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#131682 - 04/06/10 11:02 PM MLD Trailstar first impressions
Cesar Offline

Registered: 11/06/07
Posts: 217
Loc: El Paso, TX
I finally received my Trailstar after about 6 weeks of waiting. There isn't any threads on the trailstar so thought I'd post a quick 1st impression review. Im new at this so you've been warned smile The trailstar comes with a silnylon stuff sack, 40ft of cord and a tube of silnet. Stuffed in the stuff sack its a bit wider then a nalgene and about 1.5 to 2" taller but still compresses quite a bit. If your not familiar with the trailstar its a pentagon shaped tarp with 7ft long sides. All the corners come with linelocs as well as midway on the sides. On the inside it has hooks on all the seams mid way up and a loop at the peak along with one on the outside. The peak is reinforced with Dyneema X, which I am not familiar with but is supposed to be pretty strong. I put approx 2 feet of cord on all the line-loc's and still have a huge about of cord left. Once I had all the strips of cord on I set it up in the back yard and hand room for my two kids and I plus room at the edges for gear. The postage machine at work said it weighs 1lb 3oz with the 40ft of cord and stuff sack.

Setup is a little tricky and I still have to rearrange the stakes when I set it up but once setup properly and for the appropriate weather its great. It has no door or zipper so you just stake it out and put your trekking pole inside for the peak and if its nice out pitch it higher for plenty of ventilation or if the weather is bad, pitch it lower with a lower opening.

Its supposed to do well with wind, its actually described as "BOMBER ALPINE WIND PROTECTION" on the MLD website. Well its pretty windy today with an avg of 21mph wind speed and gusts up to 52mph (I live pretty close to the mtn so the wind is usually stronger in this area) so I set it up after work to see how hard it would be to pitch it in the wind and see how well it did. After rearranging the stakes a few times and tightening the line-locs I got in and only felt a little wind creep in from underneath. I had to pitch it lower so had less room inside but still did not feel like I had lost a lot of space. I was still able to sit up and lay inside with no problem.

Below are some pics I took when I set it up on the weekend. Had a slight breeze that day.

I'm really looking forward to using it on a 3 day trip at the end of the month.
My gear is no where near lightweight

#131683 - 04/07/10 12:15 AM Re: MLD Trailstar first impressions [Re: Cesar]
Trailrunner Offline

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
Looks like a palace in there!!!! Does it have more than one zip code?

Most 'mid designs lack a vestibule and let in tons of water when the door is open (when it's raining) but this is a good workaround.
If you only travel on sunny days you will never reach your destination.*

* May not apply at certain latitudes in Canada and elsewhere.

#131690 - 04/07/10 05:02 AM Re: MLD Trailstar first impressions [Re: Cesar]
Pat-trick Offline

Registered: 06/22/09
Posts: 175
Loc: Portland, OR
Now there's an argument for carrying walking sticks, isn't it. I have on old GoLite tarp tent, maybe a Lair II?, that's about that size there. It's very versatile... can be pitched with all sides right on the ground, just like a tent, or it can be pitched 7' above the ground for a rain shelter. Or leave one side down to block wind, etc.

#131692 - 04/07/10 07:48 AM Re: MLD Trailstar first impressions [Re: Cesar]
Glenn Offline

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
You indicated the weight of the tent, as packaged, is a pound and change - pretty impressive. What is the weight when you add in the ground cloth that you'll have to have? That's always the one thing that's not mentioned when talking about how much weight these shelters save over others (including Tarptents): There will have to be a floor of some sort, so you have to add that to the weight, in my opinion.

That's not to say it won't still be lighter than Tarptent's or SMD's creations, or even the ultralight solo tents from BA or MSR. But, for a true apples-to-apples weight comparison, I think the groundcloth has to be included. (Yes, I know it's still not a true apples-to-apples comparison, since this is a multi-person tent, and it has no bug netting, etc. I'm using the term in a restricted sense, referring to the all-up weight.)

I'm also not disparaging this - it looks really neat. I was just curious.

#131698 - 04/07/10 09:20 AM Re: MLD Trailstar first impressions [Re: Cesar]
finallyME Offline

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I really like that setup. It looks promising in a heavy rain.
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

#131701 - 04/07/10 09:56 AM Re: MLD Trailstar first impressions [Re: finallyME]
Redfacery Offline

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 82
Loc: NY
For heavy rain, I can honestly say I'd prefer a shelter. Or a tent for an extra few ounces (especially taking into consideration the groundcloth not mentioned in the weight above).

Without heavy rain, that looks palatial and versatile, please give an update once you've tried it a few nights!

#131703 - 04/07/10 10:25 AM Re: MLD Trailstar first impressions [Re: Glenn]
CWF Offline

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 266
Glenn makes a good point. First let me say that this is one of the neatest shaped tarps available. However, I am not surprised that it weighs 19oz, although is listed as 15oz on the MLD website. The cord and line locs add a little additional weight but still, it is not 15oz. I have a MLD SoloMid that was to weigh 13.2oz. With line and locs, it was 16oz. Again, not a huge difference, but I would prefer weights listed by MLD to include what it will weigh in the field - i.e. what Tarptent does.

#131704 - 04/07/10 11:12 AM Re: MLD Trailstar first impressions [Re: CWF]
Cesar Offline

Registered: 11/06/07
Posts: 217
Loc: El Paso, TX
This is my first dealing with MLD so I cant say much about how they list the weighs of their products.

For a ground cloth I was thinking of ordering a padded ground sheet from Suluk 46 1/8" X 25" X 74" - 2.2 oz (62 grams) It can serve double duty, to insulate and protect my air pad or bivy. I also carry a pancho, if I am not going to be above tree line, so I can always lay that down as well. But if anything I can just cut out a piece of painters plastic for ground cover.

In the summer I will need more then a headnet over my sleeping bag for bug protection, so was thinking of trying my hand at sewing a MLD bug bivy clone or a SMD meteor bivy which will add about 7oz more.
My gear is no where near lightweight

#131716 - 04/07/10 03:31 PM Re: MLD Trailstar first impressions [Re: Redfacery]
300winmag Offline

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
What Red sed.

For dry AND bugless conditions this floorless tent (it's not a tarp) looks fine. Great space, good wind-shedding design.

I'll still take the security of my 28 oz. TT Moment. Too many nasty creepy crawlies here in the desert not to have a floored, netted tent.

"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."


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