Tarptent Stratospire

Discussion in 'Shelters & Accessories' started by JKM, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. JKM

    JKM Thru Hiker

    I have been mulling this one over for a while, I seem to have too many backpacking tents in that quest for 'the one'

    My tent CV so far:
    1. 2 hoop tunnel tent; ancient and heavy.
    2. Tigerpaws pro action 'lighthike' bought from jimp? on OM but far too low and coffin like.
    3. Luxe Outdoors Mini-Peak 2 bought from @Lady Grey which was great size wise but too heavy.
    4. A borrowed Hilleberg Akto for a while which I liked the lightness and feeling of indestructibility in winds, but was again too small, very difficult to cook in (silly door arrangements) and soggy with condensation.
    5. MLD Trailstar; never really any good at getting an astheticaly pleasing pitch. I probably should have persevered but there was always a baggy seam or wrinkled panel or it would pull pegs, perfecting the pitch on flat ground would take an age because of my desire to get it looking fault, conversely on rough ground I did not care and just let it flap. I also fancied something with more usable space and the door was a pain as I use organised sites more than I do mountain tops. Hopefully @CEves will do this more justice than I could.
    6. Asta mid and solid inner which is as yet unused and un-errected :oops: ordered on a whim but having seen @el manana photos I think it is a bit small for my needs anyway. I thought it was more 50/50 living/sleeping area but it appears less, perhaps I am wrong.
    7. The controversial Knot 5 sided tarp, also unused and un-errected, probably kidding myself but though it would be handy if a friend wanted to come with me while I had the trailstar, however they have only shown any interest in credit card backpacking instead.
    So I was thinking of a twin vestibule tent for views, ventilation, storage etc etc and was almost settled on the trekkertent drift 2 when @FOX160 got me thinking about a Tarptent.
    I had seen the scarp etc before but they had never really appealed but somehow I talked myself into getting the Tarptent Stratospire 1 as my 'do everything' tent, the culmination of my search. Initially I was fixated on the Stratospire 2 for the extra room but talked myself out of the extra weight.

    Ordering was a breeze, dispatched within hours of Tarptent opening the next day.
    The declared value was 'aggreeable' ;) but stupidly I had forgotten about the duty which was 13.5% which surprised me as I have only paid c4-7% in the past, add in the inevitable Vat bill and parcel force charge and it was £77 extra to pay so my cunning plan that it should slip undetected by the customs man into the UK on new year's day failed miserably and just caused a few days delay instead.

    Sunday was the first time I got to put it up, just before dusk in a local park as my garden is too small.

    It went up easy enough, c 4 minutes for a first pitch can't be bad.






    I didn't even have time to get inside it before it came down as my over half was waiting (im)patiently.

    I think I was a bit surprised by how small it seemed, having watched all the videos of @Franco Darioli lying down in the vestibules I was thinking it would be bigger, but then I didn't have time to get down on my knees in the mud and try and imitates him.

    (EDIT 2018: I no longer feel underwhelmed! Its a brilliant tent and has all the space I need, I think I was just a little despondent due to the credit card bill)

    Overall I feel a little underwhelmed :( but I think this is probably because I haven't quite paid for all of it and It still seems a hell of a lot to pay for a small tent. probably because other that the Aliexpress cheapies it's the first time I have bought a brand new tent, all the other have been 2nd hand and held there value well.
    I am sure my first camp in it will be vastly more satisfying but first I have to recover from this Saturday's hernia operation, at least it will give me some time at home to do some planning and be a real armchair mountaineer!

    I opted for the solid inner along with a few extra pegs and some pole jack's and seam sealer so the whole lot came in around £475 after paying all the duty and fees. The $75 shipping really had me gritting my teeth.
    It does seem to be extremely well thought out and stitched together. I love the pitchlock ends, they feel very robust.

    It does seem it will be very fussy about peg placement. Any hints on pitching or modifications appreciated. I was thinking of possibly adding either a second guy or a trailing Lineloc end to the pitchlock corners to give a few inches of variation in peg placement.
    Also the ridge guys are not long enough to peg further than a few inches from the door so I will replace them with some slightly longer ones in 3mm @Mole -proof cord just in case, it will also add a splash of orange :joyful:

    If I finally get my hands on a sewing machine a little ridge line 'tent tidy' with a few pockets in it will be one of my first tasks, plus a loop to dangle my treadlite lantern from.

    I hope I am going to grow to love it, once it's all paid off and I have a night under it. Planning my first trip to be along the north Norfolk coast, perhaps with a night somewhere near the Holkham Gap, hopefully followed by a peak District jaunt soon after.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
    el manana, CEves, tom and 1 other person like this.
  2. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    Sounds like you need to sit back and recover from that op.
    Take it easy and enjoy the excellent tent when the weather picks up.
    CEves and JKM like this.
  3. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Stratospire 2 (SS2) owner here. There is a small 'club' of us on Treklite……….welcome :D.

    Your pitch above looks good :)………tho' Ed will probably comment :rolleyes:.

    The space to weight ratio of the Stratospire is probably about as good as it gets. I don't see how you could make that quantity (weight) of silnylon cover much more space.

    Guy lengths - Yes - they could all do with being a bit longer. I have also fixed an extra line at the top of the pitchlock when it was 'blowing' a bit = extra security.

    Peg placement needs to be accurate and good. Lot of tension on each peg as there are so few of them.

    Mods. - I had a problem with the top end of the zip - seam stitching tearing apart. I recommend reinforcing the stitching there, and putting a 'stop' on the zip by either - overstitching the zip (multiple stitches by hand), or using a metal bar (available at Extremetextil and probably elsewhere). Easyily sorted.

    Happy camping :thumbsup:.
    theoctagon and JKM like this.
  4. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    I'd love a Strat 1 (have the Strat 2) and am thinking about it.....maybe...

    I too added longer guys and longer pitchlok cords; do not see a need to reinforce there though....and TBH with only a few pegs to worry about - moving pegging points (and the whole tent a bit) is not exactly a chore.

    You should already have a couple of clips inside above each zip termination at the top of the inner to help you string a line if needs be; for me even the Notch is voluminous enough that I can get all my gear inside it readily enough without recourse to 'tent tidies' though ;)
    FOX160, Mole, CEves and 1 other person like this.
  5. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    Good choice - been thinking about the Strat 1 myself to replace my TT Rainbow as a 1+ tent. I'm a great fan of TT's double porches and the pitchlock corners (not had a problem pegging these unmodified yet in 2 years with my Notch). Long ridge guys are a must but the door guys are short for a good reason - to keep the stress on the zips low (better to reinforce with longer pegs). In my experience, TTs do very well with the few pegs they need. But the $75 shipping is a real turn off and its with the crappy US post too - not even a quality courier service...!
    Jonnykernow and Mole like this.
  6. el manana

    el manana Thru Hiker

    Asta mid and solid inner which is as yet unused and un-errected :oops:ordered on a whim but having seen @el manana photos I think it is a bit small for my needs anyway. I thought it was more 50/50 living/sleeping area but it appears less, perhaps I am wrong.

    It is about 50/50 on the Asta, porch is comparable with inner but the SS1 will have much more space i reckon.
    JKM likes this.
  7. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Used my SS2 a few years now, personally i wouldn't buy another one

    The regulars will be rolling their eyes "not AGAIN" but using stretchy fabric on a tent design that has panels sooooooooooo big is a fundamental design flaw IMO.

    For someone that a bit OCD orientated and enjoys spending time getting it pitched perfectly it might work ok, me personally i just want to throw up the tent at the end of the day and be done.

    There also seems to be a fair few failures of little stuff.
    If i remember right Mole had some clips fail?
    Cathy with her zips
    Mine has torn it's peg out loop near the door

    On the plus side, they're relatively cheap, fairly lightweight for it's size, great views (shame you went for the solid inner), great porch space, stable-ish in high winds.

    Bought a couple of those Chinas mids to try out, glad i did cause it's shown me i'm not a mid person.
    Other than that if the weathers good i take the Duplex, if the weathers bad i take the Scarp2
    FOX160, Lady Grey and Mole like this.
  8. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    Great shelter.

    Reckon you'll love it once you get going.

    It should be big enough for anybody's taste? (though if you are very tall then you'd need to sleep diagonally). Footprint wise, it's basically similar size to a Scarp 1 but with deeper porches. As Cathy says, weightwise there isn't a comparable shelter out there with that footprint and internal volume.

    As well as longer ridgeline guys,
    I would consider a single extra guy and peg for a pitchlock end. I have found the need.

    As per my Strat2 thread, we have been pitching with a pitchlock to the wind. ( Ridge square to the wind) . This seems easier for erection in a strong wind, and to me the slopes seem more aerodynamic. BUT This way, the one peg on a pitchlock takes a lot of strain, and I have had it pull out once in a very fierce wind ( in Spain) and the tent blew down. I reinforced with a longer second line from the pitchlok apex and my blizzard stake (pootrowel) and it was fine then.
    On a BPL.com thread, Henry Shires stated that it's more aerodynamic if pitched ridgeline into the wind ( so a door side with 2 pegs takes the brunt).
    His reasoning was that there is less cross sectional area presented to the wind this way. I'm not 100% convinced, as I think roof slope angles are also a factor, and also on my first few days I had the SS2 pitched on Dartmoor, it was this way, and a peg point broke under the strain. ( See my thread).
    I am going to trial and compare both ways when FWC starts coming out again and we need a 2 person shelter.

    I'd be interested in other users thoughts on pitch orientation.
    FOX160, gixer, cathyjc and 4 others like this.
  9. CEves

    CEves Summit Camper

    In terms of the money, I always try and justify / excuse / forgive myself by thinking about it in terms of what I'd have to spend in B&Bs to get the same experience. If you get 15 or so nights out of the shelter, you'll be laughing - with the resale value too if you decide you want a different shelter. Plus, of course camping beats B&Bs (most of the time!)
    JKM and Mole like this.
  10. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    Our SS2 has had 30 days wild camp use now since May and have found it is as quick/quicker to pitch as most tents I've used ( not the Scarp or a rectangular mid)
    And no more saggy than any other sil tent I've ever owned, even when sopping.

    @gixer. Not rolling my eyes. On reading your repeated comments, and comparing with my own experience, I just reckon either you had a duff one( unlikely) or just don't 'get' intuitively how these things work once they need tweaking.
    Please don't take this as an insult - just a logical conclusion, derived on your many descriptions of your SS2 woes and my own experience of the same shelter.
    No one can't be good about everything - unlike yourself, I'm pretty rubbish at motor mechanics and electronics ( despite a good HNC in electronic comms, I didn't really have a deep 'feel' for it at all - hence I only worked with it for a few years). And, all my life I've found playing/understanding music almost impossible whenever I tried.

    It must just be hard for some people to understand how fabric structures need to be adjusted or compensated, especially when stretched/wet.
    Example: Just recently I've seen 2 folk write on FB that they sold their sil Trailstars as they could rarely get a completelytaut pitch. To me, this is impossible. It's a non fixed very adjustable shelter and always goes taut if the edge perimeter is stretched. Just walk around it adjusting until it goes taut. Whatever the terrain( within reason).
    A Trailstar has other faults, but not going taut is not one of them (sil version anyway). So the only conclusion for pitching problems is user error/lack of understanding?
    Munro277, tom, JKM and 1 other person like this.
  11. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    Point taken about extra guy and peg for pitchlock end @Mole - the Strats must make a much more substantial "sail" for the wind than the Notch.
    Re aerodynamics, there seems little difference - which may be just as well above the tree line since mountain storms often have the very inconsiderate habit of wildly changing wind directions.
    Mole likes this.
  12. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    The most aerodynamic tent I've owned was a TNF mountain marathon. Low, rounded and sturdy. I didn't own it for long though, because although I don't mind tents you can only lie down in for backpacking trips, I found my golite hut 1 was adequate for the purpose, quicker to pitch, easier for partner to exit past me, and much lighter. I have considered a fly only SS2 option for twosome trips, but the cost (including the taxman's bite) is high, and it's not much lighter than my Hex 3 (12g), which has the same footprint (but more sloping sides).
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
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  13. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker


    My first night in SS2 was the windiest - in a high Scottish coire - was blustery and cold (but not stormy). I instinctively put pitchlock end into wind (hadn't seen HS's video). Became evident very quickly that additional pegging was required at windy end. I carry extra cord and peg. Worked.

    Having had a 'side on wind' in my TT Notch (-no choice in tent orientation on that pitch) - I've seen how much the sides/porch can be blown in and wouldn't choose to pitch either the Notch or SS1/2 door side into the wind.
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  14. liamarchie

    liamarchie Ultralighter

    Looks great in the pics. Sure you'll get along with it fine once you get a few nights in it.
    I've always fancied a Tarptent but the price is just stupid once you factor in the current exchange, postage, and all the other nasties associated with importing it. Really begrudge paying the extras.

    surprised you found the Trailstar difficult to get taught. I think its my favourite shelter for getting a tight pitch, nothing more satisfying than that drum like twang when you get the tension correct! The TS really handles high tension well since its so balanced and well distributed.
    JKM likes this.
  15. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker


    No offense taken, i'll be the first to admit i'm the laziest git when pitching tents.
    It's usually at the end of the day so i'm knackered, so i want something i can pitch with minimum effort that pretty much throws itself up.
    Don't have the patience or energy to faff about with fine tuning getting things looking right.

    Mind you i went out yesterday with unmatched socks, so tend to be like that most the time :D

    I prefer to hike as late as i can, throw up the tent then crawl inside for the rest of the night, i don't want to be adjusting or retensioning.

    So far the Scarp (only a couple of pitches) and the Duplex seem to be ok for that, they both go up quick, don't need any fine tuning once up and don't need any retensioning or adjustments during the night

    With the SS2 it's rare to wake up in the morning and NOT have the outer in contact with the inner in at least one place.

    I trust your opinion if you say that with some fine tuning when pitching and readjustment during the night it'd avoid that.
    I don't have to do that with the Duplex or Scarp so i'm just not prepared to do that with the SS2, i'd sooner buy something that matches my caveman tendencies :D

    There's a massive selection of tents out there, so i think it's important to find a tent that suits what we want and need.
    The Edge 1.5, mids and SS2 are no doubt good tents, it's just they're not for me.
    FOX160, Lady Grey and CEves like this.
  16. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    Just to add.
    • IME the supplied line slips in the linelocs when wet and under strain. I changed for 3mm.
    • I've rarely had to readjust the SS 2 again once I've turned in.
    • I don't get the outer and inner touching.
    • I do adjust the poles taller and as tight as possible once pitched.
    • Also ridgeline guys longer than supplied and in line with ridge.
    • Also, I have made inner apex attachment shockcord loops slightly longer than those supplied.
    • IME Inner/outer separation is not a problem unless the pitch geometry is incorrect. This can be due to uneven ground - adjust the poles and peg points to compensate.
    Hope this helps
    FOX160, gixer and JKM like this.
  17. Lady Grey

    Lady Grey Thru Hiker

    ....................You're always entertaining Gixer, as long as we have plenty of time to spare...:laugh::laugh::biggrin:
  18. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    For the slowwwwwwwwwwwwww readers out there.

    Thank you

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  19. FOX160

    FOX160 Thru Hiker

    That's a very nice tent !
    Best to set it up when you have plenty of time and set your gear out too.
    Then you will get a better feel for it.
    Make a brew and plan our to get the most out of your new tent
    JKM likes this.
  20. el manana

    el manana Thru Hiker

    @JKM - if you get the chance would you mind weighing it please? Preferably all in including the 8 stakes...

    Thinking about one myself but i dont think i will commit without having a good look at one.

    $309.00 (SS1) + $20.00 (solid inner) + $57.00 (cheapest postage) = £310.00 + import duty (last time i paid @ £32?..). You paid £475?:confused:

    With the current exchange rate its a lot of money to pay for a tent you've never seen before...:greedy:
    edh likes this.
  21. JKM

    JKM Thru Hiker

    I think it came in at 1140g allowing for the solid inner and 8 Eastons but I will weigh it tomorrow and confirm for you @el manana
    The £475 arrives from a $490 total cost including expedited shipping as I ordered a few extras such as a tyvek footprint, pole jack's etc. That equated to c£400 and the duty, tax and handling fee came to £75.
    el manana likes this.
  22. el manana

    el manana Thru Hiker

    Cheers, a bit heavier than i expected all in.
  23. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    Might as well stick with the Scarp? :whistling:
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  24. JKM

    JKM Thru Hiker

    I think TT say 1kg on their website but I think this is rounded down from 1040g and the solid inner and 2 extra Eastons add 100g

    I was also a bit put off by the weight but decided that if there was going to be one weight sacrifice in my kit then the tent was an acceptable place for it, so long as the trade off was decent extra comfort and space. Having recently shaved 350g of my sleeping mat and 700g off my rucksack I had a few g's I was happy to play with.
  25. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    It's a palace for the weight. Other double skin, solid inner walled tents that weight just won't have the headroom, inner width or porch space.

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