World's Lightest Tent Scoop!

It's new, it's British and it's the lightest double-skin tent in the world - probably - scoop pics and specs of the tent that could change your approach to backpacking forever...

Posted: 21 July 2003
by Jon

You have to worry when a tent designer knows to a gramme the weight of the zips he specifies, but when the results are these, you can see why: it's the world's lightest double skin tent, it's coming soon and even better, it's made by a specialist British manufacturer.

Terra Nova's new Laserlite and Laser tents are going to revolutionise lightweight camping. The one/two-person Laserlite has a claimed minimum weight of just 970 grammes, while its roomier two-person brother, the Laser, weighs in at a mere 1,200 grammes.

There are lighter tents around, but they're all single-skinned and like it or not, single-skin tents are problematic in relatively warm and humid UK conditions. The fabric has to be waterproof, but it's near impossible to avoid condensation problems. But until now, the lightest double-skin, two-person tents around have weighed in at over 1.5 kilos.

We had a sneak preview of the tents a couple of weeks back, but weren't allowed to tell you more until now. One of the neatest things about both tents is that the weight savings come from an anal obsession with fabric and component weights rather than at the expense of useability.

Still Roomy...

That means the inners are still decently roomy allowing you to sit up inside and both versions have a handy, reasonably-sized vestibule for cooking and kit storage, something we consider essential for UK conditions.

Both tents use a single Easton alloy pole running longitudinally and shaped to give reasonable head room even at the ends of the tent - 40cm and 50cm respectively -and the fly fabric is an ultralightweight Watershed Lite, which has a PU coating on the inner surface and a silicone DWR and UV-resistant treatment on the outer.

Other nice touches include Terra Nova's own, ultra-lightweight carbon fibre tent pegs - neat tubes of the carbon stuff with an alloy tip which weigh in at a laughably light 5 grammes each, the tents need just six. The Terra Nova guys also know the weight of the zips they use, which is frankly a tad worrying, and - if you were wondering - about 17 grammes per metre from memory.


As far as we could see, the only really minimalist touches were a lack of internal storage pockets in the inner tent on the prototypes, though production versions should have at least one and, well, that's about it really except that the smaller version has just one porch zip while the two-person Lazer gets two so either side of the vestibule can be opened up.

The tents are classified as 'three-season backpacking' by Terra Nova and aimed at lightpackers, adventure racers and mountain marathoners. Effectively they're double-skinned tents at a single-skin weight, which is pretty damn impressive and means you should be able to have your year-round, lightweight UK backpacking tent and eat it as well...

The price of lightweight comfort? The Laserlite will retail for £210 and the Laser for £240 and while officially they're due in the shops in February 2004, you may see them around by late this year.

For more information on Terra Nova, see their web site.

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