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Terra Nova Laser Competition Review
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Terra Nova Laser Competition Review on 03/10/2009 17:59:56 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Terra Nova Laser Competition Review

Matt Moore (TNUK)
( - F
Laser comp on 03/11/2009 02:45:23 MDT Print View

Hi Guys
The 2009 model also has new guy lines and improved locking sliders.
Importantly we have also added a two way zip on the main door which allows extra ventilation and should answer some concerns raised in this article. I have passed a copy of the article on to our designer to take on board the feedback

Sales manager
Terra Nova Equipment

Matt Moore (TNUK)
( - F
Laser comp on 03/11/2009 02:55:51 MDT Print View

Also note that the US reccomended retail price on the Laser comp is $370

Terra Nova Equipment

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Terra Nova Laser Competition Review on 03/11/2009 03:06:57 MDT Print View

Hi Doug

An interesting tent all right. I can't match your photos of the occupant - too old! :-)

But I am puzzled by the pole cover/hood thing. I don't understand it. More details?


Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Terra Nova Laser Competition Review on 03/11/2009 03:30:05 MDT Print View

Something about the Brits being too lazy to do their own seam sealing...
(that is where the two panels meet, no other seams at the top)That is why like the Akto it is a bit difficult to get a nice taut look.
The sleeve also spreads the load from the guylines.
( just my opinion...)

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Condensation on 03/11/2009 06:10:10 MDT Print View

The lack of a top vent disappoints me. Weight be damned, the tent still needs to be functional when everything hits the fan.

Also - 10 stakes? That's far too many for my book unless I am using all of my guylines.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Terra Nova Laser Competition Review on 03/11/2009 06:57:06 MDT Print View

I found, when pitching the Laser Competition, that it was hard to get the end struts positioned at the right angle so that the canopy fabric is taut. Anyone know what should be done to position the struts?

The pole sleeve cover really does work, it really does make the top of the tent more stable. Don't know how. It just feels more solid.

Forget the tiny titanium stakes that come with the tent! Like toothpicks! Bent the first time I used them.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Terra Nova Laser Competition Review on 03/11/2009 07:26:04 MDT Print View

Matt- thanks for your feedback. I'll see about getting the retail price changed. Good to hear about the 2-way zipper too; I could see this being a small help in regards to airflow and condensation.

Roger- it is a long strip of nylon with attachments at the end. It covers the entire middle seam including the zipper and attaches to the tent with three ties and loops over the pole ends. The side guylines pull directly on two of these tie attachments. I agree with Miguel that it works well.

Miguel- there is an adjustment at each end strut that tightens the strut against the inner tent. This has some impact on the outer tent tensioning. Beyond that, I use the end guyouts on the top of the strut independently of the ground level stake point. Together, this tensioned this part of the fly without concern. The tricky area I found was from where the strut attaches to the fly to the ground. Getting this small area to properly taut can be challenging (and impossible if the ground is very uneven). In high winds, if this small area is not fully taut it doesn't affect wind stability and I never noticed any flapping.

Good to know about the new stakes- they may not be much better than the carbon fiber ones included with this earlier model.


Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : Terra Nova Laser Comp Review on 03/11/2009 11:46:33 MDT Print View

I wouldn't worry too much about condensation.
I have had the Laserlite (the forerunner of the Comp) for years, and haven't found condensation to be any worse than other small tents. The Comp is one of the most popular 1 man tents in the UK, and our climate is very condensation friendly. If it was a major problem, the tent wouldn't be so popular.
Living in condensation hell (Scotland) you get used to condensation, and just deal with it. As most of the time i'm pitching in tree-less, exposed sites, there is usually some wind, (often too much!) to help control the condensation. I've used the Laselite on many 2 week treks with down bags, and never had a problem.
I think it's a great choice if you want a very light, double skinned tent.

Robin Evans
( - MLife
Laser Comp mods on 03/11/2009 12:55:28 MDT Print View

I've made a few tweaks that you might be interested in:

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Laser Comp mods on 03/12/2009 00:14:02 MDT Print View

Very interesting Robin. I especially like your method for cracking the door open for increased ventilation. Thanks for sharing!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
re the pole cover on 03/12/2009 03:10:55 MDT Print View

Hi Doug

Well, I have looked at all the pics I could find (easily) to understand this pole cover thingy, and all I can conclude is that if TN had made the pole sleeve and guy rope anchors properly in the first place the cover would never have been needed.

Very arrogant of me I know, but I simply cannot see why the original design should need a pole sleeve. While I have not had a Laser Comp pitched in my back yard, I have had some experience with pole sleeves and guy rope anchors. I guess they can always come out with V3.

My 2c worth.


Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: the Photon pole cover on 03/12/2009 07:57:48 MDT Print View

I share your opinion.

It's a re-hash of a Photon thread in January.

The question that remains is "Is there any way to improve the situation?"

I have seen references to aftermarket fixes in the UK but have never followed up.

Martin Rye - any links to services and photos?

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Terra Nova Laser Competition Review on 03/12/2009 09:01:49 MDT Print View

I find the pole cover fiddly to use and I'm not convinced it's necessary. I haven't had any leakage through the seams without the cover. The pole guylines can be attached to the pole cover attachment points. I haven't used the tent in strong winds like this though.

Martin Rye
(rye1966) - F

Locale: UK
Re: Re: the Photon pole cover on 03/12/2009 10:49:11 MDT Print View

"Martin Rye - any links to services and photos?" ....does this help Greg?

I use the Laser which is the next one up in the range. Same, but bigger. The pole sleeve works. I find it adds stability. If the guy lines where attached directly via the pole sleeve attachment points it would be fine - I could not see any reason to doubt that, as they anchor the pole sleeve. I have been camping in very bad weather with other Laser users when the pole sleeve has come loose due to them not checking the anchors. Rain did leak in to the inner tent due to this. Some UK backpackers have seam sealed the pole stitching and not used the cover. The attachments for the sleeve should hold. Just remember to thread the guy line through the attachments each side of the pole for maximum hold. The bottom line is Terra Nova added it as they could not prevent water ingress with out it in my view. PTC is the man with the answers about this tent. He has a profile on on BPL. Be good to hear from Terra Nova on this and there reasons for the pole cover.

His web site has lots on the Laser Comp.

The Laser and Comp has a growing reputation for standing up to bad weather. Check:

Robin Evans
( - MLife
Pole cover on 03/12/2009 13:20:23 MDT Print View

I agree that the pole cover as it is supplied is a bit of a pain. However, if you use my line-lok system it is very easy to use. It turns a negative into a positive. With a properly tensioned pole cover, it seems more stable and the stress from the guying points is spread over a wider area by the two lines in the pole cover.

Having said that, I think the Akto pole sleeve is superior and less of a fiddle. The other issue I have seen raised on other fora is that attaching the guys direct can lead to failure. I don't know whether that is the case or not.

It is definitely worth using two guy lines at each end as it improves stability at very little weight penalty.

dave hollin
(backpackbrewer) - F

Locale: Deepest darkest Wales, boyo
Laser Competition review on 03/12/2009 18:56:41 MDT Print View

I have been waiting for BPL to do a full review of the Laser Comp so well done for that chaps.

In the UK, there is a long running discussion/argument over which is the better 1-man tent: Laser Comp or Akto.

I have owned both and think even forgetting the huge weight saving the Laser Comp is still a better tent than the Akto. If you look at the link above to the blog Backpackbrewer (me) it relates to a particularily nasty evening I spent in a Laser Comp and came out smiling. Basically, I rode out a 67mph storm in a Laser Comp and the pitch was still inch perfect in the morning. Ok so I added a few extra guylines as I knew a storm was coming but the tent was magnificent in its performance

As Mike Dundee states, in the UK we get a hell of a lot of condensation as a norm and even so its not that big a problem for the Laser Comp. I guess we are just used to it. Even tarps get condensation in the UK! :) The other thing we get is a rapid change in weather conditions, sometimes literally "4 seasons in one day". The Laser Comp is one of those tents that is a jack of all trades and I would happily take it just about anywhere and under most conditions.


it is really light and yet its a true 2 skin tent ie not jst a mesh inner with a fly. This is a very important feature in the winter
It goes up easily and gives a taut, eye-pleasing pitch
It is side opening
It packs down very small
Inner and outer can be separated
it sheds snow reasonably well
reasonable room and clearance in the inner
good sized porch
with 4 extra dyneema guylines, you can make this a 4 season or at least 3+ season tent for very little weight penalty (still less than a kilo)

if hit by really strong winds, the unsupported side panels can deform inwards. Admitedly, this didnt affect me until the windspeed rose above 50mph and started gusting.....
um.....struggling now
expensive, although if you look in the UK you can pick up one for around £190/$240

OK, so I'm a fan but seriously, this is one great tent that does a lot of things well.

Edited by backpackbrewer on 03/12/2009 19:05:29 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: the Photon pole cover on 03/12/2009 20:32:21 MDT Print View

Thanks for the links. I'm impressed. I hope I never have to experience it.

I did see that everyone is using the pole sleeve, and obviously a good thing too.

Now, if it just didn't seem like a kludged up afterthough, both in design and implementation. Maybe in next the iteration...

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Laser Competition review on 03/13/2009 08:27:36 MDT Print View

FYI: This tent was reviewed in Washington State, USA. I compared rainfall and temps from Seattle to Cardiff, Wales and found that temperatures and rainfall were very similar (which is what I suspected). Condensation should be similar between these two locales.

However, this tent was tested at elevations that far exceed the highest point in the UK and year-round with many nights on snow. In Washington, we often have rain at higher elevations when camped in snow. This is a real test of a tent's condensation resistance and the area where I found that the tent's condensation was the worst.

Just an fyi.

darren stephens
(darren5576) - F

Locale: Down Under
Scarp Comparison on 03/13/2009 13:17:20 MDT Print View

I’m impressed by the storm worthiness but concerned this would be a very hot tent. Does anyone think the lower skirts on the fly than the scarp would be an advantage in the high winds described? And I’m not referring to the scarp with cross poles as there is a large weight difference. Maybe a laser comp with 2 doors now it doesn’t have to worry about being the lightest tent in the world