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Terra Nova Celebrate 40 Years of the Iconic Quasar Tent

One of Terra Nova Equipment’s most iconic pieces of outdoor gear, the Quasar, celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2023.

Launched as the Wild Country Quasar in 1983, it quickly gained a reputation as an exceptionally strong and stable tent. The model has had a few variations over the years but the basic design and ethos of the Quasar tent has remained the same.

Quasar Tents

The Quasar was based on a tent design, (the Sapphire) by Ben and Marion Wintringham who produced outdoor equipment and clothing under the Wintergear brand. Wintergear was acquired by Wild Country Ltd in 1983 and tent production moved to Derbyshire from North Wales. Ten years later in 1993, the tent division of Wild Country Ltd demerged and became Terra Nova Equipment, with the tents subsequently being produced under the Terra Nova brand.

The Quasar was one of the first geodesic tents on the market.  Geodesic designs use ’great circle’ geometry to create the maximum usable space with the greatest strength and stability. The result? The Quasar tent sheds rain, wind and snow with ease.

Red Quasar

As a mountain tent, simplicity of design still remains key; when climbers are cold, tired with altitude taking its toll, quick, straightforward pitching could in some cases be a matter of life and death.

In the 1990s several variations of the initial Quasar were introduced: the Mountain Quasar (which came with snow valances and extra pegging points), the Ultra Quasar (a lighter-weight version that trimmed half a kilo off the weight) and a Giant Quasar (a larger version which also made a brief appearance). The Quasar ETC was also introduced as an extended flysheet providing more porch space for existing Quasar owners.

The new millennium marked a trend for lighter-weight gear and the focus moved to materials development, rather than new models.  For instance, the Ultra Quasar became 20% lighter and the Superlite Quasar at 2.5kg (packed) was 40% lighter, with the development of lighter flysheet fabric, which had improved UV protection, and the use of DAC Featherlite poles.


Expedition Quasars are still made in Terra Nova Equipment’s Derbyshire factory, enabling certain adaptations to be made for specific expeditions, including for Fiona Thornewill’s record breaking expedition to become the first woman to walk solo and unaided to the South Pole.

Quasar tents have been used by some of the UK’s great mountaineers including Sir Chris Bonington and also by Rosie Swale Pope who ran around the world, a feat which took her 5 years (and numerous pairs of shoes).  Quasar tents were also part of the Caldwell Xtreme Everest Expedition (which was featured in Panorama programme Doctors in the Death Zone); a research project on Everest aimed at increasing the understanding of hypoxia and critically ill patients.  It’s a tent also trusted by Armed Forces and by DofE groups on expedition.

Red Quasar

“We’re proud that the Quasar is marking 40 years since its launch and that its tried and tested design has stood the test of time.  We’re also pleased that the Expedition and Super Quasars are still made in Derbyshire as they always have been.

The Quasar is not just an iconic Terra Nova tent but an icon in the outdoor industry – honored in the Trail Magazine Gear Hall of Fame several years ago, amongst other accolades.  

Quasar tents have been part of some incredible expeditions over the years and closer to home an appreciated safe haven during storms. After windy weekends, we often received letters or emails from customers saying their Quasar was the only tent left standing on the campsite” said Director, Carolyn Budding.

Terra Nova Equipment has created 40 Limited Edition Quasar tents to mark the 40th anniversary. Based on the Expedition Quasar specification and made in the UK, they come with a bundle of accessories and extras including the Terra Nova Gold Mark Service.