Monday, 19 April 2010

Kit Review Part 2: Terra Nova Laser Comp

I did lots of research before investing in a Laser Comp. I did consider the lighter version but talking to a rep and explaining my trip this was the one I ended up with. After some of the comments I'd seen on different blogs I was a little concerned that the tent might be difficult to pitch but it has been a beautiful piece of kit and has given me no problems... Well, not quite, I've got some stitching coming away on the stuff sack that the tent came in, but that is hardly a show stopper!
Some people have questioned the size, but I'm 6ft (1m83) and I am comfortable lying end to end in the inner. When there is condensation I do find I am touching the walls and getting damp on my bag but after implementing some of the standard modifications this has been less of a problem...
For a minimalist tent I found the porch space excellent - enough space to lay out my overnight gear, 'civilian' clothing, food and kitchen.
I made the following modifications the first two of which I'd seen recommended at blogpackinglight:
1) Threshold tie - a line to reduce the tension on the zip (just visible on the photo). Makes pitching easier and as it means the door zip isn't heavily loaded, looks like a good investment in lengthening the life of this tent.
2) Ventilation improvements - using Alpkit mini-carabiners to hitch the end elastics up to the top of the end poles. This lifts the ends of the outer allowing gentle airflow to clear condensation before it becomes a problem. The carabiners mean that this can be reversed if the weather is adverse.
3) Alpkit 'Nail' pegs with bright yellow loops tied on the top. On the one occassion I used one of the tiny stock Laser Comp 2 gram titanium pegs it worked just fine but I lost it when breaking camp... With the bigger 9 gram pegs I was better able to count out and count them back in again...
4) Ground sheet - I took a Team-Io ground sheet to provide some additional protection to the test groundsheet on wet/dirty/sandy pitches.
Overall I found this tent to be quick to erect and to pack and sufficiently sturdy on exposed pitches when all I felt I needed to do was to add a single extra guy line. I am considering the larger Laser as a step up from my favourite VauDe Hogan.


  1. ...and how about your solar charger? what all did you charge with it (your lights, cell phone?).

  2. Solar charger worked keeping the indicators going. The lights ran off the battery but I didn't need them, preferring to be safely camped by 5pm. I did charge both my GPS and phone when needed.
    400mA of panels was just about enough when I took advantage of mains charging at sites that allowed it. I think I would have been struggling if I'd had to recharge only from that.
    I'm at SPEZI this weekend and will be on the look out for a dynamo. The next system will have solar and dynamo - the advantage of the solar is that it works when you are in camp or on a rest day. The advantage of the dynamo is that it works whenever you are moving...
    Between the two should be about right. But that will require a more intelligent charger...