Product Reviews for Solar Photon 2 Tent

MULTIPLE DESIGN FLAWS

This is one of a number of lightweight tents I have, for cycle camping, sea kayaking and backpacking, the latter being mainly the west cost of Scotland. For reasons that will be apparent, I have only used this tent on a few occasions cycle touring in Albania and backpacking on the west coast, despite having had it for some time. The first major problem is that it pitches inner first. The outer is only held in place with a few bits of Velcro which are tedious to fit, and with no integral locating fixture (such as sleeves or hooks) the outer can move around and rub on the poles and the universal pole joint at the top. This is a shoddy piece of design, inadequate even with a much heavier tent design. At the very rear the outer finishes well clear of the ground, barely concealing the ventilation mesh in the inner and there is no fixing (guy or elastic) to stop the fly flapping up at this point creating serious vulnerability to rain ingress particularly during windy conditions. Even allowing for some perceived benefit with ventilation this is gross design failing. Mine has no mid point guys or associated inner to outer fixings in the middle of the side walls, resulting in the inner tent flopping in which further restricts the already small inner area, although it appears from the current photograph that this has maybe partly been remedied. The spine pole forms a very high loop, and is far less stable than my Vaude Taurus SUL due to its slab sides. The Solar Photon's vulnerability to poor weather is something I have seen commented on elsewhere, and compared with the Vaude I have very little confidence in its ability in this respect. The porch is very small even with due allowance for the ultralight nature of the tent. Overall it is remarkable how poorly designed such an expensive tent is and I would not recommend this tent to anyone, even for benign low level camping.

June 7, 2021
A real trooper

Having had the Terra Nova Solar Photon 2 a few years I thought it was time I add my thoughts on this tent. I have used this tent successfully on various extended backpacking trips-Cape Wrath Trail, Pennine Way and the Kungsleden Trail. I bought this as a spacious 1 man tent because it was comparable in weight to my Terra Nova Competition 1. The Solar Photon 2 also doesn't suffer from the Competition 1 Achilles Heel(in my opinion)- condensation. As a one person tent, the Solar Photon 2, has been great with plenty of space to store gear inside the tent leaving the vestibule for boots and cooking. I did upgrade the tent pegs but that seems a common comment. I have used it as a two person tent in rough weather and as all have said you need to be friendly with the person and gear other than sleeping bags need to be stored in a rucksack(with a cover for rain) outside the tent so you can cook in the vestibule. I have always been wary, because of other reviews on the internet, about its shape in prevailing wind and how I pitch the tent. However whilst walking the Kunglseden above Ammarnas going north I had to pitch the tent in heavy rain and strong wind in a exposed position. The wind changed direction so it was blowing on the side. It took a buffeting on the side but it was a real trooper staying up all night without any water penetration. It did move around a bit but all tent would have where I pitched it and I had pitched it using all pegging points but also those Velcro fasteners along the pole on the inside of the flysheet. This tent can take rough weather but it's obviously not recommended on mountain summits. If you want a summit camping tent this isn't the one it is a superb lightweight backpacking tent.

April 16, 2020
Very light but...

Having just used the Photon 2 during a 2 week trek on the GR11 in the Pyrenees I can confirm that you hardly notice its weight in your pack. It's very easy to put up and the interior is roomy enough as to not feel claustrophobic. The tent also withstood 2 downpours of several hours. It has some major flaws however. Firstly, the size of the porch. It is possible to store two pairs of hiking boots and two 65 litre packs, but this leaves only a small gap to get in and out of the tent. It requires some acrobatic skills to get up in the night and, even trickier, to get back in. We ended up leaving our packs outside exposed to the weather. Secondly, the sides of the tent are angled very steeply. While this creates a spacious interior, it also makes the tent liable to flap in even a moderate breeze. You will feel the tent walls closing in on you. I doubt the tent would withstand any kind of serious weather. Thirdly and most importantly, the tent floor is just ridiculously slippery. I decided to ignore the comments of previous reviewers thinking 'how bad can it be?'. Very bad indeed!!! Unless your pitch is perfectly horizontal, your sleeping mat will disappear from under you: into your mate's face, up the tent wall, rolled up against the bottom wall blocking the ventilation mesh. You will take forever looking for the perfectly horizontal pitch. To summarize this tent may work as a ONE person trekking tent where your gear can be brought in in poor weather. Personally, I would not take it anywhere you can reasonably expect high winds: coastal footpaths, the Scottish Highlands, Scandinavia. As for the slippery floor, you will just have to put up with interrupted nights, unless the manufacturer comes up with a solution. I am now the proud owner of a Photon 2 but I can only see myself using it again when low weight is of the utmost importance.

August 19, 2019
Lightweight but ..

This tent is very lightweight and I like the unobtrusive green colour. But the floor in is incredibly slippy so unless you are completely flat, one person slides across to the other or your mat can completely slide from under you so you wake up cold on the groundsheet. As other reviews comment there is not much space, only one person can sit up at a time. In high winds it bends a lot with gusts pushing the side of the tent right on to you as you are trying to sleep, but it withstood it. When I had to try and put it up in wind I couldn't and I ended up squeezing in to my friends lightweight tent instead which was reasonably easy to put up in the wind. And the tooth picks, sorry pegs, yes they needed to be replaced, as they are of very little use.

April 16, 2019
Great TN design and build quality

Replaced a one man Laser Photon with one of these for the minor sub 150g weight penalty and gained more space but so much easier to use with it being free standing. Easier and quicker to set up than the Laser and no constant tweaking of the guy lines. As per the other reviews, mine has withstood some serious weather, best not to lay there watching the scary bending pole in high winds. I've had two in it and yes it's cozy but perfectly doable, it's for sleeping in... So you make a choice and two of you walking with less than 500g each - ticking the shelter box - it's hard to beat. Two full length normal sized self inflating mats fit on the floor. If you want to take a jacket off then yes you have to do it one at a time, space is limited but in my 4 pole winter tent there's lots more space but the poles alone weigh more than the complete Solar tent. And then there's the pegs...

October 31, 2017
Great for thru-hikes.

For a lightweight tent this can handle some pretty hefty winds as long as you use all the guy points. It's kept me dry through some decent storms. One of the best tents I've used with regards to condensation. Weight is also a big plus. The pegs are next to useless so will definitely need replacing (adding a bit more weight). Space is a minor issue in both porch and inner. It would be great if there were a little more in the porch but additional fabric adds grams.

October 24, 2017
Good 1 person tent

An excellent tent, but not for 2 people. As long as you check the dims and make sure that this will work for what you want it for. Very spacious for 1 person. Suitable for a single night, ultra-light trip for 2 people. This stood up to torrential rain, high winds and gusts of 50mph during a 5 month solo bike trip across America. Super lightweight and incredibly quick to pitch. Can be used inner only freestanding if there's no chance of rain. I even managed totally freestanding with flysheet by using panniers to "peg" out the fly. The drawbacks are you'll need to get some better tent pegs, the toothpicks that come with it wouldn't work for anything other than calm winds on perfect lawns. It's not ideal for somewhere hot, you won't feel much breeze even without the flysheet like the 70% mesh inner tents. I'd have liked a bit more porch space, to keep my bags in, but there was sufficient room for my requirements.

July 25, 2017
Great for solo use, not ideal for 2 people

I purchased this for 2 people, to be used for 6 month trip. Disappointed when it arrived. The tent has great headroom if 1 person was in the middle of tent sat upright, but if there where 2 people in tent they would not be able to sit upright due to very steep angle of sidewalls. Also with 2 people in tent you cannot fit 2 standard size sleeping pads because the tent tapers, therefore the sleeping pads would need to overlap to fit in. The construction of the tent seems good, packs down to very small size, I think for 1 person this would be a good option, but considering its supposed to be 2 person the design is flawed, I returned tent in exchange for msr carbon reflex

April 24, 2017
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