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michelle_v
26
Aug 1, 2019
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I’ve owned the X-Mid 1P for 8 weeks and have since brought it out on 3 trips: the Lost Coast, the High Sierra Trail, and to Emigrant Wilderness. Those who’ve ordered the 1p from the last drop and are waiting on its delivery, or those who have yet to bring it out into the field, may find this helpful. I’ll be addressing:
  1. First Test Pitch & First Impression
  2. Performance on the Lost Coast: Minor Damage Sustained
  3. Performance on the High Sierra Trail: Unrepaired
  4. Repairs: How-To
  5. Performance in the Emigrant Wilderness: Repaired
I wanted to shave a significant amount of weight from my system for upcoming trips leading up to my trek through the Alps starting in mid-August. Prior to carrying the X-Mid 1P, I used the freestanding REI Quarter Dome 2P. I knew by investing in a new tent I could easily reduce my pack weight by at least 1.5lbs. My requirements during my new tent search:
  • 2-door, 2 vestibules
  • Double-walled with ability to pitch fly first and/or pitch inner only
  • Sub-2 lb. min weight preferred
  • Freestanding/semi 2P preferred, 1P non-freestanding considered
My weight requirements really narrowed my choices for 2P’s; and it’s difficult to find a double-walled, dual door/vestibule 1P tent, especially for the value of the X-Mid. Dan explains in several message boards the unique design of his tent compared to others. He also explains the geometry of his tent in a blog entry: The Volumetric Efficiency of Trekking Pole Shelters. While I had a list of required features which the X-Mid met, I was still hesitant to convert from a 2P to a 1P due to space reduction but Dan’s commitment to introduce and explain his design, as well as his responsiveness to questions, concerns, and recommendations are what ultimately won me over. THE FIRST PITCH My first pitch on the front lawn took 6 minutes; the second took just 2.5 minutes straight out of the bag. 
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The tent doesn’t come with a footprint so I created one using 1443R Tyvek, installed grommets, and purchased stretch cords with hooks to attach to the fly in case of high winds; there are hooks at each corner where the inner attaches the fly. First Impression Minor Concerns:
  • Stress on the rain fly/vestibule zippers if too taut > won’t fully close, leaving ~1” unzipped
  • Carbide tips from trekking poles can weaken, puncture, or tear the peaks > visible imprint of the trekking pole tips at the peaks
Despite the above concerns, the X-Mid comes with great additional features that make the tent worth owning in addition to meeting my basic requirements:
  • Very simple pitch
  • Seam-sealed
  • 2 large vents
  • 2 long mesh pockets
  • Buckles for inner height adjustment and bathtub lift
  • Fly comes low to the ground
  • Packs small
I ran water from a hose over the tent before spraying it with permethrin to check for any leaks. The water beaded quickly and immediately ran down the fly – a good sign that the tent might hold up well in rain. I’m 5’5” and 112lbs so there is sufficient room for me in terms of height, floor length, and width. Anyone over 6’0”-ish might find floorspace tight lying down and the inner height short while sitting up, especially if there are items in the mesh pockets that might cause some sag at the ridgeline. The inner floor shape is a parallelogram/diagonal -- Dan explains this design extensively across several site discussion boards. Unless you’re using a long sleeping pad, there should be unused space on both ends of the tent that creates a right triangle (see below in green). Placing mesh pockets here along the wall or corners of the mesh wall might work in theory as an efficient use of space, eliminating any possible sag at the ridgeline while creating organizational space on the floor for heavier items like phones, action cams, power banks, etc. but I do realize pockets here will add weight.
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THE X-MID 1P ON THE LOST COAST During the first night's camp setup at Spanish Flat, wind was traveling at 10-12mph with ~20mph gusts for over ~5 hours in the late afternoon. I didn’t use the Tyvek footprint during this night’s setup. While I considered some minor abrasion, I didn’t think the dry sand would damage the bathtub floor. I wanted to test its fragility.
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Because I couldn’t get the stake angles exact due to the conditions on the sand, the tent wasn’t perfectly taut and the ridgeline seemed to sag a bit as the poles sank into the sand, but not enough to have a noticeable affect on the inner. To my surprise, the wind died down for the rest of the night. Also to my surprise, I found a small tear on the fly at one of the peaks.
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I remembered hearing a slow tearing noise that morning while still laying in my quilt. It reminded me of someone bending over and tearing their pants. I didn’t know at the time that my tent fly was tearing, nor in hindsight do I know why it tore in the morning while the air was still. It’s also worth mentioning that before continuing on the trail I met a man who stopped at Spanish Creek to collect water; he was also using the X-Mid 1P for the first time and told me that his tent tore at one of the peaks that night. He believed it to be caused by the sharpness and length of his trekking pole carbide tips. The second night was spent on Miller Flat at Big Flat Creek. There was only a slight breeze that lasted a short period, but to be safe I used the extra guylines provided and available loops on the edges of the short sides of the fly to tie a taut-line hitch for additional stakes. I didn’t want to use the provided peak guylines, nervous it would cause a larger tear. Thankfully, the weather stayed calm and warm. The following morning while packing, I found tiny holes on the bathtub floor and in the mesh. 
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I was surprised with what I’d found over the course of just 2 nights, especially considering the care taken when packing/unpacking the tent, and choosing and clearing a site. Despite being by the ocean and between creeks, the good news is the tent didn’t experience any moisture or condensation. Now with a small tear at the peak, small holes in the mesh, and a tiny hole on the bathtub floor, I considered leaving the X-Mid at home in favor of my REI Quarter Dome 2P on the High Sierra Trail. The X-MID 1P ON THE HIGH SIERRA TRAIL I decided last minute to bring the X-Mid on the High Sierra Trail un-repaired due to weight savings, and to test what would happen if I continued on a trail with the small tear. It also helped that my friend reassured me I could hop in her Nemo Hornet 2P should the weather turn or if X-Mid sustained more damage. Luckily, the weather was mild so I was able to get a perfect taut pitch in just a few minutes each evening; the previous damage to the tent was a non-issue and the tent was structurally sound. I’m happy to report the X-Mid performed well on the High Sierra Trail with no additional tears or holes despite the varying terrain.
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The X-Mid has ample vestibule space on both sides (L - photo below). I’m able to fit all of my gear on one side: backpack, Therm-a-Rest Z-Seat used as a kneeling/sitting pad, trail runners, cooking system, bear can (before putting it away for the night), and camp slippers. 2 minor details:
  • I’m not sure if this is applicable to all other tents since it is not for the REI QD 2P, but the zippers on the X-Mid can easily be opened and closed with one hand. It doesn’t seem like a big deal until your hands are full and you’re trying to quickly open and close the fly and inner to keep swarming bugs out.
  • The line at one of the corners (R - photo below) is already starting to fray. I always make sure to relieve some tension by gently tugging the tent and holding on to the webbing to create some space before pulling it to tighten the pitch, so it’s a little disconcerting to see it already frayed. However, I understand the weight savings of using this particular cord, and I carry extra cord with me anyway in case I need to tie out extra guyline to accommodate for weather conditions.

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REPAIRS No outdoor gear is made perfect. Much of the reason why we spend time outdoors is to experience elements of nature – some of which we can’t control and in unpredictable, but we prepare to the best of our abilities. With that said, I’m a firm believer in that gear should be tested and trusted to perform, but I expect my things will sustain some type of damage at some point for the abuse it’s unintentionally put through. I knew the tent was structurally sound despite the small tear at the peak – this was proven when I re-tested it at home, then brought it back out through the High Sierra Trail un-repaired. At worst it might get some drops of water running down the interior of the fly in the case of heavy rain. At best, the interior would stay dry in the rain because the tear occurred right above the black reinforcement patch (a PU-coated 210D nylon) which would catch any moisture from dripping inside. My gear and I would be going through some long and difficult trips soon so it was in my best interest to learn how to repair it if something were to happen in the field. You can’t call for a warranty replacement 10,000ft high and 100mi into the Alps. I e-mailed Dan when I returned from the High Sierra Trail to let him know about the small tear, the tiny hole in bathtub floor, and the 2 tiny holes in the mesh wall. The 1P is his first-produced tent design so I wanted to make sure he had feedback for his next iteration. It’s an incredibly well-designed tent in terms of space, ease of pitch, and weight so I want to see the X-Mid line succeed. The holes on the bathtub floor and mesh are easily repaired by tenacious tape and mesh repair patches -- routine for any tent, so the following will address repairs to the peak tear. If you’ve been doing enough research online on this tent via Drop, Reddit, Backpacking Light, etc. you’ll know that Dan is usually quick to respond to any and all comments and questions. No different with my e-mail, which I appreciated. He sent me a detailed e-mail on:
  1. What may have caused the tear,
  2. Suggestions on how to fix the tear, and
  3. A recommendation on how to further reinforce the peak to prevent another tear
My trekking poles have carbide tips that protrude much further than others; they are longer/narrower. Interestingly, this is what the hiker I met on the Lost Coast believed was the cause of his tear. Dan confirmed that the initial design of the 1P didn’t anticipate such a variable, resulting in a grommet design that didn’t perform consistently well with all trekking pole tips. To be clear, all trekking poles are compatible but depending on the carbide tip, they may/not add more stress to the peaks than others. While I don’t yet have the X-Mid 2P, Dan reassured me that it has a revised peak design to better protect it from sharper pole tips. I would expect this to also be true for any of his future tent designs.
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The following materials are what you’ll need to repair and reinforce. The tear took me less than 10 minutes to repair while sitting on the couch watching TV. 2 Rubber Grommets The rubber grommets should narrow the space of the original tent grommet, serving as a buffer and protecting the peaks from stress and further tears caused by the carbide tips. Someone from another post on this site used a rubber grommet from Ace Hardware with the following measurements. I was able to find the same grommet specs at Lowes.
  • 1/2” O.D., 7/32” thickness, 5/16” groove diameter, 3/16” I.D.

Tenacious Tape This will be used on the interior side of the fly. I happened to already have tape (color: Platinum) that matched the tent color in case you need the tape for other patches and color matching is important to you. The platinum-colored tenacious tape matched more closely to the sage green tent color than the actual sage green tape color which looks too dark. The sack that came with the tent stakes Cut a piece larger than the tear to use as an exterior patch. Silicone To be used as glue and sealant.
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Step 1: Install rubber grommets to both peaks Inserted part of the rubber grommet at an angle from behind the tent grommet, and pushed up/squeezed through via the edges of the rubber grommet. This is easier than placing the rubber grommet on top of the tent grommet and pushing down.
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Step 2: Slide Tenacious Tape under the tear for the initial patch This step was the most difficult, relatively-speaking. The tear was so small that it was a little difficult sliding the tape underneath. I couldn’t simply flip the tent fly over and tape it from the interior side of the fly because the tear occurred right above the black reinforcement patch which was still in tact and blocking access to the tear (actually a good thing). Placing tenacious tape underneath served as the “first patch” to close the tear. Step 3: Use the silicone as glue and apply it to the exterior side of fly to seal the tear Once the silicone is applied to the tear, I placed the cut material from my tent stakes sack over it, pressed down gently, and flattened. 
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Step 4: Apply silicone to the edges of the patch I applied another thin layer of silicone to the edge of the patch to make sure it completely sealed to the tent fly. Scraped any extra silicone off for a cleaner look. Step 5: Let the silicone dry I let my tent sit out for 24 hours to make sure the silicone dried before placing it back in its stuff sack. The X-Mid 1P in the Emigrant Wilderness I took the tent back out the following weekend for a short test trip to the Emigrant Wilderness. During setup I could already feel the difference the rubber grommets made in relieving stress to the peaks. Now it didn’t feel like the carbide tips would tear through. The patch to the tear upheld through the night.
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VERDICT At 27.9 oz for the fly with guylines + mesh inner; all of the X-Mid’s features; and the ample interior and vestibule space, the X-Mid is almost the perfect 1P non-freestanding tent. For those who are just now receiving the 1P, I would make a few suggestions and set the following expectations -- some of these are applicable to all tents, not only the X-Mid:
  • No matter what poles you use, add the rubber grommets to the already-existing grommets at the peaks for an extra layer to protect the tent from the poles’ carbide tips.
  • If the tent can’t be pitched perfectly at a 90* angle, even if taut on all sides, expect slight sagging at the ridgeline – it may be noticeable from the outside but seems insignificant once you’re inside the tent.
  • Reminder that this doesn’t come with a footprint so create one with Tyvek or polycro.
  • I would recommend this for any tent, even if not the X-Mid, whether or not it comes with a footprint or is a separate purchase – Tyvek and polycro are usually cheaper and lighter than any brand’s footprint anyway.
  • It’s easier to pitch the tent if all the zippers are closed.
  • Roll/fold the tent to protect the mesh before stuffing back into its sack or in backpack to minimize mesh stretches and holes.
  • If you experience holes in the mesh caused by stretch/misalignment and not by an actual tear, scratch at it with your nails semi-vigorously – the mesh should straighten back to its original form.
I'm happy with my X-Mid 1P. The repairs worked well, and I feel confident bringing the X-Mid with me through the Alps.
Aug 1, 2019
dandurston
2479
Dan Durston
Aug 2, 2019
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Thanks for your sharing your experience/likes/dislikes/thoughts/repairs. It was interesting to see that photo of your specific pole tip (repeated below for reference), as it looks quite similar to the tips of one other fellow that contacted me about peak damage.
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Indeed trekking pole tips are quite variable and it is difficult to have an interface that works with all of them (obviously we are paying close attention to this and will revise it to be more widely compatible in the future). What I'm seeing from users is that that a good portion of trekking poles don't substantially pressure the peaks (like those at the top left). Users with short tips like that are seemingly better off not to add rubbers grommets, since there is no risk of damage and the pole might pop out of the grommet if the opening is reduced. Users with moderately long tips (top right) will notice a small bump on the tent fly but I've tested this a lot since and I've talked with a lot of users and no one is finding this level of protrusion leads to damage because it doesn't stress the fly material to the point of tearing, and the black 210D nylon is tough enough to handle the pressure/abrasion. These people can alleviate the pressure with rubber grommets but there's no recorded damage/failures if they don't. Quite a few people with tips like these are reporting no damage after >50 nights. Then the third group are poles with tips that are quite long (below left). These tips still don't damage the 210D black reinforcement, but they can split the fly material on top of that because the fly material has less stretch than the reinforcement. So the black material stretches over the protruding tip while the outer green material can't. These users would certainly benefit from using the rubber grommets, or diffferent poles, or pitching handles up. With regard to other comments, I was quite conservative when fitting the inner tent inside the fly with the X-Mid 1P because I wanted to make sure it would stay protected inside the doorways (from falling rain) and not touch the ends/sides. After a lot more usage, I think it's is safe to make the inner a bit larger (5cm wider, taller and longer) in the future (at the cost of a few grams), and also add attachments so the inner can clip to the fly at the door tie outs to pull it out for more shoulder room (users can do this now - it just barely reaches). So that will add some more space, but changing the shape of major components of the tent requires a lot of prototyping/R&D though, so I'm not sure how soon I can do that. I'll also encourage users to get in touch with Drop customer service if they do have damage to their tents that they think is falls within the warranty. Warranty is Drop's jurisdiction so I can't speak for them to say what they will and won't cover, but they generally seem to be quite helpful for the type of issues reported here, such as peak damage and holes in the mesh. For the holes in the mesh, obviously it's hard to know what may have caused this. Perhaps it was a mishap at the factory. Another possibility is sparks from a fire. Similarly, the damage to the cord sheathing may have arose for various reasons. A common culprit is a stray blow while pounding in the stake with a rock, but I am sure there are other ways that it could happen. Holes in the mesh and damage to the cord sheathing are not widely reported, so I suspect these are more isolated examples from a mishap at the factory or subsequently. One further topic that's not mentioned here, but can be a source of damage to the tent is improper tension on the inner tent. The tension on the inner is adjustable at the peaks. If someone adjusts the inner too high (so the tent floor is floating substantially) and then jumps in, that can put a lot of weight on the mesh which can tear the mesh or stitching. Normally it is best to have the inner adjusted closer to the looser end of its range for a bit wider floor but lower height. But is does depend on how high the fly is pitched. If the fly is pitched really close to the ground (and thus lower at the peaks) then there is room to pull it tighter. So to sum up best practices for using the tent: 1) Ensure the inner isn't adjusted too high at the peaks 2) Ensure pole tips are compatible. If not, add rubber grommets or pitch handles up. 3) Use a groundsheet if the terrain may be abrasive/sharp. Thanks again for your sharing your experiences and feedback. I'm glad you are enjoying the simplicity, and weather worthiness of the tent.
(Edited)
Aug 2, 2019
evincent220
82
Aug 4, 2019
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Awesome review @michelle_v! God bless you for sourcing those grommets @ Lowes :) I've been to every Ace near me and not one of them had those grommets. Love the pictures and detailed points. Well done -
Aug 4, 2019
jdpman81
24
Aug 5, 2019
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Hey Dan, for those of us who are currently waiting for the next batch of 1p tents to ship in September, will we see any redesign to the grommets in our tents like whats planned for the 2p or is it the same design as previous 1p shipments?
Aug 5, 2019
michelle_v
26
Aug 6, 2019
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Thanks @evincent220! Same to you for posting photos of the inner-only pitch. I was trying to find the grommets online to link but couldn't find those exact specs. I'll keep searching and post, per Dan's suggestion in a previous note so it's easier for others to purchase, if I come across it. The grommets took some time to find in Lowes. I first searched in the bath and kitchen sections, then the power tools section - they kept grommets in both places; I asked an employee who was equally stumped to where they were, and finally found them in long metal drawers where they held odd-sized nuts, bolts, and grommets. It was even labeled something to that affect :)
Aug 6, 2019
michelle_v
26
Aug 6, 2019
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Thanks, Dan! Always appreciative of you taking the time to listen/read user questions/comments, and provide recos.
Aug 6, 2019
dandurston
2479
Dan Durston
Aug 8, 2019
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The next batch of 1P tents are still the same as the prior 1P's, so they will still have the same grommet arrangement that works fine for ~95% of trekking poles but is vulnerable to poles with those long tips as shown in this thread.
Aug 8, 2019
unsalted
2
Aug 20, 2019
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a1parts sells these exact same grommets in Toronto, Canada http://www.a1parts.ca/grommets/index.htm $0.40CAD online (but steep shipping), $0.55CAD in-store:
Aug 20, 2019
michelle_v
26
Aug 21, 2019
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Thank you for finding parts online, and posting a link!
Aug 21, 2019
ChicagoWilderness
1
Sep 7, 2019
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Thank you for putting together such a thorough review. Great job!
Sep 7, 2019
michelle_v
26
Sep 8, 2019
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Thank you for the msg!
Sep 8, 2019
kerleyrb
8
Sep 9, 2019
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Hi,Michelle.Great review! I finally found those rubber grommets and this seems to be the best way.Another option would be to throw a couple of those electricians wire nuts sized appropriately for the pole tips and grommet into the stake bag, but I think the rubber grommets are the best idea because they are already in place.Happy hiking!
Sep 9, 2019
kerleyrb
8
Sep 9, 2019
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Also,Tarptent.com sells handle up adapters to SECURE the pole handles in the pockets of the fly.Also,this prevents mice from chewing sweat infused handle straps on the ground.(happened to me)
Sep 9, 2019
michelle_v
26
Sep 11, 2019
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Wow! Haven’t heard of handle strap - chewing mice. Thanks for the recommendation!
Sep 11, 2019
dandurston
2479
Dan Durston
Sep 11, 2019
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I’ve had pole handles chewed a few times by rodents. I don’t use handle straps but I’m sure they’d love that too.
Sep 11, 2019
PartlyCloudyOptimist
5
Oct 14, 2019
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I try to rinse my hiking pole handles and straps in water as often as i can. I think it's the accumulated salt that attracts critters to them.
Oct 14, 2019
dandurston
2479
Dan Durston
Oct 15, 2019
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Agreed. They love the salt.
Oct 15, 2019
michelle_v
26
Oct 21, 2019
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Returned from my 3-week combined Tour du Mont Blanc + Haute Route trip. Happy to report back that the tent held up strongly through a handful of days/nights in torrential downpour, wind, thunder, and lightning. No issues with the grommets that were installed, or the patch repair on the small tear at the peak. I met a couple on the Haute Route traveling with a ZPacks Duplex who had to sleep each night with their doors open. No condensation issues here with the X-Mid! I cleaned the tent with Nikwax Tech the day after I returned home, so it's good as new and ready to hit the local trails again. Thanks, Dan!
Oct 21, 2019
michelle_v
26
Oct 21, 2019
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Luckily I haven't had to worry about critters (yet). I've only really had to keep an eye on the deer circling my camp spot in the High Sierra - they're known for stealing clothes; but I'd like to avoid any wildlife getting to salty sweat-soaked gear. For cork trekking pole handles, will rinsing with water suffice or do I add mild soap? Will this ruin the longevity of the cork?
Oct 21, 2019
PartlyCloudyOptimist
5
Oct 21, 2019
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I imagine that some soap might remove more of the salt than just water, but probably not enough that i'd bother with it. I usually just rinse with water a few times when i remember to do it. Have no idea if a mild soap liek Dr. Bronners damages the cork, but hard to imagine how it could. In the Northeast, porcupines are one of the most nefarious salt-seeking critters. You'll see the front edges of a lot of the three-sided shelters whittled away. Looks like someone took a wood chisel to them, but it's the porkies getting their salt fix on what sweaty-legged hikers leave behind when they plop down on the edge of the shelter floor. Trail crews in some areas have been installing sheet-metal flashing to prevent that. It can be a real safety problem, too, especially in the late winter/early spring. People parking their cars somewhere overnight have hopped in and started to drive off to find they have no brakes or their engine overheats. Road salt used when temperatures get below freezing to keep ice from forming on the road dissolves and gets kicked up by tires and coats the undersides of vehicles. Inspired by the salt, porkies will gnaw on anything soft, which include brake lines and radiator hoses. In the early spring, backcountry staff who have to park at trailheads and hike in somewhere to do their work will surround their regular parking spots with something like chicken-wire fencing to keep the varmints from chewing up their brake lines while the vehicle is parked.
Oct 21, 2019
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