The MLD Cricket Tarp needs little introduction. It was originally named the the Solo Trailstar but later renamed to the cricket. Thus its origins lie in the pentagonal pyramid design of the Trailstar, albeit smaller. However unlike its bigger brother it is not a regular pentagonal pyramid, but one with sides of different lengths. Moving away from the geometrical perspective it is apparent that as a shelter it works, Colin’s review pays testimony to that. Colin’s comprehensive review pretty much summarises my feeling on the MLD Cricket.
I have used the tarp for a total of 10 nights now, and have been nothing but impressed by its spaciousness, ease of erection and more importantly its weather worthiness. I use Carbon Fibre Pacer Poles which are not the optimum length for the Cricket, even though Ron suggests a length of 125 cm (49″) as an approximate pole length . The CF pacer Poles have a maximum length of 130 cm (51″) but in Colin’s opinion 135 cm (53″) is the ideal length of the poles, which I would agree with. Fortunately if you are an alloy Pacer Pole user then these poles can be extended to 140 cm (55″) and thus provide sufficient length for the shelter. I have found that with the use of small rocks and other supports I have been able to use the CF Pacer Poles ensuring an optimal erection of he tarp.
I also have the Cricket inner and once connected to the outer it provides an excellent bug free environment for a total weight of 680 grams (24 ozs.) with the variety of setups, especially the storm setups the shelter will withstand strong winds and storms. Which was exemplified to me on my last trip when a fierce thunderstorm hit the area I was camped in, I could see the storm coming so whilst the main pole was set at its maximum of 130 cm, the front pole was set at approximately 60 cm (24″). The storm hit the shelter, on the rear corner, with powerful gusting winds and rain and hail, I was amazed as the centre pole and peg out points barely moved as the storm passed through, though there was some deformation of the panels as would be expected. I was also pleased to find that no water had entered the inner confines of the shelter.
What makes the shelter special? For me it offers the views and openness of a tarp whilst also providing the protection of a Mid making it ideal for use in the forests of Scandinavia.