I want to give myself roughly enough time on this Protrail Li prior to give my review on it. After about 50 nights of using this tent, this is my opinion.
I’m a kinda big dude. 6 ft 1, 220lb. I was in the market for a solo tent and I ran across multiple designs and model. My ideal tent is something that must be a bit roomy, light weight, reasonable price, must perform well with at least 20-30 mph wind. Tarptent Protrail Li checks all the box that I need (well, not all, but most of the boxes).
Tarptent Protrail Li a super light weight (15.5oz on my scale) requires 2 trekking poles and 4 stakes to fully set up. The set up is a bit tedious, but after 2-3 times setting up and taking down. You can get it set up within a very short amount of time. I have tried multiple tent design, either my head is touching the wall or my foot end touching the wall. Either way is unpleasant to live in even just an overnight. This tent is big enough, so neither of my head or foot end touching the tent wall. I use Long/Wide sleeping pad, so when I place the sleeping bag inside the tent, it took mostly all of the space inside the tent. Well, I have couple inches of floor space on each side to put all my personal item next to me in the tent. Which is fine for me, at least I’m not feeling claustrophobic inside the tent like other designs.
Tarptent Protrail Li performs alright during strong wind. 20 mph or less, the tent is very rock solid. But if the wind gusts out over 30+ mph, I don’t think this tent is suitable on a super high wind. There are 2 guyout point on the tent side wall. You can add 2 guyout cord to add more support in high wind. However, the guyout point is too far out (front and back) of the tent. It should be moving closer to the middle of the tent a bit, because when the wind hits from the side way, the middle of the tent body is usually get push in. This creates an unpleasant feeling if you are inside the tent because the tent wall now get push against your sleeping bag/quilt. Having the two guyout point moving closer to the middle of the tent, this might add some stability of the tent during high wind. If the strong wind blowing from front of the tent to the back of the tent direction, and you have both doors open, you have yourself a wind tunnel experience. Kinda fun, but also not really if you have to deal with it for all night long.
Tarptent Protrail Li does give a good weather protection against rain. I experience roughly about dozen of nights of raining/hailing and the tent does amazing job for being waterproof. However, condensation is a big issue of the tent. There are few spots of the tent allows winds to blow in to prevent condensation. Front of the tent, back of the tent, and the mesh material between the floor and the tent body. I always leave the back door of the tent open at all time. This allows breeze to come in. I would try to leave the front door opens to sleep at night to prevent condensation unless it’s raining outside hard. Condensation does build up extremely fast if there is no wind in the area whatsoever. Not sure why, but I woke up 3 hours in, my sleeping quilt is already cover in some condensation. About 5-6 hours in, it’s soaking wet. Not sure how I can avoid this, so if anyone have any suggestion, please let me know!
Tarptent Protrail Li is a front entry tent. It does get inconvenience in the beginning when you first using it. But with a practice of twist and turn couple of time, I’m ok with that. The tent uses thin DCF fabric on the tent body, which makes the sun super bright when shining to the tent. I was once crashing in the tent when the sun is right on the overhead. The temperature inside the tent is somewhere about 10-15 degrees hotter than outside for sure! It’s like free sunbathing if you think it that way. The sun is too bright, that I have to use my clothing to wrap around my eyes in other to take some nap. So maybe darker tent fabric option in the future? I think there are lots of people will share the same experience like I do.
Overall, this tent is amazing and I’m willing to use it even though there are some Pros and Cons that I encounters. This is my summary:
-Extremely Light Weight
-Easy to Setup
-Not High Wind Friendly
-Thin Bright DCF Fabric
-Front Entry (Some people might not like Front Entry tent, but in my case, I’ll take it for it’s rommy and lightweight tent)
If you are a tall person and struggle to find a tent, give a Tarptent Protrail a shot. Does not have to be the Li version, try out their regular version first to see if it’s a good fit for you or not!