Terra Nova Laser Space 5 2010

Many backpackers will know Terra Nova for its lightweight and expedition tents, but it also makes group tents. The Laser Space 5 is extremely light for its size, which means it should allow a family of four to get everything they need into a small car, rather than needing to tow a trailer or fit a roof box.

The Laser Space is clearly a development of Terra Nova’s lightweight tent range. The fabrics and design are instant reminders of the brand’s pedigree. So you get a top-quality DAC branded pole set, like those on the brand’s other top-end tents, but of larger diameter. You also get thin titanium pegs, which weigh 2g each – again something we are familiar with on Terra Nova’s lightweight backpacking tents. The poles slide through sleeves on the outer and there are two shorter vertical poles at each end. Under the flysheet are two sleeping areas – one at each end – with a massive porch in the middle. The inner tents have mesh doors to keep those midges out too. The main doorway opens to the top to create a massive living area that is easily accessible. Add in 190cm internal height, and the Space 5 becomes a welcoming living space for five people at a push, or four in comfort.

On the hill
Pitching the Terra Nova Laser Space 5 was very easy, not least because of the top-quality pole sets that once assembled do not come apart when being slipped through sleeves, which can often be problem on lower-spec tents. I could not fathom how the door stayed open, until I finally realised that it can be secured across the roof of the porch to form a ceiling – an ingenious method! I would have preferred some bigger pegs though; I don’t like these thin titanium pegs even with lightweight tents as they are so easily lost – but to be fair they did work okay. The tent was very stable in a valley site close to a wall. Inside there is loads of space and I liked the idea of having a porch between the two sleeping areas. This allows the tent to be used by two couples, or parents can use one side with the kids in the other. As with Terra Nova’s backpacking tents, the midge nets and venting are well-designed too. There are doors with zip-out midge nets at each end of the tent as well as in the main entrances to the inner tent sleeping areas. I felt this was an ideal tent for families in need of a lighter and more compact package when stuffed away into its sack. The price is a major drawback though.

Design 2-pole tunnel with two vertical poles
Poles shock-corded 15mm diameter alloy
Inner nylon
Outer nylon, 4000mm hydrostatic head   
Groundsheet nylon, 7000mm hydrostatic head  
Internal footprint length 440cm; width 260cm; height 190cm
Packed size 55x25cm
Weight 5.39kg
Made in China
Stores in the UK 24
Stockist details – tel. (01773) 837370; www.terra-nova.co.uk

The Terra Nova Laser Space 5 has a good weight and packed size; twin rooms; central porch; and it’s very easy and fast to pitch. But it is not quite as stable as some others; high price tag. In summary: very pricy, but an ideal family tent if you need a smaller packed size and less weight.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine July 2010