Pitching an MLD Trailstar in extremely windy conditions

On a very windy walk in the Peak District last week I took opportunity to practice pitching my Trailstar. My brother took some video and as you can see it is a little blowy! The forecast was for 50 – 60 mph winds but I have no idea what the actual wind speed was other than it was extremely windy! The temperature was just 3 degrees C and with the wind chill it was bitterly cold. Unfortunately the video stops short of the final moments but you get the picture (there is another little clip that I might post sometime)

The Trailstar was seriously bowed in at the back once pitched and I could not manage to stop the front sides from blowing out. Still, due to the large internal space of the shelter it would have been quite possible to have used it to camp in an emergency if a more sheltered spot could not be found. It was an interesting exercise.

In response to Martin Rye’s question in the comments of ‘what height was the Trailstar pitched at?’ it got me thinking. The answer is I don’t honestly know but I seem to remember I was going to pitch it a 100cm high but I have a feeling that I set one section of my trekking pole to the 110cm mark (in my haste in the extreme conditions, it just goes to show mistakes are easily made!) so the pole could have ended up being 105cm. Anyway, I just checked the recommended poles heights on the MLD website and I could have pitched it as low as 36″ which is about 91.5 cm, which may have made a small but significant difference if I had to shelter under the Trailstar for any length of time in these conditions.

10 thoughts on “Pitching an MLD Trailstar in extremely windy conditions

  1. An interesting exercise!
    When I had my Trailstar up in a raging storm last May, in Scotland, the sides were seriously bowed, but it did stay up. I kept the entrance low – crawl in. My biggest fear was the stakes coming out.
    In these sort of conditions I don’t think it is a question of sleeping – more one of surviving.
    Even with some pretty bombproof shelters – choice of where to pitch is still very important. I would not want to repeat such a stormy, exposed pitch again, if I had a choice.

    • I think it is important to try your kit out in different and extreme conditions so you know how it performs and what to expect should you find yourself in difficulty.

      The stakes I used were those that I bought with the Trailstar. The 9 inch gold ones for the corners were excellent even in the soft soggy ground on Kinder.

      I would not want to have to be forced to make camp in those conditions though, emergencies only.

  2. Smashing – although tell your brother he is a lazy bugger – anyone can hold a camera. Takes a real man to pitch a shelter in high wind! ;-)

  3. Pingback: Photographs from Kinder Scout, Peak District | bryan waddington

    • Hi Martin, I think I pitched it at about 105 – 110cm. I checked the MLD website and it could have been lower – see my update in the post.

    • I definately need to try my Trailstar at 90cm in a storm! Madness, for some, to want to do it but I know the TS will hold up and I want to try it! I’ll get my chance soon.

      Thanks for the link and I’m glad you are enjoying my blog.

  4. I wonder how it would compare to the Vango Force 10 – my current antique shelter still surviving from my Scouting days. That weighs in at more than 10 times as much as the Trailstar, but should be able to take high wind.
    I was looking at something like the Trailstart, or DuoMid, or Wickyup3 as a lighter weight replacement.

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