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Ultralight and Event Products

£296.15 (inc Vat)
You save 8%
Outdoor Camping Tents Ultralight-and-Event Laser Competition 1 Terra Nova
Laser Competition 1

Lightweight one man tent weighing only 970g. Pitch all as one with a single hoop. Suitable for lightweight 3-season backpacking or mult-day mountain marathon events

Special Offer £97.49 (inc Vat)
You save 35%
Outdoor Camping Tents Ultralight-and-Event Tent Ultralight Quest 2P Vertical
Tent Ultralight Quest 2P

single skinned 2 person ultra marathon tent that is now on sale for only £97.49

Click here for our pop-out comparison table of top end backpacking, mountain marathon, cycling and adventure racing tents.

Whilst you can slim a standard tent down a bit by leaving some pegs and the stuffbags behind, this often just won't cut it for demanding use and so most people will at some point turn to ultralight tents.

Obviously the most important thing with any such tent is the need for minimal weight and low bulk, but they still must be:

  • Easy to pitch - you need a quick pitch after running 30 miles over the hills with a pack on your back for your own sanity and to stop you getting too cold, and
  • Stable in order to allow you to get as much quality rest as you can between each leg of your walk, run or race.

Lightwave, Hilleberg and Terra Nova provide all of this in one form or another for the discerning and demanding customer at weights below 1.5kg and even 1kg in some cases, as well as some around 2kg with improved comfort and more space but still with low pack sizes and weights for non-race and less critical use.

How do they make them so light?

One thing to remember with anything that is lighter in weight than the norm is that it either has to have a radically different design (which may mean less strength), it may use lighter and therefore possibly weaker materials, or it will use the most advanced of everything and therefore will be rather costly. So we as retailers have to choose the best balances in order to give you the best selection from which to make your choice.

The architecture of the tent plays a major part in keeping weight down. The less pole you use the lighter the tent should be.

Single pole tents are very light indeed, but they do have the downside of being very dependant on pegging and orientation to the wind for stability. They tend to be better for one person and competition tents as the larger versions are particularly prone to instability. Terra Nova's Laser Photon is one example, and is the lightest fully waterproof tent in the world, and we think the Hilleberg Akto may be the finest.

Tunnel tents are the lightest two pole tents as their poles are that bit shorter than geodesic (crossed pole) designs. Tunnel tents do in fact give the greatest amount of useable space for weight of all tents, but once again their stability is somewhat dependant upon their orientation with regards to prevailing wind, but they are less peg dependant than single pole tents. Lightwave provide us with a great range of megalight tunnel tents that should be a serious consideration for all, even those on a tight budget. Terra Nova's Laser tents offer slightly more space but require more attention to pegging and feel less stable. The Hilleberg Nallo range provide exceptional room for the weight, and are constructed from the best materials available.

Geodesic tents have poles that cross over and form a stable pitch without concern for pegging out, but the large length or number of poles do make them heavier. Two pole geodesics are the lightest options, such as the excellent Terra Nova Solar 2.

Three pole options are stronger but slightly heavier again. They are, however, less orientation dependant for pitching and are self-supporting so require less pegging. This makes them better for 4 season or mountain work. For larger 2 and 3 person tents, check out Lightwave's g1 and g2 Ultra and Trek ranges, and Terra Nova's Voyager. Some geodesics, like the Hilleberg Allak, are completely free standing so they can be pitched on hard or sandy ground without pegs.

Four pole geodesics have recently become light enough to suit some lightweight backpacking situations. The lightest option is Light Wave's f2 ultra at just over 2.5kg which offers full 5 season protection but also worthy of consideration is the slightly more pure mountain biased Crux X2 Storm which lives in our mountain tents section along with the Terra Nova Ultra Quasar.

Why are they so expensive? / What materials are the best?

The old maxim "you get what you pay for" works for lightweight tents as much as anywhere. Obviously when you try to slim weight down you lose somewhere else, be that durability, or in the pocket. Less expensive tents tend to use PU coated polyester fly and groundsheets whilst the more expensive tents use silicon coated nylon (the more expensive the more coatings you will get as well).

The pros and cons of Polyester & PU verses Nylon & Silicon: both of these can be similarly light but nylon has the edge and has a much higher tear strength and wear rating. It isn't prone to rotting when left wet as well. Nylon tends to stretch and shrink more than polyester with changes of climate and so needs slightly more re-adjustment once pitched. Polyester and nylon are both susceptbile to UV degradation, but the more layers of siliconising to the exterior of nylon tents the less the effect. Nylon tends to bond better to coatings where as polyester delaminates quicker. It is easier to tape over PU coatings than silicon ones but it is possible to use a seam sealant to do this on siliconised flysheets (it isn't easy to do tidily so manufacturers leave it to the customer), but often well made seams won't need it anyway.

So to summarise nylon is usually more expensive, but will generally be lighter, far more durable and have a higher hydrostatic head throughout its life, so if you pay for the best this is what you will get.

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