This is a project I have been very excited about!
Ever since I made my Starry Night tent, I have been dreaming of an X-Mid made in a beautiful print. The 1p X-Mid has been my go-to tent for solo trips for the past two seasons. I love the 4 stake, fly first pitch that is not at all fiddly to put up and take down.
This spring I decided to take the plunge!
By the numbers
- 10 yards 1.1oz custom printed silpoly (fly)
- 3 yards 1.1oz silpoly (floor)
- 5 yards 0.67oz noseeum mesh
- 8 feet #5 uretek coil zipper
- 10 feet #3 coil zipper
- Various widths of grosgrain
- Linlocs, guy line, accessory cord, etc
- Total Weight: 25.2oz (fly + inner, seam sealed, and all lines included)
I kept the feature set very similar, but did alter a few small things:
- waterproof zippered doors
- vents with strut on both sides
- parallelogram shaped inner
- two doors on the inner
- added pockets to the door panels on the inner, in addition to the ridge line pocket
- added snaps at the bottom of the zipper to take some tension off the zipper when pitched
One of the bigger changes I made was to alter how the inner attaches to the peak. The real one uses buckles, but I used line locks. There is one line lock on each peak, then a grosgrain loop in the peak reinforcement. They are clipped together using a pieces of cord with a mitten hook on the end, and then the height can be adjusted via the line lock. I did this so that it would be easier to pitch inner only, with only the equipment present on the tent normally: just pull the peak guy lines off of the fly, and run them through the inner line locks.
I chose this image, which I bought from a stock image website, and had it printed on 1.1oz silpoly from Ripstop by the Roll.
I first tried drafting the pattern using measurements taken off the original, but quickly realized that wasn’t working well due to the cat cut/non linear seams, so I switched to draping the pattern instead. Hands down, this was the most mockups I’ve ever done for a project. I did 4 individual mockups, and each one of those was completely tore down and tweaked at least a few times until I got the shaping right. Luckily I found a clearance bolt of polyester lining fabric at the local store for mockups!
I was still worried it would pitch wonky, because the 1.1oz Silpoly I used has pretty different stretch characteristics to the Silpoly used in the actual X-Mid: it has a lot more stretch overall when under significant tension, and much more bias stretch even just when handling.
The moment of truth came when I did the first pitch in my backyard. Success! In the end, it did end up pitching well, but the force distributions on mine a bit different than the real one (a lot more tension 1” above the bottom hem than on the real one, pitches with the poles at a longer setting due to the stretch). Once I was able to confirm the fly pitched well, I made the inner net tent and did one final backyard pitch. With the backyard test passed, I seam sealed it and got ready for it’s first adventure into the woods.
first Field testing
The Aurora Sky tent’s first adventure was a 4 night trip on the Sentier Frontaliers. It turned out to be a good testing trip, with less than ideal weather (cold, rain, hail, high humidity) and some difficult campsites.
From forest floor, to wooden platform, to overgrown gravel parking lot (the blow downs and widow makers at the designated campsite did not inspire confidence), the Aurora Sky tent pitched well on them all! While the stretchier fabric requires longer poles than my standard X-Mid, I found it also meant a more forgiving pitch on uneven surfaces. I stayed dry though a whole night of rain and another night with some hail. The rain, high humidity, boggy campsites, and cold weather led to the perfect recipe for condensation, a situation for which the double wall design was built for!
I was very happy with my modifications. The added snap at the bottom of the zippers takes the brunt of the bottom edge tension off of the zippers themselves, which I hope will help with zipper longevity. The linelocs in the peaks were easy to use and adjust, and held the inner where I adjusted them to all night.
The rest of the feature set was everything I love about my actual xmid that led me to recreate it in colour. A successful first test!