User Review: MSR Trekker Tent
Design: Hybrid Tarp with Insect Insert
Ease of Setup: Practice it at home, and then very fast.
Weight: 4 lb + or 3 lb without the Insert
Price Paid: $214
I also own several other hybrid tarps and tents (both models of Twin Peaks, Betamid with Beta Bug, Missing Link, etc.), but this is the one I chose for a section hike in early spring on the Appalachian Trail and it met every requirement!
It's very much like a high-tech pup tent and MSR improved the bug insert/tarp interface this year, so there is more space and less chance for bugs to bite you because your arm or foot is resting on the netting (a drawback with the earlier Trekker Tarp with Insert, but overcome with a ring on the underside of the tarp and a button on the net to hold the two together and away from the camper).
This combination allows for almost endless variations (tarp only; tarp and insert buttoned-up for bad weather; awning extended; sides rolled up for additional ventilation; flat pitch; lean-to pitch; etc...).
When I hit Hawk Mountain Shelter on the AT, we were above the clouds; it was raining sideways; and there was a little sleet thrown in for good measure. I pitched my Trekker Tent next to a guy using a Golite Cave and believe me, the next morning he was soaked and I was as snug as a bug in a rug.
Most of the weight reduction between the old and new Trekkers appears to be from switching from the old, reliable "Ground Hog" stake (a top of the line Y-shaped stake), to the lighter and less capable "Needle Stake" (a well designed stake that looks a lot like your Grandmother's knitting needles, but which doesn't hold as well as the Ground Hog).
- Lightweight shelter for two
- A "palace" for one with gear (did I mention the TWO vestibules?)
- Durable construction
- Uses your hiking poles to save weight
- Improved interface between tarp and insert
- Lighter if one leaves the insect insert at home
- MSR, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WITH THAT BLAZE ORANGE COLOR? I suppose this would be in the Pros section for Search and Rescue operations...
- It's rather elongated footprint makes it somewhat difficult to pitch along the trail (tree roots, rocks, other campers)
- Needle Stakes substituted for Ground Hog Stakes (I still carry a couple of Ground Hogs for high-stress areas)
- MSR says this is a 2-3 person shelter. Perhaps, but I wouldn't want a third person in there unless they were very small...
- Did I mention the COLOR?!? My old Trekker Tarp is a mild olive/tan and if MSR were to use the old color on the new tent, they would have me for life.