When the Terra Nova Laser Competition was released many moons ago, it changed the definition of a lightweight tent. Weighing in at just over a kilo, it was revolutionary for a two skin tent. At the same time the less glamorous, frumpier older sibling was released, simply called the Laser at a whopping 1.3 kilos. Admittedly, being someone who prefers a bit more room in my tent to cutting a chocolate bar’s worth of weight off it, the more spacious Laser was the obvious choice.
A single hooped tent with small support poles at either end, it can be flappy in high winds and never that easy to get a taut pitch on an uneven camp. Even if it did sound like sleeping a bag of KP Crisps (comment if you remember and prefer them to the crap touted by certain ex footballers) it has yet to let me down, even in some pretty dodgy weather.
There was also the Hillberg Akto that was popular at the time, and I think you were either a Terra Nova Laser or an Akto – a bit like the Beatles and the Stones… Ok, not quite, but you get the idea. The Akto was a good 200g heavier and significantly more expensive. It also had a load of guy lines at both ends which would invariably end up in a bird’s nest tangle after the first wild camp. Pictured right is a dangerous situation of an Akto and Laser pitched perilously close. So close in fact, that plastic camp chair had to keep the peace. Heady days indeed.
The carbon pegs at barely any weight apiece were divisive. Some loved ‘em, others didn’t. I kept mine, and while I’ve only lost afew to severely frozen ground, I do prefer pegs that curve over at the top and used them with some TN Titanium pegs for extra security at main points.
You also had a panoramic porch. You could open both doors and view your wild camp in all it’s glory. On a glorious , bright morning there can be no better tent to take in the view. You see, the more glamorous, svelte Competition only allowed you to open one door and turned out to be a disappointment in the morning. Unfortunately Terra Nova chose to remove this feature from the following models, choosing a rear entrance instead, which was a real shame.
Five years down the line, numerous wild camps, and the tent has been a worthy companion. It has even been mangled by the hoover, no doubt envious that the tent is always out instead of being stuck indoors doing chores.
The nearest equivlent is now the Laser Competition 2 at an eye watering £380, , being slightly lighter and still lacking the panoramic porch. Or alternatively, you could go for the Wild Country Zephyros 1, basically a budget Laser from Terra Nova’s sister company for £150.
Summary: The heftier sibling of the groundbreaking Competition tent. Best compromise between weight and space. Pegs and can be a pig to pitch tightly.