Laser Competition – a few thoughts

by backpackingbongos

I brought my Laser Competition tent pretty much as soon as it came out but could never really fall in love with it.  I always ended up taking my tried and tested Hilleberg Akto on backpacking trips.  When backpacking through wild and remote places you really do need to feel confident about the gear that you are using.  However recently I have read loads of blogs where the authors really rate the usability and stability of the laser comp.  This and the fact that it weighs considerably less than the Akto persuaded me to give it a second chance.

I will be doing a 6 day east to west coast crossing of the Northern Highlands in 3 weeks which means carrying 6 days of food.  Weight is therefore a major consideration so I decided to dust off the Laser Comp for my backpack last weekend.  I ordered some Vargo titanium pegs and added some north face ‘v’ pegs to replace the carbon fibre ones with the annoying tips that come off.  When packing the night before I noticed how much smaller and easier it was to pack than the Akto.

We found a great high moorland camp in the Yorkshire dales on a level grassy area.  I was surprised when I managed to get a perfect pitch first time.  I think using ‘v’ pegs to secure the end guys really helped, pulling them as taught as possible.  I used separate pegs on the inner end poles this time pulling them out as far a possible.  This all helped to get the perfect pitch.

The night was still and cold and I awoke to find the inner wet through with condensation.  I cursed when I sat up and brushed the hood of my sleeping bag against the inner wetting it.  The foot of my bag was also damp as it had also been touching the inner tent.  I fell back to sleep and was woken at dawn by a strong wind and a fine drizzle of condensation was being shaken onto me.  However the tent shrugged off the wind and I dozed for a couple more hours.

When I got up I wanted to find a solution to the condensation problem and dry out the tent before packing.  I had the idea of unpegging the end facing the wind and clipping it to the inner pole tensioner.  This looked pretty neat and the tent soon dried out.  Next time I use the comp and it is not raining I will do this on both ends to see if it will prevent condensation from forming.

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My planned backpack next weekend should give me an opportunity to try this out.  Yesterday I also received a Rab ultra bivi which is sold as a sleeping bag cover.  It weighs in at only 225g.  This should hopefully stop any damp patches on my down bag and will replace the plastic survival bag that I carry – so no weight gained!

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4 Comments to “Laser Competition – a few thoughts”

  1. Good tip and I will give it a try when at last I get a backpacking trip in. I always moped of any condensation with a packtowel before it got bad, or to pack the tent away in the morning. Condensation was not bad on the Laser. I’ll have to manage it better with the Competition it seems.

  2. I never actually thought of mopping the tent before packing!!!!

  3. We use the TN Laserlarge (a good 2-person backpacking tent) and it comes with a 2 cord system to lift the flysheet at the foot end. Maybe they realised two bodies produce quite a lot of condensation during the night.

  4. I seem to do a good job at producing alot of condensation on my own!

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