Lightwave T2 Ultra 2009

Lightwave has a broad range of tents and their common theme is that they are inner-pitched-first. This has benefits and drawbacks. Another (unique) feature of Lightwave tents is that they are modular – so you can choose versions of the same basic design. This is the T2 Ultra, but there is also a T2 Ultra XT with an extended porch and a T2 Trek without the ‘Ultra’ weight-saving materials.

Design
To save weight the T2 Ultra has four 16cm titanium wire pegs, weighing 7g each, plus four 16cm titanium V-pegs at 10g each. Also it has a lighter flysheet, inner and groundsheet compared to the T2 Trek (2485g and £295). The poles on both models have an Architekture shape at the top that reduces stress in the pole and increases stability compared to a conventional pole that is not pre-curved. This gothic arch profile also produces a slight ridge profile to the tent, which helps to reduce rain and snow from settling on the tent – a problem with flatter tunnel designs. The tent pitches inner-first with the colour -coded poles sliding though mesh sleeves around the inner. The pole ends locate in eyelets at the base. Eyelets on the flysheet are then also hooked over the pole ends and the ends are pegged out.

On the hill
I don’t like inner-pitched-first tents for if it is raining the inner gets wet (and waiting for the rain to stop is not my favourite pastime after walking all day). But pitching is pretty quick and if you don’t tend to camp in the wettest conditions or are prepared to wait for a dry spell, then this is less of an issue, particularly as the inner dries fast anyway. Pegging points are not adjustable on this tent, which is particularly annoying, as on a tunnel design these pegging points need to be very secure. You can of course add your own cords to the pegging points and this is what I would do. The tent is very stable, though – probably the most stable here. The inner is bright white and spacious, and it’s a pleasant place to sit out a storm as the inner is less flappy than outer-pitched-first options. The front door has a single central zip that allows it to be opened from top or bottom and rolled to the side, and this works okay. Vents to either side of the main door and at the rear can be held open with a strut that Velcros in place. Everything works well, but for me the inner-pitched-first design and lack of adjustment at the pegging points turn me off a little for typically mixed UK conditions.

Poles shock-corded alloy
Inner 30D hi-tenacity nylon 6.6 ripstop
Outer 30D hi-tenacity nylon 6.6 ripstop, 5000mm hydrostatic head
Groundsheet 50d hi-tenacity nylon 6.6 ripstop, 6000mm hydrostatic head
Internal dimensions length 225cm; width 150cm; height 120cm
Packed size 42 x18 Packed weight 2185g
Made in China
Stores in UK 30 Stockist details-
tel. (01286) 872222; www.lightwave.uk.com

Verdict: The Lightwave T2 Ultra is the most stable two-person two-pole tunnel tent we tested; very spacious inner; tight inner does not flap in breeze; huge porch; good ventilation; superb weight. But inner pitches first so not best in wet; pegging points not adjustable; pricy (lower-priced version available). Overall, it’s superb if you like inner-pitched-first tents, but the lack of adjustment at pegging points niggles.

 

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine July 2009