Time for a review.
I bought the Lightwave T0 Ultra about three years ago as a solo camping upgrade to my very old one man tent that I had had for 25 years. The brief was simple. Lighter than my (then) current tent (2.1kg). One man. Easy to put up. Strong in harsh weather. Green (I know, I know….)
After looking around for some time, I settled on either a variety of Vaude tents or one of the Lightwave range of tents which at the time I have to admit I had not heard of. In the end I made my final choice based on the most important consideration of all…price! I had initially dismissed the T0 ultra as an option because it was at the upper end of what I could afford but was quite interested in its slightly heavier sibling the T0 Trek (same basic tent, 150g heavier due to different materials used). The Ultra normally retails for around £350 whereas the Trek at around £195. I was on the verge of purchasing the Trek when low and behold I discovered the Ultra on sale online for £150! That was it…job’s a good un.
So what did I get for my money?
A tent coming in at 1450grammes, that was claimed to be extremely storm worthy, an interesting feature called “architekture” poles and of course green. It was also an inner first tent which was for me a first.
Pitching it for the first time was relatively easy and once up I was surprised how sturdy it felt. The fly was pulled taut and gave a nice wrinkle free pitch (which I do think is important both structurally as well as aesthetically). The room inside it has to be said wasnt huge but this was partly because the rear of the tent slopes down from the entrance. For me the room was ok but I am 5/7 and I would imagine a 6 footer might struggle a bit in this tent. The inner height of 100cm at the apex of the front pole gives the tent a respectable amount of room for sitting up in (at the fornt of the tent). Also, it has to be said that the tent is well made (using lineloks for instance on the guylines), feels and looks like quality. How would it fare in poor weather though?
I had chance to test the tent in a variety of bad weather conditions including a very wet weekend and a very windy night. Firstly in the wet.
Attempting to pitch the tent on a dark wet night immediately brought home to me its main shortcoming …..its an inner first pitch. Even though it only took me a couple of minutes to get the tent up, the inner got a little wet and I had to mop the floor up. Also the inner walls stayed slightly wet throughout the evening which was more of an annoyance than a show-stopper. You can reduce the chance of the inner getting wet by draping the fly over it whilst pitching but this is a bit of a faff. I guess practise to reduce the pitching time and partially attaching the fly to the inner would improve this situation. Not a show stopper just an adjustment of technique!
On the windy night, the inner first was actually a slight advantage as it allowed pegging and pole insertion to be reasonably easy. But the test didnt end with the erection. During the night, the tent was subjected to a howling, swirling gale that got up towards a peak 70mph and it didnt move. The tent stayed absolutely solid. Even the supposed weakness of tunnel tents of the sidewalls blowing in didnt happen with the Ultra. Possibly this was due to the fact that the fly was pitched really drum tight and so couldnt blow in. After this windy night I was particularily pleased with the tents performance. I had complete confidence that this tent would put up with some serious abuse and could therefore be fully justified in its claim of being a 4 – season tent.
Overall the tent is a very nice design, well thought out and able to put up with very harsh wind. The downside of an inner first shouldnt be a major issue in all but the worst conditions and as said above I reckon I can adapt my erection technique to improve things 🙂
Well designed with some clever features
Very storm worthy
Really aesthetically pleasing to the eye
wet weather pitching