What better way to enjoy the late afternoon sun than playing around with a new tent? With a backdrop of loud dubstep and birdsong, and a superb sunny sky, I spent a happy hour testing my new (and first) lightweight tent purchase.
a) Would the tent be upstanding?
b) Could I make it so myself?
c) What do I need to improve for next time?
a) Well, sort of. There’s no difficulty in pitching the thing. It has a single pole structure, shaped like a ‘Y’ that gives the overall impression of a whale’s hump. But even in a slight wind the sides were perplexingly bowed and wrinkled (something I will aim to overcome with better guying out).
b) Yes. This tent is super super easy to pitch. The ‘Y’ shape goes up in no time, and Terra Nova’s brainwave of creating eyelets for the pole-tips and using clips to attach the tent fabric means no awkward ‘can I get this pole through the narrow nylon channel without it popping apart and before my inner (and my self) gets completely soaked’. The outer took me a while to work out which was the best way to fix it down, but I’ll perfect this over time.
c) For sure, I need better pegs. And I need to practice!
It’s always worth trying out your tent before you go out for that 6-day overnight walk. You know, just in case the guy ropes are missing. As with many ultralight tents, the tent pegs are little more than titanium toothpicks. I am replacing them with stronger titanium v-pegs (Alpkit order already on the way).
My tent is a Terra Nova Solar Photon 2 – the lightest two-person self-supporting tent in the world! In reality I think it would be more comfortable as a ‘luxury’ 1-person tent, as I think it would be pretty cramped for two people plus gear. It weighs a mere 0.975Kg (2lb 2oz). Apparently it also takes five minutes to pitch. (Er, more like 45 minutes for this first attempt…). I purchased mine at a slight discount from eBay and when I was looking there were several secondhand and new options there that were cheaper than buying direct.
So here’s to summer and roaming the country! Anyone got a new tent they want to try?