Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Tent Review | First Look

New Innovative Design challenges Big Agnes Copper Spur & MSR Hubba Hubba

Two years in development, and a lot of innovative engineering make the new Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Tent arguably the most innovative and fully featured ultralight tent on the market. In particular its new Tension Ridge architecture greatly increases internal volume creating more vertical walls and more livable space than either the  Big Agnes Copper Spur or the MSR Hubba Hubba. In addition, it has great ventilation/condensation control, and a number of innovative pitching options.

Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Tent Review showing huge internal volume

New Tension Ridge architecture (upswept crossbar in picture) creates more internal volume and livability (much more shoulder and head room) than the Big Agnes Copper Spur and MSR Hubba Hubba.


Overview Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Tent

The innovative Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Tent is clearly targeted in a big way to take on the two heavyweights in the UL Tent Market, the Big Agnes Copper Spur and MSR Hubba Hubba. With its key new design features we think the Telos TR2 is a bonafide contender to take on both these tents and gain its own fair share of the popular and highly contested Ultralight Tent Market. Some highlights of the Telos TR2 Tent include:

  1. More internal volume, more vertical walls and more livable space due to the ingenious engineering of its new Tension Ridge architecture.
  2. A multitude of pitching options give the tent a lot of versatility to adapt to many situations. We particularly like the rolled back rainfly pitch.
  3. Improved ventilation and condensation management, including a huge Apex Vent in the tent roof.
  4. Lots of nice touches like a pole stuff sack that doubles as a light diffuser (for your headlamp) on the roof of the tent, and an innovative pole tip connector system.

* The tents will be on sale for pre-order starting on March 15th, shipping on May 1.


Looking for More?

Check out our Best Backpacking Tents 2021 | Lightweight & Ultralight for a complete overview of the best tents on the market including the competition for the Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Tent. In particular:

Single Wall Tents | 1.2 lb to 2.6 lb | $260 – $680
Single-walled tents are quickly rising in popularity. In fact, some single-walled tent brands are now more popular than well known double walled tent brands. This makes sense, as a single-walled tent has most of the benefits of a double-walled tent, but for much less weight.

Traditional Lightweight Backpacking Tents | 2.5 to 3.5 lb oz | $350 to $450
The 1st choice for many backpackers, these are the “classic,” full-featured, easy-to-set up tents most hikers are familiar with. Carefully selected, the tents in this guide are lighter than most backpacking tents while still being storm-worthy and bug-proof.


Sea to Summit Telos TR2 tent


Full Review/First Look Video of Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Tent

If a picture is worth 1,000 words what is a comprehensive video of the tent review worth? There’s stuff in here that we can’t begin to cover in words.


Key Specs | Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Tent

MSRP: $499
WEIGHT: 3.26 lbs
HIGHLIGHTS: Tension Ridge architecture for more peak height, vertical walls & more livable area; great condensation management; a multitude of pitching options
FEATURES: 2 person | 3 season | Double Walled, Dome | Freestanding
AREA: Interior: 28.2 ft2 | Vestibule: 19.3 ft2
AREA/POUND: 14.5 ft2/lb



Key Design Features | Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Tent

  1. Internal Volume & Livability | Tension Ridge architecture creates more internal volume and livability (much more shoulder and head room) than the Big Agnes Copper Spur and MSR Hubba Hubba. And some of the better storage loft and pocket options we’ve seen in a tent.
  2. Multiple Pitching Options | The Telos 2 can be pitched and configured in more ways than any tent we know. A few of these include:
    1. An innovative pitch with the rain fly fully or partially rolled back for great views and ventilation. But the fly can then be unrolled and deployed in an instant for full rain protection.
    2. A pitch with just the rain fly that does not require a footprint or any extra straps (the tent’s multi-function connectors are key for this)
    3. When setting up in a rain store, the ability to pitch rain fly FIRST — allowing you to have a dry inner tent.
    4. A shade awning configuration, “hangout mode,” turns the rain fly into a pseudo gazebo.
  3. Ventilation & Condensation Management | There’s no getting around the laws of physics. When it’s cold and humid condensation builds up and is going to be an issue in any tent. That being said, proper ventilation is the single best way to deal with it. The more ventilation the better:
    1. The huge ceiling vent (Apex Vent on the Telos TR2 combined with their under vestibule for vent moves a lot of air keeping the inside of the tent drier.
    2. And again we are huge fans of using the rain fly in fully rolled back or partially rolled back mode (as much as possible, when the precip allows). This is the best possible way to prevent condensation.
  4. Tons of Nice Touches | like a pole stuff sack, Lightbar™ that doubles as a light diffuser (for your headlamps) on the roof of the tent, and an innovative pole tip connector system, tent & rainfly stuff sacks clip to inside of tent to create more pockets, tent comes with 3 stuff sacks (poles, tent body,  and rain fly) to make it super easy to store the tent (FairShare Storage System).


Pros

The new and innovative design of the Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Tent give us a lot of Pros to cover.


Sea to Summit Telos TR2 tension ridge


Internal Volume & Livability

New Tension Ridge architecture (upswept crossbar in picture) creates more internal volume and livability (much more shoulder and head room) than the Big Agnes Copper Spur or the MSR Hubba Hubba. And some of the best storage loft and pockets we’ve seen in a tent. This may be the most livable tent in the 3 pound range.



Apex Vent on the Sea 2 Summit TR2 Telos


Better Condensation Management

There’s no getting around the laws of physics. When it’s cold and humid condensation build up is going to be an issue in any tent. That being said, proper ventilation is the single best way to deal with it. The more ventilation the better. The huge ceiling vent (Apex Vent) on the Telos TR2 combined with their under vestibule for vent (Baseline Vent on bottom of the tent) moves a lot of air keeping the inside of the tent drier.



Rolled up rainfly on the Telos TR2 tent


Quick Deploy RainFly Mode

We are huge fans of using the rain fly fully or partially rolled back (as much as possible, when the precip allows). This is the best possible way to prevent condensation. But if it suddenly starts to rain, you can deploy the rainfly in seconds — you really can have your cake and eat it too!



Telos TR2 Quick Connect Foot System


Quick Connect Foot System

This innovative connector for the poles, tent body, rainfly and staking-out the tent is the key to making many of the Telos great pitching options possible. It might be the best tent multi connector we’ve seen to date. Among other things it allows you to easily pitch a rainfly without needing a footprint or any system of supporting straps.



Rainfly doubles as interior pocket in the Telos TR2 tent


Great Storage and Pockets

We love the huge (optional) gear loft for the tent. And of course the rainfly and tent body stuff sacks clip to the interior of the tent for additional pockets (pictured). These when combined with the mesh pockets on the tent body create a lot of internal storage. And lots of interior pockets create more livable space since you don’t have to spread your gear all over the floor of the tent.



Sea to Summit Altos TR2 Tent


The Lighter Alto TR2 Version is only 2.5 Pounds!

There is an even lighter version of this tent: the Alto TR2 is only 2.5 pounds. Like the Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2 it is semi-freestanding — you have to stake out the corners at the front of the tent (not a big deal for us). But this saves you 3/4 of a pound, making the tent a few ounces lighter than the Big Agnes Copper Spur while still retaining almost all the desirable features in the Telos TR 2 Tent.



Interior of Telos TR2 Tent

Lots of vertical space in the Telos TR2. And you can see the LightBarTM at the top of the tent.



CONs & Recommendations for Improvement

Below we suggest some change to the Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Tent to make it even better


  • Weight: At 3.25 lb the Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Tent is a few ounces lighter than the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2P but it’s 1/2 pound heavier than the Big Agnes Copper Spur. All those features do have a weight downside. We leave it up to the reader to determine if this is a good tradeoff or not. And as noted above the Sea to Summit Alto TR2 tent is only 2.5 pounds while retaining all the key features of the Telos TR2.
  • Tent Floor Likely Needs a Footprint: this is the downside of the light tent floor. Fortunately this is inexpensively dealt with for a minimal weight increase. We suggest getting a few $12 Gossamer Gear Polycro Footprints when buying the tent. The advantage is that your tent floor is protected and will not wear out.
  • Decent but not phenomenal wind resistance: tested to 30 mph winds is middle of the pack for tents in this class. E.g. the SlingFin Portal is far more stormworthy while weighing 1/2 pound less.


Competition for the Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Tent

The most comparable tents by design are fully double-walled, freestanding tents for two people. And we address them below:


Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent


Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent

Compared to the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent, the Telos AR2 has more internal volume (livable space above floor level) and many more pitching options. In non-driving rain one could argue that the Copper Spur with both awnings open might have better ventilation and condensation management. But as soon as the rain comes in hard and sideways the Telos will do a better job of ventilation and condensation management. The Copper Spur has the edge on stock pockets for the body of the tent. Finally and this is a big one, the Copper Spur is 1/2 pound lighter than the Telos for essentially the same floor area. In the end this comes down to a weight vs. features decision.



MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Tent


MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Tent

Compared to the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Tent, the Telos TR2 excels in most areas. It’s a few ounces lighter, has more livable area, more area to weight (by a slim margin), better ventilation and condensation control, and far more pitching options. The main advantage of the MSR Hubba Hubba is that it is a slightly more durable tent. E.g. its 30d tent floor can be used most places without a footprint or protective ground cloth.



SlingFin Portal Tent


SlingFin Portal Tent

While the Telos TR2 may have the edge on pitching options and ventilation, it likely ends there. The SlingFin Portal Tent is 1/2 a pound lighter and tremendously more wind-resistant and storm-worthy — essentially a 4 season tent at 3 season weight. A margin of safety and protection that most 3-season, double-walled backpacking tents like the Sea to Summit Telos TR2 or Big Agnes Copper Spur can’t provide. And the SlingFin Portal’s crossbar, similar to the Telos TR2’s Tension Ridge provides more vertical walls and more volume in the tent. But you can anchor your trekking poles to the ends of the Portal’s crossbar creating a bomber structure to withstand both wind and snow loads.



Conclusion

Two years in design, the Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Tent is likely the most innovative and best engineered ultralight backpacking tent to date — albeit not the lightest. It features more livable volume (volume in the tent above the floor) vs. tents like the Big Agnes Copper Spur or MSR Hubba Hubba. It does a great job of condensation management with crossflow from the Baseline Vent on bottom of the tent to up and out via the large Apex Vent at the top of the tent. Finally it has more adaptability and pitching options than any tent we have tested. A few of these pitches we really love, specifically the rolled up Quick Deploy RainFly Mode.

On the downside there are lighter tents. At 3.25 pounds the Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Tent is on the heavier end of freestanding ultralight tent spectrum — ½ pound heavier than the Big Agnes Copper Spur for approximately the same floor area (but a few ounces lighter than the MSR Hubba Hubba). We leave it up to the reader to determine if the increase in features is worth the additional weight.

Alto TR2 Tent is only 2.5 pounds!

On the bright side, The Alto TR2 version of this tent is only 2.5 pounds. Like the Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2 it is semi-freestanding — you have to stake out the corners at the front of the tent (not a big deal for us). But this saves you 3/4 of a pound, making the tent a few ounces lighter than the Big Agnes Copper Spur while still retaining almost all the desirable features of the Telos TR 2 Tent. Unfortunately the Alto TR2 was not available to test but we’re guessing it will be our favorite Sea to Summit tent. Stay tuned for a review once we manage to obtain one to test.



Full Specs | Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Tent

  • MSRP: $499
  • People: 2 or 3
  • Season: 3 season
  • Doors: 2
  • Vestibules: 2
  • Freestanding + Hangout Mode – adaptability with the Telos rainfly
  • Tension RidgeTM – allowing more internal living space, higher doors, and best in class ventilation
  • Apex and Baseline VentTM – Allowing cross-ventilation and climate adaptability.
  • LightBarTM + FairShare System – modular stuff sacks for tent distribution and organization
  • Minimal Trail Weight (Fly + Inner + Poles only): 52.2oz / 3.26lbs
  • Packed weight (Above + pegs, stuff sacks, guy lines): 58.2oz / 3.64 lbs
  • Floor Area: 28.2ft2
  • Vestibule Area: 19.3ft2
  • Ridge Height: 3 feet 4” (2p) / 3 feet 5” (3p)
  • Door Height: 3 feet 7” (2p) / 3 feet 10” (3p)
  • Fly Material: 15D Nylon
  • Fly Waterhead: 1,200mm – 1,500mm
  • Floor Material: 20D Nylon
  • Floor Waterhead: 2,500mm – 8,000mm
  • Tent Color: Grey (sil-PeU)

Find the Complete Spec’s On Sea To Summit’s Website here



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