Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Terra Nova Laser Photon Tent Review
Display Avatars Sort By:
Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Terra Nova Laser Photon Tent Review on 05/26/2009 17:07:19 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Terra Nova Laser Photon Tent Review

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
1 gram pegs on 05/26/2009 19:40:00 MDT Print View

Those 1 gram pegs are a joke on a tent. I bought some to stake out my bivy bag, and found them annoyingly flimsy even for that. They bend, turn, and yes, they are incredibly easy to lose (I lost 3 the first time I used them). And you can't easily add a piece of cord to make them easier to spot.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Terra Nova Laser Photon Tent Review on 05/26/2009 22:08:13 MDT Print View

Great review format as always Will. Omitting top vents is a major issue for me regardless of the low weight, however.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Terra Nova Laser Photon Tent Review on 05/27/2009 01:27:40 MDT Print View

There is a law of diminishing returns where the amount of material weight saved against the interior volume and floorspace lost, and the lack of vents isn't worth it. Especially at this sort of money.

The main plus point of this tent is being able to say:
"My tent is lighter than your tent."

I have my secondhand $80 Gatewood cape for that. And it has 35sq ft of covered area. I grant the Lazer is a lot cozier in cold breezy weather though.

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Great review on 05/27/2009 03:53:36 MDT Print View

Great review Will. I didn't know about this tent yet, so its interesting to read this review. Those 1 gram pegs sound funny, and not practical at all - really liked to comparison photo to the toothpick!

On a side note: When does the Scarp 1 Review appear here on BPL?

Ronald Strickland

Locale: USA
Thank you for that comprehensive review! on 05/27/2009 06:21:56 MDT Print View

Will, that review was all that a review should be. Thank you for highlighting the issues that an ultralighter would have. and thank you for comparing this tent to some of its competitors. (I, too, am curious about the new Tarptent - especially since I will thru-hike the rainy, new New England National Scenic Trail this summer.)


Locale: Pacific Northwet
Lack of vents on 05/27/2009 07:19:25 MDT Print View

Will/Other TN users:

I know the laser has the capability of raising the outer tent/fly from te ground at the ends, I believe through some kind of cord arangement to allow some ventilation at the ends of the tent.

Is this possible with the photon/laser comp?

Great Review.


Lapsley Hope
Scarp on 05/27/2009 08:02:07 MDT Print View

Very good review.
I am very pleased with the Scarp 1 I purchased, excellent stability in high wind (haven't had it in snow conditions yet), roomy, the vestibules and double doors are excellent additions, and minimal condensation issues.

Joshua Billings
(Joshua) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz,Ca
Daniel on 05/27/2009 09:17:08 MDT Print View

The Photon ends can be lifted and tied out for better venting but you can't do it from the inside with the cords like the laser. I have one of these tents and I really like it.

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Re: Terra Nova Laser Photon Tent Review on 05/27/2009 09:38:28 MDT Print View

"Its one thing to pare out weight to achieve a world record for the lightest two-skin tent commercially available, but it can potentially conflict with functionality....... The same philosophy applies to the lack of even a minimal mesh storage pocket inside and a storm flap over the zipper, which would add another ounce. And while we're at it, how about adding a high vent or two to lessen the condensation problem?"

I don't understand this remark Will. This whole site is dedicated to saving every gram you can squeeze out of your pack, even up to the point of madness (I remember a forum post of a guy proposing to use a snorkel to get rid of bivi condensation) and now there's a mainstream manufacturer going the length to create a truly lightweight double wall tent, cutting every gram that isn't absolutely necessary and now you want details that add weight. I mean do you really need a mesh pocket? When you go tarp/biving, does your tarp/bivi have a mesh pocket or can you live without it while you tarp/bivi? I can! And what about ventilation, yes indeed it's nice, but do you truly need it when every gram counts? Wouldn't you compromise for condensation in favor of saving a few grams?

If we are talking about normal camping, i.e. taking a normal lightweight set of gear, I agree you would want ventilation in your tent. And if you want ventilation take a look at TN's Laser model (altho I just saw it has an extra door this year, booooh!). Very ingenious ventilation on either end of the tent which can be operated from the inside. Yes indeed it's almost a pound heavier, but that's the price you pay for adding features. In your review you compare the Photon to the Akto, which is almost a full kilo heavier than the Photon. Wouldn't you agree that a fully featured Laser is a much better comparison to a fully featured Akto than the Photon is?

So my two cents to add to this review is a bravo for TN to make a double wall tent that is truly lightweight AND easily available through your local retailer (at least in Europe).


Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Re: Terra Nova Laser Photon Tent Review on 05/27/2009 09:53:18 MDT Print View

> Wouldn't you compromise for condensation in favor of saving a few grams?

Condensation weighs more than a few grams. Even after you try to shake it all off.

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Response to TN Laser Photon Questions on 05/27/2009 12:29:58 MDT Print View

Hi all. The Laser Photon is indeed a very nice tent. But it was designed for adventure racers and needs some refinements for ultralight backpacking. The new Laser Elite can be dedicated for the adventure racing crowd.

Hendrik: There is no review of the Scarp 1 in the pipeline that I know of, but I am finishing a review of the Scarp 2 right now, and it will be published sometime in the next month. Great tent!

Daniel: I'm sure the ends can be rolled up some by not staking out a tieout or two, but the key issue remains - no high vent and not enough ventilation.

Einstein: My suggestions were meant to be weight neutral, but it gets down to a philosophical question of do you want a piece of gear with no features at all and absolute minimum weight, or do you want an "essential" feature set with a few conveniences adding minimal weight? Many people will opt for the second scenario.

Don't get me wrong, the Laser Photon is an excellent solo DW tent, the lightest to be found. My job as an editor is to challenge the manufacturer to make it suit our needs even better. For example, I can't buy into the idea of 1-gram stakes to lighten a tent, while using an aluminum pole instead of carbon fiber.

Happy hiking,

David Wood
(RedYeti) - MLife

Locale: South Eastern UK
End Vents on 05/27/2009 13:55:04 MDT Print View

I would guess, since this is essentially a lighter version of the almost identical Laser Competition, that all you have to do to get ventilation at the ends is to scoop up the bottom of the fly in your hand, and hook it in to the little plastic karabiner that's used to secure the shock cord to the end of the carbon fibre stay (easier to do than to describe!).

No extra weight whatsoever - and plenty of (low level) venting.

Thanks for a very interesting review Will! Good to hear the seam-sealer worked fine - I plan to lose the pole hood on the Laser Comp one way or another...

(simontew) - F

Locale: Snowdonia/Lake District/Peaks
Losing the pole hood on 05/27/2009 15:37:59 MDT Print View

Doesn't this also add guying points though?

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Losing the pole hood on 05/27/2009 15:51:21 MDT Print View

"Doesn't this also add guying points though?"

Yes - there is a tie-out about 45 cm above the ground on each side.

In addition, some have added a tie-out to the top as well.

As built, there are small, light, double-stitched loops on the body of the tent that are intended as attachments for the hood. I have seen these used for tie-outs. Although they would add a little stability in low winds I would not trust them in a storm situation.

David Wood
(RedYeti) - MLife

Locale: South Eastern UK
Re: Losing the pole hood on 05/27/2009 15:53:10 MDT Print View

Yes, as Greg says, the pole-hood does provide guy points

But I'm considering replacing it two Dyneema cords running over the central pole and connecting to the tie-points from which I can guy out.

That way the Dyneema cords would connect to all the same points as the pole-hood, spreading the loading from the guys through all the original points.

I've not finished thinking about it yet... ;)

Oh - and re. adding the tie out on the top out to one or other of the ends - I wouldn't be doing that: If the wind were to come from the end (TN advise pitching side on - it's a tunnel after all) then the hoop would move away from that guy (that being the idea!) but that tie-point was never designed to be loaded on its own and not from that direction.

Edited by RedYeti on 05/27/2009 16:00:06 MDT.

(simontew) - F

Locale: Snowdonia/Lake District/Peaks
Non-hood tie-outs on 05/27/2009 16:03:37 MDT Print View

I've read somewhere that the "attachment" point if you remove the pole hood is not really suitable for guying out - from what I recall it is very weak and damage was incurred. You might want to check before running a guy off there.

David Wood
(RedYeti) - MLife

Locale: South Eastern UK
Re: Non-hood tie-outs on 05/27/2009 16:12:34 MDT Print View

I agree - the attachment points aren't anywhere near strong enough to take a guy on their own.

But all the pole-hood really does is spread that load through all the attachment points including the ones that are at the base of the pole. (I've spent some time staring at them early in the morning from my sleeping bag... ;)

As far as I can tell, it should be possible to spread the load through the exact same points with the two lengths of Dyneema. It may be necessary to have lateral links between them to keep them in place (in the same way the black material of the hood keeps the two cords that attach it in place).

I can't be the only one to have considered this - has anyone seen anything on this on a forum/blog posting?

Edited by RedYeti on 05/27/2009 16:13:57 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Non-hood tie-outs on 05/27/2009 16:45:27 MDT Print View

I can't quite visualize where your Dyneema cords will run. Are you thinking of running them through the hood attachment loops and the pole end-loops?

The magic of the hood is that it places the entire pole assembly into compression as well as "driving" it into the ground, adding considerably to overall stability.

I don't believe there is any (intentional) load transfer by the hood through the tent body attachment loops. I think they are there simply to help keep thing organized.

Thanks for bringing this up. I'd like to see it go somewhere. I think there is potential for simplifying, and of course dropping a few grams.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
The gold standard on 05/27/2009 18:35:26 MDT Print View

Outstanding review, Will! IMO, this should be the standard by which all reviews are judged. Everything necessary to make an informed decision, including a concise comparison with similar products, is there. I hope there are many more to come.