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]

Thursday, 2 April 2009

In Praise Of Terra Nova

On the way home from my Edale Adventure at the beginning of March I popped into Terra Nova (TN) to return the inner of Vera Voyager. We had noticed during our Wet Highlight Washout in October that the groundsheet seemed to be leaking and although we tried initially to put the issue down to condensation as time went on that explanation just didn’t (hmmm, wash? hold water?) ring true.

Over the course of the following months I came up with various elaborate plans as to how I could test the waterproofness. Fortunately before I put one of those elaborate plans into action I had an attack of common sense, took a mug out of the cupboard, put an inch of water in it, pulled the fabric tight over the top and inverted the mug. The water came through. I repeated the exercise in various places and established that the entire groundsheet had become porous.

Given that I bought the tent in the middle of 2006, and it lost its waterproofness in 2008, my noddy (but conclusive) test was enough for me to return the inner under TN’s lifetime guarantee (thank goodness I kept that receipt!).

I think that it’s generally acknowledged that TN make jolly good tents, but anecdotal evidence is quite clear that their customer service can be a bit hit and miss, so I wasn’t convinced that the guarantee would be honoured without a fight.

Today I was pleasantly surprised. Although I didn’t find a parcel in the shed when I got home, nor a ‘sorry you were out’ card on the doormat, I did find a letter from TN. In it they confirmed that they had checked the inner and had found the groundsheet to be lacking. They also confirmed that they will provide a new inner. The only question they had for me was whether I wanted them to mail it to me or whether I wanted to collect.

This is my second dealing with TN over a warranty issue and the second time that they have come good. Either I am one of the lucky ones*, or their customer service is improving.

(*And perhaps it may have helped that the week before I returned Vera’s inner, I bought Susie Superlite from them).


  1. My first Terra Nova tent was a Voyager which sadly I sold and got a Solar if I recall the name. That went and I deserted to a Akto. I came back and would not have any tent collection with out a Terra Nova in it now. As you say "TN make jolly good tents" I do wonder if that new tent sent the customer care into over drive? Good it is sorted now.

  2. We had the same excellent service when 'Hyper' developed seepage through the flysheet seams. I asked for some glue (it was very minor seepage) but was told to return the fly. It came back re-sealed with solid 1cm seals, much better than the original. Excellent service, and always someone helpful on the end of the phone.

  3. Hi Gayle

    Not that you know me or anything, but I'm just a person who hopes to do the LEJOG walk one day. No idea when, but it'll happen. I've been following your blog ever since you set off from Land's End.