Friday 4 May 2012

MLD Trailstar + MLD Bug bivy and hoop!

Fitting a bug bivy inside a Trailstar

It's not easy.

I tried using the MLD Bug bivy with bits of cord attached to the poles.

The netting drooped and was virtually impossible to get taut.

I did not want to hang the netting from the attachments inside the Trailstar as this could end up putting too much pressure on these hooks.

It would be OK under an ordinary tarp, but, the Trailstar is no ordinary tarp - it's a shelter that will work even in stormy Scottish weather.

So, I thought, what will work inside a Trailstar?

So many ways

There are just so many ways that you can lay out in a Trailstar.

I prefer feet to door to one side of the pole; or, head to door; or; across the end of the Trailstar.

There are just so many ways to lay out inside this massive shelter. 

Get the Bug bivy taut in any way inside the Trailstar

Playing around with ideas over last weekend I got an "A" frame configuration to hold the netting off my head. But, it was not very good. I threw the "A" frame away.

The solution was to get the head of the Bug bivy taut in any lay out configuration.

Hampton Works pole

I worked out that I needed a hoop to be about 100 cms across the base and about 55 to 65 cms high.

On Friday, last week I rang Hampton Works and explained what I was looking for. On Tuesday I had an e-mail to say that I could have a 5 section pole with the above dimensions for just over £17 including postage.

I ordered it on Tuesday and it arrived today!

It weighs 100 grms.

When you are going light anyway this is no big deal.

The MLD Bug bivy with hoop still weighs in at under 300 grms.


So, how did it work?


I put the pole under tension with a cord and a couple of brass eyelets. The ties to the Bug bivy hook under the cord and three Ti-pins and another bit of cord have it up and taut. It takes seconds to put up. (You get in with the Bug bivy laid out flat. Then you just reach up and hook the netting to the pole before zipping yourself in).

It will be easy to pull out the feet end of the Bug bivy.

But, the taut pull on the netting at the head end will probably be sufficient.

This is what I need to have for any midges that may be encountered on the TGO.

Hopefully, there will not be any, but, if there are, then this will work for sleeping under.


  1. Looks Good Gordon.
    And gives far more room to move about inside the bivy.
    Now, we just need a lot of warm clothing with us, because of the pending ice age that is going to sweep across Scotland for the next 10 days :(

    Whatever happened to the weather from 2008?
    I blame sunspots and solar activity.
    Global warming Pah!

    1. Oh yes, 2008 was a fine vintage.

      Ice Age?

      I've decided to ditch the Trailstar and build Igloos instead.

  2. see bryan waddingtons inner that sean at oookworks has made him looks good .hes doing tgo so will be nice to see how it fairs peter

    1. Hi Peter,

      I've seen Bryan's Oookworks inner and had a chat with Sean about it. It is a great design and I look forward to the possibility of seeing it for real somewhere on the Challenge.

    2. Hi Gordon,
      Too much faff. Keep it simple.
      Tie a small loop of the thin bungee cord that Ron supplied with the BB to the zipper and once safely ensconced within, hook it onto one of the interior clips. The elasticity of the bungee cord takes the strain off the clip and keeps the net off your face. You only need a very short loop. It worked very well for me in times gone by, before I sold my TS and BB.
      I don't see how you will get into the BB if you have pegged it out as per your blog. Maybe I am missing something?
      Anyhoo, enjoy your crossing and take plenty of pics for a later write up.
      The good news is that the Country something weather forecast for the coming week on the Beeb tonight has a high pressure zone heading your way on Friday.
      Leave the down stuff at home and take the sun cream!

  3. Hi Eddie,

    I have tried the clips to hold the netting up. Trouble is they don't always sit neatly over my head. And, I could never get a good lift off of me.

    The hoop works really well. It is so simple to tension and position. And, 100 grms is worth it for the flexibility.

    The Bug bivy remains down until the last minute - once I'm inside. Then I just clip it on to the hoop. I've tried it with and without pegging the ends out. It works better with the ends pegged - loosely. This stops the mats from moving too much during sleep.

    I too saw the forecast. But the Down trousers are in place of the longjohns; and, the weight difference is nothing. Also, the Bug bivy will be cooler than if I use my bivy bag.

    Roll on Wednesday.

    Off to saw my toothbrush down.


  4. Hi Gordon,

    have you any pictures of the TrailStar and BB in action on the 2012 TGO?


  5. Hi Mark,

    I had high hopes for the hoop with the BB. In practice I was not happy with setting it up when I slept head to rear (my preferred way).

    I simply let the BB lay on me - and this was fine as I sleep on my side.

    What did work was having the hoop up when I laid head to entrance - which I did on the last couple of nights. No photos tho.

    I will give some more thought to using the hoop with head to rear - I was too tired the first time I tried it! Must have been the fresh air!


  6. Hi Gordon,

    no problem regarding the photo's. Would you say it was effective using the bunjee method of attaching the BB to the Trailstar?


  7. Hi Mark,

    I move around in my sleep and I am fearful of pulling too much on the Trailstar attachments. The hooped pole is a surefire way of getting the netting of the BB off of my head and it's taut too.

    I think it will work with my head to the rear. TBH that first night I tried it this way I couldn't be ar*8d to get it right - the hoop was touching the Trailstar. I could have played around with getting it not to touch the silnylon, but, I was pretty knackered having walked over the watershed from Laggan to the Corriearack pass and on down to Garve Bridge!

    1. "I was pretty knackered having walked over the watershed from Laggan to the Corriearack pass and on down to Garve Bridge!" - a mere jaunt for a man of your calibre!