Monday, 16 February 2015

trailstar tarp-a-like

I have to thank fellow Backpackers Club member Darren Long for introducing me to this pitch. I own a BPL Duo Tarp and in the past to give good weather protection I've used a standard three sides to the ground pitch with the opening on the leeward side of the weather as shown below.

With this pitch there is a lack of privacy, it’s best to use a bivibag and sleep with your feet towards the entrance for maximum weather protection, and pitched this way gives enough room for two. In the past I've pitch the entrance with the cover of a wall – not the best view but it does prevent prying eyes.

However the pitch that Darren introduced me to goes one further and creates a smaller entrance and a beak giving more weather protection and better privacy. I've called this the Trailstar pitch after the MLD shelter as they are similar in shape as seen here.

Pitching is straightforward with the long edge at the back corners pegged first followed by the front. Take each corner and peg in line with the next tab in making sure the edges are tight. Fix a guy to the front middle tab and insert trekking pole under the tarp and guy out (with the Duo Tarp the pole sits under a tab). Then put intermediary pegs on the side and back edges. Take each of the corners and tie back to the peg on the side. Take your second trekking pole and set a riser at the rear to give a bit more room. Pitched like this there is plenty of room for one, headroom is good to at circa 120cm towards the entrance and with the entrance being sheltered you should be able to cook under cover. This was a test pitch and although easy enough to muster, I suggest having a few dry runs at it as I did find I needed to tweak it to get a decent enough tightness to the tarp. Incidentally Darren used bungee tie-outs which would help with this.

The instructions I have state that the wings on the sides can be re-positioned, along with the beak, to cover the entrance although I've not tried this yet but it looks a bit of a faff. On a recent meet Darren used an umbrella to block the entrance instead which is a simpler solution.

For those that are having trouble following the above there's a link here to a video using a DD 3x3m tarp, the method is the same but the shape is obviously different.

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