Ultralight solo tent - Durston X-Mid new drop on Massdrop

freshta

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Yep. I just watched the video and I can tell it looks really well made. Do you mind telling me how much it cost? I can’t seem to find it on drop.
 
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sbsyncro

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Yep. I just watched the video and I can tell it looks really well made. Do you mind telling me how much it cost? I can’t seem to find it on drop.
It was $199 on the pre-order. I got in on the first of two drops and it took from September of last year until April to receive it. Now they have a more predictable production setup so any new drops should have a much shorter wait.


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freshta

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Thanks brother! I think this would be just the ticket for my upcoming muley hunt in October. I just read that the next drop should be around Sept.9. I hope that holds true.
 

Jahvette20

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What’s the weight on that dude and anyone know when that will drop date will happen?
Mine came in at 31 oz as packaged. Shave about 1 1/2 without sacks and exta guy outs. It’s a sweet setup
 

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freshta

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Yeah I’m definitely getting it. Looks and sounds about perfect for what I need.
 

carsonkeys

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I'm probably missing something, but what's the appeal to this vs. a tarptent?
 
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sbsyncro

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Double walled, more headroom, simpler pitch. Lots of other advantages but those are the main ones.

Here is some commentary from the designer:

A major goal with the X-Mid was to shed a lot of the complexity that tents like the StratoSpire have (e.g. the pitch lock corners and six-sided shape) because pitching the StratoSpire is my least favourite aspect of it, plus the numerous struts, seams and stakes add weight and force it to pack into an undesirably long shape.

So the X-Mid starts with a fundamentally different concept of basing the entire tent around a rectangle, rather than a hexagon. This is an enormous difference between the X-Mid and StratoSpire, and in combination with the diagonal inner, changes everything about the geometry.

The X-Mid layout hugely simplifies the pitch, reduces the amount of seams, panels and stakes, and removes the need for the PitchLoc corners because it naturally generates more wall slope.

Notice in the diagram below how the PitchLoc corners in the SS1 are much further from the nearest peak than the corners in the X-Mid, so the X-Mid has steeper roof panels than the StratoSpire and thus is quite a bit better - not worse - at shedding snow. Part of the appeal of the X-Mid is that the fundamental shape solves issues like low angle panels, so there is no need to add the weight, complexity and packing hassles of struts. They haven't simply been skipped for patent reasons.




Also notice that the X-Mid's rotated inner is unlike the diagonal inner in the Stratospire: The inner of the StratoSpire is on a diagonal relative to the ridgeline but still square to the sides of the fly (see diagram). So the SS inner is not on a diagonal at all, only the ridgeline is. The inner has the same orientation as every other hexagon based shelter (e.g. SMD Haven, Zpacks Duplex).

Conversely, the X-Mid inner is truly on a diagonal because it is not parallel to any sides of the fly. Since the X-Mid also has a diagonal ridgeline (but on the opposite diagonal as the inner) which is indeed like the StratoSpire, you could say that the X-Mid is a "double diagonal" design or uses "double opposing diagonals". So both of these tents have a diagonal ridgeline but the X-Mid breaks substantial new ground as the first double diagonal tent. This rectangular base + "double diagonal" layout results in a large improvement in design because the X-Mid geometry is fundamentally more efficient (less stakes, seams and fabric for the volume), so you can have a tent that is lighter while providing the same amount of space.

Compared to the SS1, the X-Mid is appreciably lighter (28oz vs ~34oz), much simpler to pitch, has larger and adjustable vents, no sag fabric, packs smaller without struts (stores horizontally in a pack), has fewer seams, comes factory seam taped, sheds snow better with steeper roof panels, has higher end hardware (e.g. water resistant zips) and yet has similarly generous living space and vestibule area. So it is similarly spacious, but lighter, simpler and more functional.

Overall, the X-Mid is the only tent in history (to my knowledge) to use a diagonal inner inside a rectangular fly. In an era with so many extremely similar tents, I think it is noteworthy that the basic layout of the X-Mid is unprecedented. So I think it's pretty far from a "straight knock off".
. -Dan Durston July 8, 2018
 
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SCOGS

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Thanks brother! I think this would be just the ticket for my upcoming muley hunt in October. I just read that the next drop should be around Sept.9. I hope that holds true.
If you are hoping to get in on a drop in September and have your tent by October, good luck. I don't know if you've ordered from Massdrop before, but shipping times can be pretty lengthy. I would look for something different for this year.
 

SCOGS

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I got my x-mid a few months ago and my first impression was that the inner is REALLY narrow. Coming from a lunar solo, and protrail before that this thing is crazy small inside. I like the rest of the tent, so I think I'll try it out on a few hunts before I make my final judgement, but anyone considering this tent should know that it is way small inside. The mostly vertical walls do help, but the mesh is still in your face when sitting up. And when laying down there really is no extra room other than a little corner at the head and foot.

The vestibules are really big. Too much for a 1 person tent really. This tent would have been perfect with 4-6" of extra width in the floor and a partial solid inner. Still searching for the perfect solo shelter!
 

freshta

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Yeah I figured it would be a long shot to get it in time but I can hope. In the meantime I have a SO Silvertip.
 

carsonkeys

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Double walled, more headroom, simpler pitch. Lots of other advantages but those are the main ones.

Here is some commentary from the designer:

A major goal with the X-Mid was to shed a lot of the complexity that tents like the StratoSpire have (e.g. the pitch lock corners and six-sided shape) because pitching the StratoSpire is my least favourite aspect of it, plus the numerous struts, seams and stakes add weight and force it to pack into an undesirably long shape.

So the X-Mid starts with a fundamentally different concept of basing the entire tent around a rectangle, rather than a hexagon. This is an enormous difference between the X-Mid and StratoSpire, and in combination with the diagonal inner, changes everything about the geometry.

The X-Mid layout hugely simplifies the pitch, reduces the amount of seams, panels and stakes, and removes the need for the PitchLoc corners because it naturally generates more wall slope.

Notice in the diagram below how the PitchLoc corners in the SS1 are much further from the nearest peak than the corners in the X-Mid, so the X-Mid has steeper roof panels than the StratoSpire and thus is quite a bit better - not worse - at shedding snow. Part of the appeal of the X-Mid is that the fundamental shape solves issues like low angle panels, so there is no need to add the weight, complexity and packing hassles of struts. They haven't simply been skipped for patent reasons.




Also notice that the X-Mid's rotated inner is unlike the diagonal inner in the Stratospire: The inner of the StratoSpire is on a diagonal relative to the ridgeline but still square to the sides of the fly (see diagram). So the SS inner is not on a diagonal at all, only the ridgeline is. The inner has the same orientation as every other hexagon based shelter (e.g. SMD Haven, Zpacks Duplex).

Conversely, the X-Mid inner is truly on a diagonal because it is not parallel to any sides of the fly. Since the X-Mid also has a diagonal ridgeline (but on the opposite diagonal as the inner) which is indeed like the StratoSpire, you could say that the X-Mid is a "double diagonal" design or uses "double opposing diagonals". So both of these tents have a diagonal ridgeline but the X-Mid breaks substantial new ground as the first double diagonal tent. This rectangular base + "double diagonal" layout results in a large improvement in design because the X-Mid geometry is fundamentally more efficient (less stakes, seams and fabric for the volume), so you can have a tent that is lighter while providing the same amount of space.

Compared to the SS1, the X-Mid is appreciably lighter (28oz vs ~34oz), much simpler to pitch, has larger and adjustable vents, no sag fabric, packs smaller without struts (stores horizontally in a pack), has fewer seams, comes factory seam taped, sheds snow better with steeper roof panels, has higher end hardware (e.g. water resistant zips) and yet has similarly generous living space and vestibule area. So it is similarly spacious, but lighter, simpler and more functional.

Overall, the X-Mid is the only tent in history (to my knowledge) to use a diagonal inner inside a rectangular fly. In an era with so many extremely similar tents, I think it is noteworthy that the basic layout of the X-Mid is unprecedented. So I think it's pretty far from a "straight knock off".
. -Dan Durston July 8, 2018
Well that explains it, thanks for the knowledge man.
 
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sbsyncro

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Is it really worth upgrading from a lunar solo?
Here’s the comparison from the designer himself:

“First, the X-Mid and the Lunar Solo are comparable in many ways. They are both trekking pole supported 1P tents and they even both use 20D silpolyester for the fly fabric, which is great because it doesn't sag/droop in the rain like nylon. However, they do have one fundamentally large difference, which is that the Lunar Solo is a single wall design whereas the X-Mid is a double wall. Single wall tents are lighter since there's just one layer of material but they give away a lot of functionality to save that weight. They don't provide protection from contacting condensation and they aren't modular, so they aren't nearly as nice in sloppy conditions and you can't use just the inner tent or just the fly as conditions warrant. So single wall tents are a more specialized design that is better suited to moderate conditions, whereas double walls are more well rounded for a wider range of conditions. A double wall is better in hot conditions (use just the inner), rainy conditions (protection from condensation), cold conditions (a bit warmer) and outside of bug season (go even lighter with fly + groundsheet). Anyways, here are properly scaled diagrams of these two tents:



This first thing you may notice is that the floor area of the Lunar Solo is larger. Indeed it is at 26 sq ft versus 17 sq feet for the X-Mid. The floor of the X-Mid isn't particularly small - it's about average for a 1P tent - but the Lunar Solo has quite a large floor. This is an advantage of the lunar solo but there is a caveat here: the roof of the tent slopes down a lot in the Lunar Solo because it is a 1 pole design, so the roof is very low around the edges which limits the use of much of the floor area.

You can only sit up near the pole in the Lunar Solo. Conversely, the X-Mid has dual poles so the height is preserved over a much larger portion of the tent. Thus the floor area advantage of the Lunar Solo does not translate into an advantage in living volume.

The X-Mid has substantially more volume inside the fly and certainly has much more "headroom" and "elbow room". The low roof around the edges of the lunar solo is compounded by the single wall design, which creates a need to stay well away from the edges.

With a single wall tent you need to be careful not to hit the potentially wet walls, whereas there's no worries pressing against any of the edges of the X-Mid floor because the mesh walls will prevent you (or your sleeping bag) from sliding further and hitting the fly.

So the Lunar Solo floor is larger - and this is its biggest advantage over the X-Mid - but the usable floor area is less different than the specs imply for this reason and overall the X-Mid would likely feel like the more "livable"shelter.

Also, the X-Mid has far more vestibule area. The singe vestibule of the Lunar Solo is very small at only 6.5 square feet (I'm not aware of a 1P tent that has less), whereas the X-Mid has dual generous vestibules space (28 square feet combined - or 4x as much area). The Lunar Solo would let you just cram your stuff in there, whereas the X-Mid lets you have your pack, shoes etc and have plenty of room to cook while still being able to get in and out. It’s particularly great for multi sport trips (e.g. packrafting) where you have more gear to store, or sloppy wet trips where you want to leave wet gear outside of the sleeping area.

Getting to the weight side of things, the Lunar Solo is spec'd at 26oz whereas the X-Mid is 28oz. This is actually quite close considering the X-Mid is a double wall design. And it's even closer than that because the X-Mid comes seam taped while the Lunar Solo requires seam sealing (+0.5oz roughly), and the Lunar Solo requires two more stakes (6 mandatory stakes vs 4). So the actual weight difference is about 1oz. The X-Mid would be substantially lighter than the Lunar Solo if it was made in a single wall version.

Another important consideration is how easy to pitch and user friendly a tent is. The X-Mid is extremely simple to pitch (see video) whereas the Lunar Solo has a more complicated six sided shape and pitching that is made even more complex because the fly doesn't extend right to the ground so you don't have the edges of the fly to guide your distances between the stakes. SMD describes it as "a bit more difficult to set up" in their pitching guide. It's not particularly hard, but nowhere near the simplicity of the X-Mid.

So we see that the X-Mid delivers a more functional double wall design that is easier to pitch with more living area for only a very slight weight penalty. This can be accomplished because the X-Mid geometry is much more efficient (e.g. fewer seams, fewer stakes, much better volume:surface area ratio).

But on top of that, the X-Mid has a long list of other advantages over the Lunar Solo:
Superior ventilation from dual vents (vs one) and these vents prop open with a strut for better airflow.
The X-Mid vents can rapidly shut and seal via velcro in harsh weather. The Lunar Solo vents appear to be non-adjustable.
The X-Mid fly extends right down to the ground so you can stop rain splatter, drafts, blowing snow and sand, whereas the Lunar Solo fly has an unavoidably large gap around the bottom which saves weight but gives up protection. You can raise the X-Mid up a few inches if you want more bottom ventilation.
The X-Mid uses higher end hardware. For example, it uses high end YKK water resistant zippers rather than basic zippers covered with a velcro flap which doesn't work as well and are prone to snagging. If you read the reviews on SMDs site you'll see this is a complaint.
The X-Mid fly can be used as a light/minimal two person shelter without the inner
The X-Mid has two doors versus one.
The X-Mid has dual vestibules versus one.
The X-Mid uses tough #5 zippers (I'm not sure but I expect the Lunar Solo uses #3 zippers which wear out much sooner).
The steeper walls of the X-Mid will shed snow better
Since the roof panels of the Lunar Solo are fairly low angle, heavy condensation may drip onto the sleeper, where the X-Mid has steeper roof panels so even heavy condensation would run down the fabric instead of dripping.


To be fair to the Lunar Solo, it does have one more advantage which is that it uses a 40D floor, which is tougher than the X-Mid's 20D floor. The X-Mid's floor is about typical for a light tent and will last hundreds of nights with proper care but the Lunar Solo floor is beefier still.

So the X-Mid is about 1oz heavier and for that you get a shelter that is more livable, modular, double wall design with better condensation protection, better in wind and snow, vastly more headroom, much more vestibule area, dual doors, dual vents, higher end hardware, full coverage fly and a much simpler pitch. Overall it's a more well rounded design that would excel in a much wider range of conditions.”

That’s probably more info than you needed but as you can see this guy knows his stuff!


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sbsyncro

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The 2 person version has just become available for pre-order! I just place my order based on my happiness with the 1P (which is going to Mt. Whitney this week.) . Here's a link directly to the item page (ignore the goofy thumbnail that gets posted - seems like a problem with the Drop site)


111168

111169
 
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wind gypsy

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Sweet looking shelter for sure. The dimensions in that pic are a little different from what’s on Massdrop though.
 
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sbsyncro

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Sweet looking shelter for sure. The dimensions in that pic are a little different from what’s on Massdrop though.
Yea the official Massdrop specs are super conservative. The actual dimensions depend on how you pitch it; Massdrop’s specs typically assume “worst case” with it pitched too taught.


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mrbillbrown

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Wish it didn’t have such an agonizingly long wait time. That’s my big hang up.


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sbsyncro

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I bet they would sell a pile more if you didn’t have to wait 9 MONTHS for them.
They are essentially built to order. It’s the only way a very custom, niche product like this gets made. No way one of the big mfgs would take the risk, and if one of the “boutique” tent makers made it, it would cost 2-3x.

Massdrop’s (Now “Drop”) business model is taken from the idea of a forum “group buy”. For those familiar or experienced with “group buys” you know they normally take a lot of logistical planning, someone to collect all the payments and then work with the Mfg or supplier on fulfillment. Usually there are long lead times due to a separate manufacturing “run”. This is similar.

So yea, the wait sucks, but it’s (right now) the only way to get one. I hate that I missed last deer season with my 1P but I’m still glad I waited 9 months to get it (and now have it)

I just spent the last 3 nights in my x-mid 1P and I like it better each time I use it. It is so compact yet so weather resistant.


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