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Xmid or free standing?


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Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 35 total)
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  • #3749196
    Marcus
    BPL Member

    @mcimes

    I normally hammock camp when trees are reliable, but recently picked up a pad for mountains or desert areas I want to explore in the next year or 2.

    A Xmid in the desert is obviously no problem, but what about the high sierras, Tahoe rim, rockies, or Beartooth pass WY area?

    The Xmid has a rather large footprint it seems. Does anyone run into site size issues with it?

    Also, is high-mountian ground typically stakeable enough that an Xmid feels secure in a strong wind? Or would I be better served with a semi freestanding or freestanding like the slingfin portal or Nemo hornet elite 2p?

    When i got back into hiking a couple years ago and built my kit i went straight to hammocking so I don’t have much to compare to when it comes to UL tents.

     

    I guess my dilemma is – i like the features, size, materials, and weight of the Xmid, but there are also some ridge lines and rocky outcroppings i kinda want to stay on, and freestanding would allow that. Or I suppose I could just get the Xmid and Cowboy camp the ridges/rocks and choose a mild weekend too.

    Thanks for any advice!

    #3749207
    Brad W
    BPL Member

    @rocko99

    If you are into off trail, limited area camp sites I would go with a more narrow shelter.

    #3749209
    Christopher R
    BPL Member

    @chrisr18

    I “stake out” my xmid with rocks and it is sturdy…as sturdy as the rocks are.  The bigger the rock, the more sturdy.  I am usually on or near a trail, so I haven’t had problems with my tent being too large.

    #3749224
    dirtbag
    BPL Member

    @dirtbaghiker

    Xmid and ultra light bivy???

    #3749236
    Todd T
    BPL Member

    @texasbb

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    The Xmid does have a large-ish footprint, but you only really need a floor’s worth of flat, smooth ground.  However, to handle truly uneven ground or to get a substantially higher pitch, you need to lengthen the corner tie-outs.  The stock ones allow only modest departure from flat.

    #3749243
    Sam Farrington
    BPL Member

    @scfhome

    Locale: Chocorua NH, USA

    It sounds like you want to camp in more open areas (not hammock worthy) at higher altitudes.  And you also mention rock surfaces.  For the latter, I would consult technical climbers about how they safely anchor their tents.  For backpacking in the high country, a tent with a self-supporting frame will place less stress on your stakes and not depend on them to keep the tent upright; hence provide more safety in storms, which are more wicked at higher altitudes.  Of course you can also carry monster stakes with a trekking pole supported tent; but they will weigh you down considerably.

    Just as important is site selection, to insure that the ground is suitable for stakes, even if they are there primarily to anchor the tent, not keep it upright.  I’ve found this easier in high, open areas, because more of the terrain is visible.  Ideally, there are small clusters of trees in high, open areas that while not substantial enough for a hammock, do provide a windbreak if the weather gets nasty.

    Noticed that the Slingfin Portal you mention is sold out, and this often seems to be the case these days.  However, this design is very common, and with some hunting you should be able to find something that will not let you down.  Another approach can be to plan the route so camping can occur below timberline, and that is certainly the safest route until you have spent some time with a tent and have found it reliable ‘when things go wrong.’

    #3749319
    Paul S
    BPL Member

    @pula58

    My wife and I backpack 26 or so weekends a year. Here is WA state we almost always camp above treeline. We use the Tarptent Stratospire 2 (sil nylon version) and The Slingfin portal 2P, and the Durston X-mid. All work great. Never had any problems with any of them. Wind, rain. Ooops I forgot, we did have one problem with the Portal — we were camped in a semi-desert area. The winds were a measured 25-30mph. When it was time to go to sleep, we looked in the tent and it was filled with dust/dirt. You could not see the tent floor through all the dust. Darn those all mesh inners! It really wasn’t the Portals “fault” per say, just the tradeoffs with an all-mesh inner and could/would happen with any tent that had an all mesh inner.

    #3749373
    SIMULACRA
    BPL Member

    @simulacra

    Locale: Puget Sound

    Use shepherds hook stakes in high mountain rocky terrain. They work far better snaking around all the hidden rocks. For added security, I’ll always put rocks on top of these, which there’s always a great supply. I use 7″ Ti, never had an issue with holding. I do use a freestanding tent, but this method worked the same with a former semi-freestanding tent as well. If you’re looking for light and modular, I like Dirtbag’s idea of a tent with no inner and a lightweight bivy.

    #3749478
    unnamedpeaks
    BPL Member

    @unnamedpeaks

    You will learn to use the x-mid in those conditions. It takes more skill/practice to set up quickly, but it will be so much more spacious and storm worthy for the weight once you have it set up.

    Ill not be going back to a freestanding tent.

    #3749481
    Alex Wallace
    BPL Member

    @feetfirst

    Locale: Sierra Nevada North

    I primarily backpack in the high Sierra using a non-freestanding tent (LG Khufu). Like Christopher R above, if I can’t get a stake in I simply use rocks. The bigger, the better.

     

    #3749493
    lisa r
    BPL Member

    @lisina10

    Locale: Western OR

    I have wrestled with this. I have the xmid and really like it, but I do a lot of my camping in alpine terrain and no matter how many rocks I might pile on top of the stakes it just doesn’t feel that secure, at least  not secure enough to withstand higher winds. It’s also kind of annoying to have to spend a half hour moving heavy rocks when I set up camp, and it leaves an impact on the ground. This is not the fault of the tent, just the nature of non-freestanding. Because tent failure in a nighttime storm is my #1 backpacking anxiety I decided to get the Slingfin Portal for when I’m anticipating (or wanting to) camp in high alpine areas, particularly if the forecast doesn’t look 100% calm. Perhaps that’s unnecessary, but I figure peace of mind is worth the extra weight.

    #3749558
    Dan Durston
    BPL Member

    @dandydan

    Locale: Canadian Rockies

    I think you’re looking at the X-Mid 2 (as opposed to the 1P). The footprint is somewhat larger than a freestanding tent but quite typical for a trekking pole tent. It’s a bit larger than the average freestanding tent partly because the average 2P tent is quite tiny whereas the X-Mid 2 is much more spacious as a ‘real’ 2P tent, but also because trekking pole tents can’t steepen the lower walls as much as a freestanding tent to trim the footprint. So it is a big larger but it really isn’t that big (lots of 2P tents are larger yet) and also it is getting about 10% smaller for the second generation launching in a few weeks (while keeping the inner just as spacious). The X-Mid 2 is one of the more popular tents on the AT where smaller campsites are common, so I doubt you’d have an issue. I often hear from people who were worried about the foorprint but later found that to be quite unfounded, as at worst they occasionally spend a few more minutes looking around but in exchange enjoy a more spacious shelter.

    With regard to staking it out in various environments – even in alpine areas you can almost always find dirt to camp on. For example, trekking pole tents are super common amongst PCT hikers who all cross the sierra’s. When I hiked the PCT I never had issues in the Sierra’s, although I did upsize my stakes for the sandy soils in SoCal. In recent years, I use mine here in the Rockies as my backyard, and I’ve never had a site where I couldn’t stake it out. Like the footprint, you’d quite likely find this to be a non-issue although you might find that you prefer larger stakes for added security.

    #3749563
    Marcus
    BPL Member

    @mcimes

    Thank you very much for the comments Dan and everyone.

    I think I’ll try for the xmid in a couple weeks. I missed out last time but was just second guessing the xmid choice for no good reason really. No one ever sells them – that’s about the best thing that can be said about a product

    #3749649
    Alex Wallace
    BPL Member

    @feetfirst

    Locale: Sierra Nevada North

    From my experience in the Sierra, in most lake basins and even the surrounding benches of granite, good soil that will hold a stake can be found. Sometimes that soil (decomposed granite/sand type stuff) is shallow with a flake of granite underneath. Again, you’ll surely find good sized rocks nearby to supplement or completely tie off to.

    #3749676
    Dan Durston
    BPL Member

    @dandydan

    Locale: Canadian Rockies

    Nice shots. We need an “Alex Wallace High Sierra” calendar :)

    #3749702
    Alex Wallace
    BPL Member

    @feetfirst

    Locale: Sierra Nevada North

    Haha! Thanks, Dan. I may have to spice it up with a few x-mid shots.

     

    #3749736
    Eric Blanche
    BPL Member

    @eblanche

    Locale: Northeast US

    Most people gravitate towards a free-standing tent because it seems easier. Yes it is, but the extra work/knowledge to properly use a non free-standing tent is not very much and you can get a better ‘package.’

    #3749740
    Ethan A.
    BPL Member

    @mountainwalker

    Locale: SF Bay Area & New England

    Alex, nice shots. Which shelters are those top to bottom (I realize some photos feature the same shelter), especially the one with the wider four-pointed apex?

    One advantage of trekking pole-supported shelters is that the weight saved from the tent poles in freestanding shelters can go into stronger materials and components in trekking pole-supported shelters.

    There are advantages to both. It was really nice to be able to move my freestanding shelters when trying out sites, to lift and shake them out before packing and in the case of my Hilleberg to have a much better nights sleep in snow and strong wind (no flapping and not having to constantly shake snow off).

    I’ve used rocks as anchors in rocky areas and sometimes it takes a lot of effort to find and move the rocks you need. But even a freestanding tent will need to be rock anchored in a place like that (though the shelter structure won’t depend on the anchors).

    #3749780
    Alex Wallace
    BPL Member

    @feetfirst

    Locale: Sierra Nevada North

    1. Locus Gear Khufu Sil w/ Locus Gear 2/3 mesh; 2. MLD Duomid, 3. MLD Duomid w/ MLD Solomid XL innernet; 4. Tara Poky/Pre Tents Mega; 5. Tara Poky/Pre Tents Mega; 6. Locus Gear Khufu Sil; 7. GoLite Shangri-La 3; and 8. MLD Duomid.

     

     

    #3750002
    Stumphges
    BPL Member

    @stumphges

    Alex, what do you think of the Mega?

    #3760369
    Alex Wallace
    BPL Member

    @feetfirst

    Locale: Sierra Nevada North

    Sorry, I didn’t see your questions about the PreTents Mega till now. In short, I really like it!

    I mainly use it for trips with my 2 boys, ages 11 and 7. I’ve also used it as a 2-man shelter, either with or without the inner, for trips with my friend. I think it’s advertised as a 3-4 man shelter, but there’s just no way. 2 adults plus a child, or dog, is about it. Adequate space for me and my kids, spacious for 2 adults, and the weight is reasonable with the inner, even better without. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone over 6′ though. I’m 5’10” and have just inches from the head/foot of my sleeping bag while laying down.

    We’ve weathered a few storms, nothing too crazy, but it feels solid and has plenty of guy out points if needed.

    Setup is a bit more complex than a mid due to the canopy spreader poles, but otherwise very similar. Stake out a taught square, clip in the spreader poles, and raise the center pole.

    The quality of materials, hardware, and construction is very high. On par with the big boys (MSR, Big Agnes) or better. Although I did manage to break one of the corner “bungees” that are used to mate the inner, but it was an easy fix.

    #3760372
    Sam Farrington
    BPL Member

    @scfhome

    Locale: Chocorua NH, USA

    So much for the L in BPL.

    #3760379
    Alex Wallace
    BPL Member

    @feetfirst

    Locale: Sierra Nevada North

    Sam, not sure who or what you’re replying to, but if it’s me with my post about the PreTents Mega then I think you’re wrong. 26 ounces for a 2-3 person mid is light.

    #3760423
    Murali C
    BPL Member

    @mchinnak

    I have used Zpacks Duplex on the JMT without any issues……there is a narrow spot by the big rock above Guitar lake where I fitted the Zpacks Duplex without using one of the vestibules….you will always figure out a way to squeeze thing in..Zpacks Duplex is much bigger than X-mid 1. One of the guys I did the SHR (0ff trail) with used the Xmid 1 – no issues finding spots. I have used Zpacks Altaplex which is the same size as X-mid 1 on PCT-Washington, JMT, CT etc – you will always find space!

    #3760532
    Kyler B
    BPL Member

    @live4backcountry09

    Locale: Kootenays

    I have a truly free standing tent (old version of the rab Latok I believe) . I never use it. Actually have never had a scenario where I needed a free standing tent. Usually something to stake to or something heavy to anchor my tent guyouts.

    I have seen freestanding tents blow right away on more than one occasion. Sometimes with quite a bit of gear in them. There is a campsite close to my area that is a huge rock slab and everyone uses rocks so the tents don’t fly clear off the slab and mountain.

    just my experience maybe other people have a need or experienced the need for a freestanding tent.

    Oh and I have pitched the Xmid 2p in some very uneven, sloped and tight spots. It does well.

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