|A relaxing camp on Wild Boar Fell|
“The Terra Nova Voyager 2.2 is a solid all rounder – simple as that. It packs a huge punch for it’s weight and features – consequently establishing itself as a great alternative to the many two man backpacking tents available on the market today.”
Fancy a 2 man tent which includes two porches and will take a good hammering out on the hills? A shelter which has great internal space, is relatively quick to erect, has an all nylon inner to keep winter chills at bay – and weighs under 2.5kg’s?
Then I’d thoroughly recommend you cast your eyes over the Terra Nova Voyager 2.2.
It’s not often I say this about any gear – especially when it comes to tents – but I’ve struggled to find fault or deal with reluctant compromises with this shelter. It really is that good and one I think is destined to become a classic on our hills and camp sites.
Why? Well, read on!
|The Voyager 2.2 at home amongst Hawthorn trees|
Now, let me make something very clear before I set off on this review – by modern standards, this shelter isn’t classed as ‘lightweight’ (though it would’ve only a few years ago!). All in it comes at under 2.5kg’s – and for what you get this is definitely not something to scoff at. Oh, no.
You see, once you pick this baby up you’ll immediately notice one thing – it’s not as heavy as it looks in it’s stuff sack – which to be honest is quite large and bulky. So, this is something to consider if you’re looking at a strong and roomy 4 season solo shelter. However, if split between two people – then you’re having a laugh.
Dispensing with the stuff sack, and placing the inner tent and flysheet separately (loose) in your rucksack and then the poles and pegs placed elsewhere – you’ll give yourself more room in your pack if going solo (which you’d be doing anyway if split between two people). I normally place the pegs in a pocket and insert the poles into a corner of my rucksack or place the poles into a hydration pouch.
|The red pole can be a pain to slip through this sleeve|
Poles are DAC Featherlite and when folded are 47cm in length weighing in at 562g’s – so, quite long and heavy really. But you’ll see why in a moment or two.
You get all the alloy pegs you need which will suffice – but then I tend to mix and match such things to save weight or the expected terrain and conditions I’m likely to encounter up on the hills.
A repair kit is included, too – which is handy.
The Voyager 2.2 is an inner pitch first tent – not ideal for UK conditions as many will know, but it is an all nylon inner that’s got a sufficient DWR coating to keep a few minutes of rain at bay. The inner tent doors can be opened/closed as all nylon or all mesh – or a bit of both. So, you’ve got choice when it comes to keeping cold draughts at bay or creating good air flow to prevent internal condensation (which I’ve experienced none of).
|A wonderful morning in the Howgill Fells|
The main door is really quite large – which is great if you want to get that big view of the landscape when pitched. This resides at the front of the tent, and to the rear you’ll find another door/porch which is low and aerodynamic.
Maximum height of the inner which is at the front I recorded as 112cm and towards the rear as 73cm. Maximum internal groundsheet length is 215cm and the minimum is 163cm. This is a spacious tent for two people and absolute luxury for one person – as I discovered.
Opposite to the ends of the main door you’ll find deep, large mesh pockets for stashing bits and bobs and above you some elasticated loops for tying up extra storage accessories. Comfort is the name of the game here.
|Inner pitch first, but all nylon if you choose|
You get two main poles and one smaller which are colour coded to their relevant brass eyelets for pitching – and the inner tent is attached by a number of clips you’ll find above and around the shelter. So, getting the tent erect in it’s skeletal form is quick and easy.
However, there is one minor gripe I have in this area – you insert both main poles through two small sleeves which obviously aids in the strength of the tent once pitched. But these sleeves double up to take in the one smaller pole which comes across the full main height of the tent.
This involves you sliding the pole through a small hole which often snags on the lips of it’s joins – it’s no big drama but it just irks me a little as it can stop you in your tracks as you dash round and pull or push on the pole to aid it’s glide through.
|The tent is strong and has a fantastic rear – “Ooo errr!”|
Finally, peg out the inner, throw over the flysheet (some clips on the under side attach to the poles to add strength yet again), fix the colour coded eyelets to the ends of the tent poles, peg out the doors and porches and of course the guy lines (if necessary). The guy lines are reflective and come with decent clamcleats, too.
Overall, from the moment you get the shelter out your rucksack you’ll have it all pitched and ready in under 10 minutes – though more likely around the 5 minute mark after some practice.
The main porch at the front is bloody huge – loads of room to store gear and cook for two people. The main door can be opened out in numerous configurations – be it just for venting, zipped down to the floor, just one side open and the bit I really like – completely tied back. In effect, giving you one large uninterrupted view out on to the fells. Various hooks and loops are placed in key areas to give you these options and variations.
|Roomy porch with good depth – sides can be tied back, too|
So, it won’t come as any surprise to you that in good weather, inner and outer doors were tied right back so I could position my bed whereby I could sleep with my head out in the air looking up at a clear star laden sky. Absolute bliss!
The tent is of semi-geodesic design where the rear and smaller porch face into the wind. Again, the rear flysheet door can be opened into a number of variations and proves quite handy when you want to peep out in inclement weather.
Another thing I love about the Terra Nova Voyager 2.2 is that above the main porch sits a carefully positioned piece of flysheet which is obviously there to aid venting and so on – but along with the flysheet to the sides it creates a deep open room in itself (note above picture) – so, in poor weather you can have the doors wide open and not have a single drop of rain blow in on you – if you’re pitched rear into the wind , of course.
|As a free standing tent, it helps with finding a difficult pitch|
One blustery evening on Bamford Moor in the Peak District, I sat up looking out on the moor watching the cloud and rain blow by while sipping on a beer and cooking from my meths stove – there was really no need for me to shut up shop and neglect the outside world. It was great!
Incidentally, the SilNylon fly (781g’s) and substantial bathtub groundsheet (inner tent 1.613g’s) have a hydrostatic head of 5000mm – so, with care from UV light and general maintenance rain and leaks shouldn’t be a concern – and never were during my use.
Another thing I love about Terra Nova tents is how they impregnate their flysheets with DWR – they just never ever seem to soak in the rain. A good test of this is when you have no choice but to pack the flysheet still covered in rain drops. When you next reach a camp and unfold the tent, all the moisture that was wrapped up tight inside just beads and rolls off.
Quite often after a few days or trips you’ll find that some tents suffer from dark grey patches where the fabric of the tent fly has wetted out. In effect, this may not prove to be a problem – but it won’t help with the breathability of the fabric and in turn condensation control. Naturally, prolonged use over a few seasons is the likely cause for such things – but I’ve never encountered this issue or found the need to re-coat the fly with Fabsil on any Terra Nova tents I’ve used but I have with many other shelters.
In effect, what Terra Nova have done with the Voyager 2.2 is got hold of it’s classic Voyager tent and stretched it sideways. So, instead of you having to sit up at the front and potter in the porch (perhaps battling for space with a colleague), you can now both sit up at the front with ease and do your thing.
Furthermore, in winter you can lie on your side wrapped up in your sleeping bag and easily reach over and cook, sort out gear etc. Granted, this won’t be so easy for the other person with you (if there is one) but they do have the rear porch to play with – though it’s considerably smaller.
|Rear porch and view|
I suppose when you look at it all, this is a tent that gives you lots and lots of options for all sorts of scenarios we’re likely to encounter through the seasons in the UK. The design is very strong and sturdy and the tent appears to be capable of easily shedding snow – or even holding a load up on it’s top.
I’ve enjoyed every minute of testing this tent – be it on sunny calm evenings, sitting out heavy rain and strong winds. Come to think of it – one evening I clocked an average wind speed of 43mph and the tent wasn’t budging an inch. Certainly a good sign for higher wind speeds and gusts. The tent porch may flap a little – but not to the degree you find with single hoop tents and the like.
The tent gives you confidence to pitch almost anywhere in most conditions. Something worth noting if like me you consider our temperamental winters to be the best season to head out and spend nights up on the tops. The footprint is consequently quite large it has to be said, but just consider what you’re getting overall..
The specifications for the tent have generally been bang on. Minimum weight is stated by Terra Nova as 2.2kgs – funnily enough after an average seven weigh ins I recorded 2.194g’s.
- Free standing shelter – pick it up and place it where you wish
- Great internal space for two people, never mind a solo user
- Two porches – one of which is very large
- All nylon inner – great for winter but excellent venting options with mesh doors, too
- Quick to pitch and a strong trusted design
- Fantastic weight considering all the tent offers
- That main pole which has to slip through a hole in a sleeve is a bit of pain
- Bulky if packed in it’s stuff sack
- Poles are quite long at 47cm – not ideal for cycle touring
- Inner pitch first – but this shouldn’t prove to be too much of a problem with practice
- Large footprint – but that’s to be expected
The Terra Nova Voyager 2.2 is a solid all rounder – simple as that. It packs a huge punch for it’s weight and features – consequently establishing itself as a great alternative to the many two man backpacking tents available on the market today.