Category Archives: Laser Comp

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A wild camp on Arenig Fawr.

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Winter proofing my wild camping gear part 1

This winter I’m hoping to spend a few nights wild camping weather permitting. I’m now reasonably happy with my summer wild camping gear, but probably need to upgrade a few items for winter.

My Shelter
Staring with my tent, I still don’t feel 100% confident in the Laser Comp’s bad weather performance, but perhaps I’m expecting too much from a 3 season tent.
Having beefed up the guys and pegs it certainly performs better in the wind, but I’m not sure the Terra Nova pegs I’m using at the moment will hold in soft ground if a when the wind picks up. So the first item on my shopping list is some lightweight vee pegs. I’ve not seen any good lightweight vee pegs foe ages, so any recommendations would be welcome.  
The last few times I’ve used the Laser Comp I’ve had difficulty getting the inner tent taut. Separate pegs would do the trick but I’m not prepared to carry the extra weight so I think I’ll try shortening the inner tent elastics.
I also need to make a repair to the strap which takes the pressure of the flysheet zip, one of the prongs has broken off the plastic connecting clip making it even more difficult to use than normal.
Finally, I must make a new tent footprint before my next trip,  my home made experimental green bin liner footprint (weight 66g) needs replacing, its lasted 20 nights not bad for a free bin liner and 5 feet of parcel tape., defiantly my best buy so far.

Wild Camping in the Eastern Cairngorms Part 1.

My plan was to arrive at the Keiloc off road car park just outside Braemar at around 6.00pm, and head off into the Eastern Cairngorms for a few days wild camping, taking in the summits of  Ben Avon and Beinn a’ Bhuird on the way. I’d packed sufficient food for three days, so there was no need to rush, just enjoy the hills and take in the views. Unfortunately I was delayed for over an hour by a vehicle fire on the M6, so it was nearly 7.30pm when I shouldered my rucksack and set off up the track past Invercaud House, and its ancient woodlands, towards Gleann Slugain.

I’d covered about 4.5 km when I emerged from the trees into Gleann an t Slugain. The sun was beginning to drop below the skyline, as I continued along the track looking for somewhere to camp. A few minutes later I spotted a flattish area of grass alongside the river at NO14794. On closer inspection it proved to be reasonably level and dry, so I gratefully pitched the Laser Comp and began to settled in for the night.

My Shelter.

For my shelter I use a Terra Nova Laser Comp, I’ve considered using a bivvi bag or a tarp, but as most of my wild camping is done in Scotland, I prefer the additional protection from adverse weather conditions and midges it provides.

My Laser Comp weighs 1240g; this is 206g above the delivered weight of 1034g. The extra weight comes from the changes I’ve made, which I believe were necessary to make the Laser Comp suitable for 3 season mountain use.
108g of the additional weight comes from the up rated pegs, the 2g titanium pegs supplied as standard may be great for breaking Guinness World Records, but are totally inadequate for anything other than a trial pitch in my back garden. I now use eight 13g aluminium pegs as supplied with the Terra Nova Quasar, and four 6g titanium pegs as supplied with my Terra Nova Voyager. This gives me 8 pegs to secure the fly sheet and inner, with 2 pegs for the pole hood guys and two spares. One of the spares I normally use to hold the flysheet door open when cooking or gazing at the view, the other is occasionally used to double up on one of the main pegs if the ground is suspect.
Probably the biggest gripe voiced by Laser Comp owners, is the noise produced by the flysheet when it’s windy. This can be a problem with single pole tunnel tents, but it seems to be a feature of the Laser Comp, and is exacerbated by the very thin shockcord used for the flysheet pegging loops. When the wind gusts this stretches excessively, it may protect the lightweight fabric and stitching from damage but at the expense of a good set to the tent, and a noisy thrashing flysheet which can often touch the inner tent. A number of people have used Dyneema guy line cord as a replacement but I finally decided on larger diameter shockcord from my local boat yard. This mod does have a weight penalty of 34g but has significantly cut down on flysheet flap, there are fewer creases when pitching, but the shock cord will still stretch when it’s windy, hopefully enough to protection the construction of the tent.
The zip sliders on the Laser Comp are quite difficult to grasp, particularly with cold fingers, so I’ve added Dyneema pull cords which do add a couple of grammes but make life a lot easier.
Finally when camping, I always use tent footprint to protect the groundsheet from sharp stones and mud. Obviously 500 guage polythene at 300g for a Laser Comp sized footprint is not an option for wild camping, but at 66g I feel my homemade footprint produced by remodelling a green dustbin liner is worth the additional weight.
So for the moment my Shelter weight must remain at 1240 grams.