Terra Nova have a wide ranging collection of tents (even wider when you consider their sister brand Wild Country), with an option to suit just about every type of backpacking trip there is, whether it’s hiking deep into the Arctic Circle or solo minimalist backpacking along the Pacific Crest Trail. In fact, the brand even have a Guinness World Record for making the lightest tent ever, with their Laser Ultra 1 weighing just 495g. That’s lighter than a loaf of bread. This option, the Terra Nova Southern Cross 2 is designed for two-person backpacking across four-seasons.
I’ve tested it in some extremely wild places and it’s now my go to choice for two-person camping. On short-ish hikes I’ll even take it with me when I’m hiking alone.
What I love about it is that it’s absolutely bombproof. I took it on the The Great Outdoors Challenge, a fortnight-long coast-to-coast crossing of Scotland, with a friend back in 2016 and it was absolutely perfect for the job. I remember a night when we got caught out by a storm right on top of the Cairngorm plateau and had to bolt down at about 5pm in the evening but thanks to this tent we stayed dry, cosy and relaxed in it until the rain stopped at about 10am the next day. One thing I was particularly impressed by was that even in the near gale force winds, the tent’s fly was so taut and well supported that there wasn’t even any flapping or bending in the tent wall.
"It’s a design that makes the tent completely freestanding and stable enough to sleep in even without pegging down (at least in fairly low winds anyway)."
Terra Nova Southern Cross 2: Construction
The Southern Cross 2 pitches outer first with the inner clipping onto the fly by toggles. The whole structure is supported by two crossing poles. One of them runs lengthways and and forks off at each end of the tent, therefore giving it four feet to stand itself up on, and the other spans the width to give extra sturdiness. It’s a design that makes the tent completely freestanding and stable enough to sleep in ,even without pegging down (at least in fairly low winds anyway).
Terra Nova Southern Cross 2: Design Features
One of the great things about the Terra Nova Southern Cross 2 is its porch space. It has an entrance on either side and two porches, each big enough to cook and store kit in. When camping with another person it means that you can both keep your kit separate and you don’t need to climb over each other to reach things or get in and out. It basically helps to make living in very close quarters with another person much more tolerable!
Inside the tent there are big storage pockets plus ventilation flaps at either end and there’s a hook on the roof to hang say a headtorch or lantern from. When you want a nice opening to let the breeze in or to admire the view you can fold the doors back and hook them quickly and easily onto the main pole.
Terra Nova Southern Cross 2: Materials
At 2.29kg, the Terra Nova Southern Cross 2 is quite light for a two-person four-season tent but I do think it could be much, much lighter if some different materials were used. First of all, each peg is made from a chunky 11g alloy (the 10 altogether weighing a hefty 111g) and while these are long and strong enough for four season camping, if you’re using the tent for milder conditions then it’s probably worth substituting them for some lighter pegs.
The flysheet is made from a PU coated nylon and this is impressively durable, but I do feel with a £530 price tag, the pole sleeves and the inner tent could’ve been made from some lighter, more technical fabrics.
Terra Nova Southern Cross 2: Full Specification
Four-season rating / 5 minute pitch time / Fly and inner pitch together / Two doors / Two porches / Two air vents / 47cm x 16cm packed size / Watershed R/S 30 Denier Si/PU 6000mm flysheet / Waterbloc 10,0000mm floor / Two 8.64mm TN Reflex poles / 10 Alloy 11g pegs / 4 guylines / Also available as a one-person
Terra Nova Southern Cross 2: Verdict
If you’ve planned a wild camp and things are looking likely to be windier than you hoped but you still want to go out, or if you’re venturing out on a long trek in a particularly wild place and want to be prepared for whatever might be thrown at you, this is the tent that that you can bank on. It gives complete peace of mind and as a bonus its clever design makes it so easy and stress free to pitch. Funnily enough, during the course of writing this review, I’ve decided that this will be the best option for my wild camp this weekend. I’m going solo so the 2.29kg might make for a fairly heavy load, but I’m planning on camping high and I want something that’ll do the job if the forecast doesn’t come through for me, and unfortunately, in Snowdonia this is fairly likely!