So after much more research and a chat online with Henry from Tarptent, I decided my new tent would be the Stratospire I for several reasons:
- Suitable for folks of my height (6 ft) – although its a little tight compared to my Solong 6 the carbon fiber rods create head room and if I brush against the netting, it’s a double-wall tent so no condensation issues like the Solong single wall section.
- Double walled with removable inner. This is a big advantage over my Solong 6 for trips with multiple days of rain and no time to dry out the tent. I can set up the Stratospire in the rain and then get underneath and set up the inner, as well as pack everything up in the rain and keep it dry before getting out into the weather to take down the wet tent.
- Two doors – I really have got used to having an entrance/exit on my solo tent, and having a second door/vestibule for gear and tent cooking. It’s a luxury that is worth some extra weight to me.
- Large vestibules allow lots of room to dump wet gear outside the inner tent and have at least some drying out in long rainy days.
- MLD Trailstar and Duomid look like great tents as well, but I personally went to the Stratospire so I could have two doors and less bending of my lower back getting in and out compared to the Trailstar (I have constant back issues so this was a major item).
- I liked the weight savings over the Scarp, and Henry said the Stratospire has been used a good bit in Scotland. Therefore, it should suffice for high wind situations assuming I guy it out properly.
The initial back yard setup was a breeze. I got it almost perfectly pitched the first time with minor adjustment in two stakes. The ends with the carbon fiber poles make the setup and adjustment very easy and give a little more head room inside when laying down.
The last week I have played around with different stake types at the different corners to see what works best, and also worked with the trekking pole adapters to see if I prefer the pole handle up or down. The pole adapters work fine, but are a little more finicky during setup so I decided to ditch them and deal with dirty handle tops if that occurs. You have to be careful to make sure the pole tips get in the grommets but the one time I allowed that to slip out the reinforced tent suffered no damage – well constructed!
As far as tent stakes go, I decided to carry two of the long Easton stakes that come with the tent for the ends with the carbon fiber poles, 4 Y stakes and 4 titanium nail stakes for the other corners depending on the rockiness of the ground, and a couple of larger ascent stakes and really light shepherd hook stakes for guying out the lines in different terrain.
On top of that I have seam sealed it twice -once all over, and again on the upper pole grommet stress points. This worked for the most part but not 100% as I still got a drip or two and could see moisture built up in the reinforced area (photo above). I queried Tarptent and Henry suggested that I use the two week old thicker sealant solution without wiping it off after application. I did this and it seemed to work. You can see below that the sealant is inside the seam (dark areas), and this did the trick under another soaking from the hose.
Overall I am very happy with the Stratospire I, in theory, as a balance of weatherproof, room, accessibility, and weight, but have not been able to real-world test it yet…a combination of work deadlines and lower back issues have made me cancel my monthly wilderness trips for now…stay tuned for a full review and update once I get back on the trail!