Is This the Best Ultralight Backpacking Tent? The Durston X-Mid 2 (2024)

You know we love a good ultralight backpacking tent here at Terradrift. Any ultralight backpacking gear, really. So we couldn’t have been more stoked to get our hands on the Durston X-Mid 2. Especially because this small brand is super popular with thru-hikers and if thru-hikers, who use their tent every night for 4 or 5 months are stoked about a tent, we can be relatively certain we’re gonna dig it, too.

So we put it to the test recently to see if it was impressive enough to replace our beloved UL Big Agnes Tiger Wall. Spoilers: It sure the heck is. Read or watch to find out how and why.

Is This the Best Ultralight Backpacking Tent? The Durston X-Mid 2 (1)

The Durston X-Mid 2: An Ultralight Backpacking Tent

So what exactly makes this ultralight tent so special? Plenty.

  • It pitches with trekking poles instead of traditional tent poles, which means it packs up smaller and typically weighs less since there are no poles involved.
  • You can pitch just the fly or the fly with the tent body.
  • It pitches fly-first, which keeps the interior dry in wet weather.
  • The polyester fabric doesn’t sag or stretch out in the rain.
  • It comes with ALL the stakes you need–yup, all of em.
  • It weighs just 2.5 pounds (or 40 ounces)

It’s not a freestanding tent, which means you do need trekking poles (how about one of these ultralight trekking poles?)–or appropriately sized sturdy sticks if you forgot them like we did during one test. (Join our Patreon for behind the scenes footage of what that’s like…) Or you can buy dedicated poles from Durston if you’re the type who doesn’t use trekking poles.

But maybe most importantly for those of you, who, like me, count every ounce when it comes to choosing backpacking gear, this tent is ultralight. As in, it weighs exactly as much as our beloved Big Agnes Tiger Wall. But even though the weight of the Tiger Wall includes the poles, that tent is a loooot smaller than the Durston. And size matters. When it comes to tents, anyway…😅

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Is This the Best Ultralight Backpacking Tent? The Durston X-Mid 2 (2)

A Roomy Ultralight Backpacking Tent?!

So let’s get specific. The Durston X-Mid 2 has a floor area of 33.2 square feet. The Tiger Wall is only 28 square feet. The Mid-X 2 has a head height of 45 inches while the Tiger Wall is only 39 inches tall. But how that height is distributed separates these tents even further. In a lot of UL tents–a lot of tents, period–the side walls slope down from a center point, or a point not far off-center, meaning horizontal headspace is limited.

As in, two people may be able to sit up inside, but they have to lean toward the center if they don’t want their heads and shoulders brushing the tent wall constantly. Not so with the Durston X-Mid 2! On the contrary, the interior feels so much more spacious than the numbers indicate because of how it pitches and how it’s shaped. The fly is pretty square but the tent body is more of a parallelogram.

What that means is that not only is the tent more stable than similarly-pitched tents like our Gossamer Gear The One, it’s also roomier. I mean, Josh and I fit so much better in the X-Mid than our Tiger Wall. In the latter, we can’t fit two rectangular pads inside–they both have to be mummy-style pads. And there’s very little room for additional gear. And we have to hunch toward the center when we sit up. And changing when we’re both inside the tent? Somebody’s getting accidentally elbowed in the face. And we’re small people!

In the X-Mid 2, on the other hand, not only was there plenty of room for two wider, rectangular inflatable pads–the floor is 52 inches wide–there was also room for gear like packs and shoes by our feet and heads. PLUS, again thanks to the unique shape, there’s ALSO tons of space in the vestibule if you prefer to leave your pack, boots, etc. outside your tent. With a lot of tents, if you do that, gear is pressed against the tent fly and really wedged in somewhere, meaning if there’s condensation, it’s gonna end up on your pack. Or if you open the fly in the rain, rain’s on your pack.

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Here, there’s a whole little rectangular nook just for gear! Beautiful.

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Plus, both of us could comfortably sit up inside the tent to read, play games, get dressed, you name it, all without elbowing each other in the face. Always a win.

Is This the Best Ultralight Backpacking Tent? The Durston X-Mid 2 (5)

The Durston X-Mid 2 Review

So what did we think of it after testing?

First of all, it’s important to note that the structure is designed for two people sleeping with their heads at opposite ends. It’s not the end of the world if you want to sleep with your heads at the same end, say if you have a two-person sleeping bag, but it’s more comfortable and easier to access doors and pockets if you sleep with your head by your camping partners’ feet.

Now, heads at opposite ends does mean you may want to work a little harder to find a level spot to pitch your tent, but like I said, someone can always sacrifice head space if you end up needing to sleep nose-to-nose. Play rock paper scissors for it.

The waterproof zippers on the fly work perfectly and never snagged or got caught in excess fabric, which is great. Wrestling with zippers that get caught in the fly makes me want to scream. And the interior doors are nice and big and easy to zip open and closed, too, thanks in part to dual zippers. And importantly, and blessedly, the trekking poles you use to pitch the X-Mid aren’t blocking the doors at all. You’d think that would be a given in the design process, but alas, many ultralight backpacking tents ignore this seemingly obvious functionality and require you to plant the poles directly in front of the doors. It’s a mystery to me.

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I loved the magnetic closures that keep the fly door open. Too quick and easy. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the interior door tie-backs at first, though. They consist of two short lengths of elastic cord that you just loop and pull, like starting to tie a knot.But honestly, they don’t take any more time or effort than more typical toggle-style closures that you have to thread through fabric loops, and Josh liked ‘em right away, so it didn’t take long to convince me this system is actually easier to use.

During testing in cool temps–we’re talking low 40’s, here–there was some condensation inside the fly when we woke up, but not enough to drip or collect and run down the sides of the tent.That’s largely because there’s actually quite a bit of airflow thanks to the two vents at the top and a fly that doesn’t come all the way to the ground, plus a tent body made almost entirely of mesh save for the bathtub floor.

That does also mean that it’s not terribly suitable for winter backpacking; Aint no heat gettin’ trapped in this thing.But it should stand up under some snow, so you do you if you want to push this 3-season tent into 4.

Oh, and did we mention The X-Mid 2 is only $280? I know, that may sound like a lot if this is your first ultralight tent, but it’s not. The Tiger Wall is $450. The Gossamer Gear The Two is $320.And Zpacks and Hyperlight tents, which use Dyneema instead of polyester or silnylon are in the $600-$800 range! And most of those tents aren’t as creatively designed for extra space.

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Who the Durston X-Mid 2 is For

All said, this tent is gonna be a hit with any ultralight backpackers who value space and appreciate a good cost-per-ounce ratio. Solo backpackers will have plenty of space to spread out and there’s even enough room for two people and their stuff to exist–not just sleep–comfortably!

Do keep in mind that since this isn’t a freestanding tent, you do need trekking poles or dedicated pitch poles AND to be able to stake this tent down. It would be difficult to pitch this puppy on a wooden platform or giant boulder without getting super creative. So if those are the types of surfaces you usually camp on, a freestanding tent might be a better option for you.


  • Ultralight
  • Super spacious
  • Ultra breathable
  • Lots of headroom
  • Space for larger sleeping pads
  • Fly-first pitch style for rainy weather
  • Already seam-sealed
  • More affordable than most UL tents


  • Not freestanding so won’t be as suitable for rocky or platform-pitch conditions and surfaces
  • Delicate fabric will require more care than non-ultralight tents
  • Can’t pitch just the tent body
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As for sustainability, this tent, like most of the brand’s tents, is PFC-free, doesn’t contain fire retardants, which are made with nasty chemicals, and the brand supports a number of nature-based non-profits. Durston still has some growing to do in the sustainability department, but the whole company is basically just one guy, so we get that making forward progress can be tough for small companies. We do look forward to seeing future lines, as we’ve heard rumors that integrating more recycled materials is a goal.

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Bottom Line

So basically, yeah, yeah, I’d recommend this tent. The weather has been too dang cooperative and we haven’t tested it in high winds or pouring rain, but it stood up in moderate winds just fine. (If we test it more and feel we need to amend our performance review, we’ll be sure to let you know.)

So if you’re in the market for an ultralight backpacking tent that feels like a kingdom more than a coffin, you should definitely check out the Durston X-Mid 2 (there’s also a Durston X-Mid 1 one-person tent available).

So grab yourself an ultralight tent already, don’t sacrifice on space, and wander on.

This post contains affiliate links, which means when you clicky-click and make a purchase, we may receive some compensation. Don’t worry, it won’t cost you any extra, but you will be supporting Terradrift! That’s what we call a win-win!

Is This the Best Ultralight Backpacking Tent? The Durston X-Mid 2 (10)

Alisha McDarris

Alisha is a freelance outdoor journalist and photographer based in Ogden, UT. She loves backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking and snowboarding (even though she’s terrible at it). She’s also pretty sure she’s addicted to coffee.

Is This the Best Ultralight Backpacking Tent? The Durston X-Mid 2 (2024)


Is the Durston X Mid worth it? ›

Overall, The X mid 1 is a really spacious, comfortable tent. The substantial poly' fly gives peace of mind in the wet, and the offset guylines provide lots of stability in windy conditions – surprisingly so, for a steeper sided tent.

What is the difference between Durston X Mid 2 solid and Pro? ›

The standard X-Mid 2 has a polyester canopy and full mesh inner, the X-Mid 2 Solid has a solid inner to block snow, sand, and wind, and the X-Mid 2 Pro has the same mesh inner as the standard version but the canopy is made from Dyneema Composite–a high-end fabric known for its exceptional tear resistance, excellent ...

How many stakes for Durston XMID 2? ›

Although the tent can be put up with only four stakes, you can use two additional stakes to secure the sides of the tent and two more for one side of the tent flaps for particularly gusty nights.

Do Durston tents come seam sealed? ›

Unlike many trekking pole shelters, our seams are factory waterproofed so user seam sealing is not required. We use a mix of seam taping and proprietary waterproof seam technology.

Where are Durston tents made? ›

It's designed in Canada, and manufactured in China at the same factory that makes DCF tents for other well-known brands like Locus Gear, Samar's, TarpTent, and Big Agnes.

What is the pole height of the Durston X-mid 2P? ›

The X-Mid 2P pitches at a pole height of 47" / 119cm, as shown in the specs. It's designed like that because that height gives the proper shape to the tent.

What is a mid tent? ›

Definition of mid tent

A single-pole tent design with a central supporting pole and a pyramid-like shape, often used in lightweight backpacking setups.

Do you need a hammer for tent stakes? ›

It is essential to hammer tent stakes correctly to prevent them from bending and breaking. First, hit the tent stake with a quality rubber mallet, ensuring the angle is 90°, so it is firmly in the ground.

What is the best material for ultralight tents? ›

Sil-Nylon (or Silnylon) has been a favorite material of ultralight shelters for nearly 3 decades and was the first widely used fabric by the cottage gear industry for shelters.

Do nylon tents need reproofing? ›

Cotton and polycotton tents don't need reproofing because they have naturally water-repellent properties. However, nylon or polyester tents do.

How to clean a Durston tent? ›

To clean your tent, use a sponge and warm water and spot clean. If the entire tent needs cleaning, wash in a bathtub of cold water and do not soak the tent for long periods of time.

How long do Durston tents take to ship? ›

This page explains our policies for warranty, returns, and shipping. In brief, we accept returns on new gear within 30 days, our warranty is 1-2 years (depending on the product), and our shipping is normally 4-7 business days within North America and 4-10 business days internationally but we do have faster options.

What size pack is the X mid Pro 1? ›

4.5 x 10″

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