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.


18 Comments to “Terra Nova’s new range for 2012 – a sneak preview”

  1. Terra Nova tents. Wind. Cope. Coming up for six weeks and they’re still haven’t sorted out my Voyager XL – which is a write off – that was blown in to the sea on Canna in far from storm force winds. Tents look very nice – customer service? Pants.

    • It’s a pretty poor show that they still have not sorted out your tent after all of this time Pete. I thought that it sounded like they were coming to some sort of resolution? It looks like their customer service needs working on in your case. How far up the food chain have you got?

      • Head of Sales rang me up and tried the ‘it must have been your fault’ line, but I was very clear that this wasn’t the case. He said to send it in, which I did and then I didn’t hear anything. I chased it up and he sent me a ‘we’re very busy you know’ email. So i waited another week and sent an email suggesting that they treated me as if they care about their customers. That was Monday, not heard a thing, though he’s probably at Freidrichshafen or wherever the great kit-fetishists party is 😉

    • The ‘we’re very busy you know email’ is probably not the best way to win over customers. I have had that before from another company and it just served to p**s me off. Keep plugging away and don’t take no for an answer. As Terry says below the people we met were sound and believed in their products. All keen outdoors types.

  2. More lightweight UK packs – an encouraging development. As you say, hip belts are all important and can make or break a pack.

    • I have to admit Robin that i do like a nicely padded hip belt on a pack, I don’t pack light enough yet to be able to do without one.

  3. @James – Mate. Glad you made it. Was a good day and told you they were genuine sound as a pound outdoors folk.

    @writesofway – Sorry to hear of your problem, mate. I had an issue sometime ago with their customer service but it got sorted promptly in the end. It’s no excuse but they are a small company and at times like now they get snowed under. Keep at it mate. As James can vouch after meeting many of the team, they’re all good folk with a keen passion for their products and the outdoors.

    @Robin – Agreed. The packs were good enough for me to consider lugging camera gear and tripods about, mate. Really impressive weights to space ratios.

    • Thanks, Terry, that’s good to know. I hope they do sort it out as I want to be able to keep giving them my custom and, moreover, to continue to be able to recommend their tents to others in future.

      • No worries. My issue got sorted in the end (well within 2 weeks). They did apologise and explain the delay etc and I accepted that. Funnily enough – 2 months later and I’m testing tents for them (yeah, I’m a lucky get!) LOL 😉 Such is life eh?

    • Cheers for that invite Terry.

  4. I’m a Terra Nova fan, but £1200 for a Voyager Ultra 2!!!

    That’s a lot of cash for a tent, and you certainly wouldn’t buy it for its looks!!!

    • £1200 is on the steep side Geoff, I don’t think I could ever justifty shelling out that amount of money (unless I won the lottery). I’m sure that there are a few folks out there that would though.

  5. Handsom lad in that tent :0) I reckon the tents will sell out Geoff at £1200. TN sold all the £600 Ultra 1 and I doubt they will have any Ultra 2 left. I would not buy one. I like the Voyager design but not that one. Pyramid design shelters all the way for me.

    • No idea who that guy is Martin, we found him asleep in one of the tents. I will get to test out a pyramid design soon when my Trailstar arrives, half the wait gone now.

  6. I’m going to stretch cling film over my laser comp and try and pass it off as one of them new £1200 magic tents

  7. “out of my budget at an estimated £1,200” I’d love to know who’s budget TN think that would actually fall anywhere close too? Maybe the guys who won the Euro Millions! I feel so alienated by modern outdoor gear these days. Shocking, I sound like an old man and I’m only 35! J

    • Jamie I have to admit that the price tag led to a sharp intake of breath, steep very steep. You have to remember that there are people out there who spend a fortune on cars, silly money. If people have cash burning in their pockets………………..

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