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Sunday, 9 March 2014

TGO Challenge 2014: Playtime with Trinnie & Oook

Today, most true men in England watched the rugby. However the romantics of this fine land were on our hands & knees in our English country gardens, connecting with English soil.

Mr Walker, after his family had left him for the day, entertained his new mistress alfresco but, sadly, not to his total satisfaction. I put his disappointment down to sore knees, inexperience & over-excitement. I’m sure he’ll be along presently if these facts are not completely correct.

But I too have been canoodling in a back garden, but with Trinnie, the new girl in my life. Today this beautifully tanned creation was man-handled, spread-eagled and pegged down firmly on the lawn until she had given up struggling. There followed tender stroking with soft brushes and the ingestion of syrupy fluids. Then, cruelly, I left her there, tethered to the ground, whilst I luncheoned.

Replete, I returned to her, but now with another companion: Oook. Oook is a svelte, beautifully put-together beast of a girl. Mr Walker would have given his right arm to have had Oook in his garden this afternoon. Instead, he was tangling with a difficult, uncooperative German girl. Oook is an English Rose, raised just over the border in Scotland, one of Mrs Nesbit’s beautiful off-spring.

Introductions made, I proceeded to couple Oook to Trinnie’s bonds and before too long I saw that we were now a beautiful threesome: A heavenly match. We shall soon be escaping England for adventures abroad, in Scotland. 

TRINNIE, SHELTERING OOOK

TRINNIE, SHELTERING OOOK – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

OOOK, NESTLING WITHIN TRINNIE'S BOSOM

OOOK, NESTLING WITHIN TRINNIE'S BOSOM – CLICK TO ENLARGE

58 comments:

  1. If the TGO challenge amalgamated the total spend of all participants before during and after the event there may be a chance that Scotland could be bought back. Ha

    So another star will be erected next to Mr Walkers maybe.
    Watched the rugby and a good result although the forwards were a bit slow at getting the ball away i thought. Good kicking from both sides but penalties can get a bit boring.

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    1. Perhaps the English might buy Scotland back - but it might well be an asset-stripping job. We'll take the land and ship out the people.
      (There's a precedent for that, isn't there?)
      :-)

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    2. Aye, but i’m 50% Scot so don’t go too far. Precedent? Do you mean Salmond? Oh no that’s a different interpretation. Sorry.

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    3. The man might act like 'Il Presidente' but he wants to keep our Queen as Head of Sate. And our pound. And our energy subsidies. And our army. And our Stilton cheese and Melton Mowbray Pies.
      I say we should blockade the bastards - and not allow a single piece of delicious English Cheese or any pies over the border. Then let's see if they want independence!
      :-)

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    4. He’s like a little child in a sweet shop. Only picking the nice coloured toffee’s. Unfortunately my view is “If you want independence and the majority say yes then so be it” But you are on your own and you suffer the consequences or not as the case may be. But no picking and choosing. Once your gone your gone.
      I say unfortunately because i believe independence will be a bigger mistake for Scotland than when they/we turned back at Derby.
      But whatever happens don’t blame the English or the Romans for building such a flimsy wall.

      Delete
  2. I've not investigated one of these closely. What happens at the front overnight, does the 'porch' stay up?

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    1. Hi Missy
      The doorway can stay up in even quite foul weather - I've seen Trailstars (pitched quite low) in terrible weather, with their doorways up. Of course, I shall be snug in Oook's bosom, away from the doorway, sleeping like a baby.
      I've a trip to the Monadhliath and a trip to the Lakes coming up before the Challenge, so I'll be able to experiment with various possible pitching permutations.
      :-)

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  3. Nice to see the rarer 'beautifully tanned' species of Trailstar. Perfect colour for the Highlands :-)

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    1. This beautifully tanned wench and I will be canoodling in various locations, and hopefully her stealth-like skin will protect us from prying eyes in more public places.
      :-)

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    2. Let's hope you get a beautiful tan to match! All the best.

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  4. Is that your best assessment of the independence debate? How long have you lived in Scotland? What do you know of our culture apart from misinterpreted media spin owned by English moguls. A jaunt over our hills doesn't qualify anyone, opinions yes your entitled, I think the people that live in Scotland a multi national community, are better qualified than anyone South of the border spouting this little England rhetoric. Your fellow countrymen that live here are wiser and better informed. Example yesterday on BBC news English commentator refers to England as the UK this type of nonsense has been going on for years, we did not vote the Tories or the lib demo into power the Democratic process is weighed heavily on the side of England, 50 million + plus population to 5 million. I worked all over East Anglia for 15 years on and off I wouldn't dream of interfering in the Democratic processes of that region. I totally disagree with all these so called celebrities putting there tuppence worth in, and that includes these so called fellow countrymen of ours that live in tax exile. I have ran a business over the past 10 years and it doesn't scare me or my friends the thought of independence and it may surprise you to here this I am still undecided, however when we see Cameron and his cronies paying a token visit up here, the English media including "Scottish Sun" that's a joke! This all intensifies the feeling for an independent country, it takes balls to make a move like this, the population of Scotland are well aware of any pitfalls, and therefore will decide there future on the merits of our sense of social community and culture which is based on trying to look after the weakest in society, opinions yes we are all entitled to them but informed opinions based on fact, what does England Wales or Ireland lose without Scotland? How is going to effect the citizens of these countries, and what exactly are they afraid of? after all you can still refer to England as the UK, what you will find a successful independent Scotland will attract many more of your countrymen, something they have eluded to in this debate. I hope you may now be a little more aware of the feeling of resentment into the interference and spin of some of your fellow countrymen. Rant over, oh and by the way good luck against the French on the final game of the rugby six Nations.

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    1. Whoa!

      I think we've hit a nerve here! I suggest you re-read the comments, Robert, and take a peek at all the smilies - it was all said tongue in cheek.

      However, the point Al Rayner makes [ "Unfortunately my view is “If you want independence and the majority say yes then so be it” But you are on your own and you suffer the consequences or not as the case may be. But no picking and choosing. Once your gone your gone." ] is well said.

      Virtually every international business leader that has come out with an opinion on the referendum has come out against it. The Scots should take note of that. These guys don't usually express opinions publicly, so when they do, you had better sit up and take heed.

      You also say, in effect, that it's none of the English's business to declare an interest in the debate. I'm sorry, Robert, but putting it as politely as I can, that's complete horse-shit. In every divorce both parties should be heard and their opinions taken into account in the settlement. The Scots can resent our speaking out as much as they like, but frankly that does not matter. We have our opinions and yes, they should be heard by the Scots as a material consideration in the debate.

      This is not an overtly political blog - okay I speak out against wind farms from time to time and Salmond's greed in farming the subsidies in his efforts to have exportable electricity to England post independence - but largely we leave our politics with our shoes, at the door when you come in here.

      As for "spouting little England rhetoric" - try listening to the CyberNatsies for a while and then repeat that assertion if you dare.
      :-)
      Oh - I don't support England in the rugby - I'm a Welshman. Perhaps I'm spouting 'Little Wales' rhetoric?

      If you call again, I suggest you read comments as they are intended and don't make unwarranted attacks on political parties and the English. It serves you badly.

      Delete
    2. Robert. You win. I wondered who would be the first to bite. My mothers side of the family are all from from the Black Isle and its like baiting the bear. My comment was more tongue in cheek than staunch politics. Not meant to offend, but i wouldn’t trust Salmond in a sweet shop. But the comment “What do you know of our culture” , well, pretty much everything. I have also never spouted anything little about England or Scotland or the UK for that matter.
      But if all the Scots in England went home maybe the vote would be entirely different. I’m sure there are far more than 5 million here south of the border. I wonder why?

      Delete
  5. In reply to your comment that in effect it's non of the Englishes business could not be further from the truth my point as stated we are all entitled to our opinions however informed opinion of the people whom live here, are in my opinion better qualified, to add I have not an anti English bone in my body and to, as you have said in effect totally reject any insinuations on the latter. as stated I lived in Gorleston for a number of years, and still visit regularly. Where one International leader states it's not workable there are another 2 who say different. (spin)
    Another point I would like to make clear I am not a nationalst, and never have supported SNP nor do I agree with everything Salmond has to say. Its debatable to on your comment of unwarranted attacks on Political parties, they all stand up with there policies so anyone of them can be attacked on that count, being unwarranted is, as I have said all about opinions. Accept my apologies to a non rugby Welshman. I hope you now have clearer picture of where I am coming from, if not we shall agree to disagree.

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    1. I could, if I had the mind, take apart virtually every point you have made in this, your last comment, (as far as I understand them) but to be frank, I cannot be bothered. You refuse to take on board, or even acknowledge the points I made in my previous comment to you; It appears you're on "transmit" rather than "receive." You have made no reference at all to the point that both Al R and I made, that this was a light hearted joke.

      What I have read of you in your blog I have enjoyed; It's a pity you have strayed into territory you say you understand, but quite clearly to everybody else, you don't.

      The only point upon which we do agree is that we should agree to disagree. We should move on to writing about our enjoyment of walks in the hills.

      Delete
  6. Hi Robert,
    It’s obvious that you are passionate about the whole debate, but as we have said, it wasn’t a debate just light hearted banter from 2 people who recognise it being just that. I apologise for my bit coming across any different. Our blogs are not about falling out, more to pass on experience and info about the outdoors. So if you can appreciate that, then your comments are more than welcome.

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  7. You have picked a catwalk model of a partner there Alan. May you spend many happy years together. I have the same well crafted inner, it pitches very nicely to the side as well as the back. That is if you so desire.

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    1. Thank you, James.
      :-)
      I'm going to try as many positions as possible with these catwalk creatures, if my aged frame allows.

      Delete
  8. Calm down boys.
    The World is a beautiful place.
    It is politics, rhetoric and politicians that bugger it up.
    So little time available to us to enjoy the beauty that nature has bestowed upon us.
    Let us pop out into the quiet solitude of the hills and brief in the clean air, and have a wee dram.

    Now, who is gonna help me sort out the inner of my hexpeak?

    Maybe I will just take Wendy or Treeza :-)

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    1. If you read my replies to Robert, you will see that I am icy calm, Dear Heart.
      I have made a suggestion on your blog about the Luxe video on pitching your new lady. ave you seen it yet? It might help?
      Cheers, Sweetie.
      Mwah, Mwah!

      Delete
  9. i always thought that this was light hearted and humerous blog for hill walkers but it appears that i stumbled into a polictical war of words after reading the exchange between mr sloman and mr bolton . if the man can,t take a joke then he should other blogs .

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    1. I've read Robert's blog and he seems as sound as a pound (no dig intended, Robert!) and I'm sure we can overcome this hiatus.
      Let's leave it to settle down now, shall we?

      Delete
    2. I couldn't agree more, I am not going to kiss and make up! However I shall offer my hand across the dyke(old hadrian's wall) all forgotten and in the past :-)

      Delete
  10. well my original comment was going to be that after reading your opening paragraphs of the above tinnie and her companion oook my wife is now of the opion that most challengers are now a bunch of sex mad alcholics not that i can see anything wrong with that (-|

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    1. You have married a wise woman, Chris.
      We should all repent in a pub with buxom ladies.

      Delete
  11. Robert. I think you can be sure that Alan S and Alan R's comments were without malice. I'm Scots by the way and consider Salmond's position quite absurd but as Alan says, lets concentrate on more worthy things - the hills.

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    1. Thank you Gibson.
      A cuddle sent your way.
      :-)

      Delete
  12. Well said Gibson. Anyway. Nice setup Alan. TS is proven, but heck I hated crawling into it. But it won't blow down come superstorm Tuesday or whatever gets served up come May on the Challenge. Just don't do a Pieman and pitch too close to rivers ;)

    Looking at the inner I'm reminded just how good Sean's stuff is. Yes its a looooooong wait, but the wait is worth it once the goods arrive. Get out and use it now No excuses. Spare parts installed and new kit. To the hills man to the hills.

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    1. I spent a long time deliberating over the 'Trailstar Crawl', but in the end I just kept remembering that night on Ingleborough when your TS stood rock solid. I need that reliability and as much as I fancied the Duomid it came down to bomber sturdiness.

      And yes, you are right; The quality of the Oookstar from Sean is absolutely first class. The attention to detail and manufacturing quality is the best I've ever seen - from any shelter manufacturer.

      The spare part (Our Kid) is doing really well - I'm feeling completely well these days. I really hadn't realised how poorly I had become, as it crept up on me so slowly and became 'normal.' This year should be a good test, and with a trip to the Monadh Liath and then the Lakes, both before the Challenge, should set me up nicely for the Challenge itself.

      Delete
  13. Hi Alan. Out of interest, what was the lead-time for your Oookworks inner? I've heard it can be a long wait.

    Hope you have a great time on the TGO.

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    1. If you can get his number you can phone Sean and agree a lead-time. He's helpful and the kit is top notch. You pay for it, but its worth it if you can wait.

      Another option is Bearpawed designs. US based and fast turnaround. Not going to be as well made as Sean's stuff.

      Delete
    2. I just came across this post. The Trailstar's achilles heel for many has been the lack of a decent mozzie-proof inner. Yes, OookWorks make one, but lead times are as difficult to hold on to as a piece of soap in the bath. I ordered one two years ago. I was promised 5-6 weeks, but it took 16 weeks, and the end result was disappointingly 100g over specification. From what I understand, lead times have worsened since then. I have a friend who has been waiting over a year for his order.

      You might be better off ordering from Ron Bell at MLD. He just introduced a mesh only inner for the Trailstar.

      Delete
    3. I'm sorry that your experience of Ookworks hasn't been entirely to your satisfaction, Simon.
      Looking at the weight issue first: My Oookstar has a Chikara floor and 60cm rip-stop walls all round and comes in at 418g in its bag. The Ookworks website says a standard Oookstar comes in at 370g + 10g for the bag = 380 gm. I expect the difference between the two - 38g - is down to the rip-stop walls and the Chikara floor - both of which seem to me to be well worth the tiny additional ounce or so. I'm not sure which options you selected on your own Oookstar so I cannot comment on that, but I suggest you check your own Oookstar's spec with Sean's site. I'm entirely satisfied with the weight.
      On lead times, Sean is quite upfront, saying he's a one-man-band and that he's had personal problems and a massive influx of orders. (The massive influx of orders is not surprising, surely, as he is making a first class product!) Of course, It's disappointing that you have to wait an inordinately long time, but it is well worth waiting for.

      Ron's inner offering came out after I had bought my inner. My first impressions are that it is smaller (difficult for six footers like me) and only available in mesh at the moment. However, if you're a smaller backpacker and not prepared to wait, I'm sure it will be fine.

      By the way - I have no links of any kind with Sean at Oookworks - I just find his products to be first class and well worth the wait.

      Delete
    4. Thanks for your considered response, Alan. I ordered the Oookstar with half cuben fibre, half mesh walls and chikara floor, after Sean incorporated the changes recommended by Blogger Zed. Back then he was claiming the weight was 322g. I see one shown on his site now is listed at 340g. Mine came in at 414g, or 92g over the old spec, or 74g over the new spec (I had to check my notes).

      From what I could tell, he used a thicker cuben fibre on the walls of the Oookstar than on the door. The walls were green, the door was white. At the time Sean made no mention of a specification change, and I was perplexed why he used materials that were so obviously from different batches. The zips seemed to be heavier-duty and less refined than the ones I've seen on close-up photos of similar models.

      Aesthetically it wasn't what I expected, and I felt cheated that I'd paid a premium to reduce the weight, only for it to come in so far over the promised specification. After waiting as long as I did, I decided against sending it back to Sean to ask for a replacement. I'd lost faith at that point. Eventually I sold it on for considerably less than I paid, and put it down to experience.

      I know about Sean's personal troubles. I've spoken with other customers, and most seem really happy with the quality of his work. I don't know what went awry with my inner, but it wasn't what I would consider a first class product. The universal complaint is how long orders took before they were fulfilled. I'd be wary of placing an order now with the expectation of being able to use an inner before next winter or spring 2015.

      These days I use an MLD Superlight bivy with mesh at the head. It's not as luxurious as an inner, but so far it has met my needs.

      Delete
    5. Thanks, Simon
      That explains your unhappiness. Were those extra 3 ounces really that important so that you sold it on for a lighter, yet perhaps less user-friendly, bivy? I think I would have suffered the disappointment and stuck to the Oookstar, perhaps losing three ounces of belly. But that's a personal choice and thankfully, we're all different.

      Let's hope that Sean sorts out his work backlog and gets back on track with shorter lead times.

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    6. Alan, I have no argument with you. I'm merely pointing out that when paying for a premium custom product, a customer shouldn't expect the item to come in almost 30% over specification and looking like a patchwork quilt. That's beyond poor quality control. That's being downright disrespectful.

      I've seen some wonderful work that Sean has produced since. When he's on the ball, he's a craftsman. It's just that I don't believe he's balanced the artisan with the businessman. There are a lot of Sean supporters on the web, but potential customers should hear the counterarguments. Consistency is key.

      Delete
    7. Hi Simon

      I'm not quite sure why you prefaced your comment with "... I have no argument with you." It seems to me that you are implying that I have previously argued with your point of view, when in fact the opposite is true. My replies to you have been courteous, empathetic and positive.

      Also, I cannot see how Sean delivering an inner in the state you described can be construed as "downright disrespectful." to you. In my view, poor quality goods should be returned with a note explaining why you feel that is the case and a request for replacement. Regardless of lead-times, a QR issue would always be placed at the head of the queue and so it could have been sorted out quickly and amicably.

      I do hope we're not going to fall out about this. As I said earlier, everyone is different and entitled to a difference of opinion.

      Delete
    8. Och, Alan, you've found me out. I'm really Fat Bastard hiding behind the monicker 'Simon'. "Get in my belly!". "Baby: the other, other white meat." :-)

      In absolute terms, 92g wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back. In comparative terms though, 28.5% overweight for a product that appeals to lightweight and UL hikers, was sloppy workmanship. As was the mix of white and green cuben fibre. At any point Sean could have contacted me and told me his supplier had sent a different material, and would I like to continue with my order or change it. Instead he sent out a product that was not representative of what is displayed on his website.

      A smart businessman catches most QC issues before the product goes out of the door. Sean's were the only hands in every part of the production process for my Oookstar, so he can't have failed to know I would be receiving a product that differed from my custom order.

      Given that it was delivered 10 weeks beyond his promised date, I just didn't have the stomach (pun intended) to wait an indeterminate amount of time for a replacement. I had already been in touch with Sean wondering what was going on, 8 weeks after I placed the order, and he provided vague commitments until week 14. Then he told me it would go out the following day. The postmark was dated a week and a half after that. It was the combination of all those factors that caused me to lose faith in Sean and Oookworks.

      I'm glad you like your Oookstar. Actually I'm rather jealous anytime I see what Sean is capable of producing. I do appreciate the dialogue we've had in this thread. Not every blogger is as accepting of a dissenting opinion. And back to the original purpose of your blog entry, you look well set for the TGO Challenge. One of these years I'll be doing it myself...

      Delete
    9. I never, ever refuse to publish a comment - unless it's so outrageous it will offend public decency. Surely the whole purpose of a blog is to engage with the readership. if not we would be writing to websites with no commenting facility.
      You've had your say on Oookworks and it's here in perpetuity for anyone to find should they so wish.
      Please do enter the TGO Challenge - you'll have an absolute ball and meet many like-minded walkers who will become firm friends.
      :-)

      Delete
  14. Hi Andy
    I'm afraid I can't help you with that information as I bought my Oookstar second hand from a fellow Challenger. He had only used it for two nights and was replacing it with a 2Oookstar, So I had an inner from Sean made in June of last year - virtually brand new at a really good price.
    I understand Sean has quite a bit of backlog to work through, so perhaps it's best drop him a polite email.

    I'm sorry I can't help further - but I will say that however long it takes to get, it is well worth it. It's a really excellent piece of kit.

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  15. I also have an Ookstar for my trailstar. As I keep saying, both are excellent, but not for lanky gits like me. You, of course, will fit nicely into yours. I look forward to admiring them in April, together with your wet back and knees which you will get everytime you go in and out of the Trailstar:-)

    But more to the point, it's all very well telling us the colour of the Trailstar, but what colour pegs did you use in the garden and did they set your eyes off nicely?

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    1. A very important question indeed, David!

      The main seams and doorway pegs are red, Sir! The cheek pegs are titanium. The doorway guy is fluorescent red with reflective bits, as is the very rear short guy. The others are in MLD yellow.

      As such they will match my bloodshot & jaundiced eyes perfectly.

      I can't be doing with a wet back and knees. I'll ask Mr Walker to bring me my morning coffee, then he can be the blotting paper to dry any contact points. (Thanks for the tip.)

      Delete
    2. I very much approve of that colour scheme. Your experience shines through. You might try to get Mr Walker to pack and carry some large fluffy bath towels to ensure he dries you down in comfort as well as style. I'm sure he would oblige.

      Delete
    3. I am not going near him with a bath towel. Or anything else for that matter.

      Delete
    4. Dear me.
      You look after them, nurture them, encourage feed & clothe them and is there any gratitude?
      No.
      Of course not.
      *sigh*

      Delete
  16. Replies
    1. Contain yourself, man!
      It's important that we outdoor athletes don't peak too soon!
      :-)

      Delete
  17. Bootyful.
    When did you place your oookworks order?
    And when did it arrive?
    Cheers.

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    1. Hi Tony.
      I had heard that there were some delays in orders for Oookstars and so I was really lucky and managed to snap mine up second-hand from the TGO Challenge Message Board, from a fellow Challenger, who had bought a 2Oookstar.

      Delete
    2. That's the answer, get it second hand :-)
      Ron is making me an inner so I'll be keen to compare it to the one I ordered from Sean two years ago which I'm still waiting for....

      Delete
  18. Ron is way behind the curve on inners. His are hopeless and don't make maximum use of the space, nor offer the options Oookworks do. He needs to catch up, and make them faster and better. Simple as that. Sean showed the way, others can see the market and bring to it products faster and cheaper if they want.

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    1. I think you have to remember that Ron's market will be predominantly in the US, where I'm sure his inner will be absolutely fine. It is basically just for bug protection and protection from groundwater. I would not call Ron's inner 'hopeless' at all!

      As I see it, Sean caters for a particular European market, with options for draft protection, tarp spray protection for day after day of wet, humid conditions.

      It's horses for courses.

      If Sean can solve his delivery problems and increase communication I would have thought he will continue to have a thriving business and Ron will provide inners for the US. There's room for both businesses to do well.

      I wish them both well.

      Delete
  19. Having used one for a DuoMid Alan I can say they are "hopeless as" they don't use the space available that they could and Sean saw that and did better, and more the mesh simple rubs over your face if 6ft and above while trying to sleep in a MLD bug inner.

    We also are missing the fact MLD ship TS to the UK by the pallet load and the inner market has been obvious for a long time (years) and now MLD finally comes up with a TS inner, which looks far from what Oookworks offer. But lets not forget the North American market has a lot of wet places that inners could be as useful as they are in the UK. Wet Pacific Northwest, Yukon in Canada, and the East of Maine and Vermont. I'm sure a inner would be helpful to add a bit of comfort in the desert areas keeping sand out, and help when it snows - which I note on most trip reports I read for those areas. USA has many extreme weather variations we don't get.

    I hope Ron really gets the inner market sorted as well as others, as competition drives innovation, reduces lead times and prices. Winner for the buyer.

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    1. I hav already dealt with the size issue in my comment HERE, which means that your first point about the mesh in your face has already been covered.

      You say that Trailstars are shipped "to the UK by the pallet load". I'm pretty sure these numbers are very small when compared to Ron's overall sales of Trailstars. The absence of a bug nest has not been a problem to his sales so far. You'll also note that Ron's new Trailstar inner is significantly less expensive than that of Oookworks, so perhaps the value for money and quick delivery times outweigh the lack of features you desire?

      Your point about wet and desert camping in the US is well made, and I'm sure it won't be too long before Ron takes this into consideration in his designs. Rome wasn't built in a day!

      :-)

      Delete
  20. Alan you need to remember Ron's DuoMid and other old style inners lacked the inner struts to give a bathtub floor like they now show. But price wise they are not less. Looking at $175 for the TS inner, So about £135 sterling. Add Vat, customs and handling fee and Sean is the same price. Yes many MLD items slip customs, but many don't. So factor in that. A bug TS inner can be as expensive as a Oookworks inner which is superior in design and will offer a lot more warmth if you want that from a inner over a full mesh MLD inner. Once MLD get the inner market right their faster delivery does mean folk will be able to get what they want in one shop. I'm glad Ron is making them and once he gets feedback he always tweaks and makes top products. Build wise I have never found a fault with MLD.

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