Nordisk Telemark 2: reader review

A blog reader, Jonathan Inch, contacted me with an offer of an initial review of the Nordisk Telemark tent. It looks a very interesting tent and a real competitor for the Laser Competition. Whether it competes with the Scarp, depends on your priorities. On weight, it’s about 0.5kg lighter, but I doubt whether it is as stable and it doesn’t have the flexibility of two porches. If I didn’t have so many tents, I’d be tempted myself. Thanks to Jonathan for sharing this. Here’s his initial impressions:

My number one love in tents is my trusty Vaude Mark II Light. Brilliant exo-pole pitching system, room for me, my gear and a hot tub (what, you don’t take one wildcamping?!) and two large porches for cooking and storage. Sadly at a sniff under 3kg it isn’t ideal for lugging around the hills on an all-day walk. Vaude had already minimised the weight through lightweight pegs, cord and the like so as much as I dreamt I could make it into a 200g 3 person tent with a few mods here and there, it wasn’t going to happen.

So, after a mere 5,000 hours of research into “very light but big enough to play footie in” tents, I concluded that it was time to pack my bags, leave Utopia and buy a ticket back to reality. If I wanted a really lightweight tent, it would naturally have to be small inside. But how much space could I get for a reasonable weight?

Whilst looking at another tent I stumbled on the Nordisk Telemark 2. It had won a string of design awards and claimed to be the lightest two person tent in the world, if you bought the 880g carbon-poled version. For a saving of £150 or so, I could get the 950g version. The space seemed good – up to 135cm wide inside, and designed by a plus six-footer rather than a scrawny OMM ultralighter who’d prefer to fold themselves in half and sleep in a carrier bag. Best deal I could find online was £280 through www.elitemountainsupplies.co.uk, including a 20% BMC discount and a free “wind anchor” kit thrown in (extra cord, pegs and a couple of zip pulls).

Problem was, I’d never really heard of Nordisk and a bit of research seemed to throw up a lot of cheap family tents and low-priced sleeping mats. Hmm. Everything else seemed to indicate it was a good tent though, and a Youtube video suggested it was a piece of cake to put up. I took the plunge and got it delivered yesterday.

When I opened the box, the tent nearly floated away it was so light. With a pack size of 41cm x 12cm it was reasonably long but thin, so ideal for slipping down one side of a sack. There was a raft of swing tags attached, proclaiming awards won and tent techno facts. Inside all looked well, with a separate peg pouch on the pole bag and decent English instructions. A quick rub of the semi-slimy flysheet material, and it was off to bed ready to pitch it in the morning.

My local industrial estate was this morning’s chosen ‘campsite’. Expecting to be arrested at any moment, I found a large area of well-cut grass and tried to look like pitching a tent was a perfectly natural thing to do in an industrial estate at 9 o’clock on a Tuesday morning. Luckily I was in my civvies (jeans and Mountain Hardwear softshell) so I was ready with a cover story involving a photoshoot for Go Outdoors. As it turned out, I had the tent up and down so quickly the estate security wouldn’t have had time to finish their sausage sandwiches and waddle down to find out what was going on even if they’d been bothered. Which generally they aren’t.

But what of the tent? As mentioned, pitching was lightning fast – a couple of minutes from unrolling to standing back and admiring. That’s partly helped by the four corner poles being in place when you unpack. There’s no need to force tiny poles into fiddly sleeves, as I found with the ends of the Vaude Power Lizard I tried. Simply peg out one end, slip the DAC pole through the middle, pull the other end until everything pops up, and peg it out. You’re good to go with the four supplied V pegs, but if you want to really nail it down you can peg down the pole ends and add an additional guy to either side of the hoop. That would be four more pegs and some cord you’d need to invest in or find in your gear supply, but I have the free wind kit so two pegs and the cord are covered already.

The inner is already attached so once your pegs are in you’re done. The inner can be detached, which could prove an advantage to me as it means I can use the outer as a quick-up lunch shelter in bad weather.

You have a couple of options with the inner configuration. If you don’t need all the internal space, the inner can be tagged back at ground level along the line of the main pole, giving you more porch space or room to cook. If, like me, you prefer to keep as much of your gear as possible inside the inner, then option two lets you slide the inner out further towards the door, increasing internal space at the cost of porch room. It’s a simple system that’s adaptable to your circumstances and preferences.

As a nod to our American cousins, Nordisk give you the option to remove three of the corner poles to make a longer tarp pole. The fly door has a special grommet the pole slips into, and with this and the supplied extra guy you can turn the fly door into a mini tarp – ideal for keeping rain out of your supper time pasta carbonara and glass of merlot. I’m not sure how likely I am to use this, and if I did I’d rather invest in an extra three pole sections so I don’t have to disassemble the corner poles to utilise the tarp. Regardless, it’s nice to have the option.

The Telemark seems to pitch pretty taut. I don’t have experience of Terra Nova binbags and the like but I know of their flappy reputation, and I expect the Telemark wouldn’t suffer from the same issue. It has a low concave profile on its longest side and doesn’t seem to have any areas where extra pegging or guys would be needed. The one-handed end adjustment pulls are excellent and really get the fly rigid. By nature I’m a worrier when it comes to tents, so I’d be using the extra guying points on the main pole as a matter of course.

Inside, the tent is very light and airy. I didn’t spend too long indoors as I thought I’d look a bit weird lying down on an industrial estate, but there’s the usual hanging point or two and at least one pocket that I spotted. When lying down, the floorspace varies from 76cm at your feet, to 135cm around chest height and recedes to 102cm above your head. There seems to be plenty of room for stowing gear to the side of you if you prefer to do so, and I’m sure two people with smallish mats could fit in fine. I don’t expect to use it as a two person tent so I’ll leave it for others to see how many body parts come into contact…

There’s a large netted vent above the door zip for ventilation, and a small magnet at the base of the fly door helps keep it shut when you batten down the hatches. And that’s pretty much it. Quality seems excellent and I can already tell this is going to be a favourite of mine: it’s very light, got ample room for me and goes up in a flash. Obviously longevity is not something I can comment on, but I heard an interview with Nordisk on backpackinglight.co.uk and they appear to be very focused on building quality technical tents now, with features requested by real users rather than beancounters.

Anyway, I hope that gives you a bit more information on the tent than I could find before buying. There’s a good Youtube video showing a rather pretty lady pitching the Telemark 2, and that gives a good insight into ease and speed of pitch. Bare in mind that the model in the clip has been superceded by a new version – almost identical but with a few mods like extra guying points, reduced stitching, etc. Sorry, I mean the model of tent – the lady model remains unmodified as far as I’m aware ;-)

If anyone has any questions or would like me to check something out on the tent itself, feel free to ask – I’m only too happy to help.

Nordisk page

Youtube pitching video:

Details on new model plus all the tech specs

Website I bought it from (use BMC20 for 20% off):

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29 thoughts on “Nordisk Telemark 2: reader review”

  1. I saw this tent recently on the backpackinglight website. Looks very interesting, particularly as the ends are similar to an Akto and therefore probably better in the wind than a Lizard or Laser. The weight looks good as well.

  2. Interesting tent. How would you compare them with the Laser Comp/Photon tents? (I have a Photon). More or less stable in high winds? More or less risk of condensation? Obviously, my hidden question is whether an upgrade is worth the cash.

    Wim

    1. Hi Wim –

      As mentioned elsewhere I haven’t had a chance to use this beyond putting it up three times in the garden / local industrial estate, which wouldn’t really answer your questions.

      My brother was due to use it last weekend but his trip fell through. As soon as someone gets lucky enough to actually use it I’ll let you know how it fairs re condensation and stability.

  3. hello,
    thank for the review.
    is the inner tent enouth long for tall person ? about 1.85-1.90 meter with a long sleeping bag model.
    the inner profile shows that we could touch the tissu with feets and noze . what is your opinion?
    thanks

    1. Hi nobru75 –

      Sorry for the delay but I didn’t get a notification of your post so didn’t see it.

      Due to my wife’s illness I’ve not had a chance to actually use the tent in the field, but both myself (6’1″) and my brother (6’3″) have lain in it without touching either end. Worth noting Ian’s comment elsewhere though – under windy conditions it looks possible that it could be blown onto your feet or head?

    2. “One comment I must add is that when using a thicker sleeping mat such as a NeoAir, the pitch of the roof reduces the headroom slightly for the taller person over 6 foot, resulting in contact during the night of either the head or foot of the sleeping bag. I used it for one week with a NeoAir and one week with a Prolite 3 and the difference in headroom was very noticeable.”

      from a review here: http://www.backpackinglight.co.uk/shelters-1/WF112.html

  4. I bought the Telemark 1 ULW – the major problem I had was on windy rainy nights I either got wet feet or a wet head. As a Thermorest Neoair user, i.e a thickish mattress either my head or feet would come into contact with the fly during windy nights as gusts pushed the tent in. I’m not excessivly tall at 6ft 0. Otherwise I liked the tent but getting wet is not an option so its going back to the shop

  5. Quick update for anyone interested, having finally had a night in the tent (albeit in the back garden):

    Good points:
    – really easy to put up and get a nice taut pitch. Six pegs (eight if you guy out the hoop guys too) and you’re done.
    – lots of room for one, with space alongside you for your clothes, sack, etc
    – I slept on a Downmat Lite 5 mat which is pretty chunky, and I didn’t find any issue with the height of the mat raising me too close to the inner. I’m 6’1 and the foot of the bag was only just touching the inner if I bent my toes. It wasn’t windy so no evidence of whether this would change with a flexing tent in wind.
    – very small and light packsize which will be excellent in a rucksack
    – I had no condensation issues at all overnight: the inside of the fly was moist but nothing had dripped or entered onto the inner. The inner has a sizeable mesh vent at roof height which helps no end.

    Not so good:
    – I’m not sure about the value of the two-way zip on the fly. The zip simply follows the line of the pole, and is pretty taut, so even if you unzipped from the top for, say, ventilation, the fly would be so taut that no real gap would appear. Maybe I’m missing another possible reason / use for it, but unlike on other tents I have this feature seems a bit superfluous?
    – as with all tents of this design, you’d struggle to get in from the rain without getting the inside wet. I think a microfleece towel or the like would be needed- just accept you’re going to get the inside wet while you get out of your waterproofs, then towel down the floor.
    – I don’t see how you could reasonably get two people in it, but then I never intend to.

  6. Given that there’s very little user feedback on the Telemark 2 in web-land, I thought it might be useful to post my own initial impressions of the Telemark 2 (based on the customer review I recently posted at backpackinglight.co.uk, where I bought the tent. Sorry it’s so long…

    My favourite backpacking tents have been single transverse hoop designs – including several Saunders Spacepacker models and the Tarptent Scarp 1, both of which I still have and use regularly. So the Telemark 2 was hard to resist – similar design with lots of internal space for significantly less weight.

    I have never before bought a tent so largely on the basis of factory specifications, rather than first hand experience or at least a wide range of reviews. Nevertheless, based on several nights’ use in typically variable British autumn hill weather (including a very blustery, wet night last week in the Brecon Beacons) I’m really happy I took the risk.

    This tent really has masses of space inside for very little weight (950g – exactly as advertised, though extra guys and pegs have added another 50g). It’s a very comfortable 1+ design – which, to me, means lots of floor space and headroom inside the inner for 5’10” me plus kit, rather than another person (which would be very cramped). As with other similar tents, the four little corner supports make a huge difference to the interior space because the bottom six or seven inches of the inner drop vertically and the whole floor area is usable without the risk of pushing the inner up against the fly. Compared to the pokiness of other ultra lightweight tents I’ve looked at, It’s genuinely a revelation to me that it’s possible to make a tent so light that has so much practical usability. It doesn’t feel at all like significant space compromises have been make to keep the weight down.

    The trade-off is the lightness of the fabric. This is initially striking and slightly unnerving. Rolled tight into its stuff sack at the factory, the fly arrived replete with loads of tissue paper-like wrinkles and creases, with gave me a little pause for thought about its strength. But a reassuring email from Bob and my early experiences of using the tent have persuaded me that any initial concerns were misplaced. In practice I’ve found that the only concession I need to make to the seeming fragility of the fabric (other than the levels of care I’d take with any other lightweight tent) is to be more careful than usual in threading the pole into its sleeve to avoid the pole tip catching in a fold and pushing through the fabric. I don’t know whether this is a genuine risk, but better safe than sorry.

    Out in the wild, the tent has performed really well. It’s a doddle to pitch. It definitely helps to have very solid peg placements, so that the corners guys can be tightened hard to smooth out the fabric to give a really taut pitch and excellent separation between the inner and the fly. And it’s worth playing with the adjuster on the tension band to get the distance between pole tips exactly right, otherwise differences in fabric tension around the bottom of the fly create wrinkles – which may or may not affect the stability, but either way it just looks neater when the pole tips are tensioned right. There’s also a really clever system for adjusting the floor size of the inner tent and making the porch area bigger – which gives me enough space for careful cooking under cover – at least with a low-profile stove.

    It’s been watertight in heavy rain and is surprisingly stable in the wind. Using just the supplied four corner pegs it has coped comfortably with moderately breezy conditions. In a more severe test, with wind gusting to nearly 40mph in the Brecon Beacons, additional guys on the pole sleeve and jury-rigged lifters (attached to two guying points at the top of the side walls, via my walking poles) kept the tent pretty stable: inevitably there was some flex, but nothing scary. I still got a mostly decent night’s sleep. For extra stability in strong winds, I might nevertheless try running a light line across the top of the arch between the two hanging points for the inner tent.

    My only (very minor) reservation is the slight gimicky-ness of the facility to remove the corner poles to support the flysheet door. It makes the tent floppy, which offends my aesthetic sense if nothing else. The basic idea is sound, but a walking pole does the same job just as well without spoiling the pitch.

    Overall, the Telemark 2 is as close as I can realistically imagine to my ideal lightweight backpacking tent. No issues or problems so far; though with such lightweight construction, long term durability is hard to assess. The breezy conditions I’ve had so far haven’t enabled me to find out if condensation is an issue. But the ventilation options seem okay, and I don’t see that condensation is likely to be more of a problem than usual for small tents. Nevertheless I might see if I can work out a system for lifting the bottom edges of the fly in case I need to increase airflow.

  7. On the Nordisk videos, they always demonstrate the door of the inner being unzipped from the base and tied back at the top. Can it not be unzipped from the top, down, to aid venting, but keeping the base of the door zipped up? It’s difficult to see clearly in the vids’. ( so you can have an opening at the top to let in/out air, but maintain privacy.

    1. I don’t know because I don’t have the tent! For a quick answer, you might want to email Bob at backpackinglight.co.uk.

    1. I thought you wanted to know whether the door can be unzipped at the top. I’m sorry, I can’t answer that, which is why I suggested contacting Bob for a quick answer. Entirely up to you.

  8. Have you managed to get out and try the Nordisk Telemark yet? What about the lack of sufficient venting options re inner?

  9. I bought a Telemark 1 carbon second hand as a lighter faster pitching alternative to my laser comp. It does pitch quickly, but it is not as light as advertised (835g v 770g claimed). But it’s fragile and the condensation is horrendous despite the top vent.
    This is the only tent I’ve used where the inner suffered from internal condensation.
    It’s fragile, I managed to break both the carbon pole and one of the titanium v pegs without trying.
    Save a lot of money by buying the alloy pole version and change the titanium pegs for alloy ones (they’re stiffer).
    II still like the tent, but for summer use only when it’s unlikely to suffer environmental or human abuse!

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