Tuesday 1 September 2015

The Tramplite Cuben Shelter

I got my Tramplite Shelter in January. Handmade by Colin. 

Here, below, is the first pitch in my garden.

It replaced my superb MLD Trailstar, which I had used for four years, and which I loved.

My only issue with the Trailstar was that, if I put an inner in it, I would find the space too restricting.

My answer was to use a bivy bag.

Fine, until I saw the "prototype" of my Tramplite Shelter in Montose.

I was fortunate to meet Colin Ibbotson aka @Tramplite on the camp site at Montrose at the end of the 2014 TGO Challenge.

As can be seen, above the shelter has a small beak. The inner is, I believe, an MLD inner.

Colin took this "prototype" to Scandinavia and came up with some refinements. The Beak was extended by doors, which gave extra cover. 

There are previous posts - with links - that have highlighted the evolution of the Tramplite shelter 

- http://aktovate1.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/genius.html

- http://aktovate1.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/tramplite-shelter-more-photos.html

I've used this shelter for a number of trips.

It is insanely light! Around 670 grms.

It pitches at 125 cms giving good head room - even with the inner the headroom is about the same as in the Trailstar.

It is long. Seriously, long!

My first proper pitch, a few days after I got the Tramplite was in Edale. I arrived and pitched it in the dark. It goes up so easily*. Outer needs 6 stakes. I use a mix of stakes, but the Easton Alloy Golds are the preferred choice.

Previous posts have linked to loads of photos. here are a few more:

The above were on the 2015 TGO Challenge. The winds at Challebeate Springs were very strong. It was cold and we had rain from time to time. I had one of my best ever night's sleep here. First time I had used ear plugs! The wind and the river were noisy!

The length of the Tramplite is great if, like me, you are 6'2" - or taller. There is plenty of room behind my sleeping bag for gear I want to hand.

At the back of the Tramplite is a zipped entry to the space between the outer and the inner.

All other gear, including my pack, can easily fit in this area. This leaves the space under the doors as free as I wish.

What I haven't tried is the outer with a bivy bag. The space would be enormous. But, when I've craved an inner that works, for 4 years, it will be some time before I try using it with a bivy bag.

There has been quite a lot of talk around "doors". If you have doors, you have a tent, and if you don't you have a tarp. The Trailstar is a tarp. Or, is it? You can get a door and you can get an inner. 

The Tramplite is a shelter. The doors give added protection and privacy, but can be positioned to give views out. There are a number of ways they can be positioned and this has been covered in previous posts.

One advantage of not being fully enclosed is having good air circulation and less condensation. 

The inner had solid sides and back and mesh front. The bottom of the front does have some solid material to prevent draughts. It is very quick and easy to attach the inner to the outer. The whole shelter goes up in no time - not that I've put an exact time on doing so - it's not a race.

I must say, having used and loved my Trailstar and bivy for four years, I found the comfort of an inner to be a welcome. It gives comfort and no draughts. 

What more can I say?

Durability? I expect it to last me a goodly number of years. I tend to avoid backpacking in the Summer months, but it will get a fair degree of usage the rest of the year.

Would I swap it for any other shelter? No.

Would I go back to a Trailstar. No.

It is a superb shelter that meets all that I've wanted in a shelter. Low weight, space, storm-worthy. The design was influenced by the MLD Trailstar and Cricket.

It pitches like a dream. *OK* I did try to pitch it on the 2015 TGO Challenge to demonstrate how easily it went up. It was at Corndavon Lodge (a ruin) and I tried to pitch in the lee of the house.  The wind was gusting and swirling and I faffed around trying to get the right staking points. I gave up! I pitched in an equally windy position a few Ks further on - without my original audience. It went up like a dream.

The workmanship is second to none.

 It costs £550. For what I get, it's worth it. There are more expensive shelters on the market - some are not even made of cuben.

It is my only shelter and yes, I paid for it myself.

In summary, I love it.


  1. I too saw it in Montrose and was very impressed. Its a lot of money but i think it’s worth it. Well done Colin, great job.

    1. Hi Alan,
      I love the way the design of the shelter evolved from when we first saw it in Montrose. The design was modified by testing in the field and Colin used this experience to arrive at the model I have.
      After I got the shelter Colin considered the need for a second point at the rear of the inner to attach it to the outer - to keep the material away inside. This was done free of charge.