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TrailStar question
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Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
TrailStar question on 04/26/2014 11:47:11 MDT Print View

I need to appeal to you experienced TrailStar owners. I picked up one in Gear Swap, and I've been geeking out with it all week. I've pitched it high, low, and medium. I've canted the center pole to the side successfully, and I've even lashed 2 trekking poles to form an inverted V. This allows me to sleep right in the center of the coverage. Now my big question--how do you close off the door opening when the great rain storm comes, to keep the inside dry when the wind shifts?

Here's my low pitch, with the canted single pole arrangement:

TrailStar low pitch

The only thing I've come up with is to create enough slack on the front guy line to allow the pole (a stick in this case) to lie on the ground out of the way. Then I folded the seams of the "beak" over and over until the front was flat and taut, and I used a small binder clip to keep it that way. This is with the inverted V 2-pole setup, which you can't see with the door sealed up. But you can see that things are pretty taut, except for the door panel itself. It's hard to get that perfect, but it seems OK.

TrailStar door closed

I figure I could do this closure thing from the inside, for quick access to open things up for the midnight pee break. Then back to the shelter, and close it back up again from inside. The photo shows that there is still a bit of exposure to the driving rain. I'm not sure what else I could do to better seal out the elements, short of having an umbrella inside with me to protect at least my head and shoulder ares (and increasing my base weight). What do you people do to more fully close the front door opening to create a completely rain-proof shelter?

Edited by Zia-Grill-Guy on 04/26/2014 11:53:33 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: TrailStar question on 04/26/2014 12:11:55 MDT Print View

Two options:

Get out and restake at least 2, and probably 3, of the corners to lower all sides to the ground. Probably have to drop the center pole a hair first.

Do what most TS owners have done: sell it and buy a mid.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: TrailStar question on 04/26/2014 12:17:19 MDT Print View

Gary, you really don't. It only pitches one way, up or down in height. I have seen some use an umbrella to block the entrance.

"Do what most TS owners have done: sell it and buy a mid."

LOL. That's exactly what I did.

Edited by FamilyGuy on 04/26/2014 12:48:14 MDT.

icefest From Australia
Re: TrailStar question on 04/26/2014 12:30:26 MDT Print View

I don't usually change that once it's up.
Not being worried about bears here in Australia I just put my pack at the doorway (when as a group of two, stand them up and you have a decent door).

The other thing that you can try (and what I suspect you might've misunderstood)is that you can pitch all 5 corners low to the ground, then leave one corner loose, crawl under, and then pull it tight. That's AIFAIR the only way to get 360° wind + rain protection.

Lastly you can pitch it like a -mid:

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
TS on 04/26/2014 12:46:51 MDT Print View

I think you'll find its plenty weatherproof in virtually all conditions with a small door open. Just slide to the back if it blows.

Ivo Vanmontfort
(Ivo) - MLife
"the lazy man pitch" on 04/26/2014 13:07:48 MDT Print View

In this
dutch report on my blog you will find a You Tube video (skipp 45 seconds) to illustrate my solution for this problem.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
TrailStar answers on 04/26/2014 13:25:09 MDT Print View

OK, so I see how this is going--the boys up north make me cry, and the boys down south (and Robert is way south) make me grin again. I just want to be able to get in and out of the sucker during a heavy rain without getting my bag wet. There must be a way to do this, without having to crawl on my belly through the mud like a reptile. The Buddhist in me says that either I'll figure it out, or else I won't.

No real matter, as I have 2 other setups that weigh the same as the TS--a Contrail, which is fairly OK in moderate wind/rain and is bug proof, and then my modified GoLite SL-1 without the nest, which is great in strong winds with driving rain. Both of these have a smaller footprint too. Still, the TrailStar is just so damned sexy looking.

Thanks for your responses, guys.

icefest From Australia
Re: "the lazy man pitch" on 04/26/2014 13:27:16 MDT Print View


That's genius. I'm definitely copying that. I think I'll use some grosgrain to limit abrasion though.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
re: "the lazy man pitch" on 04/26/2014 13:33:58 MDT Print View

Ivo, that is a superb technique. I'll try it now myself. Thanks for sharing it. Maybe my solution will come from the east of me, after all.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: "the lazy man pitch" on 04/26/2014 14:40:03 MDT Print View

Ivo's solution is a good one, great idea. Another approach, which works well if you're more worried about precip than wind, is to make the door narrow and tall, then loosen a corner to make the entrance bigger when going in and out. Sheds snow better, and still sheds wind pretty well.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: "the lazy man pitch" on 04/26/2014 14:59:27 MDT Print View

seems like a pyramid with zipper works better

Dan Goggins
(hjuan99) - MLife

Locale: Mountain West
Lazy Pitch on 04/26/2014 15:08:56 MDT Print View

Wow....that is a very interesting pitch idea....and you would only need one pole now instead of two.

But, to echo several other posters on this thread...I also sold my trailstar to buy a cuben supermid (still in production...10 weeks is a long time).

The trailstar gets a lot of love in the forums. But for me, the footprint is too large, and the setup too finicky (I keep having to move stakes around to get a nice pitch. With a mid...I think I have to move 1 stake on average every 3-4 pitches.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Flexible pitching options on 04/26/2014 15:17:09 MDT Print View

I agree that a pyramid with a zipper is more convenient for entry/exit than the TS. And you have to fiddle a bit with the TS to get things just right. But what I am attracted to is the countless pitching options that the TS offers. It's a unique bundle of silnylon, to be sure.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - F

Locale: Colorado
Trailstar door on 04/26/2014 17:30:52 MDT Print View


Want to borrow my cuben door to try it for size? It does a good job of keeping the worst of the conditions out while still allowing decent ventilation.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
re: Trailstar door on 04/27/2014 08:17:22 MDT Print View

Hi, Stuart. Any chance that you could post a photo of that cuben door? I actually thought of making one myself, but I think maybe I've come up with another, sort-of-acceptable solution. I'm waiting to see if the sun will come out this morning, for better photos.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: "the lazy man pitch" on 04/27/2014 08:46:11 MDT Print View

Ivo, I love it. Very nice solution!

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
My crappy solution on 04/27/2014 08:57:21 MDT Print View

It's looking like the rain will come any time now, so I went ahead and took some photos of what I think might work to keep the heavy rain at bay, sort of. The first shot is of the TrailStar pitched low and taut, using a canted pole. By the way, how much cant can you get away with before something fails? Is mine too much, or can I do even more? An inverted V with 2 poles lashed together is probably the best arrangement, as far as creating a large sleeping space in the center of the tarp. But that implies that I would need to find the right stick to support the front opening. By the way, my binder clip idea failed miserably--the first big wind gust popped the clip right off the slippery silnylon.

Warning--this technique is something only a mother could love.

TS pitched

The next photo shows the front dropped to the ground, with the linelock pinned down to minimize flapping in the wind. There's plenty of sagging of the front 3 sides, and wind would play havoc with it, but at least the rain should be kept at bay.

front closed with Stix

The linelock is held down with a 13" version of the Stix I sell. I usually carry 2 of these and 4 regular length Stix. Here I am using the four regular 10" Stix to pin down the centers of the side panels. It's easy to release the linelock from the Stix to get out, and to secure it when I'm back inside after my quick little jaunt outside.

Stix pin-down

Keep in mind that here in the Rockies, where I do my camping, rain doesn't usually last very long, and all that is needed is a short-term fix to keep the bag protected during a big downpour.

I told you that this is a fairly crappy solution, but it should work OK. Stuart, I await the photo of your cuben door.

Edited by Zia-Grill-Guy on 04/27/2014 09:02:51 MDT.

William Chilton
(WilliamC3) - MLife

Locale: Antakya
Re: My crappy solution on 04/27/2014 09:06:20 MDT Print View

Gary, I don't have a Trailstar, but why don't you cant the pole toward the front, keep the door open and sleep at the back of the tarp (perpendicular to the door)?

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: TrailStar question on 04/27/2014 09:19:42 MDT Print View

Would this be of use to you Gary?

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
TrailStar and rain on 04/27/2014 10:22:43 MDT Print View

William, you're no doubt right about that sleeping arrangement. The back of the TS is pretty much rain proof when pitched right to the ground. There's only the issue of having to get around the canted pole in order to get in and out of the tarp.

Thanks for that link, Ken. It was quite interesting to see what folks have done to seal off the entrance. I expect that Stuart's cuben door is one he bought from Oookworks. And with Ron's suggestion of strengthing the hang loops with SilNet and a silnylon patch, this seems like the best of all solutions. It looks like there's a decent amount of protected ventilation above the Oookworks door.

I think that the best thing for me to do is just get out and use this tarp, and see if there's really anything that needs to be done. I might well be imagining a problem that doesn't actually exist.