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.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Damn! I succumbed to the lure - MLD Trailstar

I had a great walk last month from Fort William to Sheil Bridge (Ferry across the Loch).

This time I carried an Mld Cuben fibre Grace Duo tarp. As it happened, I used it once when I stayed in Inverie, camping by the shore. The other night were in Corryhully and Sourlies bothies.

I like the Grace Duo tarp. At Inverie it rained heavily overnight and I was very comfortable and dry.

I'm pretty sure the tarp can cope with moderate winds, but............. I would not want to use it high up in the hills, or on the TGOC. Keeping low, and using the Grace Duo, would nor concern me too much. Just need to get the right location.

So ................ what?

Then I re-read Colin Ibbotson's review of the MLD Trailstar.

That's it! It can cope with high winds - Colin knows his gear and I respect his opinion.

The order is placed. It should arrive early in August.

And, I'm watching the bidding on eBay for some gear I'm selling.

This will pay for the Trailstar.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

MLD DuoMid - awesome gear! To be or not to be?

Oh, how have I been tempted!

That MLD DuoMid looks so good, and, even worse, has had excellent reviews.

So, to convince myself that I could do without it, I went back to my tarp set up. The question in my mind was: could I have the head end pitched down to the ground and still have enough room?

The answer is yes. And with the Micro tarp as a vestibule (as termed on the AGG website) I really do have superb weather protection. I've even got the gap at the top of the pole, where the two tarps overlap down to nothing.

I was put off the DuoMid in one respect - the lack of cover for cooking once the doors are rolled up. With the Micro tarp there are many ways this can be rigged to ensure protection from the elements while cooking - especially if I use my Bushbuddy.

In good weather the Micro tarp can be taken down completely. And, there are no zips to stick or bust. Pub proof!

My only other issue, that I had to work on was using shorter guylines, or, doing away with them.

I've shortened the guys on the front of the Solo tarp, as well as those on the Micro tarp. I've kept the guys on the Solo lifter points long. I didn't use them in the above photos, but, lifters are essential in strong winds.

Then I took it down and then put it up again - in a few minutes.

And, the weight comparison? With guylines and pegs, I guess the Duomid would weigh in at around 350 grms. The tarps weigh in at around 600 grms - complete. What's 250 grms? Or, 150 grms when compared with the silnylon version?

I use a TiGoat Ptamigan bivvy bag with built in headnet for midge/bug protection. I would still use this in a Duomid.

OK - I've convinced myself. MLD DuoMid? - Not to be!  But, I'll still keep an eye on Ron's excellent MLD website: he's for ever developing awesome gear!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Tarps - nothing new under the rain

Just been reading the blurb on the AGG 10' tarp set up - with vestibule.

This is the same -ish set up as I arrived, at last year, by trial and error. Admittedly I came off the back of looking at Hex 3's and MLD Monk tarps.

My only - oh-I-wish - is that the BPL (UK) Solo tarp was 10' instead of just under 9'. This would mean that I could get the ends right down to the ground.

Still, all I do is put my sac, with a small piece of plastic behind my head to acheive pretty sound weather protection. I could lower the pole to get the ends down more, or, I could bring the ends down but reduce the headroom. But, I'm happy with the raised ends. I used the BPL (UK) Micro Tarp as the vestibule (not in position on the photo - and not needed in good weather: as if)

And, or course, I'm still working out a configuration using Alpkit's 10 x 8 tarp.

It's fun trying out different set ups. But no matter which way I do things there's nothing that someone will not have tried before.