MLD Trailstar & backpacking with a dog

by backpackingbongos

I managed a successful first pitch of the Trailstar this week in a friends garden.  Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but not bad either.  I am sure that with practice I will get better.  Whilst it was pitched I took the opportunity to seal the seams, mixing the Silnet with white spirit to make it easier to apply.  The seams on the Trailstar are less than perfect, a couple of them being crumpled and not very flat.  They are also a couple of loose threads.  I am hoping that this is cosmetic and does not cause any weakness.  It also made it a bit harder to seal those seams.  Anyway this shelter is huge inside, considering how small a package it is inside its stuffsack.  When erected I found it difficult to reach some of the higher seams to seal them, standing on tiptoe with arms outstretched.  This would be impossible if you are under 6ft!

A bathtub groundsheet is on its way to me from Bearpaw Wilderness Designs.  In the meantime I have got a heavier cheapie from the Poundshop.  I am not sure yet whether to purchase an inner, I will see how I get on without one first.

The Trailstar’s first outing is tomorrow and it will also be Reubens first backpacking trip.  This has prompted some thought about his comfort and enjoyment.  It is also going to add a bit of weight to my rucksack.  For sleeping I have purchased him a foam mat from the Poundshop, this will be folded over for him.  For warmth he has a smart pile lined jacket which makes him walk like a robot when I put it on him.  I will also be taking an old fleece sleeping bag liner just in case.  Each evening this week I have been putting the foam mat on the floor with the fleece liner opened out on top.  He lies on it and I zip him in with only his head popping out.  Last night he slept in it for hours snoring away whilst we watched T.V.  So at least he is familiar with that set up.  Add to that his bowl, a flexi lead, food and extra water, my ruckasck will be pretty heavy.

The plan tomorrow evening is to park up at the summit of a road at 500m and walk a kilometre or so to pitch well out of sight.  Fingers crossed it will not be too midgy at that height for a night in the Trailstar.  If it is I will have a Terra Nova Voyager in the boot of the car for back up.  The following day a short drive to Dufton for a two-day backpack in the North Pennines.  It’s going to be a backpack with a difference!

Talking dogs and backpacking I have just come across Dixie – a dog on the Pennine Way.  An enjoyable read as you don’t get many people writing about backpacking with a dog.

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17 Comments to “MLD Trailstar & backpacking with a dog”

  1. So much space for the weight and room for the dog. Have a great trip with him and the Trailstar.

    • Cheers Martin, looking forward to first night in the Trailstar. Will be something different backpacking with a dog.

  2. I suspect you may be being too soft on that dog. Use him as a warm pillow….

    • I probably am Mike, although he is a soft ‘urban’ dog who avoids puddles and shivers at the slightest breeze………

  3. You must post a pic of Reuben zipped up in his sleeping bag, the thought alone is making me chuckle!

    • Cheers Terry – Reuben has already got a Ruffwear harness, I may invest in a set of panniers for him next!

  4. I love reading about yours and Reuben’s adventures! My labrador puppy is 8 months old. I’ve been dieing to take her out on her inaugural overnighter for a while now, but work keeps getting in the way! Reading this has inspired me to set aside the time for it.

    Hmm… might go check the weather for this weekend!

  5. On a similar note, on arriving at the summit of Cnicht in the Moelwyns of Snowdonia (on a fine sunny day of the winter just gone), I came across a couple with two dogs. One was a spritely collie enjoying his day out in the snow. The other was what can only be described as an Ewok. He was 16 years old, completely blind in one eye and almost blind in the other. He was carried up the mountain in his owner’s rucksack… perfectly zipped up with just his head poking out, wrapped in a scarf and with a wooly hat on his noggin. It is one of the sweetest and funniest sights I’ve ever seen!

    He was quite happy too – you could literally see the grin on his face when he was let out to run around (carefully, as he couldn’t see) on top of Cnicht. He was just as happy being wrapped back up again for the descent back to the valley.

    I have a great photo of him but can’t figure out how to post an image in these comments…

    • Cheers for the photo, it made me chuckle. The dog really does look like an Ewok! I am sure your puppy would love to go out for an overnighter, bet she has loads of energy (will keep you up all night?)

  6. All I take for my lab is a piece of foam pad and a piece cut out of an old army bag(pile and pertex) he carrys his own food/bowl I’n a set of panniers..ruffwear..

    • If Reuben enjoys this trip then I may invest in a set of Ruffwear Panniers for him. He is trong enough to carry his own kit!

      • Best things I bought for dog .get the ones that allows you to unclip the pack from the harness,with 3 clips,it’s very handy at Walls and styles .my lab has had his for two years and still going strong as for the bladders ?!? Threw them away great bit of kit

  7. That’s not the first time I have heard about problems with quality of workmanship on the Trailstar. If there are quality issues with seams I would send it back and ask for a new one. Repairing a brand new product is soul destroying. After the manufacturer gets a few back you can be pretty sure the quality issues will improve.

    • Hi Alan. I am going to take it away this weekend and check it out properly. If not happy I will email MLD when I return. I do like my kit to be perfect!

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