Tuesday 6 November 2018

Tramplite Shelters

Original Tramplite Tarp (discontinued), UK Lake District

Tramplite Gear is currently closed and WILL NOT reopen until trading with the EU becomes viable again.


Tramplite shelters began as a MYOG (Make Your Own Gear) project in 2013 for my New Zealand Te Araroa hike because I was increasingly underwhelmed with commercial Cuben Fiber shelters (Cuben Fiber has since been renamed Dyneema Composite Fabrics or DCF). I wanted a small, light, but stormproof shelter and many failed when it came to the last point as, generally, DCF shelters are designed in the USA for use below tree-line. Unhappy with what was available I made my own. That original shelter was a huge success and that design has been further refined over 10000’s miles hiking, cycling and paddling north of the Arctic Circle in Norway/Sweden/Finland, Scotland, England and USA. Version 2 was released in late 2016 that saw further refinements to the outer and the ability for the inner and outer to be pitched as a single unit. The much-requested option of an extended, lower, front door was added and has become standard on all 2019 shelters. 2017 saw additional options of inner tent pockets, 2 styles of groundsheet protectors and an extreme weather kit. The extreme weather kit and inner pockets are now standard on all 2019 shelters.

Solo Backpacker Lite, UK Howgill Fells

2019 Tramplite Solo Shelters 

For 2019 the range has been simplified to 2 solo models, Solo Backpacker and Solo Backpacker Lite, meaning the tarp and 3/4 zipped door versions have been discontinued. Both 2019 models are the same size and shape, take the same solid inner, but are focused on different groups of hikers.

Solo Backpacker, UK Lake District

Solo Backpacker Lite

This is the original Tramplite extended zipped doored shelter, updated for 2019, and is for the ultralight hiker looking for class-leading performance at the lowest weight. The Backpacker Lite is the shelter that Tramplite has personally used on every hike since 2013. It’s been trail tested over 10000’s miles in Scotland, New Zealand and Arctic Scandinavia, among others. It’s tough, very light and resists wind well. For 2019 a new 2-way venting zip is fitted, tougher Hybrid-DCF dome and a simpler automatic zip strain relief system. 4 external guys are now standard on the Backpacker Lite and the new, exclusive to Tramplite, Backbone System (see Solo Backpacker for details) can be fitted as an optional extra if you need even better foul weather performance. The Backpacker Lite requires a minimum of 7 pegs (full pitch, including external guys, requires 10).

Solo Backpacker Lite, Northern Norway

Solo Backpacker

The Backpacker is new for 2019 and is an uprated version of the Backpacker Lite for those that need exceptional poor weather performance at the lowest possible weight. The Backpacker features 4 extra pegging points, to keep those panels really taut and reduce flapping, and all pegging points use heavier duty Hybrid-DCF fabric. The front porch has extra weather protection with a new 2 position door that can be operated, without ever leaving your sleeping bag, using a simple pulley system (a conventional and slightly lighter guy can be fitted, if preferred).  The Backpacker is supplied fitted with the new, and exclusive to Tramplite shelters, Backbone System which uses the 2nd hiking pole as a brace for the rear panel without requiring any additional hardware (pole extenders etc).  This unique system places the 2nd hiking pole handle into the outer dome, effectively creating a big hinge, and the tip end is locked in place by the external guying system. The Backbone System really stiffens up the structure and takes the performance of the Tramplite Solo Backpacker to a new level for such a light shelter. The Backpacker requires a minimum of 7 pegs (
full pitch, including external guys, requires 14).

Solo Backpacker, 1/2 opened doors, UK Howgill Fells
Solo Backpacker, fully open doors, UK Lake District
Solo Backpacker Backbone System
Solo Backpacker Backbone System

Solo Backpacker door pulley system

Standard Tramplite Shelter Features 

New for 2019 both shelters feature a double venting door zip which allows better condensation control when the shelter has to be zipped up in particularly foul weather. Also new is the zip strain relief system which automatically reduces the tension on the zip as you tighten the front door guy, no more messing around with buckles! Both shelters feature adjustable Line-locs, on all pegging points, that uses a unique Dyneema cord arrangement that will never slip. The front and rear guys use mini Clamceat Line-lok's with tough Dyneema cord of a thickness that reduces the likelihood of tangles.  The mini-beak gives good rain protection even with both doors open. The inner can be left attached to the outer using a system of shock cord and toggles. There are hanging points to support a bivi bag. A Cuben storage sack is included.

Solo Backpacker Lite Line-Loc Pegging Points
Solo Backpacker Automatic Zip Strain Relief System
Twin Venting Zip System


For 2019 the inner has been redesigned to give more floor space and now includes the 2 inner accessory pockets as standard. The inner pitches tighter and with a tensioning system on each seam allows for a taut pitch even on rough surfaces, no more saggy panels! Tramplite inners feature a proper bathtub floor, with fully sealed seams, and have a ’T’ zipped door arrangement which allows better access to the inner. All inners have solid side and rear panels, to keep off drafts and condensation, while the front doors have a solid lower panel with a mesh upper for ventilation. Inners can be left permanently attached to the outer but also quickly removed when needed.

Solo Backpacker fitted with 2019 Inner

Solo Backpacker with 2019 Inner
Inner Tent Panel Tensioners


Tramplite shelters are designed for users up to 188cm (6' 2"). Users a little taller than this will fit but with a thick sleeping mat and winter bag, your head and feet may touch the sloping inner sides. Smaller users will have masses of storage space above the head and below the feet. Tramplite shelters pitch with a single hiking pole (not supplied) that needs to extend from 120-130cm.


At Tramplite Gear we are only interested in supplying you with the finest kit. Both shelters use tough 0.74oz DCF for the outer fabric and inner base. Outer zips are water-resistant YKK No 3. The dome is lined with Hybrid-DCF fabric. The solid inner uses a very breathable, high quality, 30D yellow coloured nylon fabric and all mesh is midge-proof. Webbing and hardware fittings are the finest available.


Optional Groundsheet Protectors

DCF is tough but not very abrasion resistant and unless pitching on grass a groundsheet protector is recommended. We can supply simple custom-sized protectors in lightweight clear plastic or Tyvek. Tyvek has superb puncture resistance, is almost indestructible, and is recommended for areas where you will likely be camping on sharp rocks, or around spiky plants (desert campers this is for you!). Plastic is much lighter, completely waterproof, and offers good abrasion resistance, but has less puncture protection. At Tramplite Gear we’ve tried many different plastics over the years and these are the best by far. Plastic won’t last as long as Tyvek, and if punctured must be taped before it tears, but with minimal care, I normally get at least 1 long hike (5-6 months) from each protector - NOTE this is continuous use and it is likely you will get many years of more normal use. We bond all edges of our clear plastic protectors to help prevent rips and if you do puncture them they are easily patched with most tapes.

The Tramplite Way

Tramplite shelters are designed, and expertly handmade, in the UK with exposed Northern European conditions in mind, that alone makes them unique. Every shelter has been designed, tested, and built by a hiker of considerable experience who still manages to hike 4-5 months/year and the shelters you see here are identical to the shelters used, and continuously developed, on those hikes. Tramplite shelters are very light but strong, fully weatherproof (including taped seams) and remarkably stable for the weight. These shelters are premium products and no compromises are made in the selection of materials or construction methods. Most manufacturers simply stick their shelters together with double-sided tape leading to designs that are weaker, and pitch less taut, than a Tramplite shelter. Simply, if you want to resist wind effectively then you need a tough and taut shell. With a Tramplite shelter, every major seam is rolled twice, double sewn and finally over-bonded. This gives an immensely tough seam, comprising of a minimum 6 individual layers of DCF, that is immune to fabric de-lamination while allowing immense pressure to be applied to the pegging/guying points (which are directly attached to the seams). With shelters that are stuck together, you are effectively only bonding the 2 outer faces of plastic film together and any de-lamination of the DCF fabric can lead to catastrophic failures. Any shelter built this way and used on exposed sites, and in consistently high winds, is more likely to delaminate over time but even when new, and performing as designed, is still much weaker than a Tramplite and will flap easily. 

So why are most DCF shelters simply stuck together? Profit! You can build 3 of those shelters in the time it takes Tramplite Gear to lovingly craft 1. For the customer, there are no advantages other than sometimes a cheaper price.

Taped Seam Left, Tramplite Seam Right

Product Weights

All weights are approximated and can vary due to differences in fabric batches and any modifications. Weights of DCF batches vary hugely and that is completely out of our control. Specified weights include all standard supplied items and a DCF storage sack, if appropriate. Weights here are an average of every product that leaves the Tramplite workshop so are as accurate as possible. Products marked with (est) are estimated weights and that may be because that combination hasn't been supplied yet or because the product is too new to get an accurate average weight.


Tramplite Solo Backpacker Lite    395g
Backbone Upgrade for Backpacker Lite    36g
Tramplite Solo Backpacker    480g
Storage Sack    9g


Tramplite Solo Inner    345g

Groundsheet Protectors

Tramplite Solo Groundsheet protector Tyvek 160g (est)
Tramplite Solo Groundsheet protector plastic 58g


To inquire about ordering email using the forms on this site. Please note Tramplite Gear is not a full-time business and there may be some waiting. For 2019 the list system, operated since 2016, has been withdrawn because it's become increasingly difficult to manage.  If there is no immediate availability then you have the option of joining a mailing list and emailed as soon as possible, if there are others on that list then it becomes a first come first served system.

Prices are current for Oct 19 but is subject to the value of the £ when we order fabrics and actual price could be higher or lower.

Tramplite Solo Backpacker Lite Outer (each) £480
Backbone upgrade for above £50
Tramplite Solo Backpacker Outer (each) £560
Tramplite Solo Inner (each) £250
Tramplite Solo Groundsheet protector, white Tyvek £35 
Tramplite Solo Groundsheet protector, clear plastic £20

UK P&P by next day Special Delivery (fully insured) £10-15
or all overseas deliveries we will quote you two prices: one insured at our risk and one uninsured at your risk. 

FAQ's, warranty and returns


"Why are your DCF shelters so expensive?" is a question we are often asked. Actually, Tramplite DCF shelters are incredibly cheap given the expense of the fabrics, the quality of the product, and the experience of the team. All DCF fabric comes from a single factory in the USA and has to be imported.  By the time DCF arrives with us, it costs around £35/m. A solo Tramplite shelter uses 9m of DCF giving a total DCF fabric cost of £315. Add to that the specialist adhesives, other fabrics/webbings/fittings and you see there's not a lot left. And that's before our time is added in. Most DCF manufacturers are based in the USA and don't have to pay postage and import duties, most manufacturers sell a compromised product and stick their shelters together with double-sided tape. We don't do that at Tramplite Gear.


DCF shelters will normally last one long thru-hike, it's likely there will still be some life in the product but not enough to take on another long thru-hike. One long thru-hike is considered to be PCT/CDT sized (4-5000km) and around 5-6 months of continuous use. For the more normal hiker, this will be many years! You can be kind to your shelter by not leaving it pitched in sunlight more than necessary, drying it carefully after each use, and cleaning the zips regularly. 


All Tramplite shelters are warranted for the period of 1 yr from the date the product is received. If you, the original purchaser, discover what you consider to be a manufacturing defect then you can return the shelter to Tramplite Gear for inspection, and we will, at our discretion, either repair, replace, or return the item. 

This warranty does not cover accidental damage, misuse, wear and tear or material degradation from extended use.

Contact Tramplite Gear before sending in any items as we may be away hiking!


If you are not happy with your purchase then you may return the unused items within 14 days for a full refund*. Any items that have been used cannot be returned. Returns are also not normally accepted for custom items.

* excludes overseas P&P and any refund of import duties