Terra Nova Ultra Quasar
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Updated for this year to reduce up to nearly 20% in weight without losing out on strength and durability still capable of winter expeditions New DAC featherlite pole system. New watershed SL2 flysheet fabric. Full geodesic design. Two large vestibules at ether end. Bathtub ground protection sheet.
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Terra Nova Ultra Quasar Reviews
Reviewed by Marc Fallis (Scotland) on 2006-01-12:
General comments: If you can afford to buy this tent, do so now. You won't regret it. I had used a couple of Terra Nova's other tents before buying this and was very impressed by there ease of use and non complicated design. I wanted to buy a two man tent that had plenty of storage space, had enough room inside to be comfortable on the long nights of winter, be strong enough to use as a four season tent and weigh under 3kg. Not a lot to ask!!
After spending hours on the internet I narrowed it down to two tents, the terra nova ultra quasar and the crux x2. I then went to a gear shop that had the two tents and spent some time putting the tents up, climbing in and out of them and then putting them down. The Ultra Quasar won by miles. There are so many points in favour for the Terra Nova....
Pros: It's so easy to pitch - the first time I tried I had it up in a couple of minutes. The two porches are one of the best design features allowing you to dry or store kit and bags at one end, and still use the other for cooking etc. The large stuff bag makes packing away the tent so easy, although I still try to roll it as often as possible. The interior has plenty of space for 2 people, and there's even room for 3 people with their bags. It will take all the bad weather mother nature can throw at it. I recently had it pitched at over 1000m in 65 mph winds and it stood strong. All this from a tent that tips the scales at 2.85kg and comes with a life time warranty.
Cons: I suppose the only weakness is the price but you get what you pay for and with the Ultra Quasar you are getting the best.
Reviewed by C.Walker (York) on 2006-02-07:
General comments: I love camping, i love being self sufficient and i love being all 'cocooned' in my nice tent att the end of the day, but, i want my tent to be able to cope with the weather at the palces i take it. I spent many a night on the internet checking different makes and designs and the one i always kept coming back to was the Quasar. This really is one of the best tents in the world. I opted for the ultra version as i thought that i would be backpacking much more than i actually do, and weight was an issue. i think most of the weight saving over te endurance Quasar has been made in the fly material, i compared both in my local shop and there is a slight difference in weight but nothing that has cause for concern.
putting the tent up is a breeze, even in a breeze (sorry!). 4, 7075 aluminium poles form the geodesic design and slot into brass eyelets which offer some adjustment. the fly then slots into the pole feet by putting them under the tent straps (!), this can be quite fiddly as the inner and fly are very taught when fitted. there are good placement of guy points, six in all, and the door can be opened a number of ways to suit. there are four mesh pockets inside along with a number of hanging loops for gear lofts etc - i bought one of these and it is useless, it attaches to the tent via crappy clips which hold no weight .
carrying the tent can be done between two although i mostly carry it from the car boot to my site!!!. I have been out in some bad weather in this tent and have not worried in the slightest. it inspires confidence. buy one
Cons: need to get used to attaching the fly as its quite taught
Reviewed by Pete Baars (Merseyside) on 2006-04-03:
General comments: I've been using quasars now for around since the very early 90's. I've had several, why because I love them and I realise that the more you use one of these things, then the more you get out of it.
I've lost track of the number of times that I've argued the toss with people over why it's so good. hey moan about the flysheet only lasting 90 nights use over the last 3 years and then becoming brittle. So you ask them where they've been using it, the alps, 3 weeks in the Dolomites & the Cordillera Blanca (thats the Andes to you and me). Well I've found when I've visted these high altitude environments that my skin doesn't last as long as it does before it goes red and falls off compared to a sunny day bouldering at my local venue. UV has an effect on me, why shouldn't it affect these items??
Then consider the cost implications, a replacement fly for an Ultra-Quasar is £220, it's 2 man tent, so we can divide that between 2, that's £110 each for those 90 nights, Which by my calculations means that you're paying less than £1.25 per person per night for 5* accomodation in a room with some of the best views on the planet, and you've probably had a couple of dozen weekends in Snowdonia, the Peak, the Lakes or the Highlands thrown in as well. If you use an item it wears out/degrades through that use, it's the same as replacing brakes & tyres on your bike.
Then they start on the other 'outdoor legend' (it's like an urban legend, only it involves something to do with the outdoors and it's ALWAYS their mates flat-mates sister-in-laws cousin that it happened to), poles and the tendency of quasar poles to snap/split. I've heard that Terra Nova may have had a single rogue batch of defective poles a couple of years back (I might even get off my backside and contact them about it, if I do, then I'll post a follow up on here, as I've always found them very helpful in the past), but it's in their best interest to resolve issues like that quickly. The only problem I've ever seen, first hand, with Terra Nova Quasar Poles is when someone doesn't spend the time making sure that the male part of the joint is pushed all the way into the sleeve. This places more stress on the pole, potentially causing the sleeve to split. I've seen this first hand, it's caused by MISUSE. You need to check that the poles are correctly assembled before you use them, it's common sense really. Don't rely on the bungee pulling them tight, a bit of grit can stop i
Tried and tested design
Excellent build quality
Excellent aftersales service
2 porches, one for wet equipment and climbers, one for cooking in when the weathers foul leaving a cocoon of dry loveliness between the 2.
Still made in Britain
Cons: Price, but you get what you pay for.
Reviewed by Richard Howarth (Burnley) on 2006-04-05:
General comments: I bought the 2006 version of the tent in February this year from Field and Trek who were offering a discount. I have used the tent twice now, firstly for a week in Skye as a base camp tent for winter climbing and also for a few days in the lakes backpacking in March. It performs fantastic and definitely beat any expectations I had. The ultra quasar is often referred to as the definitive mountain tent and it really does live up to this title. I found it easy to pitch poles are colour coded etc and the sleeves are well designed to offer maximum air circulation, condensation was minimal as the outer tent door can be vented at the top without compromising weather resistance. The storage pockets are very useful there are four and help to keep gear tidy and there are plenty of hang loops in the inner for drying wet kit. I found it roomy enough for two and a bit of a luxury with the two entrances you can use one for storage and one for cooking. Weight is good too with the lighter flysheet, canít really tell the difference between this and my solar 2. On both trips we had quite bad weather, strong winds and some snow but I found the quasar to be bombproof. Few nice touches as well like reflective guy lines and inner tent doors with a side opening.
Pros: Lightweight for a tent this weatherproof.
Usual Terra Nova build quality
Nice touches like guy lines and pockets
Cons: Still pricey even with a discount but you get what you pay for.
Reviewed by Mark Hannon (Hampshire) on 2007-04-19:
General comments: My previous tent was a North Face Westwind, which whilst was a very good tent was a bit bright, I was looking to replace the tent with one which would stand up to some abuse, (Harsh weather etc.) and tone down on the colour front. After spending a few nights on the internet and looking for my replacement, I settled on the Ultra quasar. The main reasons for selection were the build quality of the tent, which only ever gets better. The reduced weight in comparison with the other quasars, (2.7Kg) and the general usability of the tent.
The layout is simply excellent the doors can be arranged in a variety of different combinations there are two porches (one at either end) which again can be used for storing wet gear, bags etc. Internally 2006 tent is white nylon with black gear loops. There are plenty of mesh storage bags on the sides of the tent all of which are intelligently arranged. The tent is easy to put up and the poles are colour coded to make things easier.
The tent is expensive to buy, but it is hard find a disappointed user, I purchased mine using a discount voucher from field and trek. they are now even cheaper.
The tent has been on Dartmoor in the snow, In Brecon during a downpoor, it just gets better and better
Pros: Usability, Weight, Layout, Value for Money
Cons: None really, Not the cheapest but certainly the best
Reviewed by MJ Skelton (West Mids) on 2007-05-22:
General comments: The ultimate two person tent.
The Quasar seems to have been the benchmark against which all two man tents are compared for many years.
The latest version of the slightly lighter ultra quasar tent is very confidence inspiring.
I cannot comment on the quality of the instruction manual as it is almost superfluous to requirements, this tent is so easy to erect.
Four colour coded poles slide quickly into their sleeves on the inner tent and locate on similarly colour coded groundsheet straps, a few quick pegs and throw the outer fly over, again plug the colour coded straps into the poles and peg out. The whole process takes 3-4 minutes for the unintiated (I had my girlfriend attempt it first, she has never and far less once used to the process, even in the dark or in high winds.
The ventilation on this tent actually seems better than the original quasar, possibly due to the way the poles guides are attached to the inner tent, leaving large gaps for air to circulate.
I have slept soundly in this tent in very exposed conditions during high winds which threatened to collapse many other tents. The only thing which gave me pause for thought was the tiny titanium pegs supplied - they are very insubstantial and look incapable of securing the tent in foul weather, in practice however they have so far been up to the job.
The internal storage pockets are neatly laid out and the white inner tent colour is welcoming and bright upon waking. I haven't tried attaching anything to the internal roof loops.
I purchased this tent as I wanted something on which I could rely, something I could use for both two-up and solo backpacking in relative comfort. The only other consideration was the Macpac minaret, another excellent tent and well known for standing up to serious abuse. The Terra Nova was £100 more but I felt that the benefits of the geodesic design, greater internal space and double porches for gear storage and cooking more than offset the cost. They are about the same weight so this wasn't an issue.
Pros: Light enough for backpacking, just.
Amazingly strong design.
Simple to erect.
Plenty of space for the weight.
Plenty of storage pockets
Cons: Flysheet entry doors are a little small, you will get wet exiting after a downpour.
Reviewed by Slippery (Stevenage) on 2007-12-30:
General comments: Fantastic tent and very well made; strong, rugged, well designed, excellent materials, simple and quick to erect, excellent features. The geodesic shape makes it stand up to windy conditions, on a recent trip to Wales winds were forecast at 45-55mph gusting to 95 and the tent didn't move an inch. Despite heavy rain from when we put it up to when we took it down (some 16 hours) it was bone dry inside. Despite it being a 2 man tent we had 3 in ours when a friend's tent literally flooded! Although very snug it was not uncomfortable. The colour coded poles make pitching easy and they are strong and well made, the tent comes with a repair kit allowing for patching the inner and fly as well as an aluminium sleeve to repair snapped poles (fingers crossed they will never be needed). There are 4 mesh pockets, one in each corner, which makes life a lot easier, especially when living in a tent for a while as things don't get misplaced so much. I have a gear loft but the fastening clips are a bit flimsy; they are attached via crocodile type clips but pull off easily if you are not careful. There is a central loop from which you can hang a light and the yellow inner makes for a bright and cheerful interior. The double porch is a great idea, better ventilation in warm weather (plus insect netting screens at both ends) and good storage space which makes life easier in the wet. Wet gear can be stored at one end and entry/exit/cooking can be done at the other. The doors on the porches can be opened from the top down so you can check the weather with minimal unzipping and there is a plastic strip which slips into a sleeve at the top of the door and keeps a curved shape so rain doesn't leak in through the top if opened. The tent fits easily in its stuff sack and although mine is the older version its weight is still manageable if split between 2, I believe the more recent version is even lighter. Because of the shape you can un peg it and move it easily if you are in one place for a while so you don't kill the grass, or if you need to resite it for some other reason. It is a really versatile bit of kit.
Pros: You name it! I honestly can't think of a single thing I don't like about this tent. It will do everything and do it well. You will be hard pressed to find a better tent.
Cons: If I was going to be picky I would say the price but for what you get, the quality of materials, design and construction its not unreasonable.
Reviewed by T Smith (Durham) on 2008-10-14:
General comments: A legendary tent from Tera Nova, giants of the expedition tent world. The Ultra Quasar is relatively easy to pitch, with only one main flaw Ė the attachment of the fly sheet over the inner tent. A large stuff sack can make one complacent when rolling the tent, but a relatively small package can be produced if some care is taken while packing.
Pros: The total weight is minimal given the durability of the fabric. There are more robust tents and undoubtedly lighter, but the Ultra Quasar combines strength and weight well. Even at 4,500m and -10 degrees centigrade the tent was extremely comfortable. The porches provide sufficient room for as much gear as two people (even with fully laden touring bikes in our case) could carry. Inside there would be sufficient room for three people if needed. Zips which can be undone from either top or bottom mean it is easy to leave a vent to allow air in. This also seemed to drastically cut the condensation each morning.
Cons: The attachment of the fly to the ends of the poles is less that perfect and can be relatively difficult due to the tension in the fly. In windy conditions this is further hampered by the necessity of pegging the corners down before attaching the fly.
Reviewed by Lee Casebrook (Somewhere) on 2009-11-21:
Cons: I purchased a TN Ultra Quasar 5 years ago but sadly have only used it approx 10 times. I am hugely dissapointed with the inner tent failures I have recently experianced. All the stitching on the inner is showing signs of stress and will all need replacing at some point. Already had it repaired once under warranty but i now have two more failures around the doors/zips(rip-stock - No good at all). TN will repair but I am having to pay this time round. The so called "Life Time Guarantee" is not worth the paper it is wrote on as their understanding of "Life Time" will be totally different to yours!!! The shop I originally purchased it from did not want to have any involvement (Thanks to the oudoor shop in Stony Stratford). Sadly i will never invest in a Terra Nova product again.
Reviewed by John Butterfield (Derbyshire) on 2011-10-11:
General comments: Well, what can I say about the TNUQ that hasn't already been said. It is the epitomic four season tent. Bombproof at all times, mine has tasted me over 8 years (of mostly winter camping) and has never missed a beat. Having said that, just recentyly, I have heard of some problems with customer care and replacement poles! Never had to deal with TN for any problems so can't really comment.
However, I can tell of a particularly windy, cliff-top camping episode with my then 8 year old daughter. There was all kinds of banging and crashing through this particular night. The following morning my daughter opened the front tent flap, stuck her hear out and said "Daddy, all the other tents are gone", and indeed they were, every one destroyed except my TNUQ. No kidding....
Primary evidence: I can't comment on other posts but through personal experience, I can tell you that this tent is probably the best two man tent available today.
Pros: Brilliant build quality and materials.
Reviewed by phil hambrook-moore (essex) on 2012-02-10:
General comments: had thi tent for two years now and i love it.
has been on numerous kayak trips and mountain jaunts throughout the british isles. very quick to pitch and strong as anything once up. ventilation is good and doors at each end are great. they can both be open in various configurations as well. i added a groundsheet protecter which does increase the weight a little but gives me piece of mind. the gear loft i added i found useles not stong enough to hold a book and i kept bashing my head. loads of pockets as standard so the gear loft is an unessasary purchass. pegs are very light but i added some snow/sand stakes as this is what i do most camping on.
i use the tent solo when kayaking as weight is not an isue and it packs down small. two of us in it for the hills is ok using 1 end for gear and the other as entrance. i have used the tent for about 15 3-5 day trips and every thing is as good as new.
Pros: cracking versatile tent
Cons: price tag but saying that worth every penny
Reviewed by Dave Shepherd (Somewhere) on 2015-06-25:
General comments: I bought my Ultra Quaser in 1995 after it being recommended as "fit for purpose" by the salesperson at Taunton Leisure. Having a son and mates with similar likes this tent has always been with me like faithful dog.
It is so comfortable and spacious with two large storage pockets. As an add on I bought the loft in a rare moment of shoppaphobia but have never regretted it in particular for storing lights, torches etc.
I am 6 foot 4, my son has grown to 6 foot 2, my partner is 6 foot, my mate is 6 foot 1 and 17 stone. Space has never been a problem.
The tent has been to the Pyrenees , France, Australia, and South- East Asia. It captures light however if life gets too hot then ventilation is excellent. The fly screen really does keep out the nasty biters who love my pale shiny skin.
Pros: Excellent quality. Everything works as it should. Used for camping, hiking, canoe-hike, cycle-hike, cold weather, very wet weather, -4 cold weather, 60mph exposed winds, salty environments.
Cons: Love this tent too much and have lent it to loved ones. They have not treated the tent with the respect I would of and damaged poles and the skin. How?? Abuse. This tent has worked its socks off but it will not tolerate idiotic abuse. Don't lend out.