It’s rare when a product is released and it completely changes how something is built. Most new products are very small iterations of previous versions.
Sea to Summit had never made a tent before but have completely changed what tents are capable of with the new Telos and Altos.
Known for their sleeping mats, dry bags and other camp and adventure accessories, Sea to Summit are now in the tent game. But they didn’t just launch with yet another average backpacking tent, they put some serious thought into it, completely rethinking tent design in the process.
The 2 person backpacking tent space is dominated by popular names like the MSR Hubba Hubba and the Big Agnes Copper Spur. The Telos is aimed right at the best in the game.
The Telos 2 and 3 person tents are the freestanding, larger version of the new tents. The Altos 1 and 2 are the lighter, semi-freestanding version.
Quick Specs for the Telos TR2
- $499 USD
- FairShare storage system
- Tension Bar
- Quick Connect Foot System
- Apex Vent
- Baseline Vents
- Hangout mode
- 28 sq ft floor space
- Vestibule area 19.5 sq ft
- 3 pounds 4.3 ounces
- 2 pounds 10.3 oz Fly + footprint pitch weight
New Features on the Telos 2
The Telos has a dual hub pole system that holds out the 4 corners of the fly like many lightweight backpacking tents. It also has a brow bar at the top which crosses the tent and holds up the fly and tent above the doors. But this one is different.
Most brow bars slope down to the outside. Just like in a house with a low sloped ceiling, it reduces usable space inside.
The brow bar on the Telos slopes up instead, lifting the sides of the tent, the fly and the side doors. This creates more vertical walls, bigger doors and more head and shoulder room inside. In a regular house this equates to full height ceilings all the way to the walls.
For taller people or when the weather sucks outside, it’s nice to have as much room as possible inside.
FairShare Storage System
With every backpacking tent I’ve had, I split up the body, fly and poles so they’re easier to pack. Then if I have another
sucker partner we can split up the tent parts to even out the load. This has always meant finding other stuff sacks and completing repacking the tent.
The Telos comes already split up into poles, body and fly in 3 separate packages. They clip together for easy storage but it’s quick to pull them apart. The stuff sacks hang inside the tent for storage and the package for the poles also converts to a fun surprise for inside.
I love when packaging or things you are already hauling on the trail can pull double duty. Sea to Summit have made the packaging for the poles turn into a lightbar for inside the tent.
White plastic wraps around the poles inside the pole bag while you’re hiking. In camp, snap the plastic tube to the roof of the tent and add a headlamp. The white plastic reflects headlamp light through the lighter side of the pole bag. Voila, diffused, hands-free lighting for the whole tent. No blasting your tent-mate in the face with a headlamp.
It takes a bit of practice to get the headlamp in the right place but if you’re going to be in the tent for a while, it’s nice to not have to control your headlamp.
Quick Connect Foot System
Most tents have some sort of snap or buckle at the corners to hold the tent fly on. Some have a hole that slips around the tent pole. Both these attachments work great when the weather is warm and dry. When it’s cold, you have gloves on and everything’s covered in mud or sand, snaps and buckles can be hard to operate.
The Quick Connect Foot System on the Telos is a c-shaped piece of metal that wraps around the corners of the tent. Instead of having to line up two sides of a buckle, just slide the c-shaped clip around the corner of the tent, tighten and it’s done, gloves or not.
Apex and Baseline Vents
Condensation can be a problem in wet conditions. If your gear or sleeping bags are pressed up against the side of the tent then you’ve got wet gear.
Air flow can solve this but most tents have limited air flow. The fly is tied down tight to prevent water from getting in but it also prevents it from getting out.
The Telos combats this with a massive top vent called the Apex vent, made possible by the upward sloping Tension Ridge. One hole doesn’t make good airflow so they added the Baseline Vents, flipping up the bottom of the vestibules.
Tents aren’t huge inside. Sometimes you’re looking for a dry or shaded area with a bit more space.
With the Telos hang-out mode, the fly and poles tip up to make a spacious shelter with sticks or trekking poles. Lower the shelter and convert back to tent mode for sleeping or keep it tipped up to stay out of the sun.
Stuff Sack Storage
The stuff sacks from the body and fly can hang up in the corners of the tent with tiny snaps. Hang both in 1 corner with 1 snap each or hang 1 in each corner with 2 snaps each. You’re already carrying the stuff sacks so now they get to earn their keep.
Price is on the high side
Premium tents cost a bit more. The Telos competes with high end brands and tents like the MSR Hubba Hubba Big Agnes Copper Spur.
$499 USD is on the premium side for a 2 person tent but the quality and features goes along with it. DAC poles, ultralight materials and all the features that the Telos comes with is certainly worth the price for the right user.
A bit heavier
With all the features and size inside, the Telos ends up being a bit heavier than ultralight options. Compared to other premium 2-person options with a bit more space like the Hubba Hubba and Copper Spur, it’s right in line and great for most backpackers.
At 1.48 kg (3 pounds 4.3 ounces) it’s not heavy. The FairShare packing system, adds a touch of weight but makes it far easier to split up.
One of my favourite tents ever, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX, weighs a little bit more at 1.58 kg (3 pounds 8 oz).
Another similar tent, the Big Agnes Copper Spur, weighs just 1.22 kgs (2 pounds 11 oz).
Who is this good for?
The Telos 2 is perfect for those looking for a nicer 2 person tent that provides a lot of extra space inside. The FairShare system, Lightbar, Quick Connect Foot System and hangout mode all make living in and with your tent so much better. In awful weather, comfortable space inside the tent is worth it’s weight in gold.
If you need very comfortable tent that’s easy to carry and comes with many new features that won’t come in any other tents, the Telos might be your best bet.