Episode 62 | Dan Durston Talks X-mids and More
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In this episode, Andrew chats with gear designer and biologist Dan Durston. Dan is an accomplished backpacker and longtime Backpacking Light member. He went from gear enthusiast to gear tester to successful gear designer and small-business owner in a remarkably short time. His most recent shelter, the Durston X-Mid Pro 2 (read our review), is one of the buzziest ultralight shelters to hit the market in quite a while. All this despite the fact that Dan doesn’t have a background in engineering or design.
In this wide-ranging interview, Andrew and Dan talk about design philosophy, the difference between designing for shelters and packs, his journey from tester to designer, upcoming projects from Durston Gear, and more.
- 0:00:34 – new public vs. members only podcast format
- 0:01:38 – introduction; Who is Dan Durston?
- 0:02:44 – the story behind Durston Gear, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, and a minimalist philosophy to tent design
- 0:06:54 – the process of bringing the first X-mid from design to production
- 0:11:47 – What makes an X-mid an X-mid?
- 0:12:56 – first principles design philosophy
- 0:14:56 – using polyester in a shelter design
- 0:16:56 – Dan’s shelter hierarchy of needs
- 0:21:00 – weight savings vs. usability
- 0:22:42 – talking backpacks with Dan
- 0:27:38 – Ultra fabric
— Members Only Begins here —
- 0:30:18 – the X-Mid Pro Series
- 0:35:42 – What is coming soon for Dan and his designs?
- 0:41:42 – How do your personal philosophies inform your design philosophy?
- 0:44:44 – company values and vision
- 0:50:01 – wearing multiple hats in the field
- 0:51:50 – podcast wrap up
- Check out the articles Dan Durston has written at BPL here.
- Johnathan Davis interviews Dan Durston as part of the Faces series in 2015.
- Mark Wetherington recently wrote an article analyzing the Supply Chain economics of being a cottage manufacturer which includes discussion with Dan.
- Mark Wetherington has reviewed the X-Mid Pro 2! This version is updated as of March 2022.
- Curious to learn more about Dan’s thoughts on design, standards, and testing? Check out Rex Sander’s Standards Watch article written after a chat with Dan!
- To peruse Durston Gear’s tents, backpack’s and more, check out their website!