Friday 16 December 2011

CUBEN Trailstar!!

It had to come - a Cuben Trailstar!

I've just had a look on the forum and there is a thread where Ron Bell has a few comments in response to a few questions on this new incarnation of the Trailstar.

It's strange how this shelter, in the silnylon version, has been hovering around under the radar, so to speak. I know I hesitated ages before deciding to buy a silnylon version. I nearly bought a Duo-mid, which has also had high praise, but I am so pleased I got a Trailstar.

Now, I'm seriously thinking - Cuben!

Even at $335 (£215.81) + shipping this looks very good value for what you get! (There was an introductory offer of $295, but this has gone).

To appreciate what you get - and to appreciate the route I took - have a look at Colin Ibbotson's excellent review on Andy Howell's blog.

Then have a look at Steven Horner's equally excellent review and pitching guide.

They describe silnylon versions, but the Cuben version is the same dimensions and very strong.

A number of folk have picked up this fantastic shelter and Martin Rye regularly uses a Trailstar (See Summit and Valley). For an one-time anti-tarp man, Martin remained true to his stance - the Trailstar is a shelter!
(Even though I did call it a tarp for dramatic purposes when I wrote my bit for the TGO mag!)

I used my Trailstar on the last TGO and can vouch for it's storm-worthy-ness! The Trailstar can take a full blown Scottish storm! It does need some good stakes to keep it on terra-firma!!

So, I'll be using a Trailstar on next years TGO. The only question is silnylon or cuben?

The silnylon Trailstar is $170 (£109.60) + shipping, but for what you get - it's excellent value.

Even allowing for a groundcover - Wickes secondary glazing film - and a bivy bag (which I personally prefer as it keeps off drafts and adds a few degrees to my sleeping bag) the weight is still well less that 1000 grms.

When you compare the space inside to the space inside an Akto or a Lazer there is no competition. You sit in a palace with plenty of headroom and space to play in.

I came to the Trailstar having played with a number of tarps over many years.

To go from eg an Akto (I have one) to a Trailstar in one go requires a leap of faith.

All I can say is, I'll find it very hard to go back to my Akto.

The Trailstar is that good!


  1. Didn't MLD say that the Trailstar was best in silnylon because that fabric permits cranking on the tension for maximizing storm resistance to a greater extent than cuben? I'm sure they gave a reason of that sort for not offering a cuben Trailstar from Day One.

    How much would cuben save on a Trailstar? I'm thinking of getting a new Trailstar for the new, drab colour rather than for a change of fabric. Sharkskin grey stands out like a sore thumb on British hillsides.

  2. You are right, Zed.

    It's not clear whether there was a prototype cuben version put together when the Trailstar first came out - or whether Ron was talking theoretically.

    What he says, now, is ".... the greater stretch of silnylon allows a slightly sloppier pitch technique to be compensated for by just pulling the tieouts harder to stretch it into shape. A cuben version needs little bit more care in pitching to get it 'squared up' so to speak and get the same nice looking and wind shedding taught pitch."

    The cuben version saves 170.097 grms in weight!

    I cannot justify another $335 to save this weight, but, I might have been tempted if I was buying one from new.

    The silnylon Trailstar is so easy to put up in any conditions. I'd want to know whether the cuben version was a bit too 'fussy'to put up, especially in the middle of a howling gale!

  3. Yes, and given the footprint, how often do you get a completely flat, Trailstar-sized pitch on the side of a mountain? The silnylon version copes with having the highest peg 18 inches higher than the lowest. I still had a tight, flap-free shelter.

  4. So soon after I bought the sil version, how annoying :)

    If I didn't go through the 13 week pain last time I'd give one a go. I'm still over the moon with what you get with the sil version, maybe if I was buying from fresh again I'd be tempted.

  5. @Zed, I had read the same, that MLD were not going to make a cuben version for the reasons your descibe.. so I buy my Trailstar late last year and low and behold, a cuben version suddenly appears! I was a bit dissapointed but it is interesting to note the comments here about the the cuben version being a bit more fussy with the pitch. Anyhow, I am very happy with my silnylon TS, I love it.

    @Gordon, did you have any issues with midges on the TGOC last year? I'm going to use my TS for the Challenge this year and was thinking that I would get and inner of some description.


    1. Never did have any midge problems. Nor ticks which are my nemesis!
      And, thanks now on 4 TGOs.
      I'll be using my Trailstar in May, next year