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Post by Kumquat » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:37 am

I'm looking to reduce the weight of my setup.
I currently use an alpkit hunka and exped mat.
I have an alpkit r i g 3.5 with BB alloy poles. (Usually, i just take the bivvi bag)
I'm quite tempted by a Chinese trailstar.
Is it possible/advisable to use a trailstar without a bivvi bag?
Also I assume it would be ok to use my existing poles?
Any input gratefully accepted.
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Re: Trailstaralike

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:45 am

No reason why you can't use it without a bivvy but you'll likely want some kind of groundsheet if you do. I'm not sure that replacing a bivvy + small tarp with a TS will do much to reduce weight but it will give you much more room.

10mm DAC poles will hold it up but the centre pole is likely to flex as there's a lot of pressure on it. As standard, I generally advise 120cm for the centre and 100cm for the door. These can be switched to produce a very low pitch in severe conditions should you wish.
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Re: Trailstaralike

Post by Cheeky Monkey » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:37 pm

My "real" Trailstar is big and bulky in comparison to a R1g 7. I doubt the Aliexpress versions are lighter. I don't really do weights but can't imagine moving to a TS will make a noticeable difference. The more significant advantages of a TS are the simplicity, large (mahoosive!) area of covered space, level of weather protection etc. I think the TS is great, put it doesn't sound like the thing to meet your desires - considered a Gatewood Cape? Many wax lyrical plus they are light and compact.

See if there's someone local to you who'll let you have a look / fondle?

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Re: Trailstaralike

Post by whitestone » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:03 pm

I'd echo the consideration of the SMD Gatewood Cape. I got one and now it seems to get used mainly by my wife :lol: It's the same weight as the Alpkit R-g3.5 so you won't save weight there but you could use a much lighter bivy bag should you need bug protection. You also only need one pole rather than two so that will cut down a bit of weight. Cath's got a set of the Pic 'n' Mix carbon poles and just takes enough sections to make a pole of the right length for the Gatewood, they fit in an Alpkit top-tube bag so really easy to carry.

Going for something like the SMD Lunar Solo is the next step up, 700g or so (plus pole and pegs) but you don't need a bivy bag or groundsheet, again probably very similar weight to your existing setup overall. There's quite a few on here who have them.

Looking at what I've just written, it seems that 800g or so is about the lowest weight you can go for a reasonably roomy silnylon shelter, pole(s), pegs and bivy bag system. To get lighter you have to go cuben fibre which is a whole mortgage extension. There's a review on of the latest Tarptent Aeon Li which is their take on the Lunar Solo: 660g including poles and pegs but costs $535 :shock: The US kit tends to end up about a 1:1 exchange rate by the time it gets here so £500 for the Aeon vs £230 for the Lunar Solo to lose 150g.

My ultralight setup is a Trekkertent cuben fibre tarp 2.5m x 1.5m (140g) with a Borah Gear cuben fibre/argon bivy bag (135g) and a carbon fibre pole and pegs from Stuart (115g) but you are talking roughly £1/gramme for that setup :shock:

Here's the tarp on the left and the Gatewood on the right:


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Re: Trailstaralike

Post by Lazarus » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:12 pm

my ali express inner and outer combined weighs 540 grams or 360 with just a floor or 450 with a SOL event bivvy bag- i think its pretty easy and sub £100 [just]to get a 600g set up - the carbon pole is the dearest part. weights without poles or pegs to be clear so add 100 g ish
I can squeeze two inners into it but you are touching the sides[and need two poles]- not with the bag mind or at floor level but its sub optimal but for a two man shelter/tent with no space for gear is acceptable to me
I dont expect the tent to have much longevity but it has done 20 days so far without issue.

I would not want to be in it in a proper storm but its ok in the rain and some wind - then again i would not fancy your open ended tarp and not quite waterproof bivyy set up in a storm either.

if you are not buying a cuben tarp there is not much in it and its just whether you prefer a tarp or a tent.

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Re: Trailstaralike

Post by slackman99 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:44 pm

The TS gives you loads of room for the weight. At a recent camp (admittedly a quiet night) there were three of use in mine as the other two couldnt be bother to set up. It was cosy, but doable.

How about one of these [] which is 150g or so lighter than the TS. Less useable room but aligns with the weight saving requirement

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Re: Trailstaralike

Post by Kumquat » Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:41 pm

Thanks for replies
Yeah, I guess I will have to stick with what I've got for a bit and keep saving my pennies.
I really like the look of the lunar solo.
Keeps the bugs out and I don't have to use a bivvi bag.
The 3.5 has been used in a storm and it did stay upright, just.
I didn't get much sleep though as it was like lying down in the wash of a jet engine!
Probably more luck than judgement though and the carpet of fallen branches and sticks revealed upon daybreak was somewhat alarming.
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Re: Trailstaralike

Post by RichinNW » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:29 pm

I’ve had just the same quandary...
So this is what I’ve gone for:
SMD deschutes tarp - great weather and wind protection and with open door gives you tarp living. It also doesn’t flap in high winds, so no need for ear plugs !
life systems silver foil blanket for ground sheet- v small pack size; might extend the temperature range of my 2 season air mat ?!?; doubles for emergency use.
Sea to summit pyramid mosquito net for midge season. With elastic cord and cord locks, it’s easy to connect to the tarp. You just slacken off one length of cord and lift one edge to get in and out. It is asymmetric but gives adequate head room and space or sitting up and getting changed.
So I’ve got a modular system, I don’t have to think about what weather might come my way, and I get that open space view on nice nights !

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