Below is my LTR for the Terra Nova Laser Competition Tent. The html
version may be found here, http://tinyurl.com/4avu8m.
TERRA NOVA LASER COMPETITION TENT
TEST SERIES BY TOM CALLAHAN
September 22, 2008
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I camped out with the Laser Competition tent on 3 outings, for 4
addition nights during the long term testing period. All trips were
in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state. For all these trips I
had sunny days and clear nights with relative humidity < 50%. So
while this was very fortunate as far as back packing goes, it was not
great for testing purposes as I was never able to really check out
the tent's ability to handle rainy weather.
The first trip during this phase of testing was an overnight trip in
the central Cascades, camping at 4,700 ft (1,450 m). Day time
temperatures ranged from 60 to 80 F (16 to 27 C). At night
temperatures got down to around 50 F (10 C) and there was a light
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Tent in Central Cascades" IMAGE
CAPTION = "Tent in Central Cascades">>
My second trip was into the central Cascades again, this time for a 2
night outing, camping at 5,000 ft (1,500 m). Day time temperatures
ranged from 65 to 80 F (18 to 27 C). Night time temperatures were
around 40 F (4 C). This first night winds were calm and the second
night they got up to around 15 mph (24 km/hr) at times.
The third trip was an overnight in the North Cascades National Park.
I camped up at 5,800 ft (1,800 m). Day time temperatures only reached
65 F (18 C) and at night it dipped down to around 35 F (2 C). There
was a light breezed that evening, just enough to rattle the rain fly.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "In Norht Cascades Nat'l Park" IMAGE
CAPTION = "In North Cascades Nat'l Park">>
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
This tent performed extremely well during this phase of the testing.
The tent materials all held up well. I did not have any issue with
the nylon stretching, all seams and peg loops stayed in tact. The
tent pole, tent pegs and guy lines all functioned properly.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Twig toggle holding up rain fly"
IMAGE CAPTION = "Twig toggle holding up rain fly">>
As I used the tent during this testing phase I became more familiar
with it. I learned that I would get good ventilation from pulling up
the ends of the rain fly and holding them in place with the twig
toggle described in the Long Term Report section. If the winds were
really light, or the air not moving much at all I would unzip the
vertical zipper on the rain fly. This would provide sufficient air
flow such that I never over heated in this tent. I should note, I
always fully zipped up the tent door on these outings, one for
testing purposes and, two, just to keep the bugs out of my tent. So
the concern I voiced in my Field Report, that I could not adjust the
end ventilation from inside the tent, was not really an issue for me.
Now I was careful to orient my tent in the proper direction to take
advantage of the predominant breeze, especially when there was not
much air moving. This always seemed to work well and I slept at a
comfortable temperature at night.
The pole hood became less of an issue for me the more I used the
tent. I continued with the practice of just leaving the pole hood in
place, attached to the tent. When I took down the tent the pole
slipped out easily, past the pole hood loops. And likewise when I put
the tent up, the tent pole just went though the pole sleeve and slid
past the pole hood attachment points. Also, I got to thinking that
since the rain fly stays attached to the tent, this really helps for
make for a quick and easy set up. So much so, that the extra effort
required to attach the pole hood is not much more work than having to
put a rain fly on a tent as its own separate step, which is the case
with most double wall tents.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Pack in vestibule" IMAGE CAPTION
= "Pack in vestibule">>
I continued to enjoy the amount of interior space provided in the
tent. I found it just the right combination of sleeping space, with
room for my boots, extra gear like a jacket, and most importantly my
dog on her blanket next to me. I also continued to use the vestibule
to store my pack. It was really convenient to have my pack under full
cover, placing it in the right half of the vestibule as one looks at
the tent. The pack fit in there well enough so that I had
unrestricted access in and out of the tent via the other half of the
I continued to do well using the thin, titanium pegs that come with
the tent. I was able to make them work in soft soil and most of the
time in the rock ground I encountered. During my trips I would bring
along a few full sized aluminum pegs as insurance. On one outing I
had to use a couple of my "insurance" pegs because the ground
contained large rocks that were too much for these small pegs. It was
actually quite difficult to get the full size aluminum pegs into the
ground at this location.
I was slightly frustrated at times when grabbing for the zipper
pulls. The pulls do not have any cord or webbing to make them easy to
grab. This is in keeping with the minimal intent of this tent,
cutting weight where ever possible. I just found these small, metal
zipper pulls hard to use when my hands were cold or when I was
The other thing that frustrated me about the tent was securing the
rain fly door in the open position. It just seemed to be a long
reach that was needed to secure the toggle on the door flap to the
loop on the outside, center of the tent body. During my use this
season I could never get the hang of quickly and easily reaching in
and securing the toggle. I would try with one hand and invariable I
would have to crawl part way under the rain fly and use two hands to
do this. I think it is a combination of the long reach plus the small
toggle and loop that makes this such a challenge for me. This was
definitely not something I could do with gloves on, even when using
two hands. Once the flap was secured with the toggle, a small hook
and loop fastener gave the rain fly an extra tuck out of the way that
made for easy access to the tent.
I still missed not having any gear loops or gear pockets. This tent
is purposely built to have minimal weight so I can appreciate these
are not a tent feature. I just miss them as a little creature comfort
I've become accustomed to in my other tents.
I have been very pleased with the Laser Competition Tent. It is
simple to set up and I've gotten very good at erecting it quickly,
with minimal fine tuning needed. Best of all I love all the room it
provides both inside the tent and in the vestibule. To have all this
room in such a light weight package that packs down so small makes
this my favorite tent. The tent materials have all held up well so I
anticipate getting a lot of use out of this tent on many future
Likes: Light weight, ample room, easy of set up
Dislikes: Would like to have gear pockets (even though it adds a
little weight to the tent), tent pegs are a little too light to be
used reliably in all conditions that I encounter.
This concludes my Long Term Report. I would like to thank
BackpackGearTest.org and Terra Nova for giving me the opportunity to
test this tent.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Final night of testing" IMAGE CAPTION
= "Final night of testing">>
I will continue to use the Laser Competition as my 3-season tent.
It's light weight and compact size make it a good fit in my back
pack. I also like the room and provides, both in the tent and the
vestibule. Now that the test is complete I will be adding some cord
loops to the zipper pulls to make them easier to grip, I might
consider stitching in a couple mesh gear pockets and, or some gear
loops to the inside of the tent. So far I have learned to live
without them, but they are a nice creature comfort that will add
minimal additional weight to the tent.
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.