Tramplite valances and A frame

Backpacking is a very personal thing. What’s suits me won’t necessarily suit you. This is especially true when it comes to shelters. Personally, I’m not a great fan of sleeping in single skin shelters or ones with mesh inners. Over the years, I’ve come to realise that I prefer double skin shelters with solid inners.

With the Tramplite shelter, I also realised that I prefer shelters which are relatively enclosed. The porch on the Tramplite has a large gap between the beak and the ground. While I understand the reason for this and the personal preference of the maker, Colin, I wanted to modify mine.

IMG_1628(2)I asked Marco at As Tucas to make some removable valances for the porch. These are simple elongated triangles of cuben which are attached to the fly sheet by Velcro. I added a snap fastener at the zip end to make sure they stayed attached. Originally they had simple shock cord ties outs (shown in the pictures) but I’ve replaced those with lineloks and shock cord.

IMG_1629(2)They reduce the gap from the hem to the ground from about 35cm to 20cm. If I was re-specifying them, I think I’d add another 10cms to the valance. Nevertheless, they do drop the hem of the Tramplite to a level I feel more comfortable with. I know that this doesn’t meet with the approval of some, but it’s what I want and that’s what counts. Because they are removable, if I want more ventilation, I can just take them off. The extra weight is approximately 45g.

IMG_1627Perhaps less controversially, I also made a A frame adaptor for my trekking poles. I will do a seperate post on how I made it. It’s very easy and effective (weight 71g). Setting up the A frame is simple and it’s actually easier to setup the Tramplite with it. Micro adjustment once it’s set up is also easier.

IMG_1632(2)I was stunned at how stable and strong the A frame is. It is rock solid with the only movement being backwards and forwards along the line of the front guy. Any other direction and it’s totally solid. This means there’s a lot less strain on the corner pegging points.

IMG_1633(2)The other advantage of the A frame is it makes access to the inner much easier. Centre poles in Mids compromise access, whereas with an A frame, the poles are well out of the way.

IMG_1634(2)I’m really pleased with my A frame. It’s well worth the modest extra weight for the solidity it adds to the pitch and the convenience of better access. In my next post, I’ll show you how I made it.

The Saga of the Tramplite


Before this year’s TGO Challenge I sent my Tramplite to Marco at As Tucas to make some removable valances on the porch. Unfortunately he couldn’t finish them before the Challenge, so when I returned he mailed it to me at the beginning of June. Also in the parcel was my OookWorks Duomid nest, which he had done some work on, my Trailstar, which I’d lent him and some cuben stuffsacks. The package never reached me and after some enquiries it was returned to Marco by the courier (I don’t know who he used) at the end of June. At least it hadn’t been lost!

Marco made a second attempt to send me the parcel, this time using DHL. The parcel was sent at the end of June. After a week, it didn’t arrive, so Marco made enquiries with DHL. On the 19th of June it popped up at their Leipzig hub. I was promised it would be delivered the next week. The delivery date arrived, but no parcel. Further enquiries made but no answers. Unfortunately there was a mix up with communications with As Tucas, which meant I was in the dark for another two weeks. Then the parcel arrived back at As Tucas, six weeks after it had been originally sent.

There were profuse apologies from Marco, although it wasn’t his fault (communication could have been a bit better). After checking the contents were still ok, Marco despatched it by UPS. This time I had the tracking details, so I nervously followed its progress across Spain to France and then to the UK.

Miraculously, the parcel arrived today. To say I’m relieved is an understatement. It’s been very stressful and I’m glad I’ve got my Tramplite back. Hopefully, in September, I’ll finally be able to use it. As for DHL, I’d never willingly use them again.

Exped Flash Pack Pocket

IMG_1603(2)I’ve got so used to having a stash pocket on the front of my GG Mariposa that I’ve not used my Lightwave Ultrahike for a while. That’s a shame because it’s a good pack. Recently, I came across the Exped Flash Pack Pocket which is a detachable stash pocket for their Lightning packs. Fortunately, It’s usable for other packs as well.

IMG_1606(2)It’s big enough to stash some waterproofs or fleece and jacket. A clever design feature is that it’s mesh on one side and solid on the other.

IMG_1607(2)There are elastic straps on each corner with hooks to attach the pocket.


It would be better if they were adjustable. I’ve rigged some cord  loops at the top of the sack.

IMG_1609(2)At the base, I’ve sewn a linelok with some cord, so can adjust the tension of the lower attachment and avoid compromising the mesh pockets.

IMG_1608(2)The top of the pocket is closable with a cord lock and shock cord.

Overall, I think this is agreat accessory if your pack hasn’t got a stash pocket. All the UK stockists appear to be out of stock, so I had to order mine from Germany, increasing the cost. Weight: 73g

Disclaimer: I have no formal or financial relationship with Exped and bought this item with my own money.

MYOG Bushbuddy windshield


I enjoyed using my Bushbuddy Ultra stove. To be effective, it benefits from a decent windshield. I used a sturdy aluminium one, which worked well but weighs around 200g.


Using some reflective radiator insulator and foil tape, I knocked up a similar sized windshield that is much lighter and weighs only 46g. I’ve lined the inner surface with foil tape to give some protection against stray flames.


To stabilise it, I’ve used three of the lightweight (and useless) toothpick tent pegs that came with my F10 Nitro Lite. Having such a lightweight screen makes the Bushbuddy a much more attractive option, especially combined with a Speedster meths stove as backup.

Tread Lite Gear Cuben Tent Pockets now available

IMG_1244It’s nice to see one of my ideas make it into production. Paul has made some more cuben tent pockets and they are now available on his Tread Lite Gear eBay site. They fit both the Laser Comp and the Scarp well.

If you want some, you might want to get them now as I don’t know whether they will be a permanent part of his catalogue.

Disclaimer: I have no formal or financial relationship with Tread Lite Gear.

Tread Lite cuben tent pockets mk2

After a bit of a conflab with Paul, he sent me a mark 2 version of the cuben tent pockets.


These are 13cm deep (20 cm wide) compared with 10cm for the originals and designed with the Scarp in mind. At the same time, I bought a First Aid Kit pouch from Paul, which is rather nice.


Here’s the revised tent pocket in the Scarp. It is now the same height as the groundsheet bathtub wall. The pocket weighs 2g. With the safety pins, it weighs 3g. While it would be very easy to sew it, using safety pins means the pocket can be moved around. As it’s secured on the seam of the bathtub, it shouldn’t cause any undue stress to the fabric.


I also checked it would fit the Laser Competition. Attached to the seam of the mesh vent, the bottom of the pocket just touches the floor, do it works well. Another small design tweak is that the outer lip is slightly lower than the back of the pocket, making access to the contents easier. A nice little design touch, typical of the care that Paul takes over his products.

If your tent hasn’t got pockets and you’d like to have some, this seems like an ideal solution. I believe Paul is going to make a few to test the market. If there is demand he might make them part of his catalogue. Tread Lite Gear Ebay shop

Tread Lite Gear cuben tent pockets part 2

After feedback on these pockets, expressing concern about pinning the pocket to the tent fabric, I re-positioned it so it’s pinned on the lower seam of the mesh panel at the end of the Laser Competition. This is obviously a better and more secure solution. Although I’ve never had a problem pinning a pocket direct to the tent fabric, it makes sense to use a seam where possible. The pocket now stands slightly above the tent floor, but that shouldn’t be an issue. If Paul goes into production on these, he will make them 13cm deep not 10cm, so they should fit both the Scarp and Laser Comp.

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