MLD Cuben Solo Pro Tarp Quick Review

One of the cuben items purchased for this season is a Mountain Laurel Designs (MLD) Solo Pro Tarp. This, although I didn’t necessarily “need” a new tarp, was intended to be used in conjunction with my Super Mica jacket to replace my Gatewood Cape and wind shirt in my kit, shaving a couple of precious ounces and operating as a more versatile combination. 

I’ve ordered several items from Ron at MLD over the past couple of seasons and placed an order for a Solo Pro Tarp on March 19th. Surprisingly, I received my tarp in only just over a week, which is rare given that there’s typically a 6-8 week backlog in orders leading up to hiking season. My tarp, in its yellow silnylon stuff sack, weighed in at 5.0 ounces (including lines and linelocks). By replacing the silnylon sack with a Mini / Tarp Stuff Sack built by Joe at Zpacks, I reduced the total weight down to 4.75 ounces. Yeah, I could probably lose the stuff sack altogether, but I’m somewhat retentive in that regard.

Just a little stuffy. Stuff, stuff, stuffaroo!


I found the setup to be as easy as any tarp. I anchored the rear corner tie-outs loosely and looped the front ridgeline tie-out around the front hiking pole in a triangular configuration, extending the line to the ground. I next setup the rear ridgeline tie-out, also looping it once around the pole. I next placed the front corner tie-outs and tightened all of the ridgelines using the linelocks for a taught pitch.

One single loop is all that's required for the ridgeline!

Ahhhh . . . catenary ridgeline!

There's a lot of space under the tarp for pack, bivy, etc.

 Initial Thoughts:

  • The bonded ridgeline is really strong and I found it easy to get a taught pitch.
  • There’s a lot of space under the tarp for all of one’s kit!
  • At ONLY $159, this is the lowest priced cuben solo tarp around.
  • Like all of MLD’s products, the tarp is extremely well made with excellent attention to detail.
  • I will need to wrap some duct tape around my poles in a couple of places for alternative ridgeline heights, especially for grim weather.

I would recommend this tarp for anyone looking to lighten their shelter load. If you’re looking for the lightest solo shelter on the market, constructed entirely of cuben fiber, this should be your choice!

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4 Responses to MLD Cuben Solo Pro Tarp Quick Review

  1. McLovin says:

    Can you clarify the pole/duct tape requirements? Simply placeholder markings? Looks nice, hard to visualize precisely but would it be easy to have it ride lower to the ground?

    • ploss says:

      All that the duct tape will do is basically hold the line at a fixed height. Given that the poles are completely smooth, it is difficult to hold your height if you don’t have something for the line to “grab.”

  2. Pingback: So You Picked Up a New Tarp. Now What? « smackpacker

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