Gear Review: Tarptent ProTrail

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ProTrail | Cordillera Blanca Traverse, Peru, 2014.

A few months ago I posted about a prototype tent that I was taking to the Peruvian Andes.

The “ProTrail” is a one person, single wall silnylon shelter. It represents the latest offering from Henry Shires and the folks at Tarptent.

Weighing in at just over a pound and a half (including stakes), the front end of the ProTrail is similar in design to the Tarptent Contrail. The major difference between the two shelters lies in the rear. The newer model has an A-Frame configuration at both ends, whilst the Contrail sports a twin strut setup at the back.

The Contrail is an excellent shelter and has been one of the most popular models in the Tarptent stable since 2006. Having used both tents, I think the ProTrail is even better. My reasons are as follows:

  • First and foremost, the ProTrail is more stormworthy. This was actually the primary reason I agreed to take it to Peru in the first place. It sheds water and snow better than the Contrail thanks to its classic A-Frame design (i.e. catenary curve / line of tension between front and back). The foot end of the ProTrail is rock solid and in my opinion constitutes an upgrade over the flat and low rear of the Contrail. Note: I used a 1-ounce (29 g) Easton 0.344” two-piece pole for the back, and an adjustable Fizan Trekking Pole for the front.
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ProTrail | Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit, Peru, 2014

  • Superior venting thanks to a larger rear window.
  • Better rain protection (i.e. less chance of splashing), as the canopy edge is further away from the floor.
  • More interior space in both the middle and rear of the shelter.
  • Extra tie-outs on the sides; tauter, more wind-resistant pitch when the weather turns nasty.
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ProTrail | Cordillera Blanca Traverse, Peru, 2014.

During my five weeks in the Cordilleras Blanca & Huayhuash, I experienced a wide range of challenging conditions. High winds, rain, snow and an apparently short-sighted burro that mistook the vestibule of my shelter for a urinal. Throughout it all the ProTrail held up like a champ………….although it did have a lingering funky smell thanks to the aforementioned quadruped (sorry Henry 😉 )!

Donkey jokes aside, if you are looking for a reasonably priced, lightweight, functional one person shelter for three season conditions, I highly recommend the Tarptent ProTrail. If you are interested in checking it out, it will be available on the Tarptent website sometime over the next few months.

Disclaimer: I was given the opportunity by Tarptent to take the ProTrail prototype for a spin in return for some feedback from the field. I was under no obligation to write an online review.

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ProTrail | Cordillera Blanca Traverse, Peru, 2014

 

 


Comments

Gear Review: Tarptent ProTrail — 3 Comments

  1. I enjoyed your review, and am debating getting a Protrail or one of the other Tarptents. I like to keep things simple–I have been primarily using a tarp, ground cloth and bag but now that the tarp is leaky, I figure I should get something with bug protection and a bath tub floor, and that doesn’t take a lot of time setting up.
    My question, were you able to test how well this tent handle 4 to 5 inches of snow? I am not expecting to camp in snow, but it will be a possibility in some places I go. Likewise wind; I normally don’t camp on a ridge, but if I am in a storm with unpredictable winds I would like to know the tent will stay up! Any guidance appreciated. I enjoyed the review, but “3 season” can mean a lot of different things.

  2. Hi Cam – I also enjoyed your review. I hike in Eastern Canada and NE USA primarily and often encounter days of steady rain. I have read reviews about the difficulty of packing/unpacking single wall shelters (including the protrail) because the inside gets all wet too. Other than that, I am considering one for a range of hiking conditions. Do you have any comments/suggestions about that issue?
    Thanks,Doug

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