Dan Durston/Massdrop X-Mid

Discussion in 'Shelters & Accessories' started by theoctagon, Aug 3, 2018.

  1. theoctagon

    theoctagon Thru Hiker

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  2. dandurston

    dandurston Trail Blazer

    I don't know how you manage to shoot and edit videos that are both way better than mine and seemingly much faster to create. That fly through shot is super cool. Is that accomplished with a stationary camera that is slowly zooming out?
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  3. theoctagon

    theoctagon Thru Hiker

    @dandurston - you’re too kind

    I recently picked up a gimbal to try, very much still getting used to it but I used it for the fly through shot with me walking holding the camera providing the movement if that makes sense
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  4. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

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  5. FOX160

    FOX160 Thru Hiker

    You can also place the rubber tips/pads over the carbide tips of your trekking poles if your carrying them.
  6. Padowan

    Padowan Trail Blazer

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  7. Robin

    Robin Moderator Staff Member

  8. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    Nice shelter @dandurston
    and well made too. As I hoped, it makes a fair sized shelter for 2 without inner (lots more space than some socalled 1+ shelters I tried). Sort of what I hoped for and didn't get when I bought an MSR twin sisters all those years ago. The offset ridgeline and side doors are brilliant and, staked with a bit of elastic cord, give plenty of flexibilty for all sorts of weather. Not sure why some people thought the x-mid similar to the 2 pole Tarptents? The design seems much closer to the MSR twin sisters or Shangri-La 2 - just vastly improved. For thruhikes, its still quite heavy with the inner (a Cu version would remedy that of course) but fly only - and with the fly coming down as low as it does, it compares well with the competition. One reason I take inners for Notch or Hexamid soloplus on long hikes is the occasional night on camp sites which wouldn't be an issue with a fly only x-mid...
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  9. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    Why @tom ? Why is the Notch without a fly a problem on a campsite but the x-mid is not?
  10. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    @Clare - the Notch is not as much as the Hex but still a bit more "open" compared to the x-mid to views (or winds) and less claustrophobic when closed (... no classic mid for me - ever...:D). And ways to rig the doors ....
  11. Robert P

    Robert P Ultralighter

    First pitch of X-Mid, in the Central Highlands. My usual style, no test pitches... Very impressed, will summarise my thoughts when I get back home.

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  12. Dave V

    Dave V Moderator Staff Member

    Very nice!
  13. Robert P

    Robert P Ultralighter

    I thought I'd post my initial thoughts and personal perspectives on the Dan Durston X-Mid. I managed to pitch my new X-Mid by the summit of Creag Ghuanach in the Central Highlands on benign conditions. I really like the tent, well made and clearly Dan has done a great job with the design. I bought it based on the comments on this forum, even though I already had a Tarptent Notch (with semi-solid inner in the stuffsack weighs exactly the same on my scales), a tent that I think is outstanding. So that is my closest point of reference. My only significant issue with the Notch is that it does not pitch down to the ground and being a bit cold in windy conditions.


    This was straightforward, and although the apex guys do add a little stability they should not be essential in many conditions. I took some longer thin dyneema line as I'd anticipated that the apex lines were a little short; I'll largely eat my words as I think they are OK, just long enough. It is probably a bit easier to get a taut pitch with the Notch, as you can really crank up the tension with the pitchlock ends, but I suspect the X-Mid will hold firm in stormy conditions as the corner pegging points are under less strain (I tend to double peg the windward pitchlock on the Notch as there's a lot of force being transmitted through that point). Getting the rectangle was fine on flat ground; I'll be interested to see how sensitive it will be to uneven ground, often an issue with pyramid shelters (at least in my experience with a Solomid). Tolerance to pitching on uneven ground is a real strength of the Notch in my experience. I'm used to clips at the bottom of the zips to protect them from stress and did wonder if the external zips might be a weak point.

    Inner and interior space

    The tent is really 'liveable'- the best I've experienced for a sub 1kg 1-person shelter. The offset poles give great access and views, and the inner has very steep walls at each end giving almost full height for nearly the full length of the inner. The headroom really makes a difference, the best I've experienced (so it does not matter that it is significantly shorter than the Notch). The top of the inner does narrow to an apex along the ridgeline, so you don't get the vertical side walls of the Notch inner, but the headroom is better overall and the inner a little wider end-to-end. The ridgeline pockets are great. It was a flat pitch, but my impression is that the silpoly fabric is less slippery than many - my Neoair wasn't sliding around as usual! The 2 porches are excellent - plenty of space for cooking and storing gear


    The fly goes right down to the ground which is great for keeping out cold breezes. It wasn't very windy, but I was reassured to find there was more wind than I thought when I got out of the tent in the morning. There are some fairly large unsupported panels so I suspect there will be some flapping in strong wind, but there are additional perimeter pegging points to help with that. And no sagging of course!

    Some quick questions for Dan if he drops by:

    · Is there an optimum direction to pitch the tent relative to wind direction?

    · For the next drop, will it be possible to buy a solid inner separately for those who already have a tent from the first drop and just want a solid inner to swap in versus the mesh inner depending on conditions?

    Overall I'm really impressed: the design, fabric and liveability; it says something that I'll be considering selling my Notch if these initial impressions are borne out in a wider range of conditions - I really like the Notch a lot. I'm trying to restrict myself to 2 tents, so for me the Tramplite and X-Mid should cover everything needed for wild camping.

  14. HillBelly

    HillBelly Section Hiker

    No disrespect to any of the immediate garden pitch shots we have seen so far, but it must give Dan great satisfaction to see a design go from his head, to paper, to production to out in the hills in the hands of a trekker, as this pic shows. Great image with the door open.
  15. Robin

    Robin Moderator Staff Member

    Excellent. Looking forward to using mine, hopefully in Scotland in May. If you’re worried about the door panel flapping in wind, you could always attach a temporary guy line to the loop for the door tie back. Other than very windy conditions I suspect it’s superfluous.

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  16. dandurston

    dandurston Trail Blazer

    Yeah it's very neat to see. It's been such a long project (about 1.5 years) and now these photos are the first ones I've seen that show the tent looking out the wild.

    I haven't run any mathematics on this, but I think the optimal direction is to have the corner with the peak guyline pointed into the wind (or in other words, have the ridgeline pointed into the wind). Partly this has the least drag, but also it is well supported if you have both the corner staked and the peak guyline staked out. With regards to drag, the smaller end walls of the tent have less drag than the longer sidewalls, but this corner profile seems to have even less because the ridgeline is pointed into the wind so there is minimal fabric perpendicular to the wind. So in this direction you get the least drag and it's shared over 2 stakes instead 1.

    With that said, the worst scenario for orientation is to have the longer side walls perpendicular to the wind and you aren't that far away from this if the wind shifts. So it might be safer to just point the smaller end wall into the wind, and then even if it shifts by 45 degrees either way then you're still well positioned with a corner into the wind.

    The short answer is that I think there is a good chance of this. Massdrop is in charge of the project so it's not fully within my control but I am optimistic they will want to do a second production run of these given the popularity of the first, and when we do so, I will push for a solid inner option and request that we also make this available to prior purchasers. As I mentioned here a few months ago, we've had good progress finding a suitable solid fabric for use in the 2P. So I think there's a high probability we can offer a solid inner for the 1P in time for usage next year, and I hope Massdrop is willing to take on the hassle of selling it separately for previous purchasers. If not, yo could likely arrange with someone who is buying the mesh inner to add a solid inner to that order. If you don't think you'll use the mesh inner once you have a solid one, you may be best off to just sell the entire tent and buy a new one so you don't have the mesh inner lying around. If you sold the $200 tent for $150 after a year of usage, then you'd only be out $50 for a year of usage and the solid inner upgrade.

    Yes this is a nice spot for a guyline, with the caveat that is intended for the door tie back so I haven't tested it for the higher loads from guyline usage. A quick tug on it indicates it seems fairly robust but it still would be good to use some caution here.

    This is a nice spot because there is a direct line of fabric between the peak and the direction of pull, so you aren't substantially distorting the tents shape when you snug this up, which is a common problem with mid-panel guyouts (e.g. the mid panel guyouts of a Duplex pulling the ridgeline down is a classic example). In the diagram below, the green line is the shape of the tent and then the dotted line is a straight line between the peak and bottom hem. As this diagram shows, pulling out on the door tie doesn't change the shape of the tent provided it is pulled out along the same direction, whereas the guyout along the bottom hem does distort the shape because a straight line between that bottom hem guyout and the peak is well inward from the actual shape (so it pulls the wall inward).
    The reason for the bottom hem guyout is primarily snow loading because when snow slides down the tent it pushes inward here. So this hem stake point is useful for protecting the shape of the tent under snow loads, but probably less helpful for managing winds than the higher up door tie point that Robin notes.
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  17. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    I would imagine that pitching it this way would also mean you can leave the doors open without too much wind blowing into the tent.
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  18. Robin

    Robin Moderator Staff Member

    One way to mitigate any concern about using a guy secured at the door tie back loop is to add a loop of shock cord between the guy and the tent, like MLD have for the Duomid. As it’s meant to control panel excursion rather than give structural strength, it doesn’t need to take much load. I don’t think it would be needed often.
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  19. Sack the Juggler

    Sack the Juggler Backpacker

    Hi Dan, talking of the 2P tent... :) Any update on when it will hit massdrop? I'm terrified that I'll miss it because your last drop sold out in hours, so an early heads up on here would be great.

    Also, and I know that your 2P design is secret, but what I love about the X Mid1 is its simplicity, the lines, the set up, everything seems to be geared towards keeping it simple. Will the X Mid 2 follow the same formula or is there issues to be overcome in scaling up? Will it look more like the stratosphere 2 for example than the X-Mid1?
  20. dandurston

    dandurston Trail Blazer

    When the 2P is released it's going to be another pre-sale with an unfortunately long production wait like the 1P. The upside is that the first drop is not going to sell out early because Massdrop will simply order enough tents to fill the orders. So there should be a good 3-4 week window to order. As to when that is, I'm not entirely sure because the design is close to being done but Massdrop is doing more testing with it (e.g. sending it out to labs that specialize in terrorizing products). So I'm not sure precisely when it when will launch but I expect it'll be in the next few months and then with production taking a while they'll actually arrive mid-winter. So it's really a tent for 2020.

    Massdrop has some new folks in charge of marketing these days and they've asked that I keep my "cards closer to my chest" going forward, so I'm not in a position to comment too much on the 2P design itself beyond what I already have. But it'll certainly follow the X-Mid formula and thus look much more like the X-Mid 1P than anything else. Scaling it up works well. There's some new stuff but it's mostly in the details so the core concept is clearly an X-Mid. The simplicity and ease of pitching will be the same.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
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  21. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    That’s a pity. Your cards far from your chest, ie all the detail you’ve shared about your design thinking, has been exactly the thing that gained you so many admirers and generated interest in your tent. It’s a shame the new mass drop marketers haven’t noticed that.
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  22. dandurston

    dandurston Trail Blazer

    To be clear, I just mean that I can't discuss stuff too much before it is announced so there is little excitement left for the actual launch. I'll still be around and eager to discuss everything in great detail once the tent is announced. Somewhere in between sharing nothing before launch and sharing everything there is probably an ideal balance, since I very much think that the feedback here and elsewhere on some of the early prototypes has improved the end product, but I also recognize that if I'm extensively describing far off products that deflates the eventual launch of those products and shifts the spotlight from what Massdrop is actually selling now. It also can end up a bit tedious for customers because they get excited for something that is perhaps an entire year away. Then when it finally does arrive it's not exciting because I'm already talking about the next thing.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
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  23. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    Well balanced approaches always make me a little dizzy .... :rolleyes:
  24. Sack the Juggler

    Sack the Juggler Backpacker

    cheers Dan, sounds like a plan! :) thanks for the update and the re-assurances, its not often that something comes along that is a game changer, and seems to tick all the boxes of what a backpacking tent should be, but you seem to have done it, well done!
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  25. Nevis

    Nevis Section Hiker

    Will there be another 1 person release any time soon?

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