The Terra Nova Laser Competition

Having owned one of these tents for a year now, I still feel that it is an oft loved and yet much maligned tent. I bought it because I wanted a lightweight tent for backpacking with and had gotten increasingly frustrated with carrying 2kg of nylon with me.

One of the criticisms of the LC (as I affectionately call it) is that it wont stand up in a real blow being both lightweight and single poled. However, The Hilleberg Akto is in this category and manages to retain a view of impregnability amongst camping officiados. Whats the difference? The Akto has 2 struts at each end of the fly as opposed to just one for the LC as well as a couple more guying points. Is this enough to make the Akto 4 season and the LC only 3 season? I am still unsure.

I have had the LC in winds around 30mph (measured) and probably higher (estimated). Like any tent, true weather resistance is dependent upon pegging and guying. For the LC this is paramount. I have recently seen some really good suggestions on helping with the set up and have yet to try them out. I will post the links to these suggestions when a) I find them again and b) when I work out how to do it….! I am a perfectionist when it comes to pitching and when I achieved a ripple free fly and everything was well pegged, I found that in 30mph the LC had no problems at all. How much more than this can the LC take. I am not so daft as to expect it to put up with a top line hoolie but I am curious to see how much it can really take.

and its mine.......

The LC pitched near Llanthony Priory, Black Mountains May 2008

The one thing I havent tried yet is using the LC in snowy conditions. I am keen to see how it deals (or not) with snow loading. Maybe this winter I will find out…….. In fact, I am making a trip to the Cairngorms in early October. Ok so snow is a remote chance but it could still be a bit challenging on the weather front. Do I take the LC or wimp out and take a Hilly? Hmmm, time to ponder the kit list again……



About Saddlebags and Backpacks - a brewer's outdoor adventures

I am a keen hiker, camper, cyclist and general all round gear addict..... I also manage to be a professional brewer in my non-spare time :->
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8 Responses to The Terra Nova Laser Competition

  1. Martin Rye says:

    Take the LC. It is a hard little tent. I use a Laser and love it. Keep thinking about a LC…well see. Like the blog.

  2. blogpackinglight says:

    Welcome to the backpacking “sads” who blog. You might want to look at some of my mods to help:

  3. backpackbrewer says:

    Thanks again Martin. I love it to bits and still cant quite believe how light it really is. Thanks for the comments 🙂

  4. backpackbrewer says:

    oh and I did see the blogpackingmods previously but lost the link 😦 . Thank you very much for these. They are really really useful…….

    cheers, Dave 🙂

  5. walter says:

    Hi Dave,
    Great blog you’ve got here.
    I’ve an Akto but I also got myself an LC to lighten up the load.

    I’ve used it for the first time last week. A summit pitch, rather exposed, and the wind was a rather fresh breeze, not sure how many mph, perhaps 25/30mph, perhaps more.

    Two things didn’t quite work out: the flapping noise, which was pretty bad, and the fact that, pitched pointy end into the wind, the side facing the wind was ‘coming in’ pretty badly. I had pegged the pole guys into the wind to keep the pole as steady as possible, but still, the fly was being blown ‘inside’, if you know what I mean.

    So the tent ended up looking pretty awful and the inner got a lot of condensation on the outside.

    I didnae have earplugs, so i didnae get much sleep.

    Other than that, I was pleased because it went up pretty quickly and I found the ventilation quite good (but then, the wind was quite strong!). Head room was good and I didn’t feel it substantially different to the Akto. The 500g saved were of course good.

    So, if you’ve any tips as to how to pitch it properly, I’d be very grateful.

    I think I followed the procedure on the TN video, but what I didn’t get right was the alignment of the two halves of the tent! Also, the end poles, how much do you angle them outwards?

    Well, lots of questions, sorry about that!


  6. backpackbrewer says:

    Hi Walter, not a problem on the questions front.

    Basically I find the Laser Comp is dead easy to pitch but you have to faff about to get the pitch really good as opposed to just ok.

    I could go into my hints and tips but I think its better if you pop over to blogpackinglight and see the master at work!

    I cant say how much to angle the end poles outwards, I just adjust until I get a ripple free fly. Re the noise and flapping, you will find it improves vastly if you get the fly really nice and taut. Another thing that helps is extra guylines (as per some of the mods outlined in the link)

    Hope that helps and practice does make perfect.

    PS I have had my Laser Comp in 70mph winds and it stood up a treat 🙂

  7. walter says:

    Hi Dave,

    Aye, I knew about Robin’s mods (in fact, the v-shaped end guys idea came from me, as Robin says). But still, I’m not entirely clear about the order in which to peg and how to get it really taut.

    As you say, practice makes perfect…

    But just to be clear: when you have the LC in high winds, does the fly on the side into the wind cave in a lot?

    My LC last week was a tent of two halves! The side away from the wind was nice and taut, the side into the wind was really caving in. I’ve seen a video youtube of two Aktos high up in Glen Etive getting hammered and my LC looked a bit like that but in winds that were nowhere as bad.

    Got to practice again when the next gale strikes, which on recent evidence won’t be too far away…

    Ta for the advice,

  8. backpackbrewer says:

    the side does cave in a bit in high winds, its the compromise of having a single transverse pole set up I’m afraid. However, the tighter the fly via the pegging points the less the side flaps in from a hard wind. Also the end poles need to lean out and really make the top of the fly taut like a drum. I only really got a face full of the fly when hit by swirling crosswinds in the 60-70mph range.

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