On my recent trip to Wales I took the Terra Nova Polar Lite 2 Micro tent. I used the tent all week and used it for a wild camp on the Carneddau. The first thing I would like to point out is that I do not drive, so I got the train and I carried the tent from the sunny seaside town of Whitstable in Kent - where I live, all the way to Capel Curig where my ‘base camp’ was for most of the week.
As you would expect I had it strapped to my backpack all the way, so weight played a key part in me picking this tent for my trip. The Polar Lite 2 Micro weighs in at 1.95kg when packed, it has a small pack size as well at only 41cm by 15 cm which means I could place the tent where I wanted in my rucksack without it interfering with packing everything else.
The inside of the tent seemed to be nice and spacious and the fact that I will be living in the tent for a week meant that this was just as important as the overall weight of the tent. With my gear in my rucksack and the tent strapped to me I set off in the glorious sunshine to Capel Curig and before I knew I was in Wales pitching my tent and I didn't ache at all from carrying it!
The next test for me was how fast I could pitch the tent. On the Terra Nova website it states that it can take up to ten minutes to pitch. When I got to the camp site it was rather windy, I thought to myself “well this is going to be interesting, a tunnel tent being put up in the wind by one person normally becomes a kite!” luckily I was proven wrong.
The tent has a great pole system, one side of the tent has been “blocked off” so it’s instantly locked into one side of the tent so when it comes to solo camping, this simple feature can make a world of difference. The poles themselves are DAC poles which are super strong and very light weight; I was really surprised with the quality of the poles - I have had a lot of “tech” tents over the years and they have great structures but the poles always let them down but with DAC there were no problems. When the poles were in place I pegged the back and worked my way to the front of the tent.
Once pegged, guy-roped and all straps to secure the tent had been pulled, it only took eight minutes in the wind with one person and even better was the fact the fly and the inner were already attached so I didn't have to play around attaching the inner which is always a plus for me.
The tent went through a lot of weather changes whilst at the campsite from glorious sunshine, torrential rain, gale force winds, regular thunderstorms and even golf ball sized hail stones and this was even before I had taken it up a mountain! It did not let me down, the structure held its own and it didn’t sag in the middle, it didn't loosen up in any shape or form I was very impressed.
When on the wild camp I carried my pack up and around the Carneddau area. We found a nice and rather flat section to camp for the night, we were camped up in the mountain clouds and had less than a meter of vision but just like at the campsite, the tent went up instantly due to the fact there was no wind, it took me only a couple of minutes to pitch the tent. I can happily say by the time I had the tent up, pegged and guy roped people who were also wild camping with me had only just started to put their poles together so I gave them a hand then went into the tent and warmed myself up a bit.
Although I had been sleeping in the tent all week it wasn’t until I was doing the wild camp I appreciated the space I had on the inside of the tent seeing some of the other tents, the space was really generous.
The overall verdict is that this tent would be perfect for someone who is starting out on wild camping or backpacking, its simple low profile tunnel shape is perfect for all weather conditions and if you are solo camping it is really easy to pitch. The DAC poles and pegs are a real nice touch and the overall pack size is great. I would say that the two person is on the small size so if there are two of you look at getting a three man tent and spread the load between the both of you.