Classic Gear The Terra Nova Super Lite Voyager Tent
You could argue that the real challenge in producing a lightweight tent is not in producing the lightest per se, but rather the lightest tent that’s useable in most conditions the UK will throw at it. Terra Nova have managed over the years to excel in both, with the world’s lightest double walled tent in the Ultra 1, and lightweight versions of it’s sturdier tents for tougher conditions. You can go for the Quasar, which has arguably taken on the mantle of definitive mountain tent from the Vango Force 10s, or the less sturdy Voyager.
The Terra Nova Super Lite Voyager is a semi-geodesic tent which means it is almost as strong as a full geodesic, but having one less pole makes it a tad lighter. It is pitched inner first, but it seems that most tents designed for crappy conditions are inner first pitching. In reality, that just means that you need to up your game and pitch the inner before the bathtub floor demonstrates why it’s called that. Game on.
The TN Voyager Ultralight has hardly changed in the six years since I bought mine, except for a slight reduction in weight from 1800g to 1450g. Back in 2006, it seemed that the naysayers would state these tents with their newfangled fabrics and unnaturally low weights wouldn’t survive one season. If a tent didn’t break the back of a pack horse then it was too light and wouldn’t stand up to the said pack horse farting in it’s general direction.
Time has proven them wrong. Modern fabrics are lighter and tougher than what came before, though it often feels flimsy to the touch. I remember trying on the lightweight Paramo kit and rejecting it out of hand in the shop as it had such a flimsy feel that it certainly wouldn’t survive on the hill. I have to admit that I was wrong.
Likewise, the Super lite Voyager has proven itself over many years wild camping from the slopes of the Grey Corries in Lochaber, a pitch that required digging out in the snow on High Street in the Lakes and so many pitches in Snowdonia that I certainly can’t recall more than a fraction of them. I’ve even had the thing blown utterly flat, and that was at the Nant Peris campsite, but it bounced back albeit with permenantly bent poles.
The Voyager is well suited for two – though a tad snug I’ve found for winter trips. Squeezing in two men, keen not to revoke their man cards, and you find that movement is kept to a minimum. Subsequent winter trips in a much more spacious tent where you can move about much more freely emphasises that it’s much warmer in a larger tent!
The porch is one thing that lets the tent down slightly, especially if you’re forced to cook in it. It’s certainly possible to cook in the porch with care, but the fly slopes steeply at the front and that places the stove and fabric too close for my liking. Swap your canister top stove for a lower lying one, and it’s easier.
My daughter, at about 9 years old, got her first taste of wild camping on the side of Snowdon in the Voyager. So, even If I’m in the process of putting my old model on Ebay to fund new kit, I’ll always have a bit of a soft spot for it even if it is no longer suited to my exact needs, with the more spacious Golite Shangri-la 3 being my large summer tent and a Mountain Equipment Trango 4 a bombproof choice for off-spec conditions.
Summary – an ideal choice as a spacious tent for one that can be used all year around, while still being just large enough for two non-intimate friends to share.