Gear Testing the New MID1
If you’re journeying out to the Lower John Day River you’ll see some folks pulled over on the side of the road to take in the view. While some of them are looking at the chain of cascade volcanoes to the west, just as many are taking in the 200 and counting wind turbines that cover the landscape. This area is known as the Sherman County “Windbelt”, the intersection of high desert, intermountain valley, and ocean air patterns.
It’s REALLY windy here, and a damn good place to put a tent through the paces. Sheltered camps are rare and usually limited to sparse stands of Western Juniper, and the river canyon can accelerate the wind even beyond its typical bluster. Needle thin ultralight stakes are a recipe for regret on the Columbia Plateau. Additionally, in shoulder season and winter dense fog, if not a full cloud inversion, sometimes settles into the canyon overnight. When the surrounding air is not basically precipitation, the stuff that actually falls from the sky is often a frozen mixture during winter and shoulder season.
This is the environment I tested the new Mid1 tent in.
Speaking of Wind performance first, this is as quiet a shelter as anything can be in the maelstrom. No buzzing around the doors, no snapping of panels rolled by the wind.
After the pretty sunset pic the cairn building over my stakes began. It was necessary
Livability and interior space are an area where I fall short (literally) as a gear tester, being only 68 inches tall. I have a strategy for making myself taller though, which is to add 20 inches to my height by adding a canine to my length. You can see here Special Agent Utah is quite happy with how much room he has above my head, my setup is a Women’s NeoAir. Combined Utah and I are 7 foot 4 inches, right about the height where my footbox touches the fly. Are you over seven feet tall? Didn’t think so. For an average height person with no dog this tent is spacious, pitching well at a peak height of 135cm.
Pics of Utah in the vestibule and in the tent.
Adding a canine tent warmer is also a great way to push a tent’s ability to handle condensation, and the peak vents on the Mid1 are a help in this regard, a feature many tents in this weight class sacrifice. The bathtub floor can be raised or dropped for more airflow. Also helpful are the new front guyline toggles, allowing you to switch which door panel is staked out with ease from inside the tent, or in very fair conditions rolling up both doors:
I took an early season snow slog through the Goat Rocks wilderness and slept in a cloud at Elk Pass. Here condensation is unavoidable, with a bonus coating of frost in the morning on the outside of the tent, but the Mid1 dries out fast with just a little bit of morning sun.
Weight and packability are excellent, there may be an ounce of difference compared to other single pole one person pyramid tents I’ve used, but the increase in storm worthiness, build quality, and livability win out over an ounce here without question. I found I liked packing the Mid1 away in a small sized HMG pod, though it could certainly be rolled into a smaller package if desired.
The finishing touches are the nice little details… well placed extra guy out points, magnetic door tiebacks, a smooth easy to operate zipper on the fly (no toggles!), the ability to switch vestibules fast, the mesh entry zipper that reaches just beyond center of the pole so you can reach the vestibule from both sides of the pole from within the tent. I'm looking forward to using the Mid1 as my primary bug season shelter!