Terra Nova Lasercompetition/ Laserlite Review

I’ve used one of these on almost all the trips I’ve been on for the last couple of years. It has performed above expectation, and beyond it’s remit from Terra Nova. It’s small footprint, weight and usability transformed the scope of what I felt was acheivable when wild camping in the mountains.

There’s an awful lot of whining and moaning about these tents from folk who are apparently trying to pitch them whilst wearing socks on their hands and their balacalvas on back to front. They’re easy to get right after a couple of practise pitches. It lives in it’s stuff sack in one easy-to-use lump, you just add the two carbon rods, the pole and the pegs. Aye, the pegs. The carbon pegs are fine. I’ve lost one brass tip and plastic top (inconveniently on different pegs), and one whole peg is still stuck in a summit up north. Folk pulling off the plastic tops are doing it because they’re pulling them out of the ground by the tops, grip the carbon shafts instead… I do supplement the pegs with two long stakes at either end which makes tying up the three guys and bungees here a piece of piss. In snow I’ll take a mix of V pegs and stakes.

Pitched, it is surprisingly stable if fastened up right. I’ve had it in winds so strong that the fabric was pushed down so far it was touching my face. No sticthing popped, no poles bent, no pegs pulled out. The pole-channel cover does add a bit of tightness and stability to the outer if you tie it up tight, so I use it. Inside there is plenty of room for one to sit up and move about without contsantly touching the two skins together causing drips onto yourself. Condensation is not a problem anyway as the ventilation is very good, worth taking into account when picking your kit for winter nights.

The porch is huge. I store all my gear easily in one half, the other half is fine for cooking, some storage and you’re still able to get in and out without kicking your cup over.

Experience teaches you a few things. like pitching it pointy end into the wind. I don’t care what Terra Nova say, it works better. Carry earplugs just in case, if the wind really gets up it can be a rattly bugger, especially the pole cover (keep it tight). The lowest I’ve ever pitched it is 807m, it lives on Munro summits when it’s not in the house. It sheds snow, rain, takes the wind very well in it’s own way and it’s comfortable to stay in when it’s dreich outside. It’s more durable that it looks, it doesn’t get the same UV exposure as you’re not leaving it pitched all day. You’re in it for the night and away after breakfast again. Don’t pitch it on sharp rocks and you won’t tear the arse out of it. Honestly it’s not difficult, it’s not a test of endurance and discomfort.

You don’t need any more tent than this 99% of the time. The detractors are just feart of it and should stay on their couch, or just carry that 3kg “mountain” tent, just in case the monsoon comes or the end of the world happens while they’re out.

The proper info and spec from Terra Nova is here.

75 thoughts on “Terra Nova Lasercompetition/ Laserlite Review”

  1. So the lizard is not so good in strong winds? still seems to be the best tent for my needs though. looking forward to reading your full thoughts on it.

  2. One place is as good as another :o)

    The Lizard needs some pitching tweaking from me, I’ll need to dial it in like I did with the Lasers.
    It’s huge inside, like sleeping in an unfurnished room!

    I’ll write up the trip and the gear over the weekend, I’ve got 411 photies to sift through first :o)

  3. ooh lots of photies :D

    incidently I marked out the floor plan of the Tarptent Scarp 1 and the Laser comp inner tents on the floor for comparison.

    The rectangle is the area of the Scarp, and you should recognise the laser floorplan. Mat is a regular size multimat.

  4. That’s interesting (hope it wasn’t permanent marker or something?), it’s just like the Lizard with that size contrast.

    Phil used the Photon on the trip and we were comparing notes on smallness. I reckon I’m so used to small tents now that a bigger one just makes me feel a bit odd when I’m in there in the dark?!

  5. Just got my Hubba HP, a very well performed little tent, but mein gott it’s small, touches all sides when laying in it, and specially around the shoulders it’s an very uncomfortable claustrophobic feeling ! Wonder if the Laser Comp or the Lizard would feel as cramped ? Maybe I’m just spoiled by the use of a 2 person tent for too long :-)


  6. The ‘comp and the Lizard both feel wider but lower inside than the HP I think.
    But, the HP is the strogest of all those mentioned, so if you can sleep in it you’ll be the winner!

    The izard felt like I was sleeping in a spare room, too long spent in tiny tents :o)

  7. Aye, I’ve seen one, and it looks good. I’ve got a Mountain Hardwear tent in to test and it weighs about twice what the Solar does!

  8. It’s exactly the same size and weight as the BA Fly Creek 1, just green color and with fly vents… Good improvements, but still wonder if it’s worth the 430 GBP :-) Hmmm…

  9. I meant to say MHW 2-person above there, that would make more sense.

    It’s the way tent prices are going, the next two seasons are seeing huge price hikes. Takes the fun out of it!

  10. Hi Pete,

    Have just sold my Vaude Taurus Ultralight and am going to go for the TN Laser Competition. Just wanted your thoughts on whether it’s really worthwhile going for the newer version?
    The cheapest I have seen the Laser Comp 1 for is around £270, but I can get last years model for around the £200 mark.

  11. Hi LaRock

    The only update I really like is the two-way zip on the main door, but I’m not sure if that’s on last years models as well?
    My Lasercomp is 2009-spec I think and I’m quite happy with it, if you can get that or any kind of 2010 update for £200 it’s a killer deal.
    The Comp is still my favourite tent!

  12. Hi PTC*

    I enjoyed your tent reviews in the current issue of Trail. Seeing the significant weight difference (and pack size) between my trusty Laserlite that I’ve had for nearly 6 years and the latest generation, I’ve been tempted by the Power Tokee. However, your review has thrown the Photon into the mix (I’d previously discounted it as I thought it might be a little too fragile and a little small).

    1. Which (Tokee or Photon) do you think is the more durable (groundsheet the driver here?), and which feels the largest internally (irrespective of the actual numbers)?
    2. The Power Tokee looks to be designed to sleep with your head at the opposite end of the tent from the door opening (the plans make it look wider at that end); however, is it feasible to sleep with your head at the door end of the tent (this is much better in my view)?
    3. Finally, versus the LaserLite, is there a massive difference in the length of these tents or internal space?

    My Laserlite is regularly pitched above 600m (the highest on the Beinn Mheadhoin plateau at nearly 1200m) so I’m confident in the design being good for all but the worst conditions.

  13. Hi again Pete,

    I managed to get the Laser Comp (2010) model for £199 inc p&p. Thanks for the advice, can’t wait to use it!

  14. rp610, durability is an unknown, botha tents are pretty much all silky smooth fabrics. Abrasion will be the same problem for both.

    Both feel about the same size inside, I like to lie door-end as well which is fine, the biggest fcator here will probably be the thickness of your sleep mat. A Karrimat make a Photon feel like a palace compared to sleeping on a fat mat!
    Versus a Lsserlite, and indeed a Lasercomp you immediately notice a difference in internal and porch space.

    You’re right about the design, folk underestimate it and fret over it in their gardens rather than use it!

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