Laser Comp. mods

I’ve made two useful modifications to my Laser Competition that others may wish to try.

1. Solving the mystery of the pole hood

The pole hood has always been a fiddly extra. It’s a real faff to try to get the right tension, so I left it off for the Lakes and tent performs fine without it. Nonetheless, most Laser owners think it’s worthwhile. The key issue to solve is how to make tensioning it easier.

My solution is to use two line-loks. On one side, secure the pole hoods cords by tying them off. On the opposite side, use two line-loks so that you can tension the cords as you would a guy, shown below. Easy. To make it neater, I’m going to swap the line-loks to the rear of the tent.

Apart from the obvious benefit of making the pole hood a lot easier to use, it helps to tension the pole and spreads the load for the side guys. Having compared the tent with and without the pole hood, I would say that it feels more stable with it.

2. Door threshold tension cord

If you pitch the tent correctly, the door seam is under a lot of tension. This is taken by the hook and loop below the door zip. However, it means that closing the door can be a struggle and zip can be stressed on closing the door. An easy modification is to use a door threshold tension cord, similar to the one used on the Akto. Effectively this is just a guy with a line-lok from the metal door ring near the pole to the webbing loop for the shock-cord pegging point (see below).

Other useful tweaks:

1. Replace the end cords on the inner tent with adjustable cords using line-loks.

2. Add cord loops to the pegging points on the outer tent. I’ve used Spectra cord, but Dyneema would be just as good. I’ve found that you get a tauter pitch using these rather than the elastic shock-cord. I’ve left the shock-cord on just in case.

3. Tie the elastic peg out points on the inner to the corresponding webbing loops on the outer tent peg out points. This makes it easier to peg the tent out as one.

4. You can attach extra stabilising guys fore and aft by using mini karabiners on the loops at the apex of the pole that are used for tying the pole hood. I offset them slightly to avoid fouling the end of the tent. They shouldn’t be tightened too much as the could stress the webbing on the tent.

5. It annoys me that there is no provision to secure the inner door when it is open. An easy mod is to sew an elastic loop on the inside at the bottom of the door in the centre. On the tension band the goes underneath the tent to secure the pole ends, by the door, there is a toggle which secures the inner tent to the band. You can use this also for the elastic loop that you have sewed on the inside of the inner to secure the door. It’s a bit difficult to explain without seeing it, but once you’ve pitched the tent, you’ll see what I mean. Brilliant.

6. I find the door zipper a bit fiddly, so I’ve used a short length on Dyneema cord to make zip pullers on both sides.

 So there it is: the Laser Competition Mark 2.

Another project is to make some small removable pockets for the inner tent for bits and pieces.


37 thoughts on “Laser Comp. mods”

  1. Very interesting mods indeed! I’m going to try them out on my new LC. By the way, the 2008 model has now got an internal pocket to the side of the inner door, just like the Akto.

    As a matter of interest, when I pitched the tent in the garden inbetween showers yesterday I noticed that the floor gets pulled out quite sharply at the side pegging points. I take it that’s pretty much inevitable?

    Thanks for the mods, I really like the one about tensioning the pole with mini-locks!

  2. When I pitched the LC yesterday (to dry out!), the floor didn’t seem overly tensioned. If you tie the corner elastics to the outer, there’s an element of trial and error. As you can see, yesterday’s pitch was nearly perfect! I don’t know why they didn’t put a pocket on the original. More chance to show my inventiveness. 😉

  3. Salaams and a thousand thanks. I have a big pile of kit waiting for me when I get back to the UK tomorrow, I can see my first task will be to ‘pimp up’ the Laser to a stunning Mark II.

    Many thanks


  4. I’m not sure you patent much on a tent. The Akto doesn’t provide so much opportunity for customisation because it is a more complete design. I think TN should have considered these issues in the design process.

  5. What a series of great ideas! Thanks v. much indeed for sharing them 🙂 I particularly like the one with the pole tensioner. I’ll see if I can get hold of some of those little locking devices next time I’m in town.

    I too find it extremely annoying that it’s not possible to secure the door properly, though my main gripe is with the outer door i.e. I know it has that piddling little toggle but that often doesn’t hold it for me. I’ve been meaning to fix it with some sort of mod’ for ages but I’ve been too slack and idle. All your ideas have spurred me on to do something about it, though 🙂

  6. hi i have just used my new laser comp for a 3 day hike over the Galloway hills in the most outrageously wet conditions. not once was I concerned the tent couldn’t cope or was to much of a compromise. all the mods here will be useful for my future trips; the only thing iv’e added was some of alpkits titanium pegs for the more challenging less than perfect pitching opportunities.

  7. Thanks for the tips, I’ll try them out, the tight door zip was especially bugging me.
    Is your new line for this tied to the fly or looped round the peg at the left hand end?
    Also, on the pole hood, would it be possible to replace the lines running through it with Dyneema?

  8. The line on the door is tied to the flysheet webbing loop for the elastic guy loop. At the pole end, I’ve used the metal ring.

    I’m fairly sure that you could replace the lines on the pole hood, but it might be fiddly to thread them.

  9. Well, I carried out the mods on my new LC and am pretty chuffed with the result. I’ve done things slightly differently with regard to the flysheet end points. I’ve run a single guy with two line-loks at each end through the attachment point, pegging out each end so that you get a V-shaped guy, a bit like with the Akto. Not sure whether it makes any difference in practice, but it feels stronger!

    I’ve only got one doubt concerning your suggestion to replace the end points on the inner with adjustable lines. I’ve done it and it worked fine, but the recommendation from TN is that the inner and flysheet end point be fixed on the same peg. Replacing the inner cord with the adjustable guy kind of make that awkward (or it makes the line-lok redundant). I’ll see how it works out in practice.

    Apart from that, the door cord, the pole tensioning loks and the flysheet guylines are really ace. The tent feels a lot stronger now. Also, I got the dyneema from Bob ‘n Rose in red, and the line-loks in black, so the tent now really looks a lot more like my Akto!!

    Thanks once again for the excellent ideas! Makes quite a difference.

  10. Walter, glad you like the mods. On the adjustable end cords on the inner, I use the same peg as I use for the outer tent. If there is no adjustability, then it makes getting the right tension on the inner more difficult.

  11. I droned on about the pole hood a lot on LFTO a few weeks ago, this is what I said, sorry it’s so long.

    “I’ve got some suspicions about the hood. Why is it so robust? They could have made it using the same thin silnylon as the fly (or Cuben fibre to really save weight!!) and not added the extra guys. Lots of people say it adds stability due to the extra guys….

    As the seam isn’t sealed (and from all accounts doesn’t leak) I wonder if, during development they did get it to leak at the seam when guyed directly to the fly (pulling at the seam), and/or had problems getting a lightweight solution to strong guying at that point (why has the hood got guys otherwise?), when most of the time it’s not needed. The hood adds the guys if needed, seals the seam if needed, but doesn’t get included in base weight figures.

    Either way it adds a variable that, as well as its other merits, means we discuss the tent more than a lot of others. I don’t remember reading any reports of the tent blowing down (they must have though?) or leaking. More posts are either positive due to its light weight, packability and good size, or silly comparing it to the Akto just cos they look the same, and most complaints are it’s noisy and a certain skill is needed to get it pitched right (which probably goes a long way to helping the noise problem!)

    Can I just add to this that I know bugger all about tent design, it’s just one of those things that got me thinking after trying to decide whether to take the hood or not.”

  12. have used this tent a lot and it is not waterproof without pole cover in really heavy rain and the pole cover guys are needed in bad weather- at least this has been my experience over last couple of years

  13. I don’t particularly like the pole hood design myself. I found the hood already tied to the pole sleeve when I got the LC (new). I haven’t untied it and leaving it attached makes setting the tent up relatively pain-free (you’ve just got to watch it when you push the pole under the ties).

    But I can see a rationale (of sorts) for having the pole hood detachable. The origins of the LC are made clear in the name: OMM hill races and the like. In the rare event of a stable weather forecast, you could presumably leave the pole hood at home and save a few grams without untoward consequences.

    So, perhaps all that the pole hood does is give you the *option*, in favourable conditions, to shave off some grams. Nothing particular sinister about that, is there.

    I am sure they could easily incorporate the hood into the tent design. It’s just that TN are probably quite keen to keep the minimum weight as close as possible to the Guinness record. Makes sense to me. Or maybe I’m wrong.

  14. use it all year round as backpacking tent,been worried a few times but me and the tent have survived, just pitching it as tight as can given ground and conditions but will use some of your modifications from now on – so thanks from me as well.

    There are some signs of wear and tear so will be interesting to see how long it lasts ?

  15. Hi, first post here, great site.

    I’m using my Laser Comp at the OMM in the Lakes this weekend and the forecast is horrendous rain/gales. I wanted to boost the guying/pegging and I’m taking some extra Y-pegs and para-cord. I’ve heard that tying extra guys to the pole-cord tie-loops as above is a no-no as the loops will tear out. I’m thinking of taking 2 guys from each of the normal guy attachment points on the pole-hood cover, off at say 45 degree angles fore and aft. Anyone tried this or have any thoughts?

  16. I havent applied the full mods as described above even though they make great sense. I did manage to take my LC out in November in the Brecon Beacons and boy was it windy. As I pitched up for the night, the wind started getting up very strongly so I decided to add extra guylines and substitute some of the regular pegs for Y pegs. Good decision. We had winds approaching 70mph in the night and although the fly sheet was rhythmically pushing into my face for the best part of an hour , the tent stood up to it magnificently. I was well impressed that in the morning the LC was still taut, upright and unruffled…..even if I had been a tad worried at 3 in the morning…

  17. Hello!

    Did you ever bother to re-thread the pole cover with dyneema? I’d like to have a go but it feels to me as though perhaps the original cord has been sewn into place on one side.

    1. I didn’t bother, but I suppose you could. I’ve found it more effective to have line-loks on both sides.

  18. I think the pole Hood is a real disaster.
    A friend of mine has dumped the pole hood, attached the lateral guys to pole hood loops and sealed the pole hood seam with SilNet. The sealant looks a bit unsightly but the tent is more stable, lighter and still waterproof.
    Have you thought of trying this?

    1. If you use the lineloks, the pole hood works. In its defence, it spreads the load along the cords and it covers the zip. I did originally use the Comp without the pole hood and I don’t think it’s more stable without the pole hood if it is tensioned properly. Indeed, I think it is more stable with the pole hood. For me, with the mods, the pole hood is a non-issue. If I were designing it, I would use a similar system to the Akto for the pole sleeve. In its current form, the pole hood is a poor design. With my mods, it becomes an acceptable feature of the tent.

  19. I’m late to this party, but I hope someone can answer me.

    I have a TN Laser. I cannot for the life of me see the use of the double cord that runs out each end of the inner and down to the bottom tip of the fly. I just leave them slack. What are they for? Could I just cut them off?

    1. The Comp doesn’t have that cord (if I’ve understood you correctly). I think it is for raising or lowering the end to provide some ventilation.

  20. Thanks.

    I also offer a helpful hint, in return. I avoid the problem of tension on the fly zip, in a different way to your suggestion. I position the pegs at the four corners of the fly so that the tension from the loops is in line with the seam from the end pole to the peg loop. This counters the tension from the end guys. By judiciously locating the peg, I can keep the tension on the bottom of the edge of the fly low enough but not too low. It might not look correct, but the shape is still good and the pitch is stable.

  21. Firstly, have a great trip.
    Secondly, I am going to use your Comp mods.
    I’m particularly interested in the ventilation and door mods.
    I’m just back from a trip to the Lakes and the condesation inside the tent was scary.
    It was a combination of not having a really taut pitch and my breathing!
    I’m going to try to improve the vetilation, if it doesn’t work then I’ll have to seriously consider getting rid.
    My query is what gauge of shock cord and dyneema did use?

  22. I have just replaced the original line and can confirm that, at least on mine, it wasn’t sewn in. I taped the replacement dyneema to a wooden skewer (the sort you use to thread a kebab on a barbie) and threaded that through. It’s not too taxing, just be patient and remember to tie one end so you don’t end up losing it inside the pole hood.

  23. Just done the pole hood mod and it works well, should be a good way to leave the hood on the tent. It does seem a bit of an afterthought and not really integrated well into the design of the tent and was always a bit of a faff. The ties that attach it to the fly are annoying too.

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