A Long-Term Review of the Durston X-Mid 1P Tent

The X-Mid series of ultralight tents from Canada’s Durston Gear has gotten a lot of attention since they were first launched in 2018.  Ryan Wilson has had a chance to put his Durston X-Mid through the wringer on trips across rugged regions of Asia and South America.  Read on to find out about his thoughts on the tent after two years and hundreds of nights with it. 

Over the last handful of years, no piece of camping gear has received more hype across the internet than the Durston X-Mid series of tents. When I bought mine, two years ago, I had to virtually “camp out” on Durston’s site on the drop day to make sure I would secure one of these highly praised tents like I was trying to track down some limited edition Air Force 1’s.

Even as I impatiently refreshed their site, by the time I finally got in, entered my shipping address in the checkout form, and clicked “Buy”, the batch was already sold out within a couple of minutes.

While a sub-1kg double-wall tent that packs small and runs about $300 all-in sounded very appealing, I couldn’t help but think “Is there really a tent that is worth this?” Thankfully, when the next batch dropped, I was able to snag an X-Mid 1, and these days they are perpetually in stock on their site.

Now, after two years of heavy use, spending hundreds of nights nestled inside the X-Mid on trips throughout Asia and South America, I’m ready to answer the question… Does it live up to the hype?

X-Mid Origins and Design

Dan Durston started as an accomplished long-distance thru-hiker, inevitably getting bitten by the gear bug, which sent him down a rabbit hole to make his own Dyneema composite fiber tent 15 years ago. Finally, in 2018, after years of tinkering with design ideas to solve problems that he was finding with existing gear options, he and his wife T launched Durston Gear with the X-Mid series of tents.

With the X-Mid, Dan wanted to create a “trekking pole” style tent that prioritized ease of setup, weight efficiency, and stormworthiness. He set out to accomplish this by utilizing a simple rectangular footprint design while angling the inner sleeping area within that rectangle to create a unique parallelogram-shaped inner with offset poles. This increased usable headroom while also moving the poles away from the center of the doors as you find on many ultralight tents, and created a large vestibule on each side, with extra storage space at the head and foot end of the inner.


While the X-Mid that I got is the original one-person Sil Polyester version, there are several variations to fit just about any situation these days. They can generally be lumped into two categories. Those with a single-wall Dyneema fabric design for people looking to go as light as possible, or those with double-wall SilPoly fabric designs for anyone looking to save a bit of money or would rather not deal with the condensation issues that inherently come with single-wall tents. The double-wall versions are also available with solid inners for anyone camping in very cold areas or places with blowing sand.

All of these models have their differences, but all are based around the same non-freestanding X-Mid design geometry (though a freestanding version is in the works).

A Simple Setup

There are a few factors that led me toward picking up an X-Mid, but the main thing I was looking for was a double wall shelter that still packs small and comes in at a reasonable weight, in the 1kg range. While many tents use funky struts or a big spiderweb of poles with proprietary parts that can break in the field and tend to exponentially increase the packed size of the tent, the Durston forgoes these and relies on geometry to create a tent with enough stability and space.

This simple, two-straight-pole design is one of the reasons I tend to lean toward trekking pole-style tents over freestanding these days, even if it does require a bit more brain energy when you have to pitch on hard floors. I like that if something were to happen to my poles, I could swap in a sturdy branch or even my tripod for one in a pinch, and I’m probably more likely to be able to find a suitable replacement while on the road compared to the proprietary pole set that comes with most dome style tents.

Pitching the X-Mid when you’ve got a decent ground for staking is easy. Stake out the four corners into as perfect a rectangle as you can and get it tensioned at the corners before putting in each pole. How good the pitch will be will depend largely on how true and taut your rectangle is before you put the poles in. Big points here for a fly-first pitch, which is key when you’re scrambling to set up the tent in a downpour, as it keeps the inner from getting wet, something I’ve dealt with in the past with many dome-style tents.

Once I’ve got the basic structure ready, I always stake out the doors so that they’re easy to operate with one hand. Four stakes total for an ultra-minimalist pitch, and six stakes for my standard pitch with the doors anchored. If it’s a little breezy, I’ll also stake out the included guy lines from each peak of the tent. Beyond that, you can use up to eight more guy-out points to create a pitch that will hold up to some real wind, as I had to regularly on my ride across Mongolia and many times in Bolivia.

The only real knock that I have with the X-Mid setup is the footprint. It takes up quite a bit of real estate for a one-person tent, and in certain areas, it can make finding a spot big enough to pitch it tricky. There are some ways to do a “skinny pitch” that effectively removes a vestibule, but I’ve found them to be less than ideal if the weather conditions aren’t great.

Freestanding vs. Non-Freestanding

Having extensively used both types of tents while on tour over the last eight years, I can say that I’ve never been super concerned about whether my tent is freestanding or not. Are there situations that are made slightly more complicated by not having freestanding? Yes, but I’ve never had a situation that wasn’t relatively easy to solve.

If you’re camping on a hard floor like concrete and wind isn’t a factor, you can simply use heavy objects to anchor the corners. I’ve wrapped the ends of guy lines around chairs that were sitting around in a storage warehouse and stacked my bags on top.

If the ground is extremely sandy or rocky but you need a strong pitch, I use the “big rock, little rock” method where you tie off the end of your guy line around a small rock and then anchor it to the ground by putting a larger rock in front of it. This can work in basically any scenario, as long as you can find rocks or other heavy objects that are suitable.

I use TarpTent’s carbon PolyPoles with the X-Mid, but these days Durston makes their own Z-Flick poles which look just as nice and have an easier adjustment system. A set of Z-Flick poles will set you back $70 and add 186g to your setup.


With just about any ultralight tent that isn’t a pure pyramid design, there are going to be sides of the tent that stand up better to the wind than others. I always try to pitch the X-Mid with one of the narrow ends facing the wind, though in a place like Mongolia where the wind tends to shift around through the night, you can find that wind coming from the side and hitting the larger surface area will inevitably put more strain on the tent and cause it to bow-in noticeably more, decreasing interior space, and creating more tension on those important corner stake points. Overall, I found the wind performance to be very solid, but it’s important to achieve a good pitch when the conditions are going to be challenging.

I tend to forgo the super light titanium stakes that came with my X-Mid in favor of some longer and more durable MSR Groundhogs for the four corners, and I use the lighter stuff for the less consequential stake points like the doors and extra guy lines. Note: Durston has changed the stakes that they sell with the X-Mid since I bought mine, so I cannot comment on those.

One thing I would like to see is a bit more leash on those corner stake points as it can be tricky to line up a spot without rocks getting in the way with such little length to play with. I’d also probably opt for a slightly beefier gauge on the cord for those important corner stake points as well, as I had two of the cords snap during a particularly gusty night in Bolivia. Admittedly, they already had a bit of wear (always bring spare cordage!). Still, this is stuff that is pretty easy and cheap for the user to swap out to suit their use case, so it’s far from a deal breaker.

The X-Mid 1 comes with the seams factory weather-sealed, something that separates it from a lot of the other smaller tent companies out there these days where you often have to pay extra or seal it yourself.  It’s made in Vietnam in the same factory that produces MSR’s tents, and I found mine to have very high quality materials and stitching.

I had no issues with rain leakage or splashback at all with mine, and the inner mesh kept me totally dry on the inside, regardless of condensation on the rain fly. One big advantage of the double-wall setup is you can slam the tent down close to the ground on a particularly cold or windy night to keep the cold air out and not worry as much about condensation building up since you probably won’t accidentally touch it.

The SilPoly X-Mid has #5 waterproof zippers on the outer fly and #3 zips on the inner mesh. Only toward the end of my two years with the tent did I find a couple of the inner zips starting to wear out and give me problems, while the zips on the rain fly are still going strong. An impressive run as they’ve dealt with some particularly windy and sandy environments which tend to rapidly destroy zippers.

SilPoly vs. SilNylon vs. Dyneema

Another selling point on the X-Mid for me was Duston’s utilization of SilPoly fabric instead of SilNylon. SilPoly doesn’t wet out or stretch nearly to the degree that SilNylon does, which means your pitch stays taut throughout the night or during heavy rains.  No more having to adjust the pitch halfway through the night because the material has sagged and is now flapping in the wind or pushing against the inner mesh of the tent, exposing you to condensation. In the morning, it dries out a lot faster as well, so you don’t have to worry about waiting around at camp as long for it to dry.

Some will say that SilPoly is less durable than SilNylon, but after using the SilPoly Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo and this Durston for nearly four years combined, I haven’t seen any signs of that at all and can say that I would not go back to a SilNylon tent.

As for Dyneema (aka DCF), which Durston offers the X-Mid in as well via the “Pro” series, this is a tougher call and comes down more to personal preference. The top-spec’d one-person DCF version of the X-Mid comes in at a ridiculous 440g with the DCF floor, not including the stakes or poles, while the SilPoly version comes in at 795g.

Certainly, a 355g difference is nothing to scoff at, though there are more differences than just the material to reach that weight. The biggest difference is that the DCF version is a hybrid single-wall tent, which only has mesh on the sides. This means you’ll have to deal with condensation if you camp in climates where this is a frequent issue. The DCF version also downsizes to #3 zips for the outer fly, which makes them more prone to failure when compared to the beefier #5 on the SilPoly tent.

The other downsides are inherent with the DCF fabric itself, with the first being packed size. While you might expect the DCF version of the tent that weighs nearly half of the SilPoly version to pack super tiny in comparison as well, they are essentially the same size when packed, even though the SilPoly version contains a full inner mesh.

The last downside of Dyneema is the price. The fabric is inherently expensive and brings the price of the full DCF one-person version up to $639 before adding the poles or stakes versus $240 for the SilPoly.  That’s a pretty substantial difference.

If money isn’t a factor and you don’t mind tending to condensation, the “Pro” Dyneema version looks like a pretty amazing tent that barely adds any weight to your bike, however, I was looking for a double-wall shelter for the wet weather of Colombia and Ecuador, so I went for the SilPoly and didn’t regret it.


At a shade over 6’2” (189cm), I find myself close to the upper end of how tall most tents are designed for. This applies to the Durston as well. When I’m laying down flat in my sleeping bag, on top of a 3.5” sleeping pad with my legs stretched all the way out, I’m basically touching both ends of the mesh on the tent. Still, there’s enough room between the mesh and the outer fly that this really isn’t an issue.

The offset pole design does a good job of providing headroom while sitting up, no matter which way you’re facing, and also makes sure the pole does not get in the way when you’re getting in and out of the tent.

My biggest gripe with the X-Mid overall is that with how wide the overall footprint of the tent is, I think the inner could be quite a bit wider so that there is a bit more interior gear storage, and maybe a bit more shoulder space as well. Currently, the X-Mid really favors vestibule storage for gear as the vestibules are truly massive on both sides.

For me, on a Long/Wide sleeping pad (78×25”), it leaves very little extra floor space on the inside, which is where I prefer to store the bags that hold my camera, batteries, computer, etc. While it fits me and my sleeping kit just fine, I always felt a little bit cramped inside the 1 person version while squeezing in extra gear that I didn’t want to leave in the vestibules.  In hindsight, I probably would just gone with the 2-person version as it doesn’t add a ton of weight anyways, but then I would run into the issue of having an even larger footprint to find a spot for, so it’s not an ideal solution in my eyes.

If you’re shorter or use a smaller sleeping pad, the interior space will be less of an issue or not an issue at all for you. Ditto if you don’t mind leaving the vast majority of your gear in the vestibule. However, if I were building my dream tent, I’d love to see a version of the X-Mid that prioritizes inner tent volume at the cost of a bit of the vestibule space to keep the overall footprint size down.

At a minimum, I’d love to see larger mesh pockets added to the side walls of the inner tent (as there are in the 2 person version) in addition to the included pockets at the peak, as these would help to bring some more items off of the floor and add very little weight.

Always Improving

One of the things that really sold me on an X-Mid was just how engaged Dan is with the online community to the point where you know he’s an absolute gear junky. Spend any time surfing through YouTube videos or “Ultralight” forums where high-performance outdoor gear is discussed and you’re bound to see his name pop up all over the place.

When the topic is his own gear, he always seems super responsive to feedback to the point where the tent went through 20 different iterations in the first 4 years of production alone, with each model being tweaked around user feedback. The latest versions feature magnetic doors, different stakes, and a host of other small tweaks to improve the overall design.

So… Is it Worthy of the Hype?

After two years of heavy usage, I can confidently say that the buzz around the Durston X-Mid was warranted. It strikes a really nice balance between weight, durability, packed size, weather resistance, and price that will be attractive to a wide range of people. Perfect tents that suit everyone’s needs don’t exist as all require some sacrifices here and there, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the X-Mid 1 to anyone who is in the market for a 1kg (w/poles) double wall tent, and who doesn’t mind the slightly large overall footprint relative to the inner or the fact that it is not free-standing. Dan clearly spent a lot of time sweating over the details of this tent when he was designing it, and it clearly shows in the final product.


  • Double wall design
  • Fly-first pitch
  • Good packability and weight for the size
  • Massive vestibules for gear storage
  • High quality materials and construction
  • SilPoly fabric doesn’t sag like nylon
  • Easy to get a good pitch once you get the hang of it
  • Straight poles pack flat for easier storage on the bike
  • Good weather resistance (no seam sealer required)
  • Very competitive price at $240 w/o poles or $310 w/poles


  • Needs a large area to pitch.  Large footprint relative to inner mesh living area size
  • Not Freestanding
  • Not a huge amount of gear storage space inside the inner mesh w/large sleeping pads
  • Short corner guy lines
  • Line-locks can be fiddly
  • Could use more interior pockets

For more info on the Durston X-Mid 1 and all of the other models in the X-Mid series of tents, head over to Durston’s website.