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How to pitch the Trailstar perfectly every time
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Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
How to pitch the Trailstar perfectly every time on 03/04/2013 15:27:29 MST Print View

Some people say that pitching the Trailstar is more challenging than a rectangular tarp, and that's somewhat true in my experience. After some trial and error, I figured out a way to get a perfect taut pitch without having to move a single stake just about every time. This is for the standard pitch, with one of the mid-panel guyouts as the top of the triangular door.


1. Stake out the rear stake opposite the entrance (Stake #1.)
2. Clove hitch the guyline attached to Stake #4 around your trekking pole about 12 inches from the LineLock. Stake out stake #4 and pull the ridgeline tight with the extra slack in the LineLock. Your pole may or may not stand up on its own now.
3. Holding the trekking pole upright with one hand, reach down and put in stakes #3 and #5.
4. Insert your second trekking pole into the center of the Trailstar and raise it up until the ridgeline is taught. (The exact height depends on how much slack you left in the guylines and how tall your first trekking pole is.)
5. Insert stakes #2 and #6.

To prevent slack between adjacent panels, you must have the guyline pulling parallel to the seam on each main corner. If there is an angle between the guyline and the panel seam, one side will be tight and the other will have slack in it.

Following this method, James W., my wife and I set up my Trailstar in literally less than a minute after running down Kuna Pass to get out of a thunderstorm. No restaking was required, and the drum tight pitch kept us dry for the next 30 minutes as the storm blew over.

Hope this helps my fellow Trailstar owners out there.

Edited by andrew.f on 03/04/2013 15:29:04 MST.

George Davis
(nsiderbam) - M

Locale: mid-Atlantic
Thanks on 03/04/2013 19:32:24 MST Print View

I don't think that the Trailstar is difficult to pitch, but I have had some problems getting a consistently good pitch. This should help out. Thanks!

Daniel Allen
(Dan_Quixote) - F

Locale: below the mountains (AK)
Thanks! on 03/05/2013 20:11:58 MST Print View

this is really useful to me, thanks a bunch!

Kyle Meyer
(kylemeyer) - M

Locale: Portland, OR
Re: How to pitch the Trailstar perfectly every time on 03/08/2013 19:56:56 MST Print View

That seems like a pretty fool-proof method. I feel like I've gotten pretty good with the method I've arrived at:

1. Set my trekking pole to 140cm and shove it hard into the dirt where I want the center of the shelter.

2. While it's standing, drape the Trailstar over the pole

3. Put in stakes 1, 2, and 6 pulling all the panels semi-tight.

4. Put in stakes 3 and 5 with panels semi-tight.

5. Clove hitch trekking pole and put in stake 4.

6. Quick tour around the Trailstar tightening line locs.

Either way, the trick to a well pitched Trailstar is putting the stakes perfectly in line with the seams. You'll have loose panels if your guy line isn't perfectly aligned with the seams of the shelter.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
could it use more lines ? on 03/08/2013 20:14:44 MST Print View

it looks to my eye that the hassle of optimal peg/rock placement could be eliminated to a great degree by not using 6 individual lines, but 6 Pairs of lines that split the angles.
would that not hold the thing more stable as well ?
they make little line runners that allow you to change line length with no effort.
if you throw an overhand knot/loop at the far end of each pair, it keeps the slack form transferring from one line to the other.
the way it is now, if a panel wants to pull to the side, it is only restrained by the panels next to it, as it's corner line is pretty much useless at an included angle of 180°. the panels next to the moving panel are only held by their 180° lines , but have a better angle on the panel in question. it's like one thing is based upon another (which is ok), but when you get more than a few of them in a row, stuff moves around too easily.

Roger's comments recently inspired me to re-rig my akto along the splitting-the-difference line of thought, and i think it's a better setup now.
i predict the akto will handle much stronger winds now with less billowing about, and with less stress on it's already overburdened corner attachements.


Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: could it use more lines ? on 03/08/2013 20:45:39 MST Print View

I don't visualize very well, I'd love to see a drawing of what you're talking about Peter.