Durston X-Mid Pro 1 With DCF Floor Review

Are you addicted to DCF? Does the thought of a wet nylon floor make you cringe? Fear not: Dan Durston has finally designed a tent with all-DCF construction, so you can take one step closer to the future.

The updated X-Mid Pro 1 now has the option for a DCF floor for even more weight savings, but is it really an improvement over the original nylon floor?

Durston Gear X-Mid Pro 1 with DCF Floor At a Glance

durston x-mid pro 1 pitched in deep snow on blue-sky day

A nice February day in Colorado

MSRP: $654.00 (with stakes)
Weight:

  • Tent Body: 15.6 oz
  • Main Stuff Sack: 0.25 oz
  • Stake Sack: 0.1 oz
  • Small (6”) DAC J-stakes with pull cord: 1.0 oz for 4
  • Large (8”) DAC J-stakes with pull cord: 2.3 oz for 4
  • 32.7’ of 2mm black guyline: 1.0 oz
  • Guyline Tensioners: 0.14 oz for 4
  • Max. Total Weight Out of the Box: 20.4 oz
  • Min. Trail Weight (Tent Body, Main Stuff Sack,  4 Large Stakes): 18.15 oz

Materials:

  • Tent Fly: 0.55 oz/square yard DCF (0.08mil mylar each side)
  • Tent Floor: 0.67 oz/square yard DCF (0.18mil mylar ground side, 0.08 mil mylar interior side)
  • DAC J-Stakes: Aluminum
  • Guylines: Dyneema Core, Dyneema+Polyester+reflective tracer sheath.
 

Intended Use

The Durston Gear X-Mid Pro 1 is one of the lightest fully enclosed tents on the market. Ultralight-focused solo hikers will find tremendous value in its light, compact, and thoughtful design.

Hikers already using adjustable-length trekking poles will benefit from the weight-saving design more than those who need to pack a dedicated pole.

Circumstance of Review

This tent made its way into my hands in mid-February, meaning it saw more time in the snow than the dirt. I took this on several training trips for summer adventures, including around the Hunter-Frying Pan Wilderness, Utah’s deserts, and my local park systems.

Durston Gear X-Mid Pro 1 Features

All-DCF Construction

New for Version 2 of the Pro tents is the option to choose your bathtub material. While Version 1 was only available with a silnylon floor, the Pro line is now split into subtypes: one with the original woven floor and one with DCF. Besides floor material, the two subtypes have a few other minor design differences that create a larger spread in weight and cost.

Why add the option for DCF floors? I would imagine fan requests are a huge part of this. The DCF hype train says it is the perfect material for everything, including shelter floors. While this is not necessarily true, many people will still prefer the tent all in DCF for slight weight savings, faster dry times, and ease of repair.

Dan made a unique decision in selecting the exact DCF type for the floor. Most DCF tents use the 1.0 oz/square yard variant, which has a 0.18 mil mylar layer on each side for a higher level of abrasion and puncture resistance.

Dan instead used the 0.67 oz/sq yd version, which maintains the 0.18mil layer on the ground side but reduces the dyneema thread count and leaves the interior side at 0.08 oz/sq yd.

While a relatively minor distinction, it has an impact on overall weight and significantly reduces the packed size of the unit, while mostly avoiding the downsides of a thinner floor.

The new DCF floor option. The mesh gutters at the head and foot end are still present, a handy feature for increasing airflow.

Superlight Design Features

Besides the new DCF floor, other weight-saving features include ultralight zippers, lightweight meshes, and efficient volumetric design. Even the connection of the trekking poles to the tent has been improved over the normal X-Mid. The attention to detail is noticeable, and the weight speaks for itself at just 15.6 oz for the tent body.

Large Floor Space

Even 15 inches above the ground, the tent footprint measures 32 inches wide and 90 inches (7.5 feet) long.

I mention this because many UL tents save weight by reducing the interior width or tapering towards the head or foot. In many models, especially those that use one trekking pole, the low-angled walls mean the actual usable square footage, once you get about 12 inches off the ground, is reduced significantly.

In contrast, I find the space in the X-Mid Pro comfortable and livable—even at 6’1. The difference is noticeable compared to my previous tent, which was just 20 inches wide at the head and foot and only 84 inches long.

The floor is consistently wider than 25 inches, which also means wide pad users are welcome inside, an uncommon option for UL one-person tents.

And with the 90-inch usable length, I think someone up to 6’9 could easily make this model work. Durston Gear is slightly more conservative, advertising it to fit people up to 6’8.

Double Doors, Double Vestibule

The X-Mid design is fully symmetrical, with an exterior door on each side and two large vestibules. While not completely necessary for a one-person tent, the flexibility is nice. This feature means I can keep my gear on one side and keep the other side clear to enter/exit without tripping. 

Peak Vents

The Pro tents keep a pair of generously sized peak vents at each apex (where the trekking poles meet the tent). I always highlight their presence, since many UL tents forgo this minor but critical feature.

Anyone living in a wet or humid climate knows the struggles of interior condensation, and peak vents are the most pivotal tool in fighting it. Even living in a dry western climate, I still find them necessary when the temps drop at high altitude.

close-up of vented opening at one apex of durston x-mid pro 1

The door, ridge vent, and guyline point

Fly-First Pitch

The fly-first pitch is an underrated feature of many pyramid and single-wall tents. It allows you to set up while keeping the fly to the sky, and avoid drenching your inner body during inclement weather. I’ve set up X-Mids in the rain many times and always appreciate keeping the floor dry when I need to hunker down.

Reasonable Pitched Size

The 1 Pro’s relatively steep sidewalls and single-wall design mean there isn’t much wasted space in the footprint. I never have trouble finding a spot, even when I’m short on time or approaching sunset.

All the Regular X-Mid Goodness

There are 10 versions of the X-Mid tent in current production, and they all share a common design direction and geometric shape. The offset poles and floor inside a rectangular footprint, mesh gutter, and simple four-stake pitch are carried forward into this new version, bringing all the same benefits you may already know.

Durston Gear X-Mid Pro 1 with DCF Floor Pros

Weight Slashing Master

At less than 1 pound for the main body, there are few competitors for fully enclosed tents. What’s even more impressive is that this truly ultralight package still retains a lot of livability features, such as the large floor size, head height, vents and doors. The combination of weight and comfort makes this an excellent choice for most long-distance backpackers.

Dry Entry

As noted above, the X-Mid is compatible with a fly-first pitch, which keeps the inside dry while setting up in the rain. The doors also don’t extend over the living area, keeping your sleeping bag and other goodies dry during entry and exit. It seems like a minor detail unless you’ve had a tent flood when you accidentally left the door unzipped during a bathroom break.

blue durston x-mid pro 1 pitched in dirt campsite under pinyon pine

I stepped on a cactus while setting up my tent. As far as I can tell, the floor remains intact despite pointy needles, dry pinecones, and fallen twigs underneath.

Four-Stake Standard Pitch

I love the simplicity of this tent’s footprint, requiring only four stakes arranged in a rectangle to set up. Pyramid tents often have complex shapes requiring six, eight, or even up to 12 stakes to get pitched properly.

The X-Mid’s simplicity keeps actual trail weight low, even compared to tents that are lighter on paper but need more stakes. In case of bad weather, I often bring at least two extra stakes for apex guylines, and there are other optional mid-panel and base stakeout points for extreme conditions.

Good Headroom Across the Inner

The two-trekking-pole pitch on diagonal sides means the headroom is generous and consistent in the one-person model. I don’t feel the need to sit up or orient my pad in specific ways to avoid hitting the outer walls, which is a relief, given my tall stature.

Improved Corner Guyouts

Another minor update from V1 is an improved corner design. The new version has better reinforcement, thicker cord, and slightly longer guylines to connect the stakes.

The thicker cord has been a nice change since it handles stacked rocks and accidental abrasion better than the old version. Likewise, the longer guylines were much needed for more pitch flexibility. 

No Need for Extra-Long Poles

While the exact pitch height is not specified since it varies slightly depending on ground cover and pitch tautness, I have never needed a pole longer than 120cm to set up this tent.

This means damn near any adjustable-length trekking pole can be used to set up the X-Mid Pro 1 — no pole jacks or voile straps required.

Preshrunk DCF

Buried in the details of the product page is a unique tidbit about their manufacturing. Durston Gear claims to use “preshrunk” DCF for all their tent production. The outlet layers of DCF tend to bunch up on the Dyneema threads over time, causing slight shrinkage.

While tents don’t shrink enough to become unusable, it does cause problems with the zippers used in tent flies and doors. If you’ve ever had a wavy zipper on a DCF tent, this is likely the cause.

I only slept about 10 nights in this tent prior to review, but my experience with the original Pro 1 and 2 (about 80 nights between the two) tells me the preshrinking process has worked.

Packs Horizontally in Pack

The rolled shape of this tent is just narrow enough to fit horizontally inside most backpacks. This is often the most efficient way to store a tent and avoids dead space, load asymmetry, or the risk of loss from other carry methods.

The relatively vertical head and foot end means lots of clearance for thick pads and fluffy bags. I also decided to try the newly added mesh pockets. I prefer to keep my stuff on the ground and will probably continue to do so in the future.

Durston Gear X-Mid Pro 1 Cons

Rectangular Door is a Downgrade From V1

The mesh door on the interior has changed from one zipper pull that goes around a curved door track to two zipper poles that meet at a 90° angle. I preferred being able to open the whole door at once, although some may prefer the two pull configuration for being able to put things in the tent without letting dastardly mosquitoes in.

Requires Two Poles

I always hike with two poles, but having a tent that requires both leaves little room for error in case of loss or breakage. Some hikers also prefer to use only one pole and will have to carry a separate piece to set up.

Pitch Can be Tricky To Perfect

After two years of X-Mid ownership, I can finally say I feel competent in setting them up well when needed. I don’t like that it’s taken me this long to get here, especially since I have an architecture and engineering degree.

While the pitch is geometrically simple (it’s just a rectangle), I still find it occasionally difficult to nail the 90-degree corners that are critical to a perfect pitch. The extended corner guylines for V2 certainly help make the process easier, though.

Bulky Compared to Some Options

Dan claims the X-Mid 1 Pro is the smallest packed size, fully enclosed DCF shelter on the market. I don’t have any experience that would contradict this, but I do know that the DCF qualifier makes a big difference here.

It’s well known now that silpoly, and especially silnylon, pack quite a bit smaller than DCF, even though they are heavier. Tarps and other floorless shelters will obviously save quite a bit of volume too.

I always dream of a smaller volume pack but can’t seem to break the 40L barrier, mainly due to my shelter size.

durston x-mid pro 1 folded up in preparation to be rolled and packed

Packing up my tent at sunrise. I wish the total volume was just a bit smaller.

Value

I have talked extensively about the pros, cons, and value proposition of DCF before. If you’re on board the Dyneema train, The X-Mid Pro design has near-universal appeal. I think it is the right tent for probably 90 percent of long-distance hikers, assuming you use trekking poles. It sits right in the middle of the cost range of single-wall DCF tents, but with some seriously thoughtful design and a high standard of construction.

Shop the Durston X-Mid Pro 1

A Few Comparison Items

Zpacks Altaplex Classic

  • MSRP: $669
  • Weight: 15.4oz (no stakes) 

Tarptent Aeon Li

  • MSRP: $569
  • Weight: 17.4oz (no stakes)

Mountain Laurel Designs Solomid XL

  • MSRP: $545
  • Weight: 14oz (no inner, stakes)

The Durston Gear X-Mid Pro 1 with DCF Floor was donated for the purposes of review. 

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Comments 1

  • Adrian Redgwell : Jun 6th

    I heard that Dan died honor flaws with his tents and will not help that customer with replacement.

    I was kind of surprised when the couple told me this in the trail.

    I thought all hiking small companies would bend over backwards trying to help us out. At least that isn’t experience.

    I purchased a slightly used Lithium tarp tent rainbow 2p tent and they will still help me out even thou I am
    not the original owner.

    FYI

    Oz The Hiking Sailor.

    Reply

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