Archive for July 13th, 2011

July 13, 2011

Terra Nova’s new range for 2012 – a sneak preview

by backpackingbongos

Last month Terry, Martin and myself spent an afternoon with Terra Nova.  For committed gear geeks it was a most enjoyable few hours.  One of their reps spent a good hour showing us their product line, including a few that are brand new for next year.  There were three products in particular that caught all of our eyes.  A sign that a mainstream British manufacturer is finally catching up with what is on offer from ‘Cottage’ industries in the U.S in terms of design and materials?  This is what grabbed my attention that afternoon.

Voyager Ultra 2

I have to admit that this is the first thing that I spotted amongst the rows of tents.  Whilst the rep talked about each product in turn I could feel my eyes drifting further up the field.  Basically it is the classic voyager but with Terra Nova’s new Ultra fabric (read Cuben?).  What is astonishing is the weight with a stated 880g (min) / 920g (max).  The claimed hydrostatic head for both the fly and floor is put at 10,000mm, most definitely waterproof!  The dimensions are pretty much the same as the standard Voyager with the exception that it is 9cm narrower at its widest section.  I  would really like one but it is most definitely out of my budget at an estimated £1,200.  Yes you read that correctly!  Some photos below with Martin providing his modeling services.

Quasar 55 Pack

It is probably telling of our individual backpacking style when Martin was drawn to the Quasar 45 and myself to the Quasar 55.  I loved the look of this pack and it was exceptionally light for the volume.  Could this be a sign that Cuben may become more mainstream in the future? (and hopefully cheaper too).  Made from their Ultra and Matrix fabrics it has an ample 55 litre capacity.  The stated weight is 540g (Min) / 850g (Max).  It has a PE back system with a single strut alloy frame.  I think that the only thing that let it down was a rather flimsy hip belt, I would prefer to see something more substantial on a pack of this size.  It will be interesting to see how they carry when fully loaded up once in production.

Solar Competition 2

Out of all the tents that I could actually afford to buy, I think that this would be the one I would go for.  In my eyes it shares some similarities with those in the Big Agnes range of tents.  It is sold as a two person tent but I think it would be much better suited as a roomy one person backpacking tent.  It pitches inner first and has a pretty distinctive profile, it will be interesting to see how it copes with a side wind.  The weight is what would make this tempting at 1.1kg (min) / 1.17kg (max).  Not much more than the classic Laser Competition but far roomier and in my eyes less claustrophobic.  Tempting if I was ever in the market for a one person backpacking tent (I already have too many!).

Cuben Bivi bag?

We spotted this folded neatly on a table and initially thought that it was a small stuff sack.  Further investigation and a bit of unravelling revealed a cuben bivi bag.  This thing was light, really light.  The cuben on the top had a texture to it that reminded me of the compostable bags I get for food waste.  Terry was keen to see how strong this material was by attempting to push a pen through it, he was stopped just in time by one of the reps!  It will be interesting to see this once in production.

We all really enjoyed the few hours we spent there.  The Terra Nova staff were very welcoming and patiently answered the barrage of questions thrown their way.  It was good to have the company of Terry and Martin, thanks for the invite Terry.

I’m sure that they will both do a write-up today, you can check out their blogs Terrybnd and Summit and Valley.