The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Friday, 6 March 2009

The Joy Of A Parcel

Prologue (and stick with it, there is a relevance): When sorting out my late Mother’s belongings last year, I delegated dealing with her jewellery box to my sister. I didn’t think that there was anything of particular interest in there, and left to my own devices most of it would have gone to a charity shop and the rest would have found a bin. I knew my sister would put a bit more thought into its disposal.

A year has passed and a couple of weeks ago my sister told me about her trips to a local jewellers. She had found a couple of items that she thought might be worth something in scrap value and took them for an opinion.

The jeweller went into raptures about one item in particular. It was a watch strap of which I have no recollection, which was apparently of particularly good quality. Completely out of fashion now and thus of no retail value, but made of solid gold, which did give it a scrap value. My sister didn’t have the requisite ID on her at the time to complete the sale, so went away.

A week later, she returned to the news that the price of gold had changed. “Well, I’ll take what I can get” she said. “It’s gone up” said the jeweller. The previous price she had been quoted had increased significantly.

We’re not by any means talking mega money here, but her phone call told me that by her sale of the gold I had now enough magic money to buy three quarters of a tent. And, as we all know, the rules do say that magic money has to be spent on something frivolous.

Perhaps it was fate that just a few minutes before this phone call with my sister, I had been reading an email from Terra Nova saying that they were selling off 2008 Voyager Superlites at a third off, with an enticing price of £244. Unusually, that meant that Terra Nova was selling its own tents at a lower price than shops sell them.

A few days ago I placed an order.


A van pulled up outside and in exchange for a signature, a cardboard box was obtained.

That the legend on the side of the box said ‘Superlite Bothy 2’ was of some small concern, but I figured that they were reusing packaging, and that also explained the overly large size of the box compared to the size of the item I hoped that it contained.P3060021 Keys didn’t cut the mustard, but once armed with a pair of scissors the box was open and there at the bottom of it was the correct item:

P3060022a A comparison was required, and it took me a while to reunite the various parts of the existing Voyager in its original sausage shaped bag:

P3060025a It probably goes without saying that I was sad enough to weigh both items (hey, I wouldn’t be keeping the new one if it wasn’t an adequate weight saving). The result was surprising. According to my scales the 2.19kg Voyager (which I’ve never before weighed) was 2.23kg (perhaps the mud adorning it added a gram or two) and the 1.85kg Superlite was 1.94kg.

P3060024a P3060023I can’t possibly admit that I was then sad enough to weigh each of the component parts, finding that the poles in the original were 10g each lighter than the identical ones in the superlite (and yes, I’m afraid that I did weigh each of them and the trend held true). Mick caught me weighing the individual stuff-sacks and told me I was a geek…

With the weighing and comparison over with (favourably so), out into the garden we went. It took a tiny bit of faffing to work out the clips-versus-pole-sleeve construction, but we’ll soon have it down to a fine art.

P3060029a The result is unsurprising. In dimensions, it is identical to the standard Voyager. Hopefully the floor will prove to be a bit more waterproof (I finally conducted an experiment last week and ascertained once and for all that the floor of Vera has completely ceased to be waterproof; next week it will be winging its way back to Terra Nova under their lifetime guarantee).

Technically, we didn’t need to add another tent to our collection. We already had Midi, Big, Wendy, Vera and Dora (and Dora, at four months old hasn’t even been used yet). But, as I said, it was magic money and Susie (as she is now called) will see lots of use, starting out with two weeks across Scotland on the TGOC.


  1. Hi Gayle,I always enjoy reading about the gear which you have purchased.What type of tent is Dora?

  2. You're right, Gayle, you're a very sad person! Having said that, I'd have done the same.

  3. Jeff - I'm afraid that you'll be disappointed in news of Dora. She is not a sexy lightweight backpacking tent (that said, she's not unreasonably heavy if there were three people). She is an Aztec Dura Plus - a geodesic three man, with two porches. Although we've not used her yet, we have had her out in the garden and taken a few pics, so hopefully sometime soon I'll get around to posting some pictures and saying some words about her.

    Geoff - Thanks for the reassurance about my sadness!

  4. Hi Gayle,Only just got around to reading your description of Dora.(Too many blogs to read these days!)I spent 12 months in 2007 working in a small Camping and Walking shop and we stocked Aztec tents and sleeping bags.I had the opportunity of having a good look at the tents and was quite impressed with the quality and thought that they looked to be good value for money.Sounds as though it would be a good tent for Car camping.Thanks for the info.