Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Review
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Sea to Summit Telos TR2
|Price||$558.95 at Backcountry|
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|$450 List||$539.99 at Amazon|
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|$439.00 at Amazon|
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$329.00 at REI
|Pros||Highly adaptable, double doors, unique features||Excellent balance between weight and features, many storage pockets, large vestibules||Two large double doors, good headroom, excellent balance of interior space and weight||Lightweight, good headroom for its size, double side doors, massive storage pocket||Spacious, affordable, included footprint|
|Cons||Expensive, average dimensions||Tapered foot, pockets are high up||Expensive, delicate materials||Odd door configuration, delicate materials, expensive||Heavy, bulky poles|
|Bottom Line||A tent with a ton of flexibility for hikers who want one shelter to do it all||A superior tent that balances light weight with excellent features||This tent balances the key aspects of a backpacking tent and performs admirably in all of our metrics||This is a lightweight tent for a long-distance backpacking duo that still wants the comfort of a double-wall shelter||This inexpensive tent is spacious enough for laid-back car camping and light enough for short to moderate backpacking trips|
|Rating Categories||Sea to Summit Telos...||NEMO Dragonfly 2||Big Agnes Copper Sp...||Big Agnes Tiger Wal...||REI Co-op Half Dome...|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Ease of Set-up (10%)|
|Packed Size (10%)|
|Specs||Sea to Summit Telos...||NEMO Dragonfly 2||Big Agnes Copper Sp...||Big Agnes Tiger Wal...||REI Co-op Half Dome...|
|Packaged Weight||3.67 lbs||3.16 lbs||3.09 lbs||2.50 lbs||4.82 lbs|
|Floor Area||28 sq ft||29 sq ft||29 sq ft||28 sq ft||35.8 sq ft|
|Packed Size||18.9 x 5.1 in||19.5 x 4.5 in||19.5 x 6 in||18 x 5.5 in||20.5 x 7 in|
|Dimensions||84.5 x 53/43 x 43.5 in||88 x 50 x 41 in||88 x 52 x 40 in||86 x 52/42 x 39 in||92 x 56 in|
|Vestibule Area (Total)||19.5 sq ft||20 sq ft||18 sq. ft||16 sq ft||22.5 sq ft|
|Peak Height||43.5 in||41 in||40 in||39 in||42 in|
|Number of Doors||2||2||2||2||2|
|Number of Poles||1||3||1||3||1|
|Pole Diameter||8.5/9 mm||8.7 mm||8.7 mm||8.7 mm||2 mm|
|Number of Pockets||2||3||3||4||6|
|Gear Loft||Sold separately||No||No||No||No|
|Pole Material||Aluminium DAC TH72M||DAC featherlite NFL||DAC featherlite NFL||DAC featherlight NFL aluminum||DAC featherlite NFL aluminum|
|Rain Fly Material||15D Ripstop Nylon||20D nylon ripstop||15D 1200mm silicone nylon ripStop||Ripstop nylon, PU coating (1200 mm)||40-denier ripstop nylon/20-denier nylon mesh|
|Inner Tent Material||15D polyester mesh||15D nylon ripstop||[Body] 10D polyester mesh, [Floor] 20D nylon ripStop||Ripstop nylon, PU coating (1200 mm), polyester mesh||40-denier taffeta nylon|
|Type||Two door freestanding||Two door freestanding||Two door freestanding||Two door semi freestanding||Two door freestanding|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Sea to Summit Telos stands out for its multi-mode pitch and unique features. It has an easy-clip fly, and the vestibule doors tie back in many different configurations. Its listed dimensions aren't exceptional but it feels roomier. It's a solid choice whether you plan to use it as a tent or a tarp.
This model has an interior that offers more space than its dimensions initially reveal. Its 84-inch length and 53-inch width (tapering to 43 at the foot) are sufficient for two sleepers. However, what enables this tent to stand out is the steepness of the walls and peak height volume. The unique design of the crossbar ensures that the highest point of the canopy is in line with the plane of your body when you sit up. It seems like a small thing, but it means that sleepers don't have to reposition their body to take advantage of the space when sitting up.
There are also an array of other useful comfort features in this tent. There are two standard storage pockets, one on each side. In addition, the tent and fly stuff sacks each have a hook that can attach to gear loops in the canopy for a ton of extra storage space.
The pole bag also comes with an opaque plastic insert. This unit can be snapped to the ceiling to create the ultimate light diffuser. Once installed, sliding one or two headlamps into the bag creates a pleasant, even light throughout the tent.
We are also big fans of the large double side doors. The curved zippers make it easier to open with one hand and the size of the opening itself is generous, ensuring that it is easy to enter and exit the tent.
The weather resistance of the Telos is above average. It has a thin but effective 15D ripstop nylon fly. The two vestibules protect gear and footwear while also keeping all of that extra stuff outside of the tent itself.
The vestibule zippers also have a protective flap that keeps rain from seeping through. In nice weather, the fly can also be tied back in a wide array of configurations from just one door to opening up the entire tent canopy to star gazing (while keeping the fly attached if bad weather rolls in quickly.
Our favorite feature is the ceiling vent. This is one of the few models in the category that has a zipper closure around the ventilation hole, making it possible to more precisely adjust the size of the opening depending on your shifting needs for insulation and ventilation.
As a double-wall tent, this model is in the middle of the pack. Its 3.67 pounds makes it seems well-suited for weekend backpacking trips and car camping. However, that only tells part of the story.
If you opt to pitch it as a tarp, that is, without the main tent (and only the fly and footprint), then it's 2.64 pounds. As with any tarp, this configuration sacrifices bug protection but it makes it a true ultralight option.
The fly fabric is a thinner 15D and the floor is a slightly burlier 20D ripstop. These fabrics are more delicate. Without a footprint underneath, we expect that some pinholes will form on the floor of the tent, which usually happens when it is pitched repeatedly on abrasive, sandy surfaces.
On the plus side, the pole pockets that attach the fly to the crossbar are especially durable rubber. The corner grommets and fly hardware are strong metal, and the tri-corner stakes are especially bend-resistant.
Ease of Set-up
The Telos TR2 offers a standard pitch with a couple of novel features. The poles lock into the corners of the tent and it comes with standard pole clips to secure the canopy. We also appreciate the simplicity of the hook and loop system that pulls the ceiling out to maximum volume; it requires much less awkward stretching and bending of the tent than other models.
The included stakes are also excellent. They are super lightweight but strong. Each one has a series of three teeth that allow them to grip the cord at the corners of the tent especially well.
The fly also has easy-to-clip hardware at each corner. This is another feature that really minimizes the time it takes relative to other models that can require more precision and more fussing. To pitch it in tarp mode is one less step — you can just go straight to attaching the fly to the poles. A third option is 'hangout' mode, which essentially takes the tarp set up and props up one end using a pair of trekking poles and a couple of strategically placed guylines for added stability. It definitely takes some extra time to do this, but if you need a break in the desert or find yourself going to the beach but don't own an umbrella, this is a totally viable alternative.
Similar to weight, the packed size is going to depend on which mode the TR2 is in. The tent is unique in that it comes packed in three different stuff sacks — one each for the poles, fly, and tent.
The hardware on the tent and fly is low profile and the material is thin, so those components are easy to stuff into a pack around other equipment. The poles however have some chunky plastic hubs that make them bulkier than the average set. The plastic light diffusing insert also adds some stiffness and weight so if you are trying to cut ounces, you will probably want to leave that piece behind.
Should You Buy the Sea to Summit Telos TR2?
This model performs admirably as a double-wall tent. It also has a variety of excellent features that differentiate it in a crowded category. With that in mind, the flexibility of this tent is what really sets it apart. Price is definitely a consideration, however, for those who flex between a double-wall tent and a single-wall tarp, this is a reliable two-in-one model that provides flexibility for a variety of environmental conditions. Both modes are easy to set up and provide decent three-season protection.
What Other Backpacking Tents Should You Consider?
No other model has it beat for adaptability; however, if you want a double-wall tent with a little more space that maintains versatile vestibule options, check out the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2. The NEMO Dragonfly 2 is a similar option that has superior weather resistance. For a very similar weight, you can also have more space with the NEMO Dagger Osmo.
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