For festival season or for Duke of Edinburgh, a heavy tent is no fun. Engineers helped set the world record for the lightest tent available – less than half a kilo.
Producing such a lightweight tent required experimentation, developing new materials and clever design work. Terra Nova engineers have revolutionised tents, making the lightest ever tent for solo hikers.
Flexible, fine fabric
Tents are normally made to withstand strong wind and rain – and that makes them heavy.
The engineers wanted to change the fabric of the inner and outer layers without losing the weather protection.
They used a material normally used for ropes and body armour. This material can be spun into fibres that then form thin, flexible sheets to create super-thin and waterproof fabrics.
Problematic pegs and poles
Tent pegs are often metal and heavy, so swapping to lighter metals like titanium and reducing their size made the tents weigh less straight away, as did switching to finer zips.
Poles also contribute to a lot of tent weight, but making the tubes thinner and lighter makes them weaker. Engineers tested the poles and found that the strength of a pole was more dependent on the diameter of the tube rather than the tube thickness – light and strong poles had been found.
Sun cream for tents?
Titanium dioxide, which is often used in sun cream, was added to the final coatings to help protect the fabric from damage caused by ultraviolet light.