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Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Review

A tent with a ton of flexibility for hikers who want one shelter to do it all
Sea to Summit Telos TR2
Credit: Sea to Summit
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Price:  $559 List | $559.00 at REI
Pros:  Highly adaptable, double doors, unique features
Cons:  Expensive, average dimensions
Manufacturer:   Sea to Summit
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 20, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 14
  • Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 7.0
  • Weight - 20% 6.0
  • Durability - 10% 7.0
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 8.0
  • Packed Size - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Sea to Summit Telos TR2 is an incredibly versatile tent. It has three distinct modes: double-wall tent, single-wall tarp, and shade canopy — that make it practical for a variety of backpacking styles and environments. If you find yourself going from desert trail fastpacking one season to weekend car camping in temperate forests, this shelter can cover it all. It has enough space for two and offers multiple features, including zippered vents in the fly and a light bar in the ceiling, that make it stand out from the pack. It's on the pricier side, but it's worth it for those who need a tent with a flexible format.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $559 List
$559.00 at REI
$450 List$472.45 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at Amazon$329 List
$329.00 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Highly adaptable, double doors, unique featuresExcellent balance between weight and features, many storage pockets, large vestibulesTwo large double doors, good headroom, excellent balance of interior space and weightLightweight, good headroom for its size, double side doors, massive storage pocketSpacious, affordable, included footprint
Cons Expensive, average dimensionsTapered foot, pockets are high upExpensive, delicate materialsOdd door configuration, delicate materials, expensiveHeavy, bulky poles
Bottom Line A tent with a ton of flexibility for hikers who want one shelter to do it allA superior tent that balances light weight with excellent featuresThis tent balances the key aspects of a backpacking tent and performs admirably in all of our metricsThis is a lightweight tent for a long-distance backpacking duo that still wants the comfort of a double-wall shelterThis 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...
Comfort (25%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
10.0
Weather Resistance (25%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Weight (20%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
3.0
Durability (10%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
Ease of Set-up (10%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Packed Size (10%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
4.0
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 5.1 x 18.9 in 19.5 x 4.5 in 19.5 x 6 in 18 x 5.5 in 7 x 20.5 in
Dimensions 84.5 x 53/43 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
Guy Points 6 5 4 3 4
Rain Fly Material 15D rip-stop nylon 20D nylon rip-stop 15D 1200mm silicone nylon rip-stop Rip-stop nylon, PU coating (1200 mm) 40D rip-stop nylon/20D nylon mesh
Inner Tent Material 15D polyester mesh 15D nylon rip-stop [Body] 10D polyester mesh, [Floor] 20D nylon rip-stop Rip-stop nylon, PU coating (1200 mm), polyester mesh 40D 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.

Performance Comparison


Sea to Summit Telos TR2 backpacking tent - the sea to summit telos tr 2 is our favorite for its adaptability to...
The Sea to Summit Telos TR 2 is our favorite for its adaptability to a variety of enviroments.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Comfort


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.

Sea to Summit Telos TR2 backpacking tent - large side doors open up wide for easy entry and exit. they also tie...
Large side doors open up wide for easy entry and exit. They also tie back if it's not too buggy.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

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.

Sea to Summit Telos TR2 backpacking tent - the lightbar (at top) is a unique feature among backpacking tents.
The lightbar (at top) is a unique feature among backpacking tents.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

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.

Weather Resistance


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.

Sea to Summit Telos TR2 backpacking tent - looking underneath the fly, the massive vent at the top has a zipper...
Looking underneath the fly, the massive vent at the top has a zipper so you can control how wide the opening is.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

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.

Sea to Summit Telos TR2 backpacking tent - the fly runs low to the ground and beads water well.
The fly runs low to the ground and beads water well.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Weight


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.

Sea to Summit Telos TR2 backpacking tent - even without the footprint (sold separately), it is still possible...
Even without the footprint (sold separately), it is still possible to pitch the fly without the tent, which definitely lightens the load.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Durability


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.

Sea to Summit Telos TR2 backpacking tent - the included stakes are really lightweight and have teeth that bite...
the included stakes are really lightweight and have teeth that bite cord so the tent stays taut.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

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.

Sea to Summit Telos TR2 backpacking tent - the setup is straightforward. color-coded poles lock in at the...
The setup is straightforward. Color-coded poles lock in at the corners and clips on the tent attach to the poles.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

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.

Sea to Summit Telos TR2 backpacking tent - with the large loop and hook system, you don't have to wrestle to...
With the large loop and hook system, you don't have to wrestle to get the crossbar secured to the tent as is often the case with other models.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Packed Size


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.

Sea to Summit Telos TR2 backpacking tent - separate stuff sacks make it simple to divide the load. it's also...
Separate stuff sacks make it simple to divide the load. It's also nice to have multiple stuff sacks if the fly and tent are wet and you want to separate them from the rest of your gear.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

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 2.

Sea to Summit Telos TR2 backpacking tent - for three-season outdoor adventures, the telos tr 2 is our favorite...
For three-season outdoor adventures, the Telos TR 2 is our favorite for adaptability.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Ben Applebaum-Bauch

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