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. I’m looking forward to using mine (got it reduced by £70). I was coming to Scotland in October, but circumstances forced me to cancel. Being stuck in the South limits opportunities. I’ll be interested to see how it compares to the Akto.

  2. Have you extended the guy on the inner? looking at the second picture down, the top fly guy looks pegged a long way out, too far to get all 3 lines in with one peg, though it could be pegged with 2 instead of one. Unless perhaps its a laserlite and is different from the comp?

  3. Less stable than the Akto and less condensation too :o)

    That one above is a Laserlite I think. I was looking for a photie to compare, so here’s one with two lites and a comp.
    We use the same pegging arrangement on them all, but I’m not sure what’s been altered.
    I’ll have another look at some point.


  4. You gave me the confidence to get this tent ptc*
    I picked up a Laser Comp back in October for the bargain price of £164 at F&T, partly since I’d been more than a bit tempted since they first appeared, and partly as a wee solo tent that MoS can carry herself when she fancies. I agree about the pitching being easy after a couple of goes – the video on the TN website helps a lot and it really is straightforward. I follow their way and use 2 pegs at each pointy end.
    All that said, neither of us has taken it for a proper outing yet – it’s the two-person jobs that are getting the use just now!

  5. Good lad, that’s a nice price. I’m sure you’ll get on with it fine. It was one of those rare bits of kit that turned out better than I expected. And even rarer, I’ll get another one when it wears out.

    You know the Comp is designed for two friendly adventure racers to fit into. I’m sure you two would be just fine in it it :o)

  6. I think mine is an early model of Laser, picked up from the TN website for £100 on account of it being “used”. It’s a fantastic wee tent. No problems pitching it and the “wind rattle” was sorted with a pair of foam ear plugs. Durability? Aye, we’ll see this coming year.

  7. One thing I can’t really tell from any photos or from the TN video is the amount and location of mesh panels in the inner. This is critically important to me for ventilation.

    Having just updated my review of my custom-modified Akto with its first sub-freezing weather trial, condensation is also a significant problem in cold damp conditions, so I just might try the Lasercomp, especially as it has a mouthwatering 0.5kg weight advantage. Do you have any photos that show the inner mesh bits, or is it easy to describe in words?.

  8. I’ve got some internal shots of it somewhere…

    But, it has triangular mesh panels (with velcro flaps) at the pointly ends right where your head and feet are. It’s the top half of the gable-end triangle of the inner.
    It works well in our usual cool and damp mountain conditions.

    If I find a photie I’ll stick it on.

  9. The Laser Comp has the triangular mesh at each end of the inner, but no velcro flaps – I guess that’s one place where they shaved a few more grams off the Laserlite…

    And the top 1/3rd of the inner tent door is mesh, again no velcro panel to cover it.

  10. Crivvens I forgot about the half mesh door. The Lite doesn’t have a flap on the main door to cover the mesh either. I find the mesh panel high enough up not to feel an obvious draught coming through when it’s bedtime.

  11. “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”

    You can fold it up with the carbon poles left in, I’ve never taken those out once. Lay them side by side and it fits back in the stuff sack fine.

  12. That’s very true Steve, I usd to do that at first.

    As my packs got smaller though it became better to strip them out and stow them with the pole for safety as the tent itself was getting pushed into ever tighter corners or external pockets.

    I know someone that broke one of the carbon rods, not carrying it but while the tent as pitched. I think it must have been cracked previously though as I can’t see it being the first component to let go in high winds.

  13. http://www.3peaksafrica.co.uk it’s a site from a challenge I was involved in last year, it’s still up.

    I’m hoping to build my own site this year if I get chance. It would be great to get one sorted before I have another attempt at the 10×10 challenge in July or August. I can then run any challenges I’m involved in from one site, instead of having to build seperate ones. Peewiglet kindly did the Africa one for us.

  14. Steve, keep an eye on how well PTC’s SPOT tracker thing works when he does the WHW. That sort of thing on one of your challenges would add a lot of interest for your fans.

  15. Pct I have a Laser not the comp as I liked the head room and extra space. Q. I have considered leaving the pole cover off and sealing the seams to stop water ingress. Have you seen this done and any comments? Next Q. the laser has the vent pulls to raise and lower ends. This is a fiddly but useful feature and I wonder if you have seen any modifications to this set up that allowed the inner to be separated from the outer much easier than present.

  16. The pole cover adds a bit of tension ( I don’t care what anybody else says) to the outer if it’s tight so I leave it on. But I know folk take it of and don’t have any water ingress, so if you want to ditch you’ll probably be fine.

    The only mods I see are folk adding or changing guy positions, or adding more guy attchment points. I leave mine assembled apart from the pole and carbon rods which I take out and store separately.
    It’s a pain in the arse to dry it this way, but much quicket to pitch.

  17. If I take the pole cover off are the attachments it fixes to OK as guy points with out it? Tearing free etc, (Sorry about the typo with PTC getting muddled up) any way I am off to try out the LIM 55

  18. I don’t think I would trust the loops with a guy line. They are quite small though, so they would probably just pull out rather than tear the tent if you strained them.
    But still…

    Hope all goes well with the pack.

  19. well I took the plunge and got a Laser comp recently and have been testing over the past couple of weeks

    ok so its not exactly really testing weather at the mo but I must say I really love my LC

    it pitches really easy and there is something very satisfying in achieving a really taut pitch……

    so far only downside is the condensation but then again its less than 1000g and the inner has been completely dry

    its my favourite bit of kit at the mo and lets me go lightweight if i am in doubt (or chicken out) about using the tarp in certain weather circumstances…….

  20. Good lad!

    I’ve noticed a bit more condensation with the red Comp than I had with my old Lite. But like you say, none of it has made its way through to the inner.

    It’s a fine bit of kit, every home should have one :o)

  21. :->

    thanks Pete

    if you bomb over to OM and look at the latest pics by DW, you will see my well pitched LC surrounded by a sea of Aktos….

    I really rate this tent and I got it partly due to your unstinting compliments about it (and the fact that you have used it many times in places that perhaps others wouldnt…..)

    In fact the use of the LC and the Golite quilt/bag enabled me to downsize to the OMM 32L classic for the weekend. Really happy with all three and the fact I could have an overall light/small pack load

    bring on the summer!

  22. I saw the photies :o)

    I’m the same with my pack size, it’s going down all the time. With the PHD sleeping bag it’s tiny.
    I’m not losing any comfort or peeformance, it’s marvellous stuff.

    Good point about me sticking the LC in odd places, it’s given me a trust in it that maybe would be hard to get otherwise?

    I’m glad you’re getting along with it. It certainly changed my life in the outdoors completely.

  23. Cheers Guys for info. Just read them all. Bought one at the weekend.Dropped my tent weight 2.5 kilo!! Cant weight to use it.Started walking lots more over the last 18 months and dropping the weight off as much as is practical.

  24. Alright!

    That’s a hell of a lot of weight to drop in one go, your pack will feel as light as a feather!
    Happy trails ahead no doubt.

    I’ll never forget the first time out with my original Laserlite. There was no going back after that :o)

  25. I’m going to black cat, after reading your review of the Laser Comp I’ve taken the plunge and am now the proud owner of a LC, my previous backpacking tent weighing in at 3.9kg

    After weight saving in other areas I’m so looking forward to trying out the new backpack

    A great site PTC

  26. Hi blackbird, thanks for looking in.

    That’s some weight loss from your pack, that’ll feel great on the trail.
    It’s been great looking at photos and writing up trips from when I got my first Laserlite, it made such a difference to my time outdoors.
    I still say it’s the best tent out there, I’ve been testing other stuff for months and as good as they are the Lite/Comp ticks more boxes than anything else.


  27. I know its a long time since this thread was started but I have been rereading it.

    I reckon you ought to ask TN for some form of commission Pete……. :)

    Well since I bought mine, I have had it in all sorts of weather including a real storm in the Western Brecon Beacons. The wind got up to 67mph and yes I had that fly/inner-touching-face experience when the wind got up to that speed. No damage in the morning and still tight as a drum

    I just love it. Oh and its much prettier than the Akto…… :)

  28. It’s all true, the ‘lite and then the ‘comp were vital in me rediscovering the freedom of the hills. Instant “go anywhere” kit, when I started using it got me looking closely at everything else and get to where I am now, back to waht I was using in the 70’s.
    It’s got competition now, the MSR Hubba HP being close on its tail, but it’s still the king of lightweight tents.

  29. What a brilliant site! I am inspired and want to get into the hills NOW!

    Am thinking of getting one of the Laser range of tents but am torn between the 2009 revised Laser and the Laser Competition… SWMBO is keen on the Laser as we could both fit into that more comfortably than the Comp if doing a multi-day trip but if it’s me mainly on my lonesome then it seems a shame to pack the extra weight if its not needed.

    Have no qualms with the quality of TN tents as have had a Super Quasar for several years and it is bomb-proof but would welcome folks’ thoughts on toss-up between Comp and Laser 2009?


  30. Cheers!

    You won’t go wrong with the Laser, but I think the Comp is better on more exposed pitches as it’s a smaller tent and catches less wind.
    I dunno, 250g isn’t a huge weight penalty if you chose the laser, I carry tents up to around 1350g and it’s not an issue.
    But, the Comp has been my best pal for many trips indeed.

    Not an easy choice!

  31. Have bitten the bullet and ordered the Laser 2009. It is quite a bit roomier and the added door made it a deal-clincher for two person use. Here’s looking forward to its first outing in hopefully a week or so :)

    Now for some lightweight approach shoes to replace my boots with hehe…..

  32. Hi, finally joining the tent-carrying fraternity after sourcing a laser on the cheap today. Really looking forward to some Glen Affric magic, and not having to have long walks up to the Ben for a climb, just being there the night before. Just after any tips on pegs/mods that you’ve done over the last couple of years to get that extra bit of performance out of one of these. Will be looking to possibly use this all year round as highish-level base camp for winter climbing etc. and then munro-ing in the summer.

    1. Brilliant news!

      Now, despite what you me hear or read elsewhere you don’t need to start adding axtra guys and the like, the flexibility of the design is it’s strength. What is vital is good pitching, and that does take practise. When you get it right it’ll be tight, smooth and solid in all but the worst weather. The inner will stay off the outer too and you won’t have issues with condensation coming through.
      Experience shows that changing the guy lines and pegs are trouble saver. I’ve got dyneema guys with Line-Lok adjusters on my Lasercomp and Photon and the performance is perfect. I use Vargo titanium nails (both weights, but the heavier ones are better I think) and the blue aluminium Y-pegs from Camcleats.co.uk (Hilleberg have a gold version, exactly the same peg). I have mixed bag of the pegs now and just take them on every trip, I ditch whatever pegs come with any tent I use!

      Not often you’ll hear me say this, but get in the garden or the park and pitch it a few times. There’s a few adjustments to learn that it’s good to be familiar with before you go out with it.
      It’s not a tent you know, it’s a passport to adsventure :o)

      Keep me posted.

  33. I’ve never used one, and I’ve fine without one so far. You will get wear on the base, but good pitching means that even if you do get a few wee holes water won’t run in. There is an elemt of luck here as well.
    You can get super light ones made though from sil-nylon, even a bit of light plastic sheet. I think the proper ones are both heavy and expensive?

  34. yeah £40-50 for something it sounds like you don’t need most of the time. Ordered some night-glow line-loks and some purple dyneema for a bit of tweaking, should look nice!! My next quest will be to find a reasonably light 4-season sleep mat – synmat 7UL looks good, is that out yet? neo-air doesn’t look tough enough to me, any others?

  35. I’ve got the Synmat 7 Basic which I like, nice and warm. Thermarest have two new Neoairs coming out, a tougher version and a winter one, but they’re both next year. To be honest though, the Neoair’s been fine for me, I’ve used it constantly, but it does feel a bit insubstantial.
    Pacific Outdoor are worth a look, identical to Big Agnes mats and plnety nice and fat models.
    Ach, visit the shops, drag a few out and try them out. See if the lengty is good, even where your elblws lie when your on your back, on the mat or on the floor? That’s something not many folk find out until the first night in a tent with it.

  36. Hi PTC !

    Me browsing for a new shelter, so thanks a lot for all your effort here checking out gear for all of us :-) Well, at the moment I’m balancing between the Laser Comp and the Hubba HP and a few others. The Comp is tempting, it reminds me somehow of my Gatewood, at least it was GREEN too :-) But a big concern for me is the noise in the wind, as big an issue as the weight. How much wind m/s does the Comp take before the noise start you think, when pitced right ? Heard that the Carbon Reflex comes in green next year, but then again, it’s all windy mesh. Even heard that the Comp now comes with 2 way zipper in the fly for some ventilation. I’m 189 cm in a long WM Caribou, on a 9mm Evazote, will that fit in the Comp witout blocking the vents ? Once saw someone who added Akto end guy attacmentpoints on the Comp, but unfortunately missed the link.



  37. Hey Eagleeye!

    The Comp and the Hubba HP are both good choices. The Hubba is quieter in the wind but, the smaller inner just edges the Comp in front of it.
    The Comp vents should be clear, but lenght wise you’ll be definitely be end-to-end in there. I sleep on fat sleep-mats and at a whisper under six feet I’ve got plenty of room at my head and feet, but it’s often down to how much room you like to have around you.

    Noise, there is no escaping it. Pretty much any wind will give a ripple on the fly, and in very high winds it’s like a having a machine gunner outside. But, I kinda tune it out as it’s just such a good tent to spend time in, I’ll happily take the hit.

    Extra guys, poles, any other modifications to “strengthen” or “stabilse” it are pointless, it’s flexibility in the wind is what saves it. The newest models have the good guy lines and adjusters, so it’s good to go as stock. Well, maybe some new pegs too…

  38. PTC,

    That “machinegunner” issue takes the decision for me, as I already have noise enough in my head :-)

    Accepting that the perfect tent doesn’t (yet) exist makes the decision even harder, when left with too many options, as usual :-)



  39. There’s plenty of tents at 90%, the big decision is what 10% you want to lose. Space/height/stability/weight.. colour?
    I can take a lot6 of shortcomings, but a tent that’s too short is the one thing that drives me mental!

  40. Cool!

    I’ll be in an unfamiliar tent in a couple of days. Always a step into the unknown and the possibility of misery is always present!

  41. Just ordered the Hubba HP as it looks strong, and even kind of green :-) Great spot in the Silent Movie !


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