Terra Nova: Materials and Technology


Seam Plus for Silicone Coated Flysheets

Starlite tents in the Lightweight Series feature Seam Plus water resistant seam technology. A unique combination of seam construction and factory applied treatments to silicone coated fabrics provide a highly water resistant flysheet.



Ultra fabric is constructed from a UHMWPE mat, laminated on each side with a very thin high performance polymer film. The UHMWPE patented mat is up to 25% stronger and only half the weight of many traditionally woven siliconised ripstop nylons. The material also retains a higher proportion of its strength and water resistance even after UV weathering exposure. Wherever possible we bond rather than sew ULTRA fabric. Bonding the seams offers higher tensile strength, lighter weight construction, and in long term tests, a high degree of resistance to UV weathering.


First developed by Terra Nova Equipment in 1992, Watershed® was the first silicone / PU coating hybrid for flysheets, designed to offer enhanced water resistance and withstand better the effects of UV light. Dyestuffs are treated to improve UV protection and UV coating inhibitors help reduce the degrading effects of UV light. Watershed® has evolved with a specialist PU coating with extra hydrolysis resistance. This improves water resistance and gives extra grip to seam sealing tape providing a fully waterproof seam. Watershed® fabric used in expedition/heavy duty tents has added UV inhibitors and light stabilisers in the coating to provide greater durability.

Watershed® Si2

Watershed® Si2 is a silicone/silicone coated ripstop nylon flysheet fabric designed to be as light and as strong as possible, for specific end uses. Different constructions, yarn types and fabric weaves are used to provide the best performance for specific tent models. Various weights of fabric are used: 7, 10 and 20 denier in the Superlight and Lightweight Series.


Waterbloc fabrics, generally used in Terra Nova® groundsheets, have been developed to be extremely water resistant. A highly specified PU provides maximum resistance to hydrolysis action. Nylon is widely used for Terra Nova® groundsheets and flysheets due to the excellent chemical and mechanical bond it provides with the coating systems. Different weights and weave of fabric are used to provide the best performance for specific tent models.


DAC Poles

All DAC poles are extruded 7001 aluminium alloy. DAC have created an exclusive derivative called TH72M. After heat treatment to T8 state the finished TH72M alloy gives an excellent balance of strength and stiffness ideally suited to the rigors of tent pole use. DAC NFL are the lightest type of DAC pole. This is achieved by swaging both ends of the pole section. DAC Green Anodising used on NFL poles is a more environmentally friendly anodising process achieved through water recycling and the choice of chemicals.

Terra Nova® Reflex Poles

Reflex poles are 7001 T6 extruded aluminium poles specified by Terra Nova Equipment and exclusive to Terra Nova®. The diameter of the pole is selected to suit each particular tent model. The colour coded poles have pre-bent sections where appropriate to suit stress conditions and superior anodising treatments to reduce breakages and improve durability. In independent tests Reflex poles have been shown to outperform and outlast other poles, even in extreme conditions. Pole feet are removable, allowing repairs in the field and to reduce corrosive splitting and Dura Cord shock cord won’t wither in extreme conditions.


Major Development Milestones

  • 1992  Launch of Watershed® – the first PU / silicone coated flysheet fabric in the industry.
  • 2002 Key research in collaboration with Bristol University resulting in renewed focus on the anodisation processes leading to improved tent pole performance.
  • 2004 World’s first sub 1kg tent launched – Terra Nova® Laser Lite. Guinness World Record for the lightest tent.
  • 2005 Introduction of FLO2 air permeable GORE-TEX® membrane in bivi bags.
  • 2007-2010 3 further Guinness World Records.
  • 2011 First to use ULTRA fabric in commercial tent production.
  • 2012 First to use bonded seams in commercially produced tents with the launch of Terra Nova® Voyager Ultra 2.
  • 2014 ‘Litespeed’ lightweight air permeable sleeping bag fabric launched.
  • 2016 Launch of Southern Cross completely free standing 4 season tent. OIA Award Winner.
  • 2017 Starlite range of tents introduced with short packed length, designed for bike packing.