[tent | first pitch and seam seal] Tarptent Protrail US$225

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[tent | first pitch and seam seal] Tarptent Protrail US$225

Postby Neo » Tue 17 Jan, 2017 2:54 pm

This is my review of the Protrail. First go at setting it up and also my first go at seam sealing a tent.

The Protrail is a one person tarp style shelter with a sewn in floor, perimiter mesh and end walls.

https://www.tarptent.com/protrail.html

The tent comes with a stuff sack, four 150mm tube stakes in a little bag and printed instruction sheet. Attached to the Protrail are the minimal guylines and five Lineloks.

I also ordered both of the optional front and rear substitute poles, plus one extra 8"/200mm Easton stake. I chose the cheaper of two delivery options for a grand total of approximately US$300 which at 75c to the dollar works out at AUD$400 delivered within 14 days.

First attempt at pitching was easy. The Lineloks on the short end were not holding so I fiddled around with how the cord was threaded into and out.

Today the breeze was gusting and I noticed the long sides bowing inwards (note that I have not practiced and this is the flattest piece of lawn around). So as I was planning to do anyway, I added a 500mm length of thin bungee cord to a side tieout tag. Looped it through twice then tied a knot which gives two length options. This then lowers the ridge line a bit. There are four points on each long side to tie out from of which I think you would need to use at least one.

The Protrail is pleasantly light and slippery. Some of the single line stitching has a slight wiggle but I cant see anywhere that has been missed. The bathtub floor has short sides but lays flat (not bathtub) on the long sides so I will be interested to see how that performs with some pitching practice and actual camp conditions.

On to the seam sealing! Although the fabric is siliconised nylon, it requires additional sealing after being sewn together. The instructions have a diagram of which seams to do. This is my first attempt so instead of mixing my own I chose an off the shelf product as shown. The included brush was floppy so I picked up this stiff round one from Spotlight.

I applied a thin bead to the stitching directly from the tube then carefully traced down and back with the brush twice. It was easy. I ended up with a tidy 10mm wide seal.

The double stitched ridge seam wasn't sitting flat near the highest point so it may be better to seal the ridge working flat on a table.

Now I cant wait to sleep in the Protrail. Im 6'2" and the internal length seems ample. First chance will be at a friends property and I will update this review when I've done several nights out bushwalking.

Cheers
Attachments
IMAG1695.jpg
Unboxed
IMAG1700.jpg
First pitch
IMAG1707.jpg
Extra tieout
IMAG1703.jpg
Seal and brush
IMAG1705.jpg
Peak sealed
Last edited by Neo on Tue 17 Jan, 2017 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [tent | first pitch and seam seal] Tarptent Protrail US$

Postby Neo » Tue 17 Jan, 2017 5:12 pm

Edit, not five but six Lineloks. I missed the one on the low end that includes a plastic ring for using a treking pole there.
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Re: [tent | first pitch and seam seal] Tarptent Protrail US$

Postby rslt » Tue 24 Jan, 2017 11:33 am

Nice review.
I had a moment tarp tent, great bit of gear and very good service, they are slightly limited by being single skin but I found keeping air flow almost eliminated any condensation which is one of their main issues.
Can't beat the weight. Your tent is lighter than my tarp set up.


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Re: [tent] Tarptent Protrail US$225

Postby Neo » Sun 07 May, 2017 9:54 pm

A follow up and the Protrail has been great. It is designed to sleep in and it does that very well for a minimalist shelter.

I did have a second go at sealing the ridge seam. Spread it on the dining table and got some in and under the folded seam. Only a bit of rain yet but no leaks.

Overnighters haven't happened but over a dozen nights in different locations. When I packed my summer gear the reduced weight of my pack was fantastic.

Pitching is so easy. I use the four corners and one for the peak guyline. I also use two where I put a bungee loop half way along each side so thats seven pegs. For super windy conditions I feel you could add up to six more, pegged down to the ground and be solid as. The 'bathtub' edge still seems a bit low but again I haven't been in heavy rain yet.

Getting in and turning around is fine. I can go in head first and sleep with my head at the low end which is good to know if you were to pitch to the wind but the ground sloped the other way! From there when sitting up my head only touches a bit as I shuffle forward to the door. Lying the intended way with head at the door is OK too. Sitting up from there and turning around, a bit of head and shoulder contact with the ceiling.

Being a single wall shelter there is some condensation. I am yet to have any drips. The slope of the tent/tarp would direct any drips down to the mesh skirt, which water goes through. Its also handy to sit your cloth or other things on if you need more width.
The most condensation has been in foggy weather when you can see water hanging in the air, otherwise it is very easy to wipe down with a cloth when you wake etc so no worries. Lying with head at the door you can reach to dry the ceiling as far as you may touch. To dry the lower end or to access the foot storm flaps you need to go in head first.

The vestibule is pretty good. I added a bit of bungee to the middle loop on the door and hook that to the apex peg giving a bit more space. Usually I have the 'fly door' half open being flipped over the guyline.

As pointed out when asking here about tent choices, you'd have to be pretty tough to sit out the rain in one of these. I either stand around or am lying down to recover anyway! There wouldn't be much room to manoeuvre in extended wet or anywhere to dry stuff out. I can comfortably sit inside the doorway mesh with my usual slumped posture or lie down. There is a mitten hook inside the peak, if this was outside the mesh it may be a place to hang a wet jacket.

I have been using the pole set and haven't tried pitching with trekking poles.

The easton tube stakes supplied are easy to push in, hold if most of the way in and a toe kick makes them easy to slide out. For extra pegs I'm using Helinox.

The only thing I would change on the protrail is the velcro door closure. It is awkward or impossible to press the two halves together soundly 'in mid-air' from the inside. Perhaps ther is a trick to it as this feature has carried over from the Contrail, but I would prefer a zip here or at least have the velcro on an opposing flap so that you can press/pinch the halves together.

I will now be trying to push the Protrail into winter conditions so am using insulation under my mat and looking at some sort of draft blocker for my bag as its designed to be and airy shelter.
Attachments
IMAG2621.jpg
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Re: [tent | first pitch and seam seal] Tarptent Protrail US$

Postby whitefang » Mon 08 May, 2017 9:47 pm

Love my ProTrail!

Instead of the supplied stakes I use MSR Groundhogs. I like them better than the nail pegs that come with it. I also changed the guylines. I found that the stock ones kept slipping through the linelocs when they were wet and under tension. Since I changed I haven't had the problem.

What length are the front and rear poles, Neo? I currently use trekking poles, but I seem to only use them for my tent so I'm thinking of going for some light carbon fiber poles instead to save some weight.
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Re: [tent | first pitch and seam seal] Tarptent Protrail US$

Postby Neo » Mon 08 May, 2017 10:36 pm

Hi I measure the rear pole at 630mm overall, folds in half to 345mm and is 30g.
The front pole at 1163mm overall, folds in 3 and a bit to 410mm and is 112g.
Both of those lengths include the tapered nipple ends about 16mm long and 7mm diameter.
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