Mountain Laurel Designs Trailstar ordered

by backpackingbongos

I totally blame Martin Rye for subliminally causing me to enter my credit card details onto the internet.

A have done a couple of backpacking trips with him this year where he has used a Trailstar.  I have toyed for a while with the idea of a tarp type shelter, but to be honest have not really considered them suitable for the type of backpacking that I do.  The main issue being stability in wind when pitched high up in the mountains with very little shelter.  Back in January we spent ’24 stormy hours in the Howgills’, the weather was horrendous with severe gales and hours of constant driving rain.  The conditions were probably the worst that I have ever camped in.  I spent the night in my Scarp1 complete with its crossing poles, whilst Martin was in the Trailstar.  Amazingly they were equals during that storm, both barely budging in the strong gusts.  A seed was sown that night in my head.

Forward wind to last weekend.  A pitch high on the side of Wildboar Fell in perfect conditions.  Again I found myself eyeing up the Trailstar, being able to lay in bed and watch the world go by was very appealing.  The space inside is pretty impressive for something that weighs so little.  I also now backpack with two poles, I may as well put them to good use during the night…………..

I am keen to take the dog backpacking before winter approaches once again.  I have come to realise that realistically he is not going to fit into my one man Scarp1.  To be honest even if he did I am not sure that I would want to share a small space with a wet and dirty dog, plus his claws are like iron and would probably puncture the ground sheet.  The trailstar would be perfect, I could have my ground sheet and he can have his (although I suspect I would wake up with him doing his best to sneak into bed with me!).

I have found a company that makes Bathtub ground sheets that look like they would be perfect for this shelter.  Bearpaw Wilderness Designs also make bug netting that will fit the Trailstar as well.

Anyway all of that is a long way away as I wait up to 10 weeks for it to be built and shipped from the US.

Trailstar pitched just below the summit of Wildboar Fell.

14 Comments to “Mountain Laurel Designs Trailstar ordered”

  1. I hope you’ll be very happy together! Sounds more reliable than my now defunct Voyager XL. The peeps at Terra Nova seem unwilling to accept that it’s a donkey, mind.

  2. Corrina rolled her eyes Pete when I mentioned that I had flexed my credit card, she soon went quiet when I asked her how many bags she owned! Its a real shame that Terra Nova are not playing ball with your suicidal tent. Did you mention to them that it was pegged down with the pegs that it was supplied with. Its supposed to be a bomber tent, if a Eurohike cheapie can survive the wind then a Voyager bloody well should! I will email you some maps tonight with some squiggles over Northumberland.

  3. Mine is soon to be ordered too. It looks great. Superlight bivy too. And I’ll get some cuben offcuts from my brother in law and make a groundsheet too.

  4. Good stuff – it will be interesting to hear your thoughts on it given how much Martin and Helen Fisher love theirs. I love the weight savings that come with a tarp style shelter but still feel a bit unsure about venturing out with one into the high places of Scotland. I still like the fact that with a tent, if it all goes wrong outside, you just zip everything up and are protected from the elements, bugs etc!

  5. 10 weeks is going to be torture for you James! 😀

    Really like the look of the trailstar, the space inside it is a real big plus. Also the simplicity of design appeals. I think its not only a great shelter option but also an aethetically pleasing one too

  6. James, good idea for taking the dog. Not for me, I like a 2 skin tent – each to his/her own 🙂

  7. Blame me? I expect the gear junkie inside of you did not need much encouragement to get one 🙂 I think it is an amazing shelter. Colin Ibbotson and Steve Horners reviews are a must read for anyone looking at getting one. I am also awaiting a Solo Mid which has a small footprint for when I need a shelter like that. For any other time a Trailstar is all I need. I expect you will be the same soon.

  8. bombproof. Simplicity and stability, can’t go wrong. Colin makes good 1/2 groundsheets for these. This, and an inner net in due course is all I need. Ookwerks might also sort us out for one of those in the UK…

  9. Good to hear that you are going to get one soon Maz, will have to do a Trailstar overnighter in the Autumn! I have a really lightweight bivy from Rab which should work well under this shelter. Its just the bugs thing that I am not sure about at the moment.

    Hi Nick, I don’t think that the Trailstar would be coming out on every trip, a case of making an informed decision as to what to take before a trip. I love the Scarp which will probably always be my main shelter of choice. However great to save weight with the Trailstar for overnighters.

    10 weeks is a long time Dave, I will just have to forget that I ordered it! I have a Tentipi and love sleeping in a pyramid, something very pleasing about it.

    I am sure that Reuben will appreciate it Mark!

    I needed a scapegoat Martin so chose you to ease my concience at spending more money on something that I do not really ‘need’. However need is very different from ‘want’! Spent a while reading both Colin and Steve’s reviews which sold it to me really. Some good pitching tips there as well. See you in a couple of days mate.

    I hope that yours serves you well over the two months that you will be using it Dave, as good a test than any shelter can get.

  10. A tarp is cracking idea for taking the dog. And with the trailstar having such a large footprint you shouldn’t be to cosy in there. Personally I’m waiting for the fabled Alpkit backpacking tent to appear before I make a move for an ulralight shelter.

    Until then, I’ll be keeping an eye on your opinion of the trailstar. I already know Martin’s well enough!

  11. hi my 35 kilo lab who walks the fells most weeks and more in winter fits in my scarp porch ! i just unpeg one corner and peg it back to the middle he curls up there no problems ..but a trailstar hmmmmmmmmmmm if only we didnt hace to wait 10 wks still got my shangri-la3 for me dog and boy junior may swap this for a trailstar sometime..peter

  12. Using this Tarp is going to be a new experience for me Charlie, looking forward to it lots and I am sure that Reuben will enjoy it!

    Hi Peter. Good tip with the Scarp may have to try that, but then there will be the Trailstar………………………….

  13. My Trailstar and Superlight Bivvy finally landed here on Monday, it’s been a tough wait since I put the order in at the end of March.

    Looking to get my first night out in it this Saturday if I can get it seam sealed in time.

  14. How are they looking Shewie? I bet that they are good to get after all this time.

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