Friday 16 July 2010

MLD Trailstar - WOW!!!

My MLD Trailstar arrived yesterday! Six weeks to the day from when I placed the order.

Today I put it up in the garden. I re-read the MLD blurb on how to put it up; and, I re-read Colin Ibbotson's description - before trying to put it up.

Colin is right - if you take more than 2 mins to put this shelter up, you are doing it wrong!!

Tensioning it to that twang perfection had to wait until my second attempt at pitching - and I had to re-read Colin's advice on how to achieve the tension he describes.

I'm waiting for a dry day to do the seam sealing.

All my faffing aound with previous tarp arrangements - and tarps bought! (Selling a load of gear on eBay - has mitigated this expenditure!)

If only I had gone for the Trailstar!!

Spacious, easy to pitch, able to withstand high winds ............. Thanks to the reviews on BPL, and Colin's excellent review of the Trailstar, I'm, now, also a member of the Trailstar appreciation club!

I can't wait to use this masterpiece of design for real. It really is something else.


  1. Hi, Gordon.

    I am so tempted to join you in the Trailstar Massive. I've just come back from a fortnight in a Golite Cave 1 north of the Great Glen with 10 days under the tarp in what seemed like non-stop rain. Two nights in bothies and one in a B&B for a clean up. The Cave 1 was superb apart from the bloody guys. Something which pitches in 2 minutes - just a dream for Cave users.

    I'll be interested in hearing how you get along with the Trailstar. Does it get condensation? The Cave had very little even though one end was pitched to the ground and it rained every night.

    Various weights have been mentioned. What do you consider its real, in-use weight?

    Cheers, John (ex-worker in Tamworth)

  2. Hi John,

    Hats off to you in the Cave, in Scotland in the rain... and Midge season.
    I was up in Aberdeen last Friday and managed to get 3 Munros in over the weekend. My plan was to do a 3/4 day backpacking trip around the Cairngorm Munros, but the weather was not playing game.

    Had I done this trip, I would have used the Trailstar for real. I've used various tarps and never had the sort of condensation problems I get in my Akto. From what I can gather, the Trailstar shouldn't be a condensation problem.

    I use 2mm deyneema guys with 6 Alpkit V stakes and 6 ti-pins and the rolled up weight is 720 grms. The real attraction over the MLD cat tarp (Grace Duo) is the ease of pitch and the robustness of the set up.

    I still plan to do the round of the Cairngorms later this month/early Sept; plus I want to get up to do Fisherfield and more undone Munros up west, before October.

    It was Colin Ibbotson's review that made me go for the Trailstar and it's been the best purchase I've made for a long time. Even though I havn't used it for real - except in the garden.


  3. Thank you for the information, Gordon.

    The secret to tarp camping in the midge season is an MLD Bug Bivy. Very few midges found the zip. I also kept DEET handy as the midges gathered on the outside of the midge netting each morning. So first thing, I had to get past them for ablutions and cooking.

    At no stage did I think, "I wish I was in a tent." That thought just did not occur, although some would argue (Colin Ibbotson) that a tarp and a bivy constitute a tent. Ten nights under the tarp was a comfortable experience. With a Trailstar that could be a luxury experience.

    I hope so, because I've just ordered one.

    Best wishes, John

  4. Hi John,

    I agree with the MLD Bug Bivy. With one of my tarp configurations this was ideal. With the MLD Grace Duo, I use a Ti-Goat Ptarmigan bivy bag.

    Welcome to the Trailstar fraternity (when it arrives). I was thinking of the DuoMid but I think the Trailstar will enable greater flexibility - yes, and luxury. The space under it is amazing, compared to any tent or tarp I've used.

    I'll be using it a few times before next May, but will definately use it for the TGO Challenge, next year. As before my first Challenge, I'm already joining up Munros in my head - hopefully the weather will be better next year.


  5. Hi, Gordon.

    Good luck with the Challenge. I hope you get enough snow to make the photos look good but not enough to impede progress.

    Cheers, John