Terra Nova Super Quasar
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Arguably the best 2-3 person expedition tent available the Super Quasar has a unique pole geometry that creates greater internal space and provides a sleek profile which sheds wind and snow with ease. Totally bombproof geodesic 4-pole structure Seven pole intersections provide unrivalled stability Colour coded pole sleeves for easy pitching Internal mesh pockets for storage Large internal living area comfortable to sit in Outstanding resistance to UV light Two roomy vestibules with profiled door vents
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Terra Nova Super Quasar Reviews
Reviewed by Sam (Fife) on 2005-12-02:
General comments: Bomb proof! With so many anchor points this will keep you firmly attached to mother earth. With a couple oif attempts this can be up and pegged down in 5 - 6 minutes. Top tent though if your going into the unknown and need some reassurance.
Pros: With a smaller footprint than some four season tents, it is ideal for higher altitude camping. The weight is also not bad considering the strength of it. Solid four pole construction. Very little wind noise if you get it pointed in teh right direction.
Cons: Not much room in the porches for gear and the complex system for adjusting the peg loops to seal the tent to any shaped terraine can be a little boring to figure out
Reviewed by tomthumb (orrible london) on 2006-02-10:
General comments: I got this tent as i found it on a better deal than the normal quasar. Although this is somewhat a little more hardcore than I need I have found this tent to be simply awesome. I make regular jaunts out of the smog and hoards of London up to the lakes, peaks and the munro's of Scotland and this tent is a constant companion.
The super offers slightly more room that the run of the mill quasar and is even advertised as up to a three man tent, at a push. I suspect you have to be quite friendly with the third man as this would be quite a push to accomodate. I supose comfort is the last thing on your mind when you are stuck in one of these in a Baffin Island storm with two of your expedition mates. i find that there is a little more headroom in this tent but not much, due to the pole geometry the tent is also wider that the normal quasar which is good, i find there to be a nice amount of space either side of two thermarests for kit and clothes. The porch area is slightly larger also but this hardly bears mentioning as you are limited to what you can do in the porch other than storing kit. I have never attempted to cook i the porch due to its size.
There are four mesh pockets on the inner that store most things and some loops for hanging torches etc on the seams. The fly is made of an increadibly strong fabric which sheds all weather with ease. when erected the tent looks like it could stop a tank and I have been in some dreadfull weather in the Highlands and to proove this. There are numerous guys on the fly, too many for me to use which adds to overall stability. I know that I will have this tent for many years to come will always depend on it to look after us in whatever weather.
Pros: Design, cost - you can get it cheap, its a UK made tent
Cons: cost, if you pay full price
Reviewed by Graham Preston (England) on 2006-03-10:
General comments: Superb. It is very easy to see why this tent is rated as one of the best 2-3 season expedition tents currently available on the market. I used mine in a multitude of conditions, from very pleasant conditions on the South Downs in England, to a very different set of conditions in Bolivia, both in the moe temperate regions, and at altitude at various places along the Takesi trail, and in all conditions this tent was absolutely excellent, it's versatility, in my view is one of its best features. Everything about this tent seemed to be very well thought out, there was always just about the right amount of shaltered space in the porch for kit outside the tent, and in terms of size, it was small enoyugh to keep everyone close together to keep the heat between the people, but large enough so that we all got a comfortable nights sleep. The very simple, near foolproof, method of setting these tents up makes them an absolute dream when it's cold outside and you really need to get into your tent as soon as you can. The weatherproofing is absolutely excellent and at no point did I feel underprotected even in very harsh conditions with driving wind and rain on the mountains. Also, I felt for a tent of this performance that the weight was excellent. All-round excellence
Pros: not too heavy
very easy to put up
incredibly versatile and secure to attach, didn't budge an inch even in very strong winds
Cons: Hmmmmm, I have to think very very hard here, sometimes condensation built up quite alot on the inside, not an easily avoided feature for tent manufacturers, I think this was more to do with the tent being put up hastily by us. Possibly a good idea to check out a couple of other reviews to see if it's a widely experienced thing.
Reviewed by Helen McArdle (Cumbria) on 2008-06-25:
General comments: The Terra Nova Super Quasar looks like a good winter tent. The poles unfortunately are fragile.
This is our second tent that uses Easton type poles, the first being a Hilleberg tunnel design. The Hilleberg however managed to survive a light storm before failing. The Super Quasar pole broke whilst trying to put it up. We think that this is due to the sequence of erecting the poles. Terra Nova instruct the user to put the end poles (red) up first but we have found that the blue poles going up first causes less tension and does not lead to a situation where the pole will be forced out of joint and snap (as in our case). It is worth trying both sequences just to make sure, even if you follow their instructions, especially if one person is putting it up while the other is doing something else, or you're solo.
The above is actually a comment on what we consider to be a lousy pole quality, since made trivial by some manufacturers' adopting the better quality DAC poles.
The real problem with the Super Quasar is the doors.
The aerodynamic, seven intersection design causes the doors to slope considerably, thus putting the bottom third of the inner doors directly below an inadequate vent and taking up alcove floor space. When it rains, you have to close the vent almost completely or the inner will get wet. If you try to cook in the alcove then it had better not be raining but if you have to close the vents during cooking you will end up with a sauna effect.
It is possible to vent the doors from the bottom but this leaves a flapping section of flysheet. (If you have to cook inside the inner tent, do not close the doors at all and do not use a liquid fuel stove.) If you camp in Scotland, remember midges are another reason why you want to be able to leave the flysheet open at the top while closing the inner no-see-um and waiting for your food to cook etc.
The doors have another negative: the sloping of the tent design means the door opening is too low, causing users to crouch down low upon exiting and entering. If you have bad knees, watch out. If you have the door peaks guyed out already, the doors are unbearably restrictive in height and you can break something. So leave the door peaks guyed out until the very end, or loosen them until you think you need to tension the front and back down.
The mesh used in the pole sleeves will catch, often ripping easily. We have had to repair it twice.
The poles come with too loose a tension in the shock cord or it gradually de
Pros: Stable; quiet in high winds; tall in the centre; strong flysheet material and strong inner floor; good pockets; waterproof totally when closed up; colour-coded poles (though I cannot remember if they are distinguishable under a headlamp so perhaps put piece of tape on two of them); good colour flysheet.
Cons: Doors are a nightmare; venting is crude; poles are suspect; instructions may not be right for your method; alcoves are small, low and restrictive; mesh used for the sleeves can catch on the pole ends if you are in a hurry; tent is comparatively heavy; a single section is not easily available if you want to carry a spare or repair only one damaged section; floor does not roll back as with inner-first tents, field repairs are not envisioned in design.
|This review has 5 comment(s):
Buddy responded : I have a Terra Nova Ultra Quasar and the review here is spot on. The ultra on top of these frustrations virtually collapses in high winds due to the stretching of the fabric, even with rocks all round holding it down trying to stop the wind getting underneath. Has never let me down though. (2009-01-27)
RMarkJ responded : What about the
Terra Nova Quasar ETC Expedition
if you need more porch space. I have used the quasar and agree hence am looking at the above. (2009-04-03)
Nick the Geek responded : I've had a Quasar for about 15 years now and have used it in serious weather and on some very bleak hillsides (one easter on Dartmoor when the 10 Tors was blown off the moor for example). I get the impression I must have a completely different tent! The venting is excellent with the combination of no-see-um and full-proofed cotton doors and the infinitely adjustable fly-sheet zips. We've never ever had the tent bow inwards - even though it is intended to flex with the wind from the side. Water ingress is minimal with beyond vertical doors. I do agree the mesh sleeves can be problematic with the poles getting caught if you're in a hurry but they're much better than the neoprene sleeves of the Mk1 - which also offered no guidance in what pole fits over which.. Getting the order right when erecting the poles is critical: longitudinal straight poles first followed by the transverse curved. If I've got one complaint it's the effort required to get the last tab of a dry un-stretched flysheet over the end of the pole. It's a first class tent and I'd buy another if this one ever packed in. (2009-08-04)
Russ responded : I agree with the review. I got my first quasar more than 20 years ago. Although I haven't had any trouble with the poles, I don't think the super quasar is as suitable for UK conditions as the original quasar. The doors and venting are rubbish in driving rain.
The marketing BS is right though: the thing is bombproof - it hardly moves in the wind and doesn't leak. If you pitch this tent well, I reckon it would withstand 100 mph plus. That said, my original quasar made it through horrendous weather that destroyed other mountain tents until the flysheet eventually started to disintegrate from UV and the inner stank of cheesy climbers. I think the standard quasar or quasar ETC is better for extreme UK weather - easier to get in and out of and easier to vent and cook in. (2009-12-09)
Kai responded : This review absolutely mateches my experience with this tent.
The door design is badly thought through.
But the absolute killer argument is the poor quality of the poles. I have seen the red pole break three times, once after only having the tent for two months. It happened again despite all the extra care we take - and we are lucky that we never were in a critical situation.
A friend of mine reported one broken pole, too.
I have erected about ten different tent types thousands of times over the years and only ever once saw a pole break (after 25 years of use - one of the first flexible poles on the market).
So I was not pleased with Terra Nova's response: "If a pole breaks it must be your fault."
In my opinion it is due to poor quality of the fabric or the curving technology is bad (only the red poles seem to break). (2015-08-15)
Reviewed by Gordon Cooper (Hampshire) on 2009-11-24:
General comments: I did shed loads of research when looking to upgrade from my old tent and decided upon the latest version (2008 at the time) Super Quasar to cope with winter weekends in the Brecon Beacons, Dartmoor and Scotland. I had heard that there might have been some SQ made in foreign countries, where some quality issues had been reported, but I have been assured that my tent comes from Derbyshire.
I'm either lucky or unlucky depending on how you like the weather, but everytime I've been out, it's rained heavily, strong winds and sometimes snowed. The SQ has more than coped with the conditions I've experienced, although it can be a bit tricky erecting on your own when windy. The outer poles (blue I think) look like they could break and it'll be interesting to find out how long they last.
Only last week, I was in the Brecon Beacons in appauling conditions and needed to pitch ASAP. The site was not ideal as on a slope (2500 ft) and in sodden grass. Anyway, outside there was torrential rain all night and high gusting winds. Inside, the SQ, the groundsheet was dry with only slight moisture build up on the roof, which is more than likely to have occured with the hasty pitching and all entrances zipped shut.
In my opinion, which is also shared with mates who've spent nights in the SQ, it's a quality piece of kit, that is basic but very practical and worth every penny.
Pros: Oustanding performance in windy wet conditions, fairly light, two entrances (excellent when sharing SQ with Pongo's!!), plenty of head room in middle, colour coded poles, quiet in windy conditions.
Cons: SQ is not really a 3 person tent, although possible at a squeeze, tight storgage space for two large bergens, can be tricky to erect on own in windy conditions.
Reviewed by Mark Dixon (Bridlington) on 2012-02-18:
General comments: I've owned the SQ for about 10 years and used it in all conditions the UK can throw at it.
It takes about 8 minutes to put up solo but the fight to get the poles into the holes on the corners of the tent is a frustration every time, pitching diagonal poles first.
Never had condensation problems and find opening the top of the fly zips gives adequate ventilation.
I always use it solo so there's plenty of room and lots of pocket storage.
I also made a "loft" for the inside of the tent to provide additional storage - much cheaper than the Terra Nova version.
The porches are really only suitable for storage. Cooking is risky due to the slope of the flysheet but opening one of the side flaps does provide some shelter if needed.
My flysheet has been stained with soot spots which I can't remove but haven't detracted form it's watershedding ability.
Pros: Bombproof, stability in wind, watershed treatment of fly
Cons: Porches not suitable for cooking, weight