Terra Nova Laserlite
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At less than 1kg, the Laserlite is designed for minimalists who are hell-bent on reducing pack size / weight to the bare minimum. Officially the lightest multi-skinned 1+ man tent available, it's ideal for multi-day missions where a fair amount of ascent is made each day. The Laserlite features alloy poles, sheltered porch for cooking or storing kit in poor weather, silicon coated external fabric, huge internal pockets and hanging hooks on the roof of the inner (for headtorches / drying kit). Even the pegs only weigh 4 grams! The Terra Nova Laserlite is an adventurers dream...
Please note: there is now a newer version of the Laserlite - the Laserlite Competition
Terra Nova Laserlite Reviews
Reviewed by Jaye (Glasgow) on 2005-11-09:
General comments: Bought this tent specifically for doing the GR20 in Corsica where pack weight is the key to success or pure, unadulterated, misery. Managed to squeeze 2 of us into the laserlite although this is not recommended unless you are both of average height and willing to test your friendship to the limit.
Pros: Amazingly light! Easy to pitch! Packs away in a jiffy!
Cons: The pegs are ultralight pencil-like things which are not particularly strong - we managed to break a couple.
Reviewed by Ben Johnson (Bath) on 2006-01-02:
General comments: The laser light was officially recognised this year by the Guinness book of records as the world lightest tent. Unlike many other lightweight bivi style tents the Laser Light is fully freestanding and double skinned, this is the real deal. Pitching is fairly simple with one central pole and two small supports at each end to maximise space. The Laser light can comfortably accommodate one person with kit or two (very friendly) people with minimal kit. It also has a small vestibule, ideal for storing your cooking kit and muddy boots. It is surprising to find that the Laser light has no taped seams; the clever design means it doesn't need any. Like all 'super light' product's durability always has to suffer a little. The fly is extremely light and I doubt would stand up to too much punishment. The ties between the fly and inner are also pretty flimsy and need to be treated with care. When erected it doesn't seem the sturdiest tent in the world either, I'm not sure I'd want to get caught in a nasty storm in it. Only time will tell how it fairs once it's had a few more seasons use. At the end of the day this is a tent that weighs 980g so you can't really complain. It's still got to be the first choice for adventure racers and lightweight backpackers...until the laser competition comes out anyway.
Pros: Amazingly lightweight, decent ammount of space
Cons: Not as robust as heavier-weight competition
|This review has 2 comment(s):
Alan Methven responded : I have had my Laserlight for nearly 2 years now and have just returned from a trip in Scotland (May 2006)where it withstood an all night onslaught of gail force winds, rain, hail , sleet and snow. It stood up to all of the elements without any problem. When i ventured out from my tent in the morning there had been no leaks. All pegs and guys were still in place and in short it coped brilliantly. The other tents in our group were an Helliberg Akto and a MacPac Microlight and my Laserlight performed as well as both of them. (2006-06-05)
Alan Methven responded : Sorry, I should have mentioned that the pegs that i use are alloy ones. I didn't fancy the original ones at all and have never used them. (2006-06-12)
Reviewed by Matt (Manchester) on 2006-03-23:
General comments: Terra Nova’s LaserLite is the lightest single person backpacking tent around and will accommodate 2 persons (extremely good friends!) for adventure racing when weight is everything and discomfort is accepted. The LaserLite (1.12kg packed) has only been superseded in weight by the new laser competition, saving approximately 10%. This double skinned tent features a silicon nylon flysheet with a hydrostatic head of 3000mm and 5000mm for the groundsheet, basically extremely waterproof. Seams are not sealed, however the pole seam is covered and protected by the external weather shield (taped), the only other seams are at both ends at the small pole sections. These can be seam sealed, although I have not and have had no seepage so far.
The tent is pitched simultaneously (inner with outer) requiring the guy lines to be utilised to give the tent structure (not free standing as mentioned above). The small pole ends insert to give adequate head and feet room. The tent if pitched correctly (ends facing into the wind) will withstand surprisingly moderate to strong winds, as the central pole flexes considerably dissipating the energy well. If weight is everything this is the tent for you, although those wanting a tent for harder mountain conditions should consider the solar2 or voyager (superlite) or macpac minaret.
Pros: The tent is large enough to sit up in with the porch offering enough room for kit and cooking (remember kids.. only if weather is bad!). Nylon flysheets offer greater UV protection than polyester. 4g carbon fibre pegs.. enough said!
Cons: Condensation is a real problem in this tent, especially if used by two persons. To combat this I recommend that the porch door be left open slightly to encourage air flow (weather permitting). If using in very rough hummock grass the 4g carbon fibre pegs are sometimes difficult to use.
Reviewed by Pete Baars (Merseyside) on 2006-04-03:
General comments: A very light, strong design with a good pedigree. I bought this tent specifically with group work in mind after years of humping an ultra-quasar around on my own.
Pros: The pack size and weight is phenomenal, I've never used such a stable lightweight tent before in my life. It has just enough space, any more would make it a 2 man tent, any less could make it a little too claustrophobic (for some). It was quick and easy to erect (although I'd recommend a quick practice in the back garden before you find yourself having to put it up in anger. Quite well ventilated and with adequate headroom (I'm only 5'9" though), I've spent a number of comfortable nights in this well designed and well manufactured tent, a vast improvememt on the hooped bivi that I used to use when trying to go 'lightweight'.
Cons: Pegs, the original pegs supplied with it are at best described as functional, I broke one in the back garden on the test pitching, which meant that I packed in a couple of heavier duty replacements before I took this on the hill. A smart move overall as I found that I'd killed 3 more on the first pitching in anger (the small metal points stayed in the ground). I've replaced all the pegs with a much stronger lightweight alloy model now, adding a small amount of weight to the overall package, but feeling more secure that the tent will last the night. A price that I'm prepared to pay to use a tent which is such a winner on all other counts.
Reviewed by Andy G (Adeen) on 2006-05-05:
General comments: I've used the Laserlight on the LAMM Mourne and KIMM mountain marathons. As a tent which is ultralight light and where every gram counts this is the only one. there are other tents out there mainly Sup Air which weigh a hell of a lot lighter, but if the weather is anything anything but perfect your guaranteed to have a wet cold miserable night. As i and my partner found out as we laughed during a storm at the yells coming from a team in a Sup Air. With super light weight tents you do have to make compermises. The laser light does this by sacerficeing durability and some stability in high wind (some times it sounds like the tent will take off with all the flapping). Saying that the overall tent design is goodthe big double doors are brill, both sides of the tent open out meaning you can always cookm in a sheltered but well vented porch. Suprisingly the porch is of a good space allowing 2 people to sit up with feet in it cooking and just enough room left to store gear (2 mini funning sacks that is). Finaly Yes two 6 foot +'s can fit in, alough that very cramped.
Pros: -Super light weight
-Very stable for a tent of its catagorie
-Easy Pitching, but only if you leave the inner in and ajust all the fidley bits of Guy before hand
-Super high quality double silicon outer.
Cons: -the pathetic carbon pegs wiegh nothing and will also hold nothing
-First time pitching a real pain.
-Won't withstand years of abuse
Reviewed by Steve (Windsor) on 2007-01-17:
General comments: Used my laserlight over 3 seasons, I've had no problems other than the pegs. I used them once - one peg (under tension) came flying out, the ends are very sharp, luckily it missed me and the tent. For one person there is a lot of room, space to store gear in the porch, light to carry. I would suggest a setting it up a couple of times in the garden before you do it for real when wild camping. Connecting the inner to the outer is a little tricky. As the outer goes up first you can keep the inner dry when setting up. Worth every penny.
Pros: I have used my laserlight many times and everything is brilliant about it - mainly the weight. Once inside it is very comfy - a real home from home.
Cons: I didn't like the pegs supplied, they don't have a hook. I have replaced them with lightweight 'standard' (hooked) pegs.
Reviewed by Claus (London) on 2007-04-26:
General comments: 1.) Don't fall for the low-weight, high-tech, Guiness-Book-of-Records-hype: The ONLY reason why this tent is so light are the flimsy pegs that are much too short and thin (ca. 100x4mm) to hold in soft soil (e.g. forest, sand) and disintegrate on hard, compacted or stony ground. If you ever want to use this tent in the OUTDOORS you need to add 250-300g for a proper set of pegs and a ground-sheet (300-400g) i.e. in practice you end up with pretty much the same weight as any ordinary 1 person tent of more durable construction.
(2.) The tent flap cannot be fixed in fully open position, which means that you can't see anything and you constantly come to stand or sit on it when you try to get in or out.
(3.) Both innner and outer zippers are extremely flimsy. In may case zippers kicked the bucket after only 20 days usage (over a year's time), apparently because of microscopic dust particles between the very small teeth, or the sliders were worn out. Result: complete product failure in the middle of a two week desert hike with extremely cold nights!!
(4.) This tent is fine for light-weight hiking on formal campsites/events which have the right ground composition, short grass, for the flimsy pegs to stick, but are not so hard as to make them disintegrate. Rain protection is very good, with moderate wind-stability (heavy flapping). But if you want to camp in the real outdoors or in dusty conditions in Southern Europe/Africa, look elsewhere.
(5.) Terra Nova offers a gimmicky lifetime warranty for this tent. Unfortunately, when you use it anywhere else, other than on the manicured lawn of your Sussex country mansion under windstill conditions, the warranty is likely to be voided ("We cannot know what the customers use it for", I was told).
Pros: Good points:
good rain protection
Cons: Bad points:
not very useful for backpacking trips outdoors, away from official campsites.
Reviewed by Leslie Ponden (Southern California) on 2007-08-10:
General comments: I bought this tent so I could go ultralight, but comfortable on week-long backpacking trips in the Sierra mountains in California. I added four titanium stakes and replaced some lines or loops with ultralight tensioners . (The tensioners were from backpackinglight.com and they worked superbly.) Although the straight pegs that came with the tent were lighter than the titanium stakes, I was glad I brought the stakes because I needed the crook at the end to hold some of the lines in high winds. Also, the pegs didn't work well in sandy soil. I unintentionally destroyed one of the pegs trying to remove it from what must have been a tree root.
Although I didn't find the tent easy to put up or fold away (both of which I'm fairly adept at), I was highly satisfied with the weight and its use. I had plenty of room to store my gear and boots in the vestibule (the outer skin), and keep just my sleeping gear and essentials in the tent with me. I loved the way everything was within reach, but nothing was cramped. I could sit up easily. I'm 5 feet, 5 inches tall and found the tent plenty roomy, but I can see how a taller person might have some problems. I liked the way the outer skin could be pinned back at night for greater ventilation.
This is a compact, small-on-the-outside-big-on-the-inside tent. On the first night of a 7-day backpacking trip, 2 other participants told me they'd tried to check out the tent when I was away, but after a couple of laps around it, they still couldn't figure out how to get in. I laughed about this, but maybe it's a feature. The outside zipper runs parallel with the seam that holds the central pole and isn't readily apparent.
Overall, I REALLY liked this tent.
Pros: The tent is well designed, and made of light, but strong materials in all the right places. It held up nicely in the wind. It's roomy enough to hold a lot of equipment, is very light, easy to get in and out of, and folds up compactly.
Cons: The tent takes some practice to set up well. Because the shorts struts on the ends of the inner skin remain attached, it also takes some practice to fold the tent properly on take-down. Although the pegs are ultralight, they lack the crooks that hold lines in place, don't work in sandy soils, and aren't as hardy as metal stakes.
Reviewed by Daniel Laird (United Kingdom) on 2008-06-04:
General comments: I have owned the 860g Lazerlite Comp version of this tent for over two years now, pitched it maybe 30 times and it has always performed excellently. I originally bought it for backpacking and through-hiking in the the Andes mountains in South America.
Pitching the Lazerlite is quick and easy and, since both fly and inner go up together, there's no problem pitching in the rain. With a peg at each end and the single hoop in place the tent will stand alone giving you the chance to stash your gear in the dry before securing the remaining four pegs and four guys.
For a one-man tent it is very roomy, I'm quite tall (186cm / 6'2") and find that there is space in the inner to sit upright in a thermarest chair kit or cross legged to cook in the porch, change clothes, or sit and read. The full length porch is roomy enough to both store gear in and cook out of the weather. I have also had occasion to share it as a two-man tent for mountain marathon races and fast-light ascents and although it has always been 'cozy' it's kept us out of the weather, warm and dry on every occasion.
In terms of strength and weather resistance I have to say it is excellent. I have never had any problems with rain or snow either seeping through or being blown under the fly sheet. In terms of wind resistance I have pitched it at 5000m on Cotopaxi in 60km gusting to 80km winds (albeit using an ice axe to secure the key guy line) and been surprised, relieved and impressed to find it still securely standing on my return.
All in all a very impressive, light and fast, fully featured one-man tent that does everything you could ask and is stronger than you'd expect. Tried and tested and highly recommended.
Pros: Ulralight at 940g standard or 860g for the comp.
Quick and easy simultaneous flysheet and inner pitching.
Roomy enough to sit up in and with enough porch space to store gear and cook in.
Fully pegged out it's a strong and dependable storm shelter.
Complete flysheet (i.e. without windows, vents etc.) is completely waterproof.
Inner with sewn-in groundsheet is warm and dry.
Cons: The tent relies solely on its pegging and guying to stand up so these have to be A1.
The 4.5g carbon pegs can shatter if driven into stony ground and are too short in loose soil. (easily replaced with Ti skewers c. 2g or Al v-angle pegs c. 25g)
The fabric is very thin and could easily be damaged by sunlight, carelessness etc.
Similarly the zips are very light weight and should be treated with respect.
Reviewed by Alison Fox (C Scotland) on 2008-06-04:
General comments: I wanted a light tent and this one certainly fits my needs.
So light , one barely notices it in ones pack.
Nevertheless , it is stable in most conditions , it has certainly been fine on some very windy Scottish campsites .
I tend to only camp in summer and when the weather is not too bad
so i have never ppitched it in adverse weather; however it does go up very easily .
It is a single hoop style , so it does give sufficient height to sit up in the middle of the tent , and this style , together with the light-coloured iner mean that it does not feel claustrophobic at all.
It is certainly infintely better than asimliar weight bivi.
i am not the most dextrous of people , yet I found that i could thread the pole through the sleeve without problems . After securing the pole with a peg at each end of the hoop that it forms , it is simply a matter of pegging out the tent and this can be done in any order.
One thing I did not like was the very small pegs , so i have purchased some stronger ones instead an dthese help the stability - though i must admit that one reason for using alternative pegs is so that i can find them afterwards , so perhaps the lightweight pegs would be good enough.
I am quite small, so find the room inside adequate for me , I am not sure how someone 6ft tall would sleep.
The porch easily takes my rucksack and boots .
The inner is fully midge-proof .
One drawback though is that I find that when you settle in for the night , you have to zip closed the outer and then place the last peg to secure the outer tent afterwards - that may not be a problem for everyone
all in all , a great tent
Reviewed by Ian Gray (Scotland) on 2010-03-08:
General comments: Like most people I bought this tent as the lightest available with an inner tent and a porch. I was fed up with single skin tents - condensation and no porch privacy. It has performed well in all weathers since
Pros: Very roomy for one
Cons: Flappy and noisy in high winds. Zippers are a bit flimsy.