X-Mid 1 Tent
The X-Mid 1 is sold by our partners at Kaviso. These tents are in stock now. To order please visit X-Mid 1 at Kaviso.com.
Awarded one of the best backpacking tents by OutdoorGearLab, The Trek, and Section Hiker, the patented X-MidTM is developed from the first principles of geometry to achieve the most weight efficient design for a trekking pole shelter. The X-Mid is exceptionally capable and stormworthy, while anything lighter is smaller, lower function, and/or using less durable materials. Now redesigned for 2022, the second generation X-Mid 1 is also substantially more spacious.
The X-Mid 1 is spacious, easy to pitch, and highly stormworthy for only 1.75 lbs (28oz / 795 g). It excels in wet weather thanks to a fly first pitch, full doublewall design, no-sag poly fabric, large adjustable vents, factory seam taping, a full-coverage fly (blocks rain splatter and drafts), and protected entryways (rain won’t fall inside). No other tent can claim that list.
The X-Mid is also highly user friendly thanks to obsessive attention to detail and extensive real world validation. Unlike most trekking pole tents, the rectangle based X-Mid offers a simple 4 stake pitch with no mandatory guylines, no struts, and no measuring pole heights. Once pitched, the user friendliness continues with large doorways that aren’t blocked by poles and easy one handed operating zippers.
In addition to the highest performance design, the X-Mid boasts the highest quality. It is assembled at arguably the best tent factory in the world using premium components, laser cut fabric panels, full double stitching, double folded edges, and generous bartacking. We’re not aware of any other trekking pole tent that uses full double stitching and true double folded edges. While this premium quality gives the X-Mid a higher cost of production than comparable tents, the X-Mid 1 is priced lower simply because we sell it to you direct with only a modest markup.
The X-Mid 1 is sold by our partners at Kaviso. These tents are in stock now. To order please visit X-Mid 1 at Kaviso.com.
The goal with the X-Mid was to start with a clean sheet of paper and reason from there to create the optimal trekking pole supported shelter – one that offers maximal functionality, space, storm resistance, and simplicity at the lowest weight.
The most fundamental – and thus first – design question was: What shape should form the tent’s base? Most trekking pole supported tents are based around hexagons or even more complicated shapes, but as the number of sides increases, so does pitching complexity, number of seams, stakes, and weight. Typically pitching these complex tents require estimates of stake locations, angles, distances between stakes, measuring pole lengths, and estimating pole positions. Setting that up can be fun in the backyard but not fun in a rainstorm. The X-Mid eliminates most of this guesswork by opting for a rectangle base – by far the easiest shape to stake out.
The challenge with the rectangle – and reason why it hasn’t been used more historically – is that it’s hard to implement a good trekking pole structure. Most prior rectangle-based tents have been single-pole pyramids, which are lauded for their simplicity but lack headroom, and the single pole near the center typically interferes in the living space and/or doorways. Other rectangle based designs have used two poles along the perimeter, such as the classic pup tent design. This appreciably increases living space but having the poles along the perimeter creates vertical side walls, which catch wind and complicated the pitch as they require guylines and stakes. It’s also a more boxy and inefficient shape, and the poles still typically interfere in the doorways.
Reasoning from first principles, it was obvious that the ideal tent should use two poles to bolster living space since hikers commonly have two poles on hand anyways. It would be a shame not to utilize them, but how to achieve this while avoiding all the common pit-falls was a design challenge that resonated in my head throughout my 2014 PCT thru-hike. It resonated again during my 2017 Great Divide Trail thru-hike until I realized a solution to all of these long-standing issues with the patented X-Mid layout:
The X-Mid layout starts with the unique idea of placing the sleeping area on a diagonal inside of a rectangular fly. This creates vestibules on either side and importantly allows for two trekking poles to be positioned in from the perimeter so the shelter can pitch robustly without guylines (optional ones strengthen it further in storms). Positioned like this, the poles provide abundant living space while being out of the way of the doors and living space, and not complicating the pitch. It’s a spacious shelter that pitches easily with only 4 stakes.
The X-Mid geometry is also lightweight because it is the most volumetrically efficient shape for a trekking pole shelter. If you do the math, you’ll find any other comparably sized trekking pole shelter uses more fabric, stakes, or both, resulting in a heavier geometry. Any competing double-wall tent as light as the X-Mid is either much smaller, using more delicate fabrics, or quite a bit less featured.
The X-Mid also provides outstanding performance in stormy conditions. When it’s rainy, the X-Mid is as good as it gets due to the fly first pitch, generous living space, large vestibules with space for cooking and wet gear, no-sag fabric (polyester), fully taped seams, a double-wall design that protects from contact with condensation, protected entryways that can be left open in light rain, and large vents that open and close easily to reduce condensation. No other tent can claim that entire list (If you know otherwise, contact us and we’ll change this).
The X-Mid is also stable in the wind and snow due to the weather-resistant shape, durable materials, and additional guyout options. Unlike most tents, the X-Mid geometry results in wall slopes that are both consistent and moderate. Most tents have quite variable wall slopes (e.g., low angle roof panels but steep sides) so there are often low angled roof panels that accumulate snow yet overly steep sides that catch the wind. The X-Mid is rare in having consistent panels, and importantly, they are all at a moderate slope, which balances performance in the wind and snow.
In addition to this high-performance shape, the tent also buttons down solidly in harsh weather with numerous optional stake out points around the base, vents that quickly shut to block wind and snow, and peak guylines that can be deployed to strengthen the shelter further.
The materials are also up to the task with tough #5 water-resistant zippers on the fly (many competing tents use weaker #3 zippers and cheaper non-waterproof zippers with flaps that don’t work as well and love to snag in the zipper). The X-Mid fabric is a durable 2500mm sil/PEU coated ripstop polyester (20 denier) that has been independently tested to verify that it is still highly waterproof after extensive wear. This polyester weight is the ideal material for a well-rounded lightweight tent because it is light, durable, and unlike nylon, it doesn’t sag, weaken in wet conditions, or degrade with UV exposure.
Overall the X-Mid layout is the optimal design for a trekking pole shelter because it is maximally simple, spacious, and lightweight while providing robust weather protection.
- Ultra-simple pitch with just four stakes
- Tent pitches fly first, so the inner tent stays dry during setup in the rain.
- The twin pole structure provides generous headroom and living space.
- Double-wall design protects from condensation.
- Dual doors and dual vestibules provide easy access and ample gear space.
- Protected doorways can be left open in light rain.
- Doorways are large and not blocked by trekking poles like many designs.
- Polyester fabric does not sag in the rain.
- Polyester fabric does not absorb water, so it is fast dry and stays light.
- Interior peak pockets provides handy storage.
- Large vents provide excellent ventilation and close easily during harsh conditions.
- Excellent snow shedding via steep roof panels
- Full coverage fly extends to the ground to block drafts yet can be raised for more ventilation.
- Packs short enough to store horizontally in a pack
- Fly and inner can pitch independently
- Magnetic door toggles for quick operation
- Vestibules can be collapsed to fit into smaller tent sites
- Fully waterproof seams (seam taped or waterproof construction)
- Fully double-stitched construction
- Non-slippery floor
- Premium materials and hardware (e.g., YKK AquaGuard Zippers)
- Optional peak guylines and side panel guylines plus 8 optional stake points around the base for harsh conditions
- Fly: 17.3 oz / 490 g
- Inner: 10.7 oz / 305 g
- Stuff sack: 0.4 oz / 12 g
- Stake sack: 0.2 oz / 4 g
- Stakes: 2 Ti hooks @ 8g, 4 Ti V stakes @ 12g
- Tent (fly + inner): 28 oz / 795 g
- Complete package: 30.8 oz / 875 g (tent, stuff sacks, 6 stakes)
- 20 denier 420 thread-count 100-percent polyester in desert sage (fly) or anthracite (floor)
- 2500mm sil/PEU coating
- Peak reinforced with 210d black nylon
- YKK #5 AquaGuard (water-resistant) zippers (fly)
- YKK #3 zippers (inner tent)
- 2 titanium shepherd’s hook stakes
- 4 titanium V stakes
- Fly: 67 x 100 in / 170 x 254 cm
- Fly area: 46.5 sq ft / 4.3 sq m
- Fly peak height: 46 in / 117 cm
- Inner peak height: 43 in / 109 cm
- Floor width: 32 in / 81 cm
- Floor length: 90 in / 230 cm
- Floor area: 20 sq ft / 1.85 sq m
- Vestibule area: 20 sq ft (10 sq ft x 2) / 2 sq m (1 sq m x 2)
- Packed size: 12 x 5 in / 30 x 13 cm
The X-Mid 1 provides the best all around balance of stormworthiness, simplicity, and space for the lowest weight, such that any competing tent is heavier, smaller, less stormworthy, or all of the above.
To illustrate this, the table below compares the X-Mid 1 with two of its strongest competitors. While these are excellent tents, the X-Mid 1 offers improved stormworthiness and space for the same or less weight.
|X-Mid 1||Tarptent Notch||Big Agnes Tigerwall 1|
|No sag fabric||Yes||No||No|
|Fly first pitch?||Yes||Yes||No|
|Peak vents||Dual, large, adjustable||Dual, small, fixed||None|
|Floor width||32″||20 – 34″||28-38″|
|Floor area||20 sq ft||15.8 sq ft||19.2 sq ft|
|Interior peak height||43″||41″||39″|
|Vestibule area||10 sq ft (x2)||8 sq ft (x2)||7.6 sq ft (x1)|
|Fits wide pads?||Yes||Sorta||Yes|
|Minimum # of stakes?||4||4||4|
|Overall ease of pitching||Easy||Medium||Easy|
|Vestibule location||Beside doorway||Blocking doorway||Blocking doorway|
|Can pack horizontally?||Yes||No (has struts)||No (has poles)|
|Fully double stitched?||Yes||No||No|
|Factory seam taped?||Yes||No||Yes|
|Price & Weight|
|Tent weight||28 oz / 795 g||28* oz / 795 g||30 oz / 850 g|
*Weight is after seam sealing because it is not factory seam taped like the X-Mid 1
Q) I heard the X-Mid has a large footprint that can make site selection more difficult. Is this true?
The X-Mid 1 is designed to be a comfortably sized 1P tent and thus does have a larger footprint then that some 1P tents that are quite tiny. There is a trade off here since a tent that is larger on the inside will also be larger on the outside, but the footprint of the X-Mid 1 is still quite reasonable since it is not that much larger than other 1P tents (see diagram) and still smaller than almost every 2P tent which of course are widely used on all trails
We think providing a comfortable amount of space is the right approach because it benefits you every night, whereas only on rare occasions is the bit larger footprint a small inconvenience and even then you can collapse one or both vestibules to fit into smaller sites. The X-Mid 1 is one of the most popular tents on the Appalachian Trail where smaller campsites are common.
Q) The X-Mid doesn’t seem lighter than mainstream UL tents using tent poles.
There are tents with traditional poles that are as light as the X-Mid, such as the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 (27oz). Those pole sets are heavy (often about 8oz) to get those tents as light something else has to give. Commonly that’s space, performance, and durability. A traditional tent as light as the X-Mid is almost certainly far smaller and using more delicate fabrics and much thinner waterproof coatings. You’ll also find they cut features (e.g., lacking vents). Compared to the lightest freestanding tents, the X-Mid offers a more spacious, durable and high-performance shelter for the same weight to give robust 3 season performance.
Q) Should I use a groundsheet?
Our 20D floor is more durable than most ultralight tents (which are 10-15D) and will last a long life without a groundsheet if it’s used with care. However, it is still a light fabric so recommend a groundsheet if you may be pitching on harsher surfaces like gravel or bedrock, or if you like to keep the floor cleaner. We sell X-Mid groundsheets here.
Q) Can I pitch just the fly or inner?
Yes. The inner easily disconnects via buckles at the peaks and clips at the four corners to leave just the fly. If you want to pitch just the inner, you can remove the fly peaks’ guylines and tie them to the inner peaks while adding knots for the pole tips, but our Stargazer kit makes inner-only pitching much easier as it has separate guylines that clip right on plus grommets for your pole tips and tensioners for quick adjustment.
Q) I don’t use trekking poles. What can I do?
We offer folding, adjustable length poles called Z-Flick poles that can be used instead of trekking poles. These are the lightest adjustable poles on the market.
Q) Why polyester over nylon?
The main reason is that nylon absorbs water in wet conditions. That results in 3 big problems: First, it expands (or “sags”) about 4% which makes for a saggy tent in wet conditions. This is a common problem in nearly all lightweight tents, but low weight polyester fabrics are finally available which solve this. Second, nylon’s water absorption makes the tent slow to dry and heavy with up to a pound of water in the fabric, and third, nylon weakens by about 10% when wet. Polyester doesn’t absorb water, so it doesn’t have any of these issues plus it’s far more UV resistant so it lasts longer. Check out our materials page for more detail on this.
Q) How can I repair my X-Mid?
Check out our repair guide.
Q) How should I pitch it in stormy weather?
For the most weather resistant pitch, you should pitch it low to the ground (shorten the cord at the corners as much as possible), use the optional stake out points around the base to spread the load, and deploy the side panel and peak guylines.
Q) How does the X-Mid compare to [some competing tent]?
The X-Mid geometry is the most volumetrically efficient shape possible. Thus, it is impossible to design a lighter tent unless you use lighter materials, fewer features, or make it smaller. If you find a more lightweight tent, it likely is a single wall design that isn’t nearly as good in sloppy conditions, or it uses DCF fabric and thus costs at least 2.5x as much.
Any tent that uses similar materials and is also a double-wall usually is quite a bit heavier. Of the few tents that are not, these are always smaller, less featured, or both. We could make the X-Mid smaller or less featured too, but its current design is carefully considered so that it is among the lightest tents in its class while still offering a comfortable amount of space and a useful feature set. Basically, the weight is similar to the lightest woven double-wall tents out there while providing more space and features. To save another two ounces would require large compromises in function or durability, such as hard to use door clips instead of zippers, smaller or omitted vents, and delicate hardware. Tents that make these compromises are much less well rounded.
Q) How is the X-Mid so affordable?
The X-Mid is built at the same high end factory as respected brands like MSR and Mountain Hardware. Our price is only lower because we sell direct to you rather than having a large retail markup (retailers typically double the price). We eliminating that markup and pass most of the savings onto you, while also investing a portion into building even better gear. For example, the X-Mid is the highest quality as we insist that everything is double sewn, and we use premium components such as waterproof YKK AquaGaurd zippers that are uncommon even on more expensive tents, and yet our price is lower than anything comparable simply because of the slim markup. Even at a higher price, you can’t find higher quality than the X-Mid.
The X-Mid tents are very simple to pitch, however, there are some things to consider for maximum performance in stormy weather. Below we describe the basic pitch and then how to troubleshoot issues and get a very robust pitch for stormy weather.
1) Stake out the rectangular base (e.g. stake one end, pull out a 3rd corner at 90 degrees, pull last corner taut).
2) Inspect your rectangle to make sure it’s reasonably accurate (not skewed into a diamond). Adjust stake positions if needed.
3) Snug the rectangle tight using the corner tensioners (important so the poles don’t overextend).
4) Add the two poles with your handles up and extend firmly until they are taut.
Before adding more stakes to beef it it up, it is best to correct any issues with the basic pitch. There are two common issues:
1) Loose Sides
Problem: The rectangular base was not tight when the poles were added. This pulls the corners in and allows the poles to overextend giving an overly tall tend with loose sides.
Solution: Lower the poles, snug up the base, re-extend the poles.
2) Loose Ridgeline or Wonky Canopy
Problem: The base was not staked in an accurate rectangle but instead was skewed into a diamond. Depending on the direction of the skew, the ridgeline will be under or over tensioned.
Solution: As the diagram below explains, use the corner tensioners to adjust the corners back into a proper rectangle. Most likely you will loosen two opposite corners and tighten the two opposite corners.
To beef up the pitch for storms, we recommend in approximate order of importance:
1) Make sure your basic pitch is good (tight everywhere). It is best not to use more stakes to compensate for core issues.
2) Add cord to the peak guylines and stake these out along the ridgeline or angled more towards the door walls if the wind is broad side.
3) Replace the shockcord at the door and end wall stake points with static cord (included) and stake these points to better anchor the peak. The static cord eliminates stretch for a more solid pitch.
4) Add cord to the side panel guylines and stake these down on the same angle of slope as the roof panels. Do not pull the sides out substantially.
5) Add the stakes below the main door panels.
If you are the video type, the below video shows how the to pitch the X-Mid.
The X-Mid has been widely praised by real users and gear review outlets alike. That includes awards for 10 best ultralight tents from Section Hiker and The Trek, a top pick award from Adventure Alan, a best buy award from Outdoor Gear Lab, and the honor of being the highest rated 1P shelter on the Pacific Crest Trail in the comprehensive Halfway Anywhere survey.
In the 2022 Halfway Anywhere survey of PCT thruhikers the X-Mid 1 was the highest rated 1P shelter and one of the most popular shelters on the trail:
Outdoor Gear Lab named the X-Mid the ‘Best Buy’ of their 2021 best ultralight tent comparison and write:
“The Durston X-Mid 1P is absolutely amazing. The minimalist design, premium materials, functionality, and comparatively low price make it one of our highest-rated ultralight shelters. Considering the quality of the materials, the craftsmanship, the clever design functions, and the price, our team can’t think of a good reason not to recommend this shelter. We recommend this tent to anyone and everyone.”
SectionHiker.com editor in-chief Philip Werner gave the X-Mid 1P a glowing review writing “The X-Mid 1 is my favorite tent to use on backpacking trips” and added it to nearly all of their 10 best lists (10 best 1P tents, best backpacking tents, best trekking pole tents etc.)
Awarded 10 Best Backpacking Tents
Awarded 10 Best 1P Backpacking Tents
Awarded 10 Best Ultralight Trekking Pole Tents
Awarded 10 Best Thru-Hiking Tents
The Trek added the X-Mid 1 to their best tents awards starting in 2021 as the fan favorite. For 2023 they moved it up the prestigious ‘Best All Around Tent’ spot, writing “A laundry list of well-thought-out details makes this tent exceptional.”