GoLite Trig 2 Shelter REVIEW

The GoLite Trig 2 Shelter is a single wall pup tent on steroids - it offers more ventilation options and a two-trekking pole pitch.


by Doug Johnson | 2004-09-25 03:00:00-06


GoLite Trig 2 Shelter

The GoLite Trig 2 is a non-freestanding single wall shelter that requires two trekking poles for setup. It features a unique ventilation system where vent flaps (two large side and one small rear) can be zipped open and rolled up, exposing large mesh panels. While this system creates excellent ventilation in fair weather, it also allows rain to directly enter the tent, requiring that the flaps be rolled down in stormy or variable conditions.

At 3 pounds 5.1 ounces (1.51 kilogram), the Trig 2 is a lightweight tent. However, much of its 33 square feet of area is not usable living space due to the tent's steeply sloping walls. The GoLite's interior space is further minimized because the width decreases from front to back by more than half. If two campers are in the tent, their legs and feet will be touching towards the back of the tent. GoLite intends the Trig 2 for two people. It is quite comfortable for one person but is undersized for two people.


• Tent type

Single wall with floor

• Fabric Description

Component Description
Canopy 30d 1.76 oz/yd2 (60 g/m2) silicone-impregnated ripstop nylon - tear strength of 9.5 lb (4.3 kg)
Floor 70d 2.2 oz/yd2 (75 g/m2) 3000 mm polyurethane coated nylon taffeta
Door and vents 20d woven no-see-um nylon mesh

• Weight Full Package

As supplied by manufacturer with stuff sacks, stakes, guylines, etc.

Backpacking Light scale Manufacturer claim
3 lb 5.1 oz (1.51 kg) 3 lb 5 oz (1.50 kg)

• Weight Minimum Package

Includes tent body and fly, minimum necessary stakes and guylines, no stuff sacks or extra hardware.

Manufacturer supplied Backpacking Light
6 stakes, 10 ft (3 m) guyline. Same as Manufacturer Minimum but with 0.25 oz (7 g) titanium stakes and 0.004 oz/ft (0.37 g/m) Aircore 1 Spectra guylines. 6 stakes, 10 ft (3 m) guyline.
3 lb 0.7 oz (1.38 kg) 2 lb 14.2 oz (1.31 kg)

• Floor Area

33 ft2 (3.07 m2)

• Floor Area/Backpacking Light Minimum weight ratio

0.71 ft2/oz (2.3 m2/kg)

• Vestibule area

13 ft2 (1.21 m2)

• Dimensions

  inches centimeters
Width 75/35 tapered 191/89
Length 84 213
Height 48 122




Ease of setup

GoLite Trig 2 Shelter - Rear Guyline
Rear guyline attachment and open mesh panels

The GoLite Trig 2 is set up with two trekking poles. After staking out the four corners, a trekking pole is extended to approximately 48 inches and inserted into a pocket at the front tent apex. The front is secured with a single stake as well as a guyline attached to the apex. (We found that one stake was sufficient to secure both front attachments but for additional strength two can be used.) Once the front is secure, a guyline that extends from the rear apex is looped around a trekking pole that is set up outside the rear of the tent and staked directly behind the Trig, much like a tarp.

While this initial set-up is quite simple and straightforward, securing the vent flaps and additional attachment points requires more time (and often more stakes). For dry or warm weather, a short zipper at each corner releases the vent flaps which are then secured in the open position with five clips at each side and three in the rear (13 total), creating a much more airy tent.

GoLite Trig 2 Shelter - tent flap tie
Vent flaps tie up with clips

For conditions that are warm and wet, you'll want to engage the lower stake out points of the vent flaps to separate them from the mesh inner panels. This requires additional tensioning adjustments and up to seven additional stakes, but opens up additional space between the vent flaps and the mesh panels, allowing for greater ventilation.

During cold or dry conditions, the vent flaps can be staked out at the same points as the tent, sealing off rear and side ventilation in the tent. In this simplest configuration, the Trig 2 goes up in a matter of minutes. Its cantenary ridgeline helps to achieve a taut pitch without excessive stake tension. The Trig 2 can be set up with sticks, two aluminum poles (not included), or tied to a tree, although this was not attempted in our testing.

We do not like the triangular 'Y' stakes that come with the GoLite Trig. They are heavy, have poor penetration, and require a tremendous amount of force to place in all but the softest soils. Because they are so wide they do not steer well around rocks. The ends of the 'Y' stakes are small, sharp and extremely uncomfortable to 'palm.' They are almost impossible to push in by hand and require that you bash them in using a rock or other heavy object. In comparison, a 0.25 ounce titanium wire skewer is half the weight, requires much less force to penetrate soil, and steers around rocks. The hooked end is comfortable in your palm while you push it in. While using this tent, we switched to titanium skewers at the earliest opportunity.

Usable Features / Options

GoLite Trig 2 Shelter
Mesh inner pockets provide a good place for small items

GoLite Trig 2 Shelter - interior space
The Trig 2 is undersized for two people

The GoLite Trig 2 features 11 inch high mesh panels that run the perimeter of the tent as well as vent flaps that completely cover the mesh panels during storm conditions. The single door is mesh and is protected by a triangular vestibule. While the mesh panels allow for excellent ventilation, they lean in towards the center of the tent exposing the interior to rain. This limits their use during stormy nights or rainy conditions.

The 13 square foot vestibule has sufficient space for two packs and gear (or one dog) but its use is limited because the entrance to the tent takes up about half of its usable space.

The Trig 2 includes two mesh cargo pockets at the front and comes with two lightweight silnylon stuff sacks for the tent and stakes. 12 stakes are included with the tent.

The tent comes with attached Kelty Triptease guylines at the front and rear apexes that are each 160 inches long. We are confused by the excessively long guylines but they may be intended for attachment to trees or other natural anchors. We cut the guylines to a more reasonable length and kept the extra for backup.

Weight / Sizing

At 33 square feet and with steeply slanted walls the GoLite Trig 2 is rather cramped for two people. While it is wide enough towards the front of the tent, it tapers at the feet crowding the users. At 3 pounds 5.1 ounces the Trig 2 is lightweight but including the trekking poles brings the weight to nearly 4 pounds.

While the GoLite's space to weight ratio of 0.53 ft2/oz is respectable, this ratio is lower than other tents with more headroom and usable space such as the MSR Missing Link (0.58) or a freestanding design (Black Diamond FirstLight 0.61). Further, this space to weight ratio was doubled by the Six Moon Designs Europa 2 (1.06).

Flexibility of Pitching

Unlike a floorless shelter, the Trig 2 sets up only one way. It has a relatively small footprint and can be pitched on a smaller space than many two-person shelters. It is not a freestanding design and requires trekking poles and stakes for set-up.

Usable Space

GoLite Trig 2 Shelter - large door
Use of the Trig 2's large door is severely limited by a bisecting trekking pole support, a vestibule that only opens halfway, and a zipper that loops around the bottom corner of the doorway

The GoLite Trig 2 uses trekking poles at both ends creating triangular end walls. Its roofline drops toward the rear in a slight cantenary angle and the tent width tapers from 75 to 35 inches. While the tent is comfortable at the front, the width at the rear requires that the end of campers' bags be touching. Further, the steeply sloping sidewalls make it difficult to move around without coming into contact with the tent walls (a problem during nights of heavy condensation). There is only room for one person to sit up in the Trig 2. Of the 33 square feet of space, we would consider approximately 26 square feet to be "usable living space". This tent is comfortable for one person but rather cramped for two. (Note: score was based on tent being used by two people.)

Usable Vestibule/Porch

The GoLite Trig 2 has a fully covered triangular vestibule. It is sufficiently large to hold two packs and other gear. Because the entryway is also through the vestibule, approximately half of the 13 square feet is unusable, but this is still sufficient for storage for two people as well as shoe removal, cooking, etc.



The low profile and cantenary-cut ridgeline make the GoLite Trig 2 an excellent tent in the wind. Its sides slope steeply to the ground and allow wind to easily spill over the tent. During one windy night (approximately 35 mph gusts) above the treeline, the GoLite Trig 2 remained taut and we experienced no blow over or pulled stakes. The GoLite tent does not have additional guy-outs for high winds but we would be comfortable taking the Trig 2 into all but the windiest conditions.

Much of the Trig 2's performance in high winds is due to its cantenary cut ridgeline. This design element helps achieve a taut ridgeline while exerting less pressure on the stakes than a straight cut ridgeline would.

Storm Protection

GoLite Trig 2 Shelter - profile
A low profile and steeply sloping walls help the Trig 2 shed wind but limit its interior space

With the vent flaps zipped down and the tent secured with stakes and zippers, the GoLite Trig 2 is a good performer in the rain. The door zipper is protected with a flap, the SilLite silicone nylon sheds water easily, and the raised sides of the floor keep water from entering the tent. While the seams are not taped (which is impossible with silicone fabrics), you can seal them yourself. We did not experience leaking at the seams, despite leaving the tent up for weeks in Washington rainstorms and experiencing downpours in the field. However, not all is perfect with the Trig 2 in a downpour as the small quarters make it a less than ideal place to wait out a rainstorm.

Further, if the flaps are left rolled up the exposed outward sloping mesh panels allow rain to fall straight onto the tent floor. During one trip, we pitched the tent, left up the flaps and went for a walk. About 20 minutes into the walk, the weather changed, and it started to rain. By the time we got back to the tent, water was pooled up around our sleeping bags and we had a difficult time draining the water over the slight bathtub floor lips. Although mistakes like this are certainly avoidable, the exposed mesh forces the tent user to have the panels rolled down during any variable conditions, limiting the ventilation and condensation resistance qualities of the tent. Many other manufacturers such as Tarptent, Kelty, Six Moon Designs, Mountain Hardware, and Eureka have similar mesh panels that either lean away from the tent or have integrated flaps that prevent accidents such as these while still allowing ventilation. To be fair, after practice, we were able to roll the flaps down and be back in the tent in less than a minute which would minimize exposure if a rainstorm came up suddenly while you were inside the tent.

Ventilation/Condensation Resistance

With the vent flaps rolled up and the door open, ventilation is excellent. A large amount of mesh makes this one of the most airy single wall tents in this configuration. However, achieving decent ventilation with the panels down requires the use of additional stakes or guylines to separate the vent flaps from the mesh side panels. Even with this separation, ventilation is greatly diminished. Without the extra stakes or guylines, the silicone nylon flaps lay flat against the mesh panels, making the door the only area for possible ventilation.

We experienced significant condensation during a few rainy Washington nights when we had to leave the vent flaps down because we were not carrying additional stakes for the flaps (we were carrying the minimum six stakes at the time). This became problematic because of the relatively small usable space of the Trig 2.

Overall, the GoLite Trig 2 provides a variety of ventilation options that exceeds most single wall tents. When the flaps can be left open, the Trig 2 is one of the best ventilators around.

Insect Protection

The Trig 2 features mesh panels that surround the shelter, making this a good place to escape heavy insect pressure. While lying down, you are able to look out the side panels for a wide view and the large mesh door provides further views. We wished, though, that GoLite had made it possible to open the door all the way, allowing for full views through the large triangular doorway. Because of the apex guyline, all that would need to be added to open the door all the way is a single toggle or Velcro strap.

Because of its small usable space, the GoLite Trig is not our first choice for hiding from mosquitoes with a non-intimate hiking partner.

Durability Field Observations

The GoLite Trig 2 has a 2.2 oz/yd2 polyurethane coated nylon floor and 1.76 oz/yd2 silnylon body that is heavier than what many other manufacturers use. These heavier fabrics, while adding to the shelter's weight, add significant durability to the tent. Midsize and proven YKK #5 zippers are used throughout the tent. High abrasion junctions such as zipper flaps and stake out points are all reinforced. Flat-felled seams add additional strength and water repellency. We used the Trig 2 in a variety of settings and pitched it directly onto rocks, gravel, and forest debris with no visible wear. The Trig 2 is a durable tent that should last many seasons.

While a reflective strip added to stake-out points was a nice touch, it was peeling significantly by the end of the testing session.


At $200, the GoLite Trig 2 provides many features for a reasonable price. It offers good ventilation options and excellent stability in a lightweight package. However, it is undersized for two people and its ventilation is limited in variable weather. Further, if you are not a trekking pole user, the cost of trekking poles (approximately $75-$125) for aftermarket poles must be included in the price of the tent.

Final Thoughts

Recommendations for Improvement

We recommend making the Trig 2 more comfortable for two people by increasing its footprint and possibly using a hoop at the rear of the tent (increasing its usable space with near-vertical sidewalls).

While we like the mesh air flow panel system, it could be made more flexible by angling the mesh panels away from the tent, if possible.

We also recommend creating a larger usable door, perhaps by having two separate zippers that come together at the front corner.


"GoLite Trig 2 Shelter REVIEW," by Doug Johnson. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/golite_trig_2_shelter_review.html, 2004-09-25 03:00:00-06.