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Terra Nova Laser Compact 2 | Review

We can see Terra Nova’s updated Laser model being a popular choice for backpackers and pedal-powered travellers as well

Why We Chose The Terra Nova Laser Compact 2: Excellent space-to-weight ratio, tried and tested design, subtle profile.

With this, the Laser Compact 2, Terra Nova have basically taken their popular Laser Competition 2 design and tweaked it slightly to make for a smaller overall packed size. It’s now just 30cm in length, 15cm shorter than the Competition 2, making it easier to stow away in your backpack, or for bikepackers, in your panniers or bar pack.

The design itself has become a popular one for backpackers. It’s incredibly lightweight at just 1230g, roomy enough for two people plus their kit, and also sturdy enough for any three-season use in the mountains.

“This tent hasn’t been out for long but it’s already picked up an award, being chosen as best tent at the Outdoor Industry Association Awards.”

The flysheet is made from a 5000mm silicone-coated ripstop nylon while inside there’s a half mesh inner with an impressive 6000mm waterproof rating on the base. It’s pitched flysheet first, or you can pitch the whole thing as one. It’s all simply done, you just slide the main hooped pole through an external sleeve and then the ends are propped up by short poles.

Due to the technical fabrics used, it’s apparently impossible to tape the seams along the pole sleeve. They should be able to keep most moisture out anyway, but for just-in-case protection there’s an external pole cover which handily will add a bit of extra sturdiness to the overall structure.

As was the case with the Laser Competition 2, there are two doors on either side. One of them opens up into a medium sized vestibule that’s just about big enough for two backpacks. On the other side, there’s a space that’s only really big enough for a pair of walking boots and small items of kit.

Terra Nova have taken the popular Laser Competition 2 design and tweaked it slightly to make for a smaller overall packed size. Photo: Chris Johnson
Two shorter poles are found on each side of the tent. Photo: Chris Johnson
There are two vestibules: one small one for boots and another that's big enough for two backpacks. Photo: Chris Johnson

There’s plenty of thought to ventilation, with vents at each end of the tent that are held open by guylines, and mesh at the head and foot of the inner. The doors also use two-way zips so you can open up the top end slightly without overexposing the inside.

Other things worth noting include the guylines, which are supposedly twice as strong as your run of the mill ones thanks to the use of Dyneema, and reflective details and colour-coding to make pitching it a little more straightforward.

At the time of writing, this tent hasn’t been around for long but it’s already picked up an award, being chosen as best tent at the Outdoor Industry Association Awards. Outdoors Magic editor Will Renwick, who was part of the jury, is a fan. He says that while this might not be a radical update, “the smaller packed size definitely makes a difference”, and that the overall design is “sturdy, reliable and will suit those who like to be as subtle as possible when they wild camp”.

The overall design is sturdy, reliable and will suit those who like to be as subtle as possible when they wildcamp. Photo: Chris Johnson

Tester’s Verdict

Giles Dean, Outdoors Magic staff

“I took the Laser Compact 2 on a four-day solo wild camping trip to Snowdonia. I had planned to hit some of the bigger peaks there so choosing lighter kit was key, and that’s why I went for this. Even though it’s designed for two people, it works well as a luxurious one-person tent with plenty of room for kit.

“The most noticeable thing about this is how small it packs down and how light it is – when packed it’s about the same size as my sleeping bag and stows really well at the bottom of my bag. For me, it’s important to have a tent that fits inside my bag rather than attached to the external straps. If I can’t fit it inside, I know I’m probably carrying too much stuff.

“This is really easy to set up, with the one main pole across the width and two short poles at each end. I like the fact it offers a low profile but with plenty of headroom inside – I found I could just about sit up without my head scuffing on the top.

“On trips you always create a special connection with you tent; it’s what you look forward to getting into at the end of the day and what protects you from the elements – your tent is your home. The Laser Compact 2 definitely felt like my home and I was sad when I had to return it after my adventure.”

Terra Nova Laser Compact 2

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