Durston Gear X-Mid 1 Tent Review (Second Generation)

Durston Gear X-Mid 1 Tent (V2) Review

The Durston Gear X-Mid 1 (second generation) is my favorite tent to use on backpacking trips. It’s a lightweight double-wall tent weighing (28 oz) that is comfortable to sleep in and easy to set up. Made with polyester, it’s much less expensive compared to ultralight Dyneema tents but also doesn’t sag when it gets wet. The X-Mid 1 comes factory seam-taped and includes ultralight titanium stakes, making it usable out of the box. It is a trekking pole tent, so it’s not for everyone or all campsites, but it is a great shelter if you want a trekking pole tent that is affordable, spacious, stormworthy, and packs up small. (MSRP $240).

Specs at a Glance

  • Capacity: 1 person
  • Type: Double-Wall, Trekking Pole Tent
  • Trail Weight: 28 oz / 795 g | Fly: 17.3 oz / 490 g | Inner: 10.7 oz / 305 g
  • Doors: 2
  • Peak Vents: 2
  • Minimum number of stakes to pitch: 4
  • Materials: 20d sil/PEU coated ripstop polyester (2500mm), #5 YKK Aquagaurd water-resistant zippers on fly, YKK #3 zippers on inner tent
  • Also includes 6 titanium tent stakes, tent stuff sack, stake stuff sack
  • Packed size: 12 x 5 in / 30 x 13 cm
  • For complete specs, visit Durston Gear. 

Tent Design

The X-Mid 1 is a double-walled trekking pole with a rectangular floor plan and dual side doors with water-resistant Aquaguard zippers. It has two peaks with grommets inside to hold the tips of your trekking poles. The X-Mid 1 includes an inner tent with a bathtub floor, mesh walls, and a mesh ceiling with roof pockets, which is oriented diagonally inside the fly, creating large side vestibules.

The inner tent has a bathtub floor, mesh sidewalls and a mesh ceiling
The inner tent has a bathtub floor, mesh sidewalls, and a mesh ceiling.

The X-Mid 1 fly can be set up before the inner tent to protect it from getting wet in rain or you can attach them beforehand and set them both up at the same time. The inner clips to buckles in the peaks and attaches to the four corners of the fly with mitten hooks. My preference is to separate the inner tent and fly when packing the tent if the fly is wet, so I can pull it out later in the day and dry it off when I catch a bit of sunlight.  Otherwise, I keep the inner and the fly connected which makes the tent very fast to set up.

Grommets in the peaks prevent your trekking pole tips from ripping the fly
Grommets and reinforced fabric in the peaks prevent your trekking pole tips from ripping the fly.

The setup process is ridiculously simple and requires a minimum of 4 tent stakes to erect. You simply stake out the four corners of the fly pulling them tight, drop your trekking poles through the peak vents, position the carbide tips up in the peak grommets and extend them until the fly walls are stretched tight. Then you can walk around and add additional guylines to the peaks, doors, or side panels, depending on the conditions. I like to stake out the guylines running from the peaks to the ground, although this isn’t strictly necessary in good weather. You can also stake out the short side of the doors if you want to create a little corner to store your backpack upright near the inner tent door.

X-Mid-1 Schematic, courtesy Durston Gear
X-Mid 1 Schematic, courtesy Durston Gear. The green area represents a rectangular sleeping pad. 

The inner tent is shaped like a parallelogram, so there is extra space above the head and foot end of your sleeping pad to store your nighttime essentials or your camp shoes for nighttime strolls. There are small mesh pockets in the ceiling corners that are secure enough to hold precious items like a smartphone or your glasses, so you don’t have to worry about them falling out and getting smashed if you roll onto them at night. I once broke a pair of glasses like this, which really sucked.

Dimensionally, the X-Mid fly is 67 x 100 in / 170 x 254 cm with a peak height of 46 in / 117 cm, which is pretty long and can make finding a suitable campsite more challenging in densely forested terrain. The inner tent is considerably smaller, at 32 x 90 in / 81 x 230 cm with an inner peak height of 43 in / 109 cm, but more than adequate for use with a long or wide sleeping pad.

This corner inside the short section of the side door is convenient for storing your pack upright.
This corner inside the short section of the side door is convenient for storing your pack upright.

Livability

I sleep really well in the X-Mid 1, which I attribute to the color and density of the rain fly. I’m very sensitive to light when I sleep, which makes it difficult for me to appreciate translucent tents made with Dyneema when the moon is shining bright. While some moonlight does shine through the X-Mid 1 fly fabric, the interior is dark enough that I can sleep deeply without being bothered.

If I want ventilation or views, it’s easy to open a side door or roll up a side panel from inside the tent. Ditto with closing them. I usually sleep with one of the doors tied back for ventilation.

The X-Mid-1 is easy to stuff into a stuff sack and will fit horizontally in just about any backpack
The X-Mid 1 is easy to stuff into a stuff sack and will fit horizontally in just about any backpack

The interior isn’t as big as the inside of a two-person tent, but it’s perfectly livable if you don’t mind lying on your back the whole time, which is what I mainly do in mine. It’s no problem changing clothes inside either: there’s plenty of space for that.

I also like having all of my gear under cover at night and stored in the vestibules where I can access it easily, but not have it piled up with me inside the inner tent. I’ve never experienced any internal condensation transfer from the fly to my gear or the inner tent. In the event of rainy or windy weather, the vestibules provide enough height that you could cook under them with a stove with a captured flame like a Jetboil or an MSR Windburner.

After years of having to seam-seal ultralight tents, it’s nice to have a tent where none of that is necessary. Polyester and silpoly (siliconized polyester) tents can be seam-taped but some tent manufacturers still require customers to seam seal their tents before use in rainy weather. I’ve never understood that. It’s not difficult to do but it is a pain in the ass. None of that is necessary with the X-Mid 1, which is ready to use out of the box.

Setup Video

Considerations

The X-Mid 1 isn’t as general-purpose as a freestanding tent. For example, it wouldn’t be the tent I’d bring if I had to camp on wooden platforms, rock ledges, or even sandy surfaces. The tent also requires a fairly large space to be set up, which can take extra time to find in densely forested terrain. It’s great for use at pre-existing campsites, however, especially those with a forest duff surface where tent stakes get a good purchase.

Durston Gear offers a groundsheet (4.6 oz) for the X-Mid 1, but I don’t think it’s necessary unless you regularly camp on abrasive surfaces. I carry a 2 oz piece of polycryo plastic but usually end up using it as a porch outside the door of the inner tent to keep my socks dry when I get out at night for a pee. I don’t think you need a footprint under the vestibules unless you want a dry surface for a dog to sleep on.

The X-Mid-1 is able to withstand a spruce grouse attack.
I like to stake out the X-Mid 1 peaks which have line locs and pre-attached guylines. This proved useful on a recent trip when the tent was attacked by a territorial spruce grouse that didn’t like my tent site selection! The tent withstood the attack without a problem. Ethan Pond Shelter Campsite, New Hampshire.

For sandy, dusty, or cold/winter conditions, Durston Gear has the X-Mid 1 Solid which has an inner tent with partially solid walls that you should check out. They don’t offer that inner as a standalone purchase now but plan to in the future. They also offer webbing straps/buckles that allow you to use the inner tent standalone as a bug bivy when the fly is not required.

Second Generation Improvements

There was an earlier first generation of the X-Mid 1 but it has been improved in this second-generation version. The biggest change is a 30% increase in the volume of the inner tent, making it wider, longer, and higher, with more headroom. There were also some design optimizations made to the fly to improve its wind performance and the tightness of the pitch, but these were made without making the tent heavier, changing the material used, or reducing functionality.

Comparison Table – Lightweight Two Peak tents

Recommendation

The Durston Gear X-Mid 1 is a great one-person, double-wall, trekking pole tent that’s easy to set up and weighs 28.0 oz. It can be set up fly-first to keep the inner tent dry in the rain, comes seam-taped, and is completely outfitted with guylines and linelocs so you can use it as soon as it arrives. If you’ve been wanting to slash your gear weight or try a trekking pole tent, the X-mid is a great option because it packs small and has plenty of room inside to store gear. The inner tent is comfortable, both doors can be opened for enhanced airflow, and there are kick-stand vents (that work) for extra ventilation in stormy conditions.  A 2 person version of the X-Mid is also available.

Disclosure: Durston Gear provided a tent for this review.

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