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

Make / ModelWeightPriceDesigner
Durston Gear X-Mid 128 oz$240Dan Durston
Sierra Designs High Route 131 oz$300Andrew Skurka
Tarptent Stratospire 138.3 oz$325Henry Shires

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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21 comments

  1. Yet another comment re: my recent hike on The West Highland Way in Scotland. Hope I’m not getting too boring. I used my X-Mid 1P v2 on the trip, during which I pitched at pre-booked sites, not what they call wild camping over there. Getting stakes in the ground was a challenge at those sites, so I did not always have the tautest of pitches. In retrospect, a 1P freestanding tent would have been easier to use for my itinerary. I will have to swap out the guylines for larger diameter because they frequently slipped in the linelocs when under tension. Also a result of line diameter, at the linelocs, the free end would get jammed underneath the end leading to the stake. I’ve been an X-Mid user since day one and it’s my favorite tent, too.

    • Thanks for the heads up re the line diameter. I have an xmid 2p solid on order.
      Would you recommend replacing the pegs provided as well as swapping out the guylines?
      Also, I believe they are 2mm guys, would it better replacing with 3 mil?
      Can’t wait to get the tent.

      • I’ll take a look in the Durston Gearheads Facebook group for info on the guyline swap diameter. I know it was talked about there or somewhere else for the same reasons when the original 2P came out. 3mm may be too big. Regarding stakes, I really like the included v-stakes and (usually) use them for the corners, shepherd hooks for the vestibules, and also keep a couple of Paria needle stakes on hand for when one of the others won’t work.

        • We had 1.5mm lines on the 1P for one year (around 2020/2021) but switched back to 2.5mm in early 2021. All the v2 tents for the 1P use that 2.5mm cord and in our testing it holds super well (to about 60 lbs when most lines slip at about 20). We don’t get many (if any) reports of it slipping now but maybe there are some circumstances in the field where it can slip (e.g. wet/frosty?).

        • @Dan Yes, it was wet, so perhaps that was the problem. But then, when do I need lines to stay tight? When it’s wet because it’s also likely to be windy. Plus, with the free end getting locked under the staking end it gets frustrating. (I hope I’m describing that clearly enough.)

        • So no need to swap out the guys then which is good to know.
          I like the needle stakes as well and have a lot of them so will put a few of them in as well.
          Not often you get a tent that is ready to go out of the bag.

        • Marijn de Keijzer

          Hi Dan, I have the first version. Do you know when the solid inner alone will be available?

      • I believe the issue with the slipping guylines in the very first version of the x-mid was addressed by changing them from 1.5mm to 2mm, so it shouldn’t be necessary to change them on current tents. Durston Gear does sell reflective, no-stretch dyneema ironwire on their website for those wanting to upgrade; but it shouldn’t be necessary for most people for whom the standard guylines should be fine.

  2. Bill in Roswell GA

    I have the Xmid V1. Its a fabulous tent. V2 addressed the main issue, a wider inner tent. I modified with magnetic stretchy loops for the netting door, which Dan did for V2. My V1 must have the larger diam. cord as there is no slipping.

    A common mod is to change out the stake cords for longer ones, like 18 inches. Not only does that allow the fly to sit higher for air circulation, but gives the users more stake placement options, like when a rock or root is in the way.

    The design is impressive and goes up in easily less thsn 2 min. Only the Tarptent Protrail (have it too) goes up as fast. Yet they are 2 very different tents. Love the covered space and dual doors of the Xmid. Love the small footprint space of the Protrail. If I could only have one tent it would be the Xmid.

  3. Glad you love the Durston XMid 2.0. I was the guy on an epic internet quest to find a light enough and strong enough tent for PNW summer and shoulder season mountaineering. I am convinced of Dan’s true genius for innovation in a non-Dyneema form factor. I was lucky enough to snag a solid interior XMid 2 in the recent sale and I can’t wait to try it out. I’ll need something else for Alaska or Rainier in winter, but my skill and will ain’t there yet :)

  4. Thank you for the detailed review and thanks to the reply posters for additional substance to the discussion. I’ve been using a BA freestanding 1 man for several years but miss having 2 doors so have been considering the X Mid design.
    Thanks again and safe travels,
    JMV

  5. One of the few tent designs as good as Tarptent designs.

  6. It is interesting to see I’m not the only one sensitive to moonlight. On my recent AZT hike, with not much overhead foliage at times, it was definitely an issue. Good review – thank you.

  7. I used my Xmid1Pv2 on a 5 day Hermit Loop trip in the Grand Canyon. It was difficult to impossible to get tent stakes into the rock-hard ground at my campsites. Plus I had a couple of days of very strong winds. Nevertheless, I was able to get it to work. I just tied some cord to the corner, tied it around a rock and piled more rocks on top of it (fortunately there is no shortage of rocks in the Grand Canyon!). I also pitched the tent nest to trees and bushes when possible to use to tie out the peaks and sides. It did take a bit of time to get the pitch done, but it held up despite the conditions.

  8. does the durston xmid come in a 2 person?

  9. Hi my X is arriving mid July. Can you recommend some good trekking poles to use with it?

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