Terra Nova Voyager - Review

In this review, Arron looks at Terra Nova’s Voyager tent and, ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek, tests whether it holds up to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Will the tent succeed in the ultimate test?

The Voyager standing up to the elements in a recent trip to Outer Mongolia.

The Voyager standing up to the elements in a recent trip to Outer Mongolia.

In 1943, a psychologist called Abraham Maslow published a paper theorising a human developmental structure known as “Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs”. This paper suggested that human developmental growth can be broken into key skills starting with physiological needs and ending with self-actualisation. I thought it would be interesting to see if Maslow’s theory can be applied to the Terra Nova Voyager tent, to see if it can stand up to the ultimate test: can it give me every thing I need in life or is it just another tent?

Basic Needs:

Physiological: Food, Water, Shelter and Sleep.

Food: Well this tent won't feed you! But if you’re looking for a good-sized porch to brew up a coffee or make hearty porridge in the comfort of your sleeping bag then the Voyager will perform quite well. Terra Nova have included zips at the top of the door so that even the steamiest of cookers be used while the tent allows water vapour to escape and the fresh air that the door allows in also removes the hazard of cooking indoors. The designers have put a wire hood on the top of the flaps too, so all of this venting can be utilised even in the wettest Scottish weather.

Water: One positive thing about the size of this tent is that you can comfortably sit up within it. If you fancy a sip of water in the middle of the night, you won’t have to do any awkward crouching to drink from your bottle, inevitably throwing it down yourself. You also avoid the unwanted early morning shower that you get in a lot of tents that stems from rubbing your head on the inner and outer of the tent at the same time.

The sturdy front door zip and well placed Bungee peg loops.

The sturdy front door zip and well placed Bungee peg loops.

Shelter: I have slept in a lot of tents in all kinds of conditions and this tent is definitely one of the best in stormy weather. When you first open it up, you will notice that there are only two guidelines for the whole tent. Why? Well, if you pitch this tent with the rear facing the wind, you should have no problems. Like a good race car, the more wind that hits it, the stronger the tent anchors itself to the floor. With the limited mesh on the inside, it is also warm and lets in very little draughts too. It’s definitely built to handle weather of all kinds.

Sleep: With the ability to tension the waterproof fly sheet and the well-placed bungee loops, the tent creates very little flapping noise which enables you to sleep peacefully. If you’re using it as a two-man tent, you may find your partner a little closer than you would like, but hey, sharing body heat is never a bad thing in the winter! If you have wide shoulders, you want to be meticulous about the location you pitch the tent as you really want your shoulders at the door side to take advantage of the wider floor plan.

Safety: Security, Safety.

The wire hood over the front door.

The wire hood over the front door.

I guess the real question is: how reliable is this tent? My answer is pretty darn good! The poles are produced by DAC (a reputable tent pole manufacturer) and are super strong and lightweight. The nylon material used in the fly sheet and inner are sturdy, and even the zips are beefy and strong. At £590, (Price accurate from Cotswold Outdoor, July 2019) this is not a cheap tent. If it’s your first tent then sure, there are cheaper options! However, if you’re going to use it for the next 10 years, it will last perfectly fine as long as you look after it. On top of this, Terra Nova give a lifetime warranty on all of their tents to the original owner providing that it is registered with them.

Psychological needs:

Belongingness and Love: Intimate relationships, Friends

Will the Terra Nova Voyager help me to forge an intimate relationship? No doubt if you rock up to a Summer Mountain Leader Training, you will earn kudos and a bit of envy off other candidates as Terra Nova is always a popular choice for looking like you know what you’re doing. Also as a two-man tent, you can always offer the remaining space to a charming friend for a weekend of adventure and shenanigans without the worry of putting them off for life or having a nightmare due to a bit of a breeze! You may find that unbeknown to you, you also unwillingly enter a unique club of Terra Nova owners, who believe that there’s no better company on the market! You’ll automatically gain their approval simply by pitching up your Voyager.

The Voyager pitched on the banks of the Chuluut river in Outer Mongolia, while on expedition.

The Voyager pitched on the banks of the Chuluut river in Outer Mongolia, while on expedition.

Esteem Needs: Prestige and Feeling of Accomplishment

If you want to run an ultra marathon or be the lightest and fastest person on Helvellyn then no, you probably wont feel accomplished carrying this tent because that’s not what its for. Terra Nova do however make a sister tent called the Voyager Ultra 2, which weighs an insane 1.02kg but at a cost of £1800.00 (Price accurate from Terra Nova website July 2019). Even if slightly on the heavier side, carrying the Voyager between two people should be a doddle as it weights a meagre 2.15kg in total. This is admittedly not the lightest on the market, but it’s in no way the heaviest either.

Self fulfilment needs:

Self Actualisation: Achieving ones full potential, including creative activities.

I’m not entirely sure you will be convinced by this one! Even if you don’t reach your full potential, be assured that the Voyager wont hold you back, whether its a roomy one-man tent you’re in the market for or a lightweight two-man tent, the Voyager can match your needs.

The relatively small pack size of the full tent.

The relatively small pack size of the full tent.

Its not the cheapest, lightest or strongest on the market. However, as an all-rounder, it scores high enough on all three that it secures itself as one of my all-time favourite tents. My Voyager has been to multiple countries, weathered its fair share of storms and has almost no scars to show for it. I’m pretty sure I haven’t yet reached my full potential in my Voyager, but I have definitely made friends, had a few epics and drank quite a few beers next to my nylon home-from-home and that’s all I need.

Disclaimer: Arron purchased his Terra Nova Voyager and this review is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Terra Nova. All opinions are entirely his own.