to stake out the upwind door with those cords in an X to hold the base of the zipper shut as reassurance (while using the door on the lee side). It’s not as nice to use as a buckle but seems to help. Longer term, if I do start selling them myself down the road I could produce them without the buckle and then add buckles by request.
Regarding the small side of the door, yeah a toggle there is another “nice to have” feature that didn’t make the cut in the bid to keep the 1P sub 30oz. It would be nice to have. Right now you can clip the small side of the door to the grosgrain loop on the end wall (at the bottom below the peak). That’s not easy to do from inside, but it is a way to secure the side of the tent side open when camped in nice weather for that panoramic view.
I would like to do a solid inner. Hard to say if Drop will approve that. I regularly remind them that lots of people want it, so hopefully it can happen.
Sales of the tents are good. I’m sure the virus had a big impact on the 2P launch but Drop didn’t have that many anyways (1500) so they still sold out in 2 weeks and now are out of stock until the next batch in August. Considering there is often a long wait for the tents they are selling well, but would sell 2-3x better if they were in stock on a non-virus year.Apr 14, 2020 at 12:45 pm #3641336Todd TBPL Member
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
I’ve tried them both to see if there is a consensus on a preferred style, but I don’t really think there is.
So, you asked you and yourself and got disagreement? :-)
the stiffener brim of the vent is prone to being scrunched after being packed
I haven’t seen TT’s latest, but my 2009-era Rainbow has one of those stiffened vents, and it’s always scrunched at least half closed. I like the strut. Ventilation is important.
Regarding a possible buckle on the fly zipper…
From my extensive Xmid-2P experience (I’ve set it up in the backyard twice) I’m wondering what conditions would make this buckle a necessity. It seems to me that the corners of the ‘mid structure take all the load. Would a non-square pitch or a pitch on uneven ground be likely to put stress on the bottom door edge(s)? Wind?
Thanks as always for your detailed responses here.Apr 14, 2020 at 3:25 pm #3641363
Yeah my SS2 vent was always scrunched to being perhaps half of the potential opening, which I think is still the way it is. One alternative I thought of is that instead of a strut, you could pull the inner panel inward by clipping it to the trekking pole. But that wouldn’t give as big of an opening since you are pulling only one side of the vent instead of both, and while you save a gram or two, it’s likely harder to use.
For the door buckle, a wind gust pushing on the side panels adds stress across that panel. It’s complicated how all this works but if the panel is loose then the wind can fill it (like a sail) where there is stress across it, and then the panel is anchored into place by lines of tension across it to the stakes and peaks. So much of the tension is along the corner seams but there is tension throughout. You would get more tension on the side panel if it is loose and thus catches more wind. If a zipper does fail it’s not normally from the middle but rather starts at one end (e.g. the bottom). Normally the wind speeds are substantially lower along the ground so the bottom of the zipper wouldn’t be subject to as much strain as higher up but wind gusts anywhere to the side of the tent will increase tension throughout. A lot of tents use #5 zippers without buckles (e.g. almost every TarpTent model and many other brands) and failures are very rare (I’m only aware of one tent that had this). Other than having a larger side profile than a single pole mid (it’s similar to the StratoSpire) the X-Mid wouldn’t be particularly vulnerable to this type of strain. Non-square pitches or uneven pitches shouldn’t increase the strain unless they are also loose and then the fabric will catch more wind.May 4, 2020 at 5:56 pm #3645147Doug CoeBPL Member
@sierradougLocale: Bay Area, CA, USA
I just saw this smart trick for setting up the base of the tent as a true rectangle:
- Stake out one short side of X-Mid
- Pull the other two corners taught away from those two stakes…holding them together off the ground
- Fold the second short side with corners up and center below
- Place that center point on the ground, keeping it pulled taught to the two staked corners
- Space out a third corner from that center point and stake
- Stake out fourth corner taught
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