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australia:durstonx-mid

Durston X-Mid trek pole tents

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  • these are the most popular hiking tents in 2023-2024
    • this is due to their ultra-light weight yet spacious interior and storm proofing and the 2 doors which adds important ventilation, weather direction management and access options
      • there are very few ultralight 1P tents with two doors!!
    • the main issue is that they take up more tent site than similar tents and this can be an issue especially for the 2P version at some camp areas, particularly if it is hard to find reasonably level ground
  • I don't sell any of these nor do I receive any remuneration if you buy them, and I have not personally reviewed all of them, they are listed here to give you perspective
    • any prices mentioned are subject to change
  • trekking pole tents are NOT recommended for some trails such as the Larapinta Trail in Australia where finding secure peg options can be difficult - freestanding wind resistant tents are preferred on this trail

Introduction

  • hikers generally want a relatively storm-proof, compact, ultra-light shelter which performs well in the rain and wind and the Durston X-Mid series have become one of the most popular hiking tents in 2023 as they address all of these requirements as well as being relatively affordable
  • unlike freestanding tents, these require use of two 125cm poles
    • these could be trekking poles or Durston also sell ultralight Z-Flick foldable poles
    • the advantage is that as you are likely to be carrying two trekking poles, you don't have to carry the additional weight of tent poles as you would with a freestanding tent
  • these tents can also be great for stealth camping for solo woman hikers as:
    • they are ultralight and storm-proof
    • they are available in green - although the tone is not quite a stealth tone but better than a bright colour
    • they are not too tall so could be hidden behind bushes
    • as with most trek pole tents, they can be relatively quickly taken down to a fairly flat ground level - even if you are inside - you could take down the trek poles to go to an “emergency stealth mode” and then put them back up easily (this is not possible with freestanding tents - you would need to get out of the tent, take the fly off and remove the poles)
    • there are two doors if you need to make a discrete rear exit
    • NB. the large footprint of the X-mid 2 could limit site selection especially if camping away from a designated camp site - in this case the X-Mid 1 would be a better proposition and it is 25% lighter and 25% less expensive

General points

  • as with almost all trek pole tents, these are NOT freestanding
    • this tent needs at least 4 very secure pegs in and two poles in place - if you only use 4 pegs and one comes loose, the tent will collapse
    • you can't set up and then just move it around as with a freestanding tent
  • the Durston X-Mid design is UNIQUE, maximises head room for a trek pole tent, keeps the poles away from the doors and you can sit comfortably in the doorways
    • this is achieved by having the two poles placed diagonally and this requires the floor of the inner tent to be a parallelogram instead of a rectangle
    • other trek tent designs are:
      • pyramid tipi-like
        • great wind resistance but only has head room in the centre
        • eg. Liteway PyraOmm Duo
      • A-frame like:
        • two trek poles are aligned parallel but this gives a shorter area of tall head space and only between the two poles - these can also be less wind resistant
        • eg. Z-packs Duplex
  • these are rated as being “storm-proof”
    • indeed tests in 65kph winds seem to show they hold up extremely well
    • if this is your only shelter, you need to be able to rely on it to keep you warm and dry, and this tent seems to achieve this at least to those wind levels (you probably should not be camping in wind levels much higher than this anyway)
  • the basic versions are now made with 20D 3500mm WH PeU sil-polyester fabric for both the fly and floor which is MUCH better than silnylon in wet weather for the following reasons:
    • it does not stretch when wet (nylon stretches 4% when wet) and this is critical for trek pole tents as otherwise they would need to be constantly re-adjusted to maintain tension and wind resistance
    • it does not become saturated and heavy with water (nylon is hydrophilic so becomes internally saturated and can be TWICE as heavy when wet) so you carry less weight after packing up wet than with a nylon tent
    • it dries out faster
    • it does not weaken when wet (nylon weakens 10% when wet)
    • thanks to the PeU coating, the waterproofing level only slowly degrades over time - it should still be adequately waterproof after many months of continuous high winds and heavy rain 1)
  • if you want even lighter set up, you can buy the more expensive “Pro” versions which are made from Dyneema cuben fibre (DCF)
    • DCF is lighter, stronger and more waterproof BUT it will still puncture and can be damaged by abrasion - and present it only comes in a translucent pale green with a NON-REMOVABLE INNER making it partly single wall - see at bottom of this page for DCF version details
    • the company do plan to make a DCF fly to cover the current X-Mid inner tents but this is likely to not be available until some time in 2025
  • these are dual wall tents and are much better than single wall tents although they are heavier than single wall tents but the extra weight is usually worth it because:
    • single wall tents WILL get wet on the inside from dew/condensation and this WILL make you and your gear wet in higher humidity situations with low air flow
    • it allows you to CHOOSE the inner tent depending upon weather and needs - either a full mesh inner for warmer nights or an almost full fabric inner for cooler nights (this significantly reduces wind chill)
  • the design ensure condensation issues are a minimum
    • some condensation will sometimes occur, especially if you have two campers inside the tent breathing all night with minimal ventilation - keep the vents open!
    • it can still occur significantly if you keep wet gear inside the inner tent - not a great idea!
    • if not pitched optimally, the inner tent sides can touch the wet inside of the fly, but, in the case of the fabric inner, this only gets the outside of the inner fabric wet while importantly, the inside stays dry.
  • high quality features
    • two doors - even on the 1P version!
    • uses two 125cm trek poles
      • 125cm allows use of practically any sized trek pole as most can adjust to the 125cm height
    • bottom strap from the inner tent to secure the trek pole bottoms
    • additional supports for the top of the trek poles to reduce risk of damage from the poles
    • YKK zippers - although you usually need to use two hands to use them unless perfectly pitched
    • magnetic holder for the door flap - this is great and easy to use - UNLESS it is windy in which case it is not strong enough to hold it - bring additional clamp
    • elastic strap tie for the inner door flap - does require two hands and some manual dexterity to tie and untie which can be an issue if wearing gloves - bring additional clamp
  • optional accessories
    • groundsheet to provide extra layer under the tent to reduce risks of damage to the floor and some extra waterproofing (if water doesn't puddle on top of it) - can pack up with it attached to the fly - very handy in wet weather!
    • X-Mid Stargazer Kit allows inner tent set up only so you can see the stars if using a mesh inner and allows ventilation without the fly on a hot night
    • Z-Flick Tent Pole if you don't have 2 hike poles
    • ability to purchase additional inner tents - mesh or fabric which makes it even more versatile
  • you WILL need to buy guy ropes and stakes
    • stakes are important to ensure stability of the tent - at least 4 are needed - these should be strong stakes such as longer aluminium tri-sided stakes (titanium ultra-light stakes probably will not suffice)
    • additional stakes can be used:
      • one for each door so the vestibule retains shape when opening the door
      • one for each of the two supplied end guy ropes (which come with the solid version)
      • one for each of the additional 6 guy ropes which are useful in strong winds and to help keep the fly from touching the inner tent during rain
        • for ultralight usage consider Sea2Summit Ground Control guylines
      • one for each of the side middle peg tie outs (you might want to add an elastic bungee to these to reach pegs)
  • additional features of the fabric “solid” version compared to the standard mesh version:
    • almost completely fabric inner except for upper 2/3rds of each door being mesh - much less wind chill
    • small plastic buckles at the base of the fly zippers - this allows the doors to be buckled at the bottom but unzipped to minimise rain issues but still allow extra ventilation through the fly doors
    • two premium low-stretch guylines
    • additional reinforcement at some optional stake points around the base.

some minor cons

  • large footprint can make it harder to find a suitable camp site to pitch - especially the 2P version
  • for a good pitch you need fairly level ground and the fly must be pegged out as close to a rectangle shape as possible with 90deg angled corners
  • magnetic fly door holder is not strong enough to secure the door flap open in strong wind - bring a clamp
  • the elastic tie for the inner door flap is fiddly especially if wearing gloves - bring a clamp
  • you do need to supply your own stakes and guy ropes - make sure the stakes are strong enough!
  • the storage pockets are small compared to most other tents and not well supported but will still do a reasonable job
  • the asymmetric inner tent geometry for 2P means that if you both sleep the same orientation, one of you will get much less head room - solved by sleeping head to tail
  • inner tent corners can be fiddly to attach to the fly, especially from the inside - consider adding a carabiner
  • you need two hands to use the inner door zips unless you have it perfectly pitched
  • in heavy rain or hail, the inner can get muddy at the bottom from splashes if the fly is not touching the ground as it tends to sit above the ground unless pegged down in the centres as well as the corners
  • the optional footprint can be hard to orient to the inner tent - best placed after the inner tent is set up
  • when packing up wet, it is probably best to pack the inner tent separately to the fly which is a bit more work
  • general issues as with all non-freestanding tents:
    • can't move the tent once pitched unless fully taken down
    • stability is absolutely dependent upon security of the pegs - if only use the 4 corner pegs, it will collapse if one becomes loose
    • can't tip it upside down to dry the bottom of the floor before packing up - you will need to pack it wet or hang it up somewhere - use the optional ground sheet and leave it attached to the fly when packing up - they will both be wet anyway (pack the inner tent separately)

Durston X-Mid 1

durstongear.com_cdn_shop_files_x-mid-1-durston-spacious_-_1_1.jpg

X-Mid 1 mesh inner interior view

Durston X-Mid 2

durstongear.com_cdn_shop_files_x-mid_2_tent-backpacking-ultralight.jpg

Durston X-Mid 2

durstongear.com_cdn_shop_files_x-mid-2-solid-ultralight-tent-bushwalking-spacious_-_1_2.jpg

Durston X-mid 2 solid inner tent

durstongear.com_cdn_shop_files_durston-x-mid-2-ultralight-tent-floorplan_-_2.jpg

Geometry of the X-Mid 2 (X-Mid 1 is similar but wide enough for only 1P)

extra tips

  • “can pack the wet fly with groundsheet attached in a separate bag from the dry inner tent, life in the rain became easier and much more enjoyable. One can pitch the fly in a downpour, crawl under it and cook dinner (disclaimer here) while waiting for the surface water to sub into the ground, then pitch the dry inner tent and enjoy a wonderfully comfortable, warm, and dry night in the pouring rain… if all was packed properly. Packing the two pieces of the tent separately also lets you pack up early on dewy mornings without soaking the inner tent. If it does get wet, both pieces dry out incredibly quickly under sunny skies or in a light breeze”
    • pitch the fly 1st ensuring each corner is pegged out at 45deg angle and the fly is laid out as a rectangle and is not loose - adjust the tensioners
    • THEN insert each trekking pole upside down with tip inserted into grommet and pole extended so the fabric is tight
      • if sides of the fly are not tight at the bottom, the poles have been extended to high, lower them and re-tension the corners to increase the side tension
    • add a stake at each door of the fly
    • then attach the inner - clip to 4 corners at the two peaks then clip to the 4 corners of the fly
    • if tent is dry when packing up, best to leave inner attached for easier set up next time, but if fly is wet, its better to pack the inner separately to the fly
    • for storm pitch:
      • BEFORE going camping:
        • if the model has shock cords on the doors for pegging, replace these with static cords
        • take the appropriate type of stakes for the ground conditions to ensure they will be secure
      • BEFORE pitching, set the fly cords to shorter lengths which will mean the trekking poles will not be as extended to get a tight pitch and the tent is a lower profile
      • critical that the pitch is good with ridge line, crosslines and bottom edges of the fly all tight - if they are not, then adjust corner tensions to correct - see the video
      • bottom edges of fly should be close to the ground to avoid heavy rain splashing mud onto the inner
      • then add the peak guy lines in line with the ridge line as far out as possible
      • add guy lines to the side panel tie outs and line the guy line at an angle which gives the same angle as the tie out point to the peak behind it
      • add more stakes to the sides of the tent
      • tip: if you have trouble connecting the inner to the D rings on each corner, add a carabiner
  • how to do a 'skinny pitch' that makes it easier to fit into sites where the site is small and/or you need the floor in an exact spot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHdK4LXGuRQ
  • some extra hacks - strong aluminium pegs, Sea2Summit Ground Control guylines etc: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ1An8yVARc
    • add a short rope with carabiner to allow hanging your wet back pack from the top of your trek pole (in the vestibule NOT inside the inner tent!)

pitching the optional footprint

  • pitch the tent first
  • lay out the footprint with the logo side up.
  • that shape will match the shape of the floor.
  • then slide it under the floor and clip the cord at each corner to the corner of the fly (same spots the inner clips to).
  • basically the footprint clips into the fly the same way the floor does.

DCF versions

  • the Stargazer kit does not work with these Pro versions as the inner tent is NOT removable as it is sewn to the fly!
  • there is no solid inner option
  • the pro version is thus a single wall tent and internal condensation can be a major issue when it is humid and warm, exacerbated by the proximity of the wall to your body and sleeping bag
    • for most people the standard dual wall version is a better option and will probably last twice as long
    • 440g-485g excl. pegs/guys/bag, “spruce green” Dyneema cuben fibre fly; dual trekking pole tent;
    • silnylon floor version is 485g, 15D Sil/PEU nylon so you will need to be careful with it.
    • DCF floor version 440g;
    • fly: 2.59 x 1.6m (98“x63”) incl. 2 x 1 sqm vestibules;
    • inner tent: 2.3×0.81×1.14m = 1.9sqm; fly has zipper;
    • packs to 25x12cm (10“x4.5”)
    • ability to add up to 12 stakes around the base
    • $US? / $AU865 for nylon floor version; ($AU1006 for DCF floor) - without the 8 DAC stakes

durstongear.com_cdn_shop_files_durston-x-mid-pro-1-4.jpg

X-Mid Pro 1

    • 578g, Dyneema cuben fibre fly; dual trekking pole tent;
    • floor is 15D Sil/PEU nylon so you will need a protective ground sheet; - a DCF floor version is coming in Mar 2024;
    • floor space inside fly = 100“x83” = 58 sq ft = 2.3×1.17×1.17m = 2.7sqm; fly has zipper;
    • too small for 2 people unless you top and tail; best as a 1 person tent;
    • a popular tent for long hikes with lots of gear such as fishing trips where there is plenty of larger tent pitch sites given the extra floor space vs the Zpacks Duplex
    • $US679 / $AU1008 for nylon floor version; ($AU1162 for DCF floor)
    • 2024 model, as above but 6“ wider to accommodate two wide (25” / 64 cm) sleeping pads and provides taller headroom (1.24m peak) and steeper sides to allow taller campers up to 6'6“ tall
    • reduced the rotation of the diagonal ridgeline to create more even headroom on both sides to optimize the tent for two people sleeping in the same direction
    • 2.3×1.32×1.24m inner with area 3.0sqm 630g; 2x1sqm vestibules; packs to 27 x 13 cm (opt. 15D silnylon floor instead of DCF which is $AU150 cheaper)
    • $AU1223
    • this one resolves most of the issues with the previous X-Mid Pros

durstongear.com_cdn_shop_files_x-mid-pro-2-blaeberry_-_1.jpg

Durston X-mid 2P Pro DCF

australia/durstonx-mid.txt · Last modified: 2024/05/06 21:38 by gary1

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