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The MLD Trailstar is a 5 sided tarp, all 5 panels are the same size / shape and there’s no zippers, vents, flaps or door. It’s a unique design that produces a shelter unmistakable from anything else.

The Trailstar can be erected with 6 pegs and a single pole as a minimum. There’s 5 additional pegging points 1 at the mid-point of each panel and a second pole (or support of some sort) will make life much easier. Set-up is fairly straight forward, it can take a little practice to perfect … but even if it’s your first time, it shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes.

Trailstar – a very distinctive shape.


The first thing you’ll notice when you do set it up is just how BIG it is. If you’re used to crawling around under tiny tarps, then the Trailstar will come as a revelation. 2 people have more than enough room, 3 isn’t exactly cramped and if you’re solo you’ll really have to spread everything out to try and make a dent on the room available. If you think the Trailstar might be a bit big for you then MLD also produce the Littlestar which is 15% smaller … if you want more room then there’s the Bigstar!

Invite people over, have a party.

Wind is the enemy of big tarps, the large panels tend to act as sails … and we know what happens when wind and sails meet, don’t we?

Well, not with the Trailstar, the shape is very aerodynamic and allows wind to flow over and around it, rather than trying to go straight through it! If conditions are good then the shelter can be set high and the whole front opened up without sacrificing too much rain protection. When the rain and wind does come, set it low with a minimal door opening and you’ll be amazed just what type of weather the thing will shrug off … it could have been designed for the UK.

Might add a little weight but does make life easier.

Each pegging point is fitted with a lineloc so you can adjust tension from inside which obviously stops you getting wet if you need to adjust the thing during the night. There’s also a number of ‘mitten hooks’ sewn into the inside … these are a really nice touch, besides giving you something to fasten an inner to, they also allow you to clip the hood of your bivvy bag up.

Never lose your mittens again.

So, this expanse of Silnylon and its associated room must come at a price – right? Well, I suppose it does to a degree. The Trailstar (seam sealed) inc’ lines and stuff-sack weighs in at 583g on the Bear Bones scales and as you can see in the pic below, the pack-size isn’t the smallest, although it could be compressed quite a bit more … I think what’s required here is a little perspective and then you suddenly realise that 583g for a 2-3 person shelter that’s capable of withstanding the worst conditions you’re ever going to encounter, isn’t just okay … it’s amazing! If you regularly require a shelter for 2 or value comfort and space when you’re on your own, then I imagine it’ll be a price you’ll be happy to pay.

It will go a bit smaller.


The Trailstar is available directly from Mountain Laurel Designs in the US and is available in Grey, brown or yellow for $210.

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