Disclosure: I bought this tent myself at full price, and Nordisk has not paid me to write this review. This is just my personal opinion about a tent I get asked a lot of questions about.
I have been using this tent for over a year now, from the high mountains of Kyrgyzstan to the volcanic deserts of Iceland, from -15 to +42 degrees celsius, enduring snowstorms, gale-force winds and torrential rain. Over this time it has never faltered and I love it! However, I make no illusion that it’s the right tent for everyone.
The Manufacturers Spec:
The Nordisk Lofoten 2ULW tent is one of the lightest double-wall two-person tents on the market. It is pitched as an ‘Ultralight Race Tent’ with a ‘race-weight’ of 500g and an incredibly small pack size. Its small pack size is all down to the new, state of the art aluminium poles with ultra-short segment lengths, enabling an uncompressed pack size of only 11 x 22cm. The fabric is the new Nortech T-NY 7D with a weight of only 26g/m2 and a thread count of 580. The 3 layers of silicone coating on each side ensure high durability, water repellency and the new Flex-rope Suspension System adds high flexibility and strength.
Weight: 587g (Realistic weight)
Tip: This tent comes in Forest Green and a Burnt Red. I do a lot of wild camping, often in places where I don’t want people to see me or disturb me, and therefore choose the green tent to blend into the environment. However, if being inconspicuous is not a factor, then the red tent would make for much better photos!
Expectations of the Purchase:
There is no hiding the fact that the tent at £620 is expensive, so there was a lot of expectations on this little tent when it arrived. My first impressions at the pack size were “wow”! I originally bought this tent for a backpacking race in Kyrgyzstan called the Silk Road Mountain Race. I would be riding as a pair and sharing this tent with my partner for 14 nights. Ultra-lightweight and super small pack size was key, as race-setup bike-packing bags are very small. Many of the competitors opted for bivvy or tarp options, but I prefer a tent. I like to be able to zip myself away from insects and animals, as well as the weather.
Pitching the Tent:
It is so simple and quick to put up, as you can see in the video below it takes me less than two minutes even with some faffing! Even in strong winds, it is easy to put up and down on your own. This is great when it’s raining, freezing or your racing, as every second count.
The Positives and the Negatives:
For a two-man tent to be this small and light, there is always going to have to be compromises!
There is no denying that this is a very small tent for two people, in fact, I would go as far as saying you need to know each other pretty well, as you will be very closely snuggled up to each other once inside. It is not possible to sit up in the tent, this could make some people feel a little claustrophobic. There is no room for extra kit inside the tent with if using it for two people, and there is no vestibule. Also, because the feet end of the tent is so tapered to the ground, there is not enough room for two full-length blow-up mattresses, such as a Thermerests, to fit in with your feet. A three-quarter length blow up tapered mat would fit fine, but when using it as a two-person tent I have personally ended up using z-rest mats for their low profile. When racing we don’t find it a problem that we can’t sit up in the tent, as we literally get in our sleeping bags for just a few hours sleep before we are up and out on the bikes again within 10 minutes of the alarm going off. As for our kit, I always take a large 90L ultra-light dry bag which all the stuff goes into (backpacks, boots etc) and this stays outside the tent clipped to the pole.
I have also used this tent on solo expeditions, where there is then plenty of room for my full-length Thermarest air mat, and for my kit to come inside the tent with me.
On one occasion during a storm, the wind did a 90-degree turn in the night, causing the wind and rain to relentless hit the tent side on. This resulted in contact between the inner and outer layers and in turn some dampness to my sleeping bag. Otherwise, I’ve had no real issues with rain or condensation. I would say that this tent is better designed for temperate zone locations, rather than the tropics or desert conditions. It would feel very warm and a little claustrophobic in very hot temperatures.
Of course when a tent is this light the fabric is going to be a lot thinner and less durable than a heavy 4 season mountaineering tent, so in Iceland as I knew the terrain would be very sharp and abrasive as it is predominantly made up of volcanic rock I took a Nordisk footprint to go under the tent to add some additional durability. This weighed an extra 200g but I believe it to have been absolutely necessary on this particular expedition. I also swapped out the lightweight aluminium pegs for some bigger send pegs as I knew the desert was going to need some longer beefier pegs than standard for any tent to hold firm.
I would conclude that this is a fantastic but somewhat specialised piece of kit! A great one or two-person ‘race’ tent, where size, weight and pitching speed are a critical factor in succeeding in the goal at hand. It also a great one-person ‘expedition’ tent, again were weight and pack size matter. But I perhaps wouldn’t recommend it for general cycle touring or backpacking for any length of time, as you don’t have the extra comfort of space