We’ve spent most of this season taking a minimalist approach in either a lightweight bivy bag or single skin tent, so it made for a nice change to receive a more comfortable option from Sea to Summit with their new and highly innovative Telos TR2 Plus tent.
Weighing in a just over 1.6 kg this is a freestanding, two-person, 3+ season shelter that, in pack size and weight, is very similar to the type of tents we use for our group expeditions. Although not the lightest tent compared to some modern standards, you are treated to a massive amount of internal space, dual vestibule, and plenty of interesting design features. With previous Sea to Summit gear we have received, we have always admired their approach of slightly tweaking classic designs, whilst keeping the core elements of the product.
The most notable aspect on the Telos TR2 Plus is the Tension Ridge Architecture that Sea to Summit claim “creates class-leading usable space, height and climate control.” The top section of the pole system is inverted which creates a ‘V’ shape, with a large top vent, that also maximises the internal height. Having adaptable ventilation at the highest point of a shelter makes a big difference, better managing condensation, with very little moisture noticeable on any outing.
Pitching will be a familiar process to anyone who has previously used a free-standing tent. There are several pitching options which include Dry Set-Up, Fly Only, Inner Only, Partial Fly, and Hang Out Mode. For use in the UK most will opt for what Sea to Summit refer to as the ‘Classic Mode.’ Pitching the inner first, attach the pole system, and then finish with the fly and guylines. This is a quick and easy process with the single piece DAC Featherlite NSL and Pressfit pole sections fitting neatly in place, and the easy-to-use Quick Connect Tent Feet providing a non-fiddly process with easy adjustments.
Once pitched, the Telos TR2 Plus is a very stable shelter which unfortunately is then let down by the included guylines. In a section of the peg bag are 4 guylines; 2 long and 2 short. The fly includes multiple guy loops that the Quick-connect V-toggles can attach to and release with ease. Our personal take is to have a shelter with guylines pre attached at all, if not the majority of available points so that you don’t have the unfortunate job of being woken up at 2am needing to swap around guylines in the dark due to a change in wind speed and direction. The cordage is also very thin making them difficult to adjust and overall, the length is shorter than we would like. Sea to Summit have obviously wanted to lower the weight in this area, and we have been told there is an option to purchase additional guylines, although for use in the UK purchasing and using a set of bulkier guylines significantly enhances the structure of the Telos TR2 Plus, and well worth a few extra grams. Strong 7075-T6 aluminium alloy Ground Control Light Tent Pegs are a decent inclusion, although to attach all guylines a few extra pegs need to be added to the set up.
Labelled as a 3+ season tent for use in the UK, the ‘Plus’ element in the name itself relates to the full fabric inner which provides better protection against the wind and cooler temperatures. During the higher windspeeds we encountered, the high bathtub floor and thicker wall fabric kept unwanted draughts from disturbing our sleep and once inside is a very pleasant place to be. The range of ventilation on the doors and ceiling meant we were able to adapt to differing conditions day-to-day, which is great when travelling through mixed environments.
We did have a few concerns about the top vent catching in the wind. With more use we found this only became a major issue if the windspeeds were particularly high, but does require some consideration for tent placement when pitching.
The 1200mm waterhead 15D fly is quite typical of kit manufactured in Australia, here in the UK the HH is low for our standards. This did initially cause some concern but after a few nights spent in heavy, persistent rainfall these fears started to ease, with the steep tent walls helping to quickly shed rainfall. One issue with the design we noticed was that if heavy rain was persistent, the ceiling vent needed to be closed to prevent droplets entering. The zipper only being accessible from the outside can make for an unwanted trip out if caught out by rain, and it would be a great option to be able to access this zipper from the inside.
Internally the Telos TR2 Plus for its weight to space ratio is probably the best we have used. The high vertical walls offer a great space that two people can comfortably use, both sit up inside, with plenty of pocket space and dual vestibules to store additional kit and offer easier access. The storage bags are designed to evenly split the weight carried which Sea to Summit call their “FairShare Storage System.” With each person carrying around 800 grams, this becomes a very light option for shorter trips away with a friend or partner.
Like with most tents of this style many will prefer to use the space for solo use with plenty of extra room to store kit and travel comfortably. The Telos TR2 Plus not only worked well for multi day high mountain wild camping, but came into its own for bikepacking and packrafting expeditions for which the extra space provided a great place to eat and organise kit.
Sea to Summit do have their little extras that they like to add in. The stuff sacs double up as extra pocket space, whilst the pole bag attaches to the ceiling to form a “Lightbar,” diffusing the light of a headtorch creating an even spread. Although this is an interesting idea from Sea to Summit, we didn’t use it as much as intended but admire their innovative approach.
As discussed earlier, there are many pitching options available, we wanted to try out some of them including the highly publicised Hangout Mode. “Easily convert the fly into a semi-open shelter with our patent-pending Hangout Mode—perfect for socialising, communal meals or getting out of the sun.” We tried this set up at home but found that we wouldn’t really have much need for this in practise when out in the hills. Once pitched (which does take a bit of time), there isn’t much protection from the elements, other than from the sun, so it would probably get more use in warmer climates than the UK.
Sea to Summit have certainly lived up to their reputation and have produced a fantastic tent with some innovative design features in the Telos TR2 Plus. Weighing in at just above 1.6 kg this certainly isn’t the lightest 2-person tent on the market but what you do get in return for those extra grams is a solid shelter with an abundance of internal space and dual vestibules, easily becoming one of the most comfortable tents we have used. Although very similar in style to many other freestanding tents the Tension Ridge Architecture is what sets it apart, offering increased internal height and improved ventilation, with very few condensation issues. Pitching is a familiar process for this style of tent with the single pole system and easy to attach Quick Connect Tent Feet, having the Telos TR2 Plus secure in just a few minutes. The Ground Control Guy Cords with quick-connect V-Toggles were neither long enough, nor that great to use. With the many guy attachment points available we would highly recommended adding your own, additional guylines to further enhance the overall structure, making it more able to handle the sudden change in weather conditions we often encounter in the UK.
Trek Scotland is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...