Terra Nova laser Competition

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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Terra Nova laser Competition

Postby cavasta » 7 Nov 2008, 8:45pm

I'm on the verge of buying a TN laser Comp but still have a few reservations. Has anyone got/had experience of this tent? I'm especially interested to learn of any of its downsides. I'm drawn to it by its weight but aren't too sure about its stability in high winds. Any thoughts on this and any other issues would be appreciated.
For the past 10-odd years Ive used a Saunders Jetpacker, which is phenomonally dependable, but I'm looking for something a bit lighter and quicker to erect. The number of guide ropes and pegs used by the Saunders account for it's strength but also explain the amount of time it takes to put up.

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Postby nirakaro » 7 Nov 2008, 10:30pm

I don't know the Laser competition, but I used a Laser for a couple of months in 2006. 100% waterproof, felt solid and stable (though I don't remember it getting very windy); pretty easy to put up & take down, even though I never figured out what half the numerous toggles and bits of string were for. Maybe a wee bit short of headroom. It did the job well, and I can't really fault it, but I never quite learned to love it ...

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Postby cavasta » 8 Nov 2008, 9:36am

Thanks nirakaro. I've inspected an erected Laser Comp and I like the headroom. I can sit in it with my neck and back straight, something I can't quite manage in my Saunders, thanks to the few centimetres difference in height between the two.
One thing I noticed about the laser was that the material used on the fly sheet is remarkably thin. The sales chap (at Cotswold Outdoor) said this contributed to it's low weight. He went on to assure me that it is also very waterproof and exceedingly strong. He said that a rep from Terra Nova visited the store with some samples of the material used for the fly and not one of them could rip it or damage it (scissors and knives excepted). One minor concern, however, came from someone who'd used the laser: the fly sheet makes a lot of noise when it's windy. He likened it to a crisp packet rustling when you scrunch it up in your hand!. A good shake of the tent confirmed that unless it was erected quite tautly, loud rustling during windy periods could be an issue. (The chap concerned told me it was enough to keep him awake for most of the night.)

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Postby MartinBrice » 8 Nov 2008, 10:32am

I have the laser lite competition, which weighs 860 grams. i've used it for mountain marathons, and on occasion there's been me (6ft 2) and my mate (6ft 4) in it. It's a well-made, very light tent. On the OMM in 2007 it stood up to 60mph gusts and an inch of rain. (The field flooded and we spent the night lying in an inch of running water, but that's not the fault of the tent.) When I cook in it (risky) during bad weather on an event the small size means there is a lot of condensation. And when two blokes are breathing in it all night, there's a lot of condensation. I understand the larger versions have more space so i guess there's less condensation. But for cycle touring, I think weight is not too important. For cycle touring i now use a tent that weighs 2.5kilos and has lots more space. Weight is not such a factor when you're not running uphill carrying two days food and equipment on your back. The tent I now use is made by Saunders, they're well made. I think anything by Terra Nova is well made and properly designed: whether it is worth spending £200 to save 1.5 kilos in weight is up to you.

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Postby HarryD » 8 Nov 2008, 12:06pm


Like you I have used Saunders Jetpacker for many years (1986 onwards) & in 2007 bought a TH Laser Photon. Lighter version of the Comp. I've used bith in KIMMs/OMMs & for camping in general.

2007 OMM overnight camp was heavy rain & gale force winds. The Photon stood up really well. Waterproof (if used with the sleve) & fairly solid in the wind despite only using no more than the end guys, i.e. the bare minimum.

Advantages over Jetpacker:
1 Lot lighter
2 Can sit up in it
3 More spacious in terms of less chance of knocking inner against outer & bringing in condensation
4 More spacious in that two of us were more comfortable than we would a number have been in the Jetpacker
5 Side entry is easier
6 "Bell end" being to side gives more space to store kit & cook in without having to rearrange when getting in & out.
7 Easier & quicker to put up than jetpacker. Also easier to take down

Things to consider
1 The titanium pegs supplied were too thin to hold the guys & peg points in wet ground so have never used them. I use the Jetpacker pegs instead - will need less of them. Use the V groove one for the 2 guys & the pin ones for the peg points - perfect.
2 Make sure you get the tension between the inner & the outer adjusted (dead easy to do) otherwise you could have a taught inner & a saggy outer. Seems to come from the factory this way. Saw this at the OMM - not much fun or very quiet in high winds.
3 make sure you peg the outer close to the ground in high winds otherwise the wind will rip through. Same as Jetpacker really but in the OMM did see some with a considerable gap.
4 Use the sleve if expecting rain. Too hard to put into words but obvious when you see it.

Hope this helps


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Postby cavasta » 8 Nov 2008, 2:16pm

Thanks for the interesting replies. I'll admit it: I've fallen head over heels for the Laser's weight, ease of erection and disassembly, and headroom. Are these factors alone enough to warrant my purchasing the Laser? I'm still undecided!
The reason I asked about it's stability during high winds was that I understand that Mark Beaumont's (the round the world record holder) Laser Comp collapsed in strong winds on a couple occasions during his trip. Perhaps he could have avoided that if he'd done as Harry D suggests and pegged the outer close to the ground.
Harry D: I saw the waterproof sleeve you mention during my inspection at Cotswold Outdoors, so I understand what you mean! Thanks.


Postby Asdace » 11 Nov 2008, 1:30am

I've been reading this thread with great interest. I've just purchased a Laser Comp in the Nevisport sale for £165 and a good buy at that.

First real tent I had, was a Saunders Jet Packer Plus c/w A-pole. The Plus was the 2-man version and I found it very roomy, as well as the spider's who would web at the pole end on top. I find this tent ideal for cycle-touring, but I replaced mine with a more up-to-date tent called The North Face Particle 13. This tent is great and very stable in high winds and very waterproof too, also got a nice porch to store and cook in.

Getting back to the Laser Comp, I'm using mine for next year's Coast to Coast Walk and need a good light-weight tent for the walk. I did have the Laserlite and I found that ok for windy conditions, apart when the middle was bowing over to one side. It did leak a little, but then it was second-hand off Ebay and smelled a little musty. All I can think of, it must of been stored too long in the stuff bag, somewhere damp.

One tip, is take extra guy-line and pegs, just in case of severe winds/gales. I think there is extra guy-rope points on the Laser Comp, which will aid the tent in windy conditions.

Condensation is sometimes a problem and I take a couple of them quick-drying towels or Vileda Quattro window cloths which are very light.

I'm not too sure about the latest titanium pegs Terra Nova have issued, but I'm replacing half dozen with longer pegs.

Cotwold Outdoors seem to charging full wrack for the Laser Comp, why not wait for the January Sales.

I can recommend the Laser Comp, it is good looking tent with nice features. One thing is missing, is the inner pockets. You can't have all ways, can you.

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Postby KiwiSally » 11 Nov 2008, 1:18pm

I bought a TN Laser Competition in July this year and used it at Semaine Federale for the first time. My only complaint with the tent was the rustling noise of the inner/outer fly during a ferocious thunderstorm one night. It was maddening and kept awake (as mentioned in earlier threads). I have considered switching to a Vango tent but will probably buy ear plugs instead - much cheaper and anyway, it's not windy every night.


Postby Asdace » 11 Nov 2008, 2:00pm

KiwiSally wrote:I have considered switching to a Vango tent but will probably buy ear plugs instead - much cheaper and anyway, it's not windy every night.
I had the Vango Micro 100 and wished I had kept it, cracking tent it was. Ear plugs are a good idea and I carry them always, not sure about rustling tents. But other campers who maybe snoring or giving out the odd fart now and then in the still of the night, god knows what their been eating.

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Postby andrew_s » 12 Nov 2008, 2:48am

Asdace wrote:I can recommend the Laser Comp. One thing is missing, is the inner pockets. You can't have all ways, can you.

You don't get an 860g tent by including unnecessary weight like inner pockets, or double sliders on the zip, or extra guying points, or vents, or proper pegs or ...

The foregoing agrees with everything I've heard about the Laser Comp :- strong enough for all reasonable conditions, flaps noisily in a blow, really need to use proper pegs unless the ground is ideal.

I use a Hilleberg Akto, which is effectively what the Laser Comp design was before it was slimmed down. It weighs 1.5kg, but it's still got most of the convenience features that the Laser Comp has lost in the search for lighter weight, and I reckon that having a tent I can reliably put up quickly in a storm, on my own and wearing thick gloves, is worth a fair bit.


Postby lucipops » 4 Dec 2008, 7:29am

:roll: I've just bought a Laser Competition and my first foray was a windy pitch on the Brecon Beacons. After an hour and a half of trying to secure what felt like two flags in a backdraft, I gave up. The pegs shot out of the ground and pitching solo was impossible in the wind. I lost 3 of the hi=tech poles as a result (and they're not cheap to replace either.) Also, the 2 end poles which are 'fixed' in the flysheet, kept coming out. BIG disappointment. I'm going to try putting it up in our garden in calm conditions... WAtch this space.

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Postby cjmcrbothy » 4 Dec 2008, 10:14am

Going against most of the threads here I don't actually rate this tent very much. As someone who sells tents for a profession, I have strong concerns over the durability of the tent - the groundsheet in particular. An obvious way to save weight is to use thinner materials and this compromises the durability. I would suggest extra attention is paid to where you pitch this tent.