Monday, 13 April 2015

First Look - Tramplite Shelter

In December 2014 I received my custom cuben fiber shelter hand made in the U.K. by Colin Ibbotson, aka Tramplite.

I'd been a fan of Colin's original MYOG shelter ever since the first pictures of it appeared online.  It looked to have a superb combination of features including that all important Trailstar-esque wind shedding back end. Along with many others I'm sure, I hoped he'd one day go in to some sort of production. I met Colin on the 2014 TGO Challenge and managed to get my name down for one of five initial shelters he was planning to make, mine is number three. 

As above my shelter was completed in December 2014, pretty much to the exact day of when Colin had said it would be. I live close by so was able to pop round and pick the shelter up where Colin was kind enough to go through pitching the shelter with me. In addition to this he also emailed an excellent PDF pitching/care guide which explains clearly how to obtain a nice tight pitch. Any problems encountered during my initial tinkerings were rectified with a quick check of the guide and I was soon able to get a taut pitch every time.

Pitching requires 6 pegs which makes it approx 675-720g total weight depending on peg choice. So far I've used a combination of four 9 inch Sorex pegs from Ruta Locura and two Easton Gold Backpacker pegs but after recently mashing a Sorex I'll be switching to all Eastons as they've always served me well with the Trailstar. It pitches using a single pole set to 125cm, so far I've used my Black Diamond Distance FL poles without any problems, I'm yet to try it with the Pacers but believe Gordon Green has done so, again with no problems. The worst I've pitched in to date is a constant 20km/h or so breeze (gusting in to the 30s) and It went up easily, once pitched the shelter was rock solid. Admittedly 20km/h isn't very strong but hopefully it's an indication of how storm worthy the shelter will prove to be.

The front of the shelter features a superb guy line system which is used to tension the shelter/beak as well as deploy the doors in their various configurations.  If you've made it this far or read any of my previous posts you'll have realised I'm no wordsmith, so rather than me try to explain how this all works take a look at this overview video by David Beechey showing both the front guy system and the excellent door set up. I've a number of videos of the shelter I've not had chance to edit as yet and will add these to the blog when time allows. 

As can be seen in the photo below I also opted for the inner to go with the shelter. The inner features two doors with inverted T zips, a cuben tub floor and breathable nylon walls with the doors being part nylon, part mesh. The inner attaches to four of the outer pegging points and then clips in place using a number of loops and cord lock toggles. The inner floor is approx 75 x 255cm which makes the shelter very roomy for someone of my height (170cm), there's enough space to store bits and bobs at both ends which I like. The inner also allows access to the rear V shaped section under the fly which can be used as a storage area and is large enough to store a pack and more.

The shelter including fly, inner, all lines & stuff sack comes to 632g (22.29oz), with the fly, inner floor and stuff sack being made from 25.4 g/m² (.74 oz/sqyd) Cuben Fiber. I was lucky enough to have my shelter made from the last of Colin's Black Cuben Fiber.

It's still early days with the Tramplite shelter so this post is a first look rather than any kind of review but for what it's worth, so far I can't fault it. One last thing worth mentioning is the quality of Colin's workmanship, simply put, it's superb.

I've added a separate page to the blog which I'll continue to update with photo's, videos, links etc as time goes on. 



  1. Looks excellent Matt. I will be interested to see how it fairs over a season of regular use. Colin seems to have hit the sweet spot of usability, weight and weather resistance which is to be commended. Do you know if there are any plans for larger scale production ?

    1. Thanks Steve, really pleased with it so far, looking forward to using it more

  2. A lot of thought has gone into making that a cracking looking shelter. Hinted to wife how good it looked and she asked for a divorce!

    1. Haha, it's a very well thought out shelter

  3. Great to see this post on the Tramplite Shelter.

    It is born of real life testing and the way Colin had refined it is nothing short of genius.

    I've had mine in some stronger winds than you, so far, and it does show off it's Trailstar-esque rear to good effect.

    The outer goes up super quick. I did take me a while to get used to the inner. I "forgot" to use the area behind the back zip the first couple of times. Now, my pack and virtually all my gear is stored away in the space between the inner and outer. The length is great for taller folk and anything that's not stored away at the back can go at the end. This sort of space is exactly what I've always wanted with an inner. I would have not got this with the Trailstar and inner.

    I too use the Black Diamond Flicklocks (I'd love Pacer poles, but with flicklocks - I would not trust twist grips - I've had them fail on me).

    I look forward to further postings and videos. I too will try to get more pics from the Challenge in a few weeks.

    1. Thanks for the comment Gorgon, for some reason I had you down as a Pacer Pole man.

      Like you I like the storage area and space inside the inner, I've found it really useful for keeping everything organised and not cluttering up the entrance.

      Looking forward to your Challenge photo's :-)