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Trailstar Owners
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Ultralite Hiker
(Ultralite) - F
Trailstar Owners on 10/10/2012 15:06:25 MDT Print View

I have been looking for a new shelter for a few weeks. I decided on a Cuben Trailstar with a Zpacks Poncho Groundsheet. In this configuration it is about 1 oz lighter than a Zpacks Solo-Plus tent with extended beak and a Zpacks Poncho Groundsheet. I may eventually add an inner to the Trailstar making it about 7oz heavier when fully enclosed is required, but much larger.

Most of my hiking is done in the Southeast, and I take one trip a year out west. So far it has always been in the Sierras, with a lot of time above tree-line, but my group has plans to add some other destinations in the future.

My only real concern with the Trailstar is it's size. To those of you that have a Trailstar, how often have you had issues with it's size? Meaning how often do you encounter sites that are too small to pitch?

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Trailstar on 10/10/2012 15:17:35 MDT Print View

I have the cuben trailstar but have only had it for a few months. I have not had size problems. Southeast seems not to have that issue so much. I have also heard people mention that they sometimes pitch the trailstar over obstacles such as rocks,etc.

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
Trailstar Owners on 10/10/2012 15:55:51 MDT Print View

I am only posting here b/c I want to pretend I own a trailstar. I have nothing to add to the conversation though.

Kidding aside, I was trying to decide between a Trailstar and Duomid recently (ordered but still haven't decided, MLD said I need to decide before my order comes up in six plus weeks) and asked the same question as you. Everyone suggested that they did not have much problem pitching in sierras (also where I camp). Also, looking at LOTS of pictures online and a number of youtube videos, it's not quite as big as it looks. It's long, but not terribly bad. If you could put a 4-man dome tent there, you can put a trailstar there. Now back to making my decision ...

Ultralite Hiker
(Ultralite) - F
Trailstar vs Duomid on 10/10/2012 16:01:46 MDT Print View

I was (am) deciding between the two as well. I like the entry/exit of the Duomid, but pretty much everything else about the Trailstar. I went with the Trailstar for now. I have never really had an issue finding a spot for a Hexamid Twin, so I assume the Trailstar will be fine.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Trailstar on 10/10/2012 16:05:12 MDT Print View

I haven't had problems finding space for it, both above and below treeline in the Sierra. It is bigger than a 2 person tarp, but it's about the same as a 3-person double walled tent which people find space for all the time. The size is both the biggest pro and biggest con of the Trailstar IMHO. It may restrict you a little bit in terms of site selection, but when the weather is actually crappy, you will be glad you have the extra room.

The Bearpaw site for the PentaNet (which fits inside the Trailstar) gives you a good sense for a size of the Trailstar footprint.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Trailstar Owners on 10/10/2012 16:10:22 MDT Print View

The selling point for me was the large size. We get pretty regular rain in the southeast and, when we do, its nice to be able to spread out a bit and maybe even be able to invite your hiking buddies in before sleeping. If I lived in an area like socal with rare rainfall, other qualities, such as weight, footprint, and ease of entry, might be a bigger selling point.

Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
duomid on 10/10/2012 16:32:39 MDT Print View

First I bought a cuben trailstar and the later I replaced it with the cubin duomid.
I didn't like the cuben trailstar because I could not get it close to the ground all the way round and batten down the hatches so to speak. It had a huge amount of space. I wanted a solo shelter. The solomid in the rain got my stuff wet everytime I unzipped it.
The duomid solved that problem.

The duomid, in my opinion, is easier to pitch, less pegs to weigh you down, smaller footprint. I hike mostly in the Sierra's, 90 % of the time there is no rain but a few times I've had it come at me sideways, I'm happy with the duomid. I just wish you could order it with a bug net across the door not just the skirt.

Edited by anthonyweston on 10/11/2012 10:29:05 MDT.

Rob Vandiver

Locale: So Cal
Trailstar Footprint on 10/10/2012 16:40:13 MDT Print View

There will be times when you will be irritated with how big of an area you need to set it up. It really is the only drawback I see to the shelter.

Steve Meier
(smeier) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Not been a problem on 10/10/2012 16:41:26 MDT Print View

I hike mostly along the AT and in Colorado and the TS's size hasn't been a problem but usually I am hiking to established sites. It's big but not so big that it's a problem unless you are stealth camping in steep or particularly overgrown terrain. By the way, the appeal for me has been its complete simplicity. No zippers, etc. Just stake out and you're golden.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Trailstar size on 10/10/2012 16:58:38 MDT Print View

There have been times when I can't pitch the Trailstar exactly where I would like to or in the exact desired alignment due to its size and nearby obstacles, but I've never ended up in an area where I couldn't find some place to pitch it at all because of its size.

In a few circumstances, I've pitched it partially over fallen logs, small boulders, small plants, etc. It really is a versatile shelter in this regard.

The more likely scenario (in my mind) is having to pitch the shelter higher than desired to accomodate one of the above obstacles on a day when the weather dictates a low and tight pitch.

I will say, it's a big a shelter! This last weekend, in a pinch, we fit three adults in the Trailstar to get out of some nasty winds. My buddy's cat-cut tarp was not up to the conditions at hand (40 mph+ swirly winds throughout the night while pitched on beach sand). We had to pitch the Trailstar with the center pole angled and get a little creative with the layout of sleeping bags but it worked fine and kept us all out of that awful wind.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Trailstar on 10/11/2012 08:23:11 MDT Print View

If you are using the Trailstar solo, you could pitch in a lot of different ways if ground space is tight.
A four sided pitch comes to mind if you are in extreme storm conditions with a small pitch area.

As stated, you can pitch over obstacles, use a narrow pitch, etc... Not having a floor attached really helps with the versatility of this shelter.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
A picture is worth 1000 words... on 10/11/2012 10:01:59 MDT Print View

This site was a little tight; the first time I pitched it, one of the stakes needed to go where the tree was. So we rotated the Trailstar 15 degrees and it worked fine.

Higher up, once we were out of the trees a little bit, we had plenty of space and really enjoyed all the extra room.

Three of us hid under the Trailstar at this spot during a 45 minute rain and hail storm. With 3 highly motivated people running from the rain, it took us less than 90 seconds to get the shelter up.

And here's one with James W's Duomid...

Edited by andrew.f on 10/11/2012 10:04:36 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: A picture is worth 1000 words... on 10/11/2012 10:17:23 MDT Print View

One gives you 4 season protection. The other 3 season.