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September 2017 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Tents

Terra Nova Solar Photon 2



Our Rating:

The guff: Three-season, 849g (max)/814g (trail), 1.89m2, vestibule 0.39m2

This is one of lightest two-person tents on the market.

When I first unpacked it, I thought the pegs had been forgotten. Then I caught sight of what looked like a small bundle of cake skewers – the tent’s  remarkably strong 1g titanium pegs.  I had a grand time pitching the tent in moderate winds – the pegs flung into the air with each gust.

The tunnel shape is supported by a Y-shaped pole structure. The inner first design is foolproof to pitch.

The fly is terrifyingly light and feels like latex but, like latex, performs miraculously well. Another surprise is how waterproof the tent’s materials are: the floor has a 5000mm rating, while the fly is rated to 3000mm.

When fully pegged and guyed, the Photon is slender, low and aerodynamic.

A single entrance leads into a modest but functional vestibule. The interior is an intimate cocoon for two, with plunging sides that force the occupants to the middle lest they want to sleep against wet fabric. The foot end is so narrow that it’s a struggle to fit even a couple of tapered mats.

The tent is well ventilated with a mesh inner door and an outer vent over the vestibule, so the walls shouldn’t get too wet.

Fitted footprints can be bought for the tent and are essential if you want the floor  to last the distance. The supplied footprint didn’t exactly match the dimensions of the inner and required two extra pegs to stake it out, when it could easily have been lined up with the tent’s peg loops. The tent packs down to little more than the size of a bivvy bag. That’s quite an achievement of design and material science.

Ultralight aficionados – whether trampers or bike-packers – would find this tent a good option, but the close-quarter sleeping arrangement won’t suit everyone and it might be too light for bush and those summer tops trips.