M Mountain Laurel Designs TrailStar Shelter Review
by Ryan Jordan
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The 17-ounce (482-g) Mountain Laurel Designs TrailStar claims to be the "first shaped tarp with five low-angle sides and no doors that combines the performance of a traditional pyramid shelter with the open and multi-function pitching of a tarp" (manufacturer website on December 20, 2011).
The primary purpose of this review is to push the TrailStar to its performance limits and find out under what scenarios this and other manufacturer claims start to break down.
My first experience with the TrailStar came in the midst of the coldest weather Montana has seen thus far this winter season - a few days where mountain lows dipped below 0F (-18C) and nightly snowfall ranged from a few inches to more than six inches (~5 cm to over 15 cm) per night.
I first camped with the TrailStar during this spell on Big Creek in the Gallatin National Forest, west of Emigrant, Montana, where temperatures were low (-1F to +1F / -18C to -17C) overnight lows), snowfall was minor (less than 6.0 in / 15 cm per night of low-density snow), and wind was nonexistent.
- Part 1: Preview
- Summary of Initial Perceptions
- First Impressions
- What's Next?
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