Camping,  Outdoors

Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Tent Review

The Sea to Summit Telos TR2 backpacking tent set up in a campground

The Sea to Summit Telos TR2 is an innovative tent with a lot of unique features to love. It has more headroom than any 2-person backpacking tent in its weight class, which makes it feel a lot more livable than many others. And with other creature comforts, like the light-dispersing Lightbar and adaptable ventilation, the Telos feels like a little slice of luxury in the backcountry.

The Telos with the rain fly fully pitched.

The Telos with the rain fly fully pitched.

Quick Specs

MSRP: $499

MEASURED WEIGHT: 3 lbs. 9.8 oz.

DIMENSIONS (L x W x H): 84.5 x 53 x 43 in.

The Telos is easy for a single hiker to set up by themselves.

The Telos is easy for a single hiker to set up by themselves.

PROS

HEADROOM – The Telos has a unique crossbar, called the Tension Ridge, that angles up instead of sloping down like most other backpacking tents. This spreads the peak height out through a larger area and gives the whole tent more internal volume and near vertical sidewalls. While the floorspace is comparable to many other 2-person backpacking tents, the upgrade in headroom makes it feel far more livable than many others.

There’s plenty of room for sitting up in the Telos.

There’s plenty of room for sitting up in the Telos.

EASY TO SET UP – Since the Telos is fully freestanding, it’s nice and easy to set up. The poles and clips are color-coded, and the pole seats are secure making it simple for a single hiker to set up by themselves. We also love the innovative Quick Connect clip system on the rainfly because it’s more durable than standard plastic buckles, and it makes taking off and putting on the rainfly a breeze.

The unique Quick Connect clips on the rainfly make it quick and easy to deploy in bad weather.

The unique Quick Connect clips on the rainfly make it quick and easy to deploy in bad weather.

ADAPTABLE – The Telos is a very versatile tent that easily adapts to the conditions you’re in. The vestibules can be opened up fully to take advantage of big views or you can choose which side to stake down to get the best balance of ventilation and weather coverage. If it’s rainy out, the Telos can be set up fly-first to keep all your gear dry while you clip in the tent body. If you’re just stopping for a snack and you want some shade, you can set it up in Hangout Mode which quickly turns it into a fly-only shade/rain shelter. Getting a little toasty at night? There are many ways to configure the ventilation to suit your needs (we’ll talk a little more about that in the GOOD VENTILATION section below).

EASY TO SPLIT BETWEEN TWO HIKERS – Sea to Summit included their Fair Share Storage sack which makes it very easy to divide the tent between two hikers. We also found this system useful for packing it on solo trips where pack space was at a premium. If you prefer to carry it as one piece, the whole system slots together nicely into one tidy tent package.

The Fair Share Storage system makes it easy to split the Telos between two hikers.

The Fair Share Storage system makes it easy to split the Telos between two hikers.

GOOD VENTILATION – Sea to Summit took extra care designing the ventilation on the Telos. The large sweeping Apex Vent at the top of the rainfly can be zipped open or closed depending on the weather. This vent in conjunction with the unique Baseline Vent on the flap of the rainfly creates an effective circulating draft for superior ventilation when you need it. The fly can also be folded up partially or fully to the center to provide airflow through the full mesh tent body, and it’s easy to deploy from this position should sudden bad weather creep up. Overall we found that the ventilation details on the Telos provided comfortable and practically condensation-free nights.

INNOVATIVE – We’ve already detailed many of the innovations of this tent – hangout mode, the Apex and Baseline vents, the rainfly clips, the upward sweeping Tension Ridge, and the Fair Share Storage sack – but it’s worth recounting them here because we’re truly impressed with the unique features. To add to that, one small thing that ended up being the feature we never knew we needed is the Lightbar. The stuff sack for the tent poles includes an opaque hard plastic piece. You clip the whole stuff sack with this piece into the top of your tent, slide your headlamp in, et voila – you have a beautiful overhead lighting fixture that perfectly disperses light through your tent at night.

The lightbar disperses a nice, soft light from your headlamp evenly throughout the Telos.

The lightbar disperses a nice, soft light from your headlamp evenly throughout the Telos.

LARGE DOORS – The doors on the Telos zip all the way up to the peak of the crossbar making the opening larger than many other backpacking tents. This makes things like organizing gear in your vestibule and putting on or removing shoes much easier and more comfortable.

The large doors on the Telos make it easy shuffle gear around without having to crane your neck.

The large doors on the Telos make it easy shuffle gear around without having to crane your neck.

CONS

EXPENSIVE – The Telos comes in at a pretty hefty price – it’s more spendy than most of our favorite backpacking tents. We say it’s still very worth considering if you spend a lot of time hanging out in your tent and want the superior headspace or if you’re taller and want to experience the pure bliss that is being able to sit up fully inside your tent.

The Telos is spendy, but it provides a lot of comfort.

The Telos is spendy, but it provides a lot of comfort.

FLOORSPACE – The floorspace of the Telos is nothing to write home about. It’s slightly smaller from head to foot than most of our other favorite tents, but the headroom really does give you a considerable amount more usable vertical space.

The floorspace of the Telos is enough room for two regular-sized sleep systems, but there’s not much space for other gear.

The floorspace of the Telos is enough room for two regular-sized sleep systems, but there’s not much space for other gear.

WEIGHT – The Telos is a little heavier than many of our favorite lightweight backpacking tents, but at 3 lbs. 9.8 oz. it’s still very manageable – especially when split between two hikers.

The Telos (front) and the Alto (back) are both great options for hikers looking for a tent with extra interior volume.

The Telos (front) and the Alto (back) are both great options for hikers looking for a tent with extra interior volume.

LOOKING TO GO A LITTLE LIGHTER?

The Sea to Summit Alto TR2 is very similar to the Telos 2, but it’s semi-freestanding which makes it weigh a little less (2 lbs. 15 oz.). The Alto still boasts an amazing amount of headroom – especially for a semi-freestanding tent – and the awesome ventilation features of the Telos. It weighs a little more than some of our other top semi-freestanding tent picks, like the NEMO Hornet 2 and the REI Quarter Dome SL 2, but it feels a lot more spacious thanks to its nearly vertical side walls. Like many other semi-freestanding tents, the floorspace is a little tight (but doable) for two hikers. We recommend the Alto for solo hikers looking for extra hangout space and a few nice creature comforts, or for two hikers looking to save weight who don’t mind sharing a tight space.

The Alto is lighter and bit smaller than the Telos.

The Alto is lighter and bit smaller than the Telos.

BOTTOM LINE

The unique features of the Sea to Summit Telos TR2 make it feel like a luxury, and we can’t rave enough about all of it’s glorious headroom. While it is a little spendy, the comfort it provides is worth the cost in our opinion. If you’re looking for a versatile 2-person backpacking tent with all of the details dialed in, the Telos may be just what you’re looking for.

More Telos Photos

MORE INFORMATION

We hope this review helps you determine if the Sea to Summit Telos TR2 is right for you. As always, please leave a comment below if you have any recommendations, questions, or suggestions or visit ourFacebook page andInstagram to join the community conversation. If you found this review helpful, please share on social media and click the little heart button below to give us a digital high five!

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