Funnily enough I was thinking of writing a post, this post, on a shelter for dog camping when someone asked my advice. Mine! First up, of course there are far more experienced people out there, but I certainly have an opinion!
Of course this is based on 5 dry camps and the shelters I have bought. Whilst it has rained twice, thankfully it's only been once all set up and settled in. I'm more than happy with that!
Let's start at one end of the spectrum and work our way across my shelter list! But of course its heading to my prefered choice. No prizes....
I've not tried my Tarptent Scarp 2 out wild camping. Maybe one day I will. It is not too heavy for what it is, (though I'd need to leave my beloved MLD frameless packs behind for it), it's a good size and very strong from what I hear. A match for an Hilleberg Akto. But really that comparison is out of any experience I have! I have never seen an Akto. That's why I need to keep this to my list of shelters not something I don't know / own.
I have of course slept in the Scarp, sort of, I used it for my initiation into camping at home, don't ask!
I have camped in the Hilleburg Staika. I will compare them despite the differences.
The Staika is bigger and heavier but does a similar job.... I used it first up primarily as a confidence comforting thing. For that it was worth its weight and cost!
I was asked about my opinion on the Staika for the SWCP. My opinion is its fabulous, build like a brick chicken house, and very roomy, but I'd not want to lug it too far over too long a time!
The Scarp 2 is much lighter and really a better choice based on weight. Both are two skinned tents. And this is my crux. Now I wouldn't be surprised if many, if not most dog owners camp in a two skinned tent very regularly and very successfully! All I can say it doesn't appeal to me to have a dog, even Bess in the same inner as me. If it can be avoided when I have alternatives. When I used the Staika I moved the inner over and placed Bess' bed straight on grass under the fly sheet and I dare say I'd do the same in the Scarp.
So these shelters don't appeal quite as much now as when I bought them. No regrets and they not for sale!
I agree of course Bess is still under the same fly as me. But I see that as separate! I just do.
Especially once I get my OookWorks inners.
Next up are my rectangular tarps. The weather would need to be very fine / a period of high pressure or good natural shelter. So let's skip those other than to say I could probably have taken the MLD Supertarp to Dartmoor in July it was very dry and we had a week of high pressure, for a change. I am glad I took the Cuben Trailstar.
So this now brings me to my Mids by MLD. For me, for dog camping (and even if Bess were not about) the mids rule! I have bought all my kit and will no doubt continue to buy more in the future...!
The Duomid is very good as a dog shelter. And most certainly worth a look. Mine is of course Cuben Fibre! This works brilliantly in the Duomid.
Bess does take up some room in this however. I'd say a quarter! I think whilst for one person it's large, for one person and a dog its comfy! I still have my own room, which is spacious. There is some storage space (for ease I had to keep Bess' pack outside) at my head and feet and I was easily able to cook with the door closed (it was raining) by the central pole. I cooked with door closed but not zipped up to try to reduce condensation, I did feel a couple of drips, I heard that! The stove was just enough away from Bess. Ingress and egress was easy enough for us both as long as I kept one area completely clear (though doing the bottom clip up on the door was a tad fiddly, with practice I dare say it'll be quick and easy!). In good weather with door open this would be a fabulous shelter. Even with door closed its roomy if comfy with Bess. Tons of head room. Unparalleled head room!
Of course I have not seen other shelters but I have to say if the Trailstar didn't exist this would be second to none. However the Trailstar does exist, so it's a close second! It certainly deserves a serious look, especially if you want a zipped door.
I have already blogged prior to this my thoughts of the Cuben Trailstar. I stand by my opinion, it deserves its place. The only thing I'd add, is I don't consider it a beginners shelter. If someone has some experience it's well worth a look. I justify that by saying it took me, a beginner ages to figure it out and as a beginner I'd not appreciate getting up at midnight to move the door if wind blown rain did a 180! But with experience, I'd probably not mind as much. But maybe I would! And how often will the wind do a 180. See, I want to keep defending it!
This brings me to the silnylon Trailstar. It's frankly unmatched! Certainly in my inventory. The Duomid trumps it for headroom and in cuben, weight (enter the Cuben Trailstar!), and of course the Duomid can be totally shut up. But the silnylon can be pitched with a low door and has much more floor space (I recon Bess uses about a fifth and there is plenty of room for her pack!). So the Trailstar will be my bad weather winter (or any time I choose) shelter of choice. Unless I just fancy taking something else!
There is tons of storage space next to me, behind Bess and at my head / door where I can cook with less condensation than in my shut up Duomid. And I can look out.
What I particularly love with the Trailstar is the floor space as previously expressed as it allows more separation between Bess and I. If Bess decided to leave in the night (she had better not!) she can get out without damaging any doors!
For me whilst I'll regularly use my other shelters and I particularly like (love) the Cuben Trailstar / Duomid the silnylon Trailstar really rules the roost and rocks. It gives me immense confidence and that is priceless.
For Bess and I the silnylon Trailstar is perfect. A clear winner!