After my much documented 2-month layoff (see my whining in the previous couple of posts!) I managed to get 2 good nights out with the new Tarptent Stratospire I.
Quick summary: I have never like a tent this much on first use!
The Stratospire pitch on the first night was relatively easy (I had practiced at home 3 or 4 times while stuck around the house). While I didn’t have monster winds or any storms or rain to truly test, there was a steady breeze the first night and it barely ruffled the open flaps.
I used a combination of tent stakes for this trip with relatively rocky open ground:
- Aluminum 6 inch Easton stakes (2) – 1 at each pitch-lock end
- Titanium UL nails (4) – at the door/vestibule corners
- Titanium ascent stakes (2) – at the main guy line locations
I carried 4 Y stakes (MSR Groundhog knockoffs) as well but didn’t need them – they usually replace the nails in softer ground. The taughtness of the pitch first time with little adjustment is what impresses me the most. I did have to make sure I set the pitch-lock ends up vertically.
I found it even a little easier the second night in a steady breeze to stake out the rectangle firsts then insert the trekking pole supports through the roof vents. This allowed me less hassle with getting it right and required only one adjustment to a stake once the tarptent was up.
I had ample room for my gear in each vestibule and my essentials inside the inner netting portion alongside my full size sleeping pad. The only thing lacking for me personally in my organizational camp habits was a small door pocket to keep my headlamp and glasses (a long habit of mine). I am planning to add that myself. Having my entry/exit on one side and my cooking area on the other (I was not in bear country) was ideal.
The vestibule space and two doors are one of the key features I like the most, and the flexibility of this was apparent at a hot and sunny campsite on the second night out. I rotated the closure of one half of the vestibule doors around to keep the tent shaded while still allowing critical air flow through the shelter.
Overnight, there was no visible sag, but obviously that is dependent on weather, be it rain, temperature change, or humidity. The Stratospire was so sturdy that I had no concerns running a laundry line from one of the corners.
Breaking down the tent was easy as well – I prefer just for wet weather practice to unhook the inner netting first and pack that away then take down the tarp portion. This goes quickly – the clips on the inner are a little finicky at first but it gets easy with practice.
Condensation was not an issue on this trip as I slept with both doors wide open both nights and left the netting open on the second night as well since the bugs weren’t bad.
I’ll keep testing this summer and into the fall/winter season and provide a post or two once the Stratospire has ridden out some severe weather. And of course I’ll eventually post a complete gear review on Trailspace as usual.