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View Full Version : Looking to test drive MLD Trailstar and Cricket



Pastor Bryon
08-10-2018, 17:34
Anyone in my neck of the woods (Blacksburg, VA to Front Royal, VA and parts in between) have a MLD Trailstar and/or Cricket they would let me meet up with them to test drive it? I don't need to take it out for a night, but just to set it up with my bivy and kit to see how it looks/feels?

Miner
08-10-2018, 20:58
I can't help you, but I have checked out a guys Trailstar at a small hiker gathering. For one person, its very spacious and I don't see how a bivy won't fit under it; not that you'll need it for anything other than bugs or extra warmth. Even for 2, it should feel roomy. For bad weather, it looks pretty nice; especially compared to my Grace Solo Tarp that I normally use. However, the walls don't look like they would handle a lot of snow loading as they aren't steep enough. For just a few inches of snow in the shoulder seasons, it's probably fine though. I've thought that if I ever starting camping with someone on a regular basis, that would be the route I'd go if they'd accept camping under a tarp instead of in a tent.

I've never seen the Cricket in person, so can't help there. It's at least bigger than the solo sized hexamid which my bivy barely fit under and I was always worried I'd kick the edge out in a rain storm so I got rid of it and went back to a regular tarp.

Given you are only an hour away from Roanoke, VA where MLD is located, you might try just calling and asking if you can come by and see one set up.

Pastor Bryon
08-10-2018, 21:36
Thanks. I've considered calling them, may still do so.

I'm at the point where I've researched enough (too much, probably) that I have a good idea of the pros and cons of each and how they should work, but I can't afford to buy both, so I'd like to make sure before placing the order.


I can't help you, but I have checked out a guys Trailstar at a small hiker gathering. For one person, its very spacious and I don't see how a bivy won't fit under it; not that you'll need it for anything other than bugs or extra warmth. Even for 2, it should feel roomy. For bad weather, it looks pretty nice; especially compared to my Grace Solo Tarp that I normally use. However, the walls don't look like they would handle a lot of snow loading as they aren't steep enough. For just a few inches of snow in the shoulder seasons, it's probably fine though. I've thought that if I ever starting camping with someone on a regular basis, that would be the route I'd go if they'd accept camping under a tarp instead of in a tent.

I've never seen the Cricket in person, so can't help there. It's at least bigger than the solo sized hexamid which my bivy barely fit under and I was always worried I'd kick the edge out in a rain storm so I got rid of it and went back to a regular tarp.

Given you are only an hour away from Roanoke, VA where MLD is located, you might try just calling and asking if you can come by and see one set up.

Quik
08-11-2018, 10:13
Pastor Bryan- a Trailstar was on my list until I saw one in person at Trail Days a few years ago, it's huge and takes up a lot of real estate. IMO too big for eastern trails, I'm not saying it can't be used along eastern trails just that you will need more open space to pitch it. When talking to Ron Bell he agreed on it taking a lot of space to pitch. If you're one to camp around the shelters you shouldn't have any problems for space. I saw a Cricket when I hiked the CDT, the guy really liked it, IMO its size is much more suited for eastern trails.

Pastor Bryon
08-11-2018, 20:25
Yeah, I've thought about using it on the east coast and the challenge of integrating the landscape with its setup. I like the idea of all of that space to sleep, lay my stuff out, cook, etc. You think it would be too much trouble to maneuver it around for setup stealth camping? I usually stay around the shelters and primitive/established sites, but do want the ability to pick a space when the mood strikes me. The Cricket you saw, does it still have a lot of space to use for one person?


Pastor Bryan- a Trailstar was on my list until I saw one in person at Trail Days a few years ago, it's huge and takes up a lot of real estate. IMO too big for eastern trails, I'm not saying it can't be used along eastern trails just that you will need more open space to pitch it. When talking to Ron Bell he agreed on it taking a lot of space to pitch. If you're one to camp around the shelters you shouldn't have any problems for space. I saw a Cricket when I hiked the CDT, the guy really liked it, IMO its size is much more suited for eastern trails.

Quik
08-15-2018, 09:07
Yeah, I've thought about using it on the east coast and the challenge of integrating the landscape with its setup. I like the idea of all of that space to sleep, lay my stuff out, cook, etc. You think it would be too much trouble to maneuver it around for setup stealth camping? I usually stay around the shelters and primitive/established sites, but do want the ability to pick a space when the mood strikes me. The Cricket you saw, does it still have a lot of space to use for one person?


It depends on where you want to stealth camp. I mostly stealth camp, the Trailstar is far bigger than I need or want, it would have been a problem for me to stealth in NH and ME. The Cricket would be easier for stealth, think of it as a Solomid with a covered porch. When you say "does it still have a lot of space to use for one person" how much is "a lot" I'm currently using a Solomid and I have a lot of room, but I don't require very much space for my gear.

I think someone else suggested you contact MLD and see if you can go by to see one. Keep in mind MLD builds to order, I doubt they will hold one for you to look at. So flexibility on your part will be key in driving to them on short notice.

good luck

Dogwood
08-15-2018, 13:12
Yeah, I've thought about using it on the east coast and the challenge of integrating the landscape with its setup. I like the idea of all of that space to sleep, lay my stuff out, cook, etc. You think it would be too much trouble to maneuver it around for setup stealth camping? I usually stay around the shelters and primitive/established sites, but do want the ability to pick a space when the mood strikes me. The Cricket you saw, does it still have a lot of space to use for one person?
what kind of bivy are you referring? Want more freedom to set up just bivy or cowboy on fairer weather nights.

Trailstar does have a big footprint even if pitched high. BUT it's much like some of ZPacks mids which most ignore as they rave about their ZP's shelter purchases. Trailstar offers lots of coverage. I dont own one but I've seen them used effectively in the western US and Europe especially the UK. I see the Trailstar as good for hiking with a dog or in rainy variable windy weather with exposure. Lots of Brits love the Trailstar in the UK.

I'm with Quik. When I want enclosure I use a cuben Solomid XL just about everywhere. I have no problem in the eastern US. I have sufficient room for storage and cooking inside. The Cricket is similar.

Dogwood
08-15-2018, 13:18
Depends on what you mean by stealth camp but I do it often finding LNT CS's away from AT shelters using a MLD Grace hex shaped cuben 1.25 p custom tarp(longer ridgeline and front cut), 1 p ZP flat tarp, or the Solomid XL or a bivy. Obviously a muted colored MLD WR Superlight or MLD FKT eVent top provides the most stealthiness for me.

Pastor Bryon
08-15-2018, 18:57
It's a BG bivy. By stealth camp, I don't mean deep woods wilderness, but off trail freedom to camp wherever looks good or when my body is just done for the day.

I don't really need the enclosure of a mid. The TS, while it seems and looks truly palatial, looks like it would be just far more space than I'll every really need; and sounds like something where there might be a time or two that I wise I had it, but far more often/likely the Cricket will be fine and I can improvise with it as needed.

Thanks for each of your comments, it has filled in some gaps for me and my thinking, so much appreciated. Hoping I can catch Ron at some point where they've got one I could see in person.

Just Tom
08-15-2018, 21:32
Love, love, love my cricket. Any questions I can answer, let me know.

jimmyjam
08-16-2018, 09:30
I have a Trailstar that I cut 4" off the perimeter to make a "Little Trailstar" to lessen the footprint. The nice thing about a tarp is you can pitch it over things like stumps and rocks and still have enough useable space to sleep and store gear. The Trailstar is probably the most storm worthy shelter. I've used mine in rain with winds gusting over 40 and the walls never flinched. I go up to SNP about once a month and would be willing to PM you when I do if you would like to see it.

Pastor Bryon
08-28-2018, 15:05
Just a follow up for anyone who might land on this thread doing a search...

I picked up a Cricket this week and promptly set it up in my backyard. While the footprint isn't massive, it is large, and for east coast backpacking should be plenty of space. From looking at this, I could see how the TS would be so huge that it could be limiting or challenging to setup at times, or be overkill for most primitive camping on trail.

I ran out of time, but will hook my bivy into it soon and give an update with pictures of how it looks for folks to see it and judge for themselves.

Pastor Bryon
08-30-2018, 08:33
And the pictures. For reference, I have a Borah Gear bivy that I had him make it about 6 inches shorter than regular length.

43594


43595

43596

Just Tom
08-30-2018, 08:48
I like the color! I went with green for mine, but yours looks sharp!

Anyway, I suggest a small loop of elastic between the mitten hook on the Cricket and the loop on your bivy, just to absorb the shock of rolling over at night or whatever else might happen.

Pastor Bryon
08-30-2018, 17:37
Yeah, agree. I used my s-biner just to give an idea of the hang, but even just an inch or two of elastic cord should do the trick once my full kit and body are in there. Now to get it out on the trail! I like the hooks near the corners too, should be able to clip my footprint down using a couple of them.


I like the color! I went with green for mine, but yours looks sharp!

Anyway, I suggest a small loop of elastic between the mitten hook on the Cricket and the loop on your bivy, just to absorb the shock of rolling over at night or whatever else might happen.

zbo93
10-14-2018, 16:54
Love, love, love my cricket. Any questions I can answer, let me know.

Do you have the newer (2017) version, and cuben/silnylon? Im torn which to get. Would love some insight into how low you can actually pitch the front of the cuben and still get it taught.

Just Tom
10-14-2018, 17:34
I do have the newer version, but not in cuben. Based upon my experience, I'm glad I have silnylon based upon the extra adaptability the stretch gives me. (For reference, I used to own a cuben Patrol Tarp from MLD, so do have some experience with the material).

zbo93
10-14-2018, 19:05
I do have the newer version, but not in cuben. Based upon my experience, I'm glad I have silnylon based upon the extra adaptability the stretch gives me. (For reference, I used to own a cuben Patrol Tarp from MLD, so do have some experience with the material).

Do you notice any difference in durability, if I do spend the money on CF, will the longevity be similar between the 2? I don't have much experience w/ CF at the moment.

Just Tom
10-14-2018, 19:54
I cannot speak to true long term durability, but in the short term ( a year or two) both materials seem fine. My impression is that eventually CF will start to wear, but that is just based on seeing pictures of packs, etc made of the material that were used through a thru hike.

saltysack
10-17-2018, 08:40
Iíve got a cuben duomid that seems pretty durable for cuben but as said donít think Iíd want a pack made with it...


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Dogwood
10-17-2018, 16:35
Trailstars a fav of the UK crowd. Big open exposed spaces, high winds, rain, etc. Tons of space underneath to spread out and hunker down or with a dog. Takes winds well. Adaptable to quick tweaking of door direction in swirling winds. In the hands of someone in the know in those type conditions they can be ideal. Some UK vids amply demonstrate the huge upside in flexibility of config and possible combinations with inner bug nets.

needlefish
02-27-2019, 17:48
And the pictures. For reference, I have a Borah Gear bivy that I had him make it about 6 inches shorter than regular length.

43594


43595

43596

So whats your opinion on the Cricket after having a little time under it?

Pastor Bryon
02-27-2019, 22:29
Unfortunately, I have not had it out on the trail yet in this particular setup. Here's what I can share:

- my bivy doesn't fit perfectly within it, but it is still pretty easy to clip in and go to sleep. It isn't hard to make it fit and feel comfortable
- I really like the space underneath and the "front porch" feeling of the opening. I felt totally protected from the elements while still being able to observe things outside.
- If it is buggy, be prepared for a small horde to gather under the center pinnacle. But never gave me any grief while in the bivy
- If non-buggy environment, put down a footprint, pad, and your quilt/bag and you are all set. I'm 5'7 so no claustrophobia at all or brushing up against the walls.
- Soooo easy to set up. With a handful of practice sessions, you'll know how you want to lay it out, stake it down, and what height to put the pole at
- The footprint doesn't take up as much space as I thought it might. Not much different than setting up a tarp and bivy
- Be prepared to still have to crouch down to get inside it, but no different than a tarp setup in an A-frame, plus you can sit up much easier once inside
- For a solo hiker or solo with a pet, this is plenty of space to spread out without needing lots of space to set up.

Hope that helps some. If there is a particular question/angle you are curious about, lemme know.

needlefish
02-27-2019, 22:47
Thank-you, it was very helpful! I'm glad to hear its roomy enough for me & my dog. The Cricket has been on my radar for a while. Thank-you for the information.