Terra Nova Line-up Changes?

Thanks to Colin Mc for sending me a PDF of the new Terra Nova catalogue and bringing to my attention the disappearance of the Super Solar 2.2.

I bought one of the very first 2.2s after reading a Chris Townsend Review and it has been a great tent. At 2 kilograms it is light enough for two and yet strong and stable enough to cope with most that European weather could throw at it.

But it was the two porches that stole the show. If you haven’t tried this system I can’t begin to describe how wonderful it is to have your own gear space and your own door, especially when on week long treks and longer.

I gave the tent a rave review which you can find here. This review is — by a long way — the most regularly read review on this site.

There is a long, long line of comments to this post which reflect not only the appeal of the design but the reality of using it. Sadly, there have been increasing reports of leakage and other problems with the tent. I’ve always been surprised by these because — simply — I’ve not had any complaints. But I did begin to suspect that manufacturing may well have been sourced somewhere new and that quality control is not what it was.

I’m not completely sure that it has been killed off yet as it still features on the website, albeit with a note that all stock is now at retailers which might just mean it has been deleted.

The Solar name lives on in the new catalogue with the Solar Photon and Solar Competition ranges, neither of which really use the 2.2 design. All of them a rather similar to the Big Agnes Seedhouse range, using a Vaude like skeleton but with the outer stretched over the top.

Terra Nova has made a real effort to go lightweight over recent years and the new Solar Photon for two people seems to come in at 925 grams. This is half the weight of the 2.2. but it is very similar to the Big Agnes tents in that you loose most of the vestibule space. In UK conditions, there is still some point in going for the most vestibule space that you can get and the 2.2. concept seems still valid.

There’s no price listed yet for the new Solars but they’re obviously not going to be cheap.

I have a little more than an academic interest in this as my Solar 2.2 is now showing signs of wear. This tent has had a fair bit of use both in the UK and abroad and the inner tent in particular is beginning to fail. To be fair, consumers do need to appreciate that as wonderful as these lightweight material are they are just not as robust. But in fairness my 2.2 has proved to be as robust as the Hilleberg Nallo, and will probably last longer.

But where to go now?

For UK hiking I do like space to move and space to stash the gear. The Mountain Laurel Duomid that I have been using as a solo tent has been a revelation and has completely raised the quality of the hiking experience. The Duomid is though really too small for two, so I’ve been contemplating the Supermid.

The Supermid from Mountain Laurel is again a pyramid tent-type which uses one trekking pole (and extender) to support the tent. It will be as stable and robust as the Duomid. The Supermid is only available in sinylon and not cuben but we are still only talking about 680 grams for the tent. Add a bug net inner (of slightly larger size to that in the Super Solar) and we’re talking about a combined weight of just on a kilogram (37 ounces). That is not a bad weight for the tent to be shared between two people. There is another option which adds bug mesh to the perimeter and which adds about another 200 grams (8 ounces). The price of the tent and the net — when you add for delivery,VAT and customs is probably no more (even a little cheaper) than what I would expect the new Solar’s to cost.

By comparison the Nallo 2 from Hilleberg will set you back around £550.

So, importing from the US is still worth it if you are looking for the best weight/size ratio in your tent. I would loose a door by using this system but the internal space is so flexible and easy to configure that I wouldn’t miss much really.

What puzzles me is why UK manufactures have not really embraced the pyramid design? It seems they want to keep a vestibule but are happy to make it small enough to be nearly useless.

I know there are a lot of you who baulk at the idea of ordering from the US, but the customer service of companies such as Mountain Laurel are as good as it gets. You just have to wait a bit for your order.

New Terra Nova Catalogue

Mountain Laurel

Comments

  1. Shed Dweller says:

    I can vouch for the service that Mountain Laurel Designs give to customers, it’s top notch, by letting you know exactly what’s happening with your order you’re quite happy to wait until it’s done. My DuoMid is the best shelter/tent/tarp call it what you will, I’ve ever had. Your post has just given me an idea for a making moment Andy…

  2. Oh dear. back to the shed then John …

  3. The Solar Photon 2 is £430.

    Have you considered a Tarptent Scarp 2? It has 2 porches. Alan Rayner has bought one http://alanrayneroutdoors.blogspot.com/2010/11/scarp-2-first-outing_30.html

  4. You look at the Voyager 2.2? Looks that that maybe the replacement for the Solar 2.2. Me hope for a TN Solar (single hoop one) with up to date material, just love that huge side door.

    Btw I tried that bread… First go failed to rise 🙁 left starter in fridge, and tried a week later, worked a treat. On to 3rd brown loaf, (malted) now.

    • Paul, the potency of the starter is the main thing. Now you are on the way it’s easy.

      I’m not a fan of the Voyager in the sense that while it might be a fine tent there are other options I would look at first.

  5. Chris Emmerson says:

    Me and the missus have been using the Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo for the past year or so with great success. Just on 2 lbs with dual porches and loads of space for two. Yes, its single skin, but with the amount of headroom its easy to avoid contact and ventilation is great. Highly recommend so far.

  6. Damn those Hilleberg tents are expensive! I keep eyeing the Nallo for ‘comfortable’ 2-person trips but these get-a-ways are few and far between so I’ll stick to squeezing us both in the DuoMid. I’ll keep an eye on adding a SuperMid to my collection for more space and even more shelter modulation.

    • Holdfast, I had a Nallo for years and I reckon the 2.2 Solar just beat it. It is a fine tent but not quite as robust in storms and its lifespan seems to be similar.

      Based on the Duomid experience I can see no problem with the Supermid other tan there is a pole down the middle!

  7. Chris Emmerson says:

    Hi Andy. Beauty of the 6MD Lunar Duo is it’s basically a big tarp with integral bug net and groundsheet, so no midgies. Best of both worlds. Not had to use it in a gale, but there are plenty of extra guying points if needed. And the 6MD customer service is top !

  8. I have had this tent the terra nova voyager for just under a year now mostly took out out in fair weather I decided to camp on top of Pen-y-fan 11/04/15 the wind condition’s were moderate to strong at the time’s but with this being rated a 4 season tent I was confident it would withstand the weather being thrown at it , but boy was I wrong the arch pole over the door kept being blown back onto the tent and me inside all night despite being pitched correctly the result in the morning was a broken pole and where the red pole sit’s over the two blue horizontal poles it had rubbed holes in both pole sleeves and the stitching inside was tearing through the inner tent where the pole sleeves attach, now I cannot insert the poles through the sleeves without them coming through the holes . I contacted terra nova about this they were useless after many emails and pictures of the damage were sent I had to send it off to them, 2 weeks for them to look at it and after they make a dissension another 2-3 weeks for them to repair it at my expense when it is clearly a design fault as there is no reinforcement protection where the poles overlap on the front of the tent but there is protection on the rear. Truly disappointed in there poor customer service I expected more form a British company I have lost faith in there product’s and will buy a Hilleberg for a better experience .

Write in the box and the login details will suddenly appear!