Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Mountain Laurel Designs TrailStar Shelter Review
Display Avatars Sort By:
Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: 100th TStar Review Post on 01/31/2012 10:53:38 MST Print View

Nicholas,
Nice photos. How's that BearPaw inner working for you? How's the space inside?

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
@ Travis on 01/31/2012 11:09:53 MST Print View

I've only used the Bearpaw innernet on a couple of trips. So far it seems to work out fine if a little bit of a hassle to set up.

There's plenty of space for two adults and their gear, in fact we fit our 100 lb lab in there with us with enough room for everyone.

The set-up of the innert net is a little fiddly. Maybe I haven't mastered the most efficient method yet, but what I do is stake out four of the corners of the TS, then run the pole that will be the center pole of the TS through the inner net and place it in its position under the shelter. Then center the net tent door where I want it, get the five corners of the TS where I want them and then attach the corners of the inner net to the lines coming off the TS.

The net seems to work best with a higher pitch in order to get all the slack out of the walls and maximize usable interior space. I haven't experimented too much with alternative TS pitches while using the net tent... more to come this spring, I'm sure.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: @ Travis on 01/31/2012 11:16:09 MST Print View

Thanks Nicholas. I've experimented with two-person bug net options as well, and yes, it can be fiddly. Just the nature of the beast, I guess.

Kyle Meyer
(kylemeyer) - M

Locale: Portland, OR
Re: @ Travis on 01/31/2012 11:19:34 MST Print View

I set it up the same way—

1. Plan to pitch it high.
2. Stake out Trailstar.
3. Insert inner with pole threaded through.
4. Spread out the inner so the corners are somewhat close to the corners of the shelter.
5. Connect guy lines to existing stakes on the back and sides
6. Stake out two front points separately

I've noticed I need to stake out the two door point separately for a truly taut pitch, but it works really well once it's set up! Plenty of livable space.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Mountain Laurel Designs TrailStar Shelter Review" on 01/31/2012 12:49:20 MST Print View

Bump for photos:

marty

SNOW

DUDES

JOEL

Pitched high for 3 late summer, giving my son room to wiggle around under a quilt.

ozarks

Trailstar on the Ozark Highland Trail.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Door height on 01/31/2012 13:03:56 MST Print View

Do you guys find that it's easy to get in/out of the Trailstar? Pitched low, it looks like you might almost have to crawl in/out of the shelter. Even when it's pitched high, the door looks pretty low to the ground.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Re: Re: "Mountain Laurel Designs TrailStar Shelter Review" on 01/31/2012 13:04:58 MST Print View

"Left to right, MLD Cricket, Trailstar, and Supermid. Overnight, winds picked up on the ridge line gusting to roughly 30 miles per hour. The Trailstar definitely handled it best despite a pretty crappy pitch and none of the midpanel guy out points used."

If I recall correctly, it was the Trailstar owner that got up in the middle of the night to re-stake and shovel. ;)

To the Cricket question—pitched properly and with the proper stakes, this could be a legit light snow shelter. I was using tubular stakes and groundhogs, so I didn't get the taughtness I wanted, for fear of flying nighttime stakes. I also ended up accidentally pitching into the wind, which didn't help matters. With some snow stakes and a low pitch, it isn't a bad option. The downside, of course, is less space than a full trailstar, which would be especially nice for wintertime when you want more space, but the little porch does help.

Edited by ChrisMorgan on 01/31/2012 13:07:59 MST.

Kyle Meyer
(kylemeyer) - M

Locale: Portland, OR
Re: Re: Re: "Mountain Laurel Designs TrailStar Shelter Review" on 01/31/2012 13:08:32 MST Print View

No restaking, just sealing a draft that was blowing snow in!

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Re: "Mountain Laurel Designs TrailStar Shelter Review" on 01/31/2012 13:15:45 MST Print View

Kyle- What kind of snow anchors to you use with your TS?


Eugene- Nice photos. It really is an elegant shelter, isn't it?

Kyle Meyer
(kylemeyer) - M

Locale: Portland, OR
@Travis on 01/31/2012 13:25:33 MST Print View

Since we have snow called "cascade concrete" around here, I use typical snow stakes like the MSR Blizzards. The Supermid was held in place by snow anchors like these though, and they seemed really nice to use.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: @Travis on 01/31/2012 13:41:04 MST Print View

Heh, yeah, I actually have both of those. I did some tests last weekend using both types on the same shelter in some powder. After work-hardening them into the snow and letting them set up over night, the Blizzards were much harder to remove than the REI ones. However, when initially setting them in the snow, the REI anchors held better.

Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
Re: Re: @Travis on 01/31/2012 13:49:25 MST Print View

@Nicholas, thanks for sharing your photos and experience. Is there room in the Bearpaw inner for two adults (i.e. with a 2 person quilt) to sleep next to each other without one being completely up against the side? In order to do this would you have to angle to center pole away to one side?

Kyle Meyer
(kylemeyer) - M

Locale: Portland, OR
Re: Re: Re: @Travis on 01/31/2012 13:51:24 MST Print View

Bear Paw's Pentanet won't pitch properly at all with the pole askew. You could ask to have the hole in the floor moved, but I can only imagine that would make the shelter exponentially harder to pitch correctly. The wife and I sleep with a pole between us : [

Jeremy Gustafson
(gustafsj) - MLife

Locale: Minneapolis
Re: Re: 100th TStar Review Post on 01/31/2012 13:59:21 MST Print View

How well would it work to use an inverted 'V' to open up the floor for the inner? I suppose you would have to have a second pair of poles or pole jacks to make it work... I'm just not sure how that would affect the tensions of each of the panels.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
TS entrance on 01/31/2012 14:22:41 MST Print View

@ Andrew,

The entrance to the Trailstar is not unusually low when pitched in storm mode (down to the ground), comparable toto tarps I have had in the past (MLD Grace duo, Oware Cat2). I'm 6' and a little crawl or squat is all that is necessary. Interior height isn't what you find on the Duomid or other mids of that style, but it isn't crammed- easy to sit up inside. For fair weather you can pitch the front pole high and enter with ease. There isn't one way to pitch this thing, so making a higher entrance is up to you and the conditions.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
@ Trevor on 01/31/2012 14:49:40 MST Print View

I don't know if using an off-centered pole would work when pitching the TS with the inner net. You would, at a minimum, need to have some kind of cap or piece of wood or something to rest the tip of the pole on so as to not puncture your floor. There may be problems with the geometry too and get getting a taut pitch to the trailstar and/or inner net... could be worth exploring though...

Other solutions would be to hang the trailstar from an overhead branch by the exterior loop on the peak. The inner net could then be hung from the loop on the interior of the TS peak. That would eliminate poles entirely from the shelter interior and would likely provide enough room for 3.

Or, if you have a 2nd set of poles (or pole jacks) handy, you could probably set up an inverted V pole arrangement to support the trailstar and again hang the net tent from the interior loop at the peak of the trailstar. This would again leave all of the interior space inside of the net tent pole-free. I don't have a second set of poles (or any pole jacks) so I've never tried this arrangement (one of us hikes with poles, the other gets to be dog handler).

Maybe this weekend I can try the off-set center pole just to see if it's even possible.

Here's the inner net sans trailstar; there's any number of ways to arrange the pads, I just threw them in there to show what could fit:

Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
Re: @ Trevor on 02/01/2012 10:55:08 MST Print View

Thanks, Kyle and Nicholas, for your responses! It seems like an inverted V with two trekking poles could work in theory. I guess as Jeremy pointed out the key question would be if having the poles configured like that would affect the panel tension and strength of the shelter overall, one of its key benefits.

Thanks for the picture of the net tent too! That really helps to see what is possible in there.

Ceph Lotus
(Cephalotus) - MLife

Locale: California
Bearpaw Innernet for Trailstar on 02/01/2012 11:33:09 MST Print View

Bearpaw has two 2-person innernets that will work with the Trailstar:

PentaNet 2

PyraNet 2

There are tradeoffs between the two, so you'll have to determine what is more important for you.

The PentaNet 2 is larger, and weighs more, but provides more netting protection, and the rooms it takes up means smaller vestibules. The PyraNet 2 is smaller, but can still accomodate two people. The PyraNet 2 can also be twirled around the center pole, so you determine where you want the doors to be relative to the tent opening, and being smaller will allow more room for your vestibule space. The PyraNet 2 can also better accomodate the lower pitch configurations of the Trailstar than the PentaNet 2. So, the PyraNet 2 is more versatile than the PentaNet 2, in exchange for netting space.

Also, with either innernet, you have the choice of what material to use (silnylon, cuben), the thickness of the No-See-um material, the height of the sidings, and the number of doors and where to put them on the innernet. And you can also request custom modifications. John Stultz, the owner of Bearpaw, has been very helpful with me on the numerous questions I asked him about his innernets.

Edited by Cephalotus on 02/01/2012 11:54:09 MST.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Tstar photos and video on 02/02/2012 17:40:46 MST Print View

A few more Trailstar photos and a link to a video of the cuben version http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vmneOE4j2s. Still waiting on mine :(.

Nelson Lakes National Park, South Island New Zealand

Nelson Lakes National Park, South Island New Zealand

Nelson Lakes National Park, South Island New Zealand.

Edited by jephoto on 02/02/2012 17:46:21 MST.

Ronda Nelson
(pinoakrd)
good first tarp? on 02/04/2012 23:06:10 MST Print View

I am new to backpacking and currently use a TarpTent Rainbow, but have been interested in just using a tarp. Would this be a good way to start? The comments are all so favorable.

Thanks,