Just how good can a tent get? James’ experience with Sea to Summit’s new Telos TR2 tent showed just how much of a difference good design makes.


I’ve got a mate who reckons ‘a tent’s a tent’s a tent, mate’ – by which he means that any tent works and they’re all essentially the same once your eyes are closed. 

I disagree. Even when your eyes are closed, the tent you’re sleeping in matters: condensation when you wake up? Doors for that mid-night ‘dang I drank too much’ moment? 

And then when your eyes are open, your tent is your home. You want it spacious, intuitive, well-thought out and with good ventilation.

Obviously tents matter, and some tents are better than others – that’s why I wrote this piece about how to choose a hiking tent. It’s also why some tents even win special awards. Use a bad tent, and you’ll definitely agree – a tent is not a tent is not a tent.

So when I heard that Sea to Summit’s new Telos TR2 had won Backpacker Magazine’s Editors’ Choice 2021 and Outdoor’s Editors’ Choice 2021, I knew that a fair few people thought this tent was something swell. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

Coming from Sea to Summit, my expectations were already high: Sea to Summit is an Australian brand repping on the international stage as a pioneer in quality gear for all your adventures. And all those desirable features I just listed in a tent? Yeah, well the Telos TR2 is oozing them.

Sea to Summit’s Telos TR2 Tent Is Adaptable for Any Adventure, James Tugwell - Sponsored, Sea To Summit, pretty Beach, Pebbly Beach

Key Features:

  • Spacious – vertical walls and headspace galore
  • FairShare storage and Hangout mode; perfect for adaptability
  • Ventilation to the max

The Tension Ridge System Creates Headroom

Most dome tents follow the same arch shape: they’re far wider at the base, and narrower at the top. You can sit up – but only if your butt is perfectly below the middle of the tent, otherwise you’ve got to work those abs when leaning backwards.

The Telos TR2 is different, because of Sea to Summit’s Tension Ridge architecture. Where the cross-pole over the door in most tents angles down, the Tension Ridge cross pole angles up. It means the walls don’t trace the traditional arch shape, but are almost vertical.

The tent becomes more box-like, and way more spacious. The lowest point in the roof of the tent becomes the middle, and the highest point is directly above where you actually sit while you’re sitting up in your sleeping bag. Makes sense right? The result? Headroom to the max.

Higher ceilings also means higher doors, and getting in and out of the Telos TR2 is easier because the door zipper extends the full height of the tent. This also makes for larger vestibules – which are easier to organise and access.

All this combines to make the Telos TR2 one of the most liveable lightweight tents around.



Ventilation Baby, Let’s Keep That Air Moving!

While we’re talking about high doors and ceilings, you can’t go past high vents. Hot air rises, so why are most tent vents (is that term trademarked yet?) not right at the top? 

Thankfully the folks at Sea to Summit have changed that with the Apex Vent (assume that’s trademarked) in the Telos TR2. The Tension Ridge pole setup creates space for ventilation at the top of the tent, plus a zipper on the inner allows you to change ventilation according to the conditions. The Baseline Vent on the bottom of the rainfly allows you to create a cross breeze when you need it.

Sleeping beside the beach on the humid NSW south coast, I was pleasantly surprised to be condensation-free.

Sea to Summit’s Telos TR2 Tent Is Adaptable for Any Adventure, James Tugwell - Sponsored, Sea To Summit, pretty Beach, Pebbly Beach

Versatility – Because No Two Adventures Are The Same

When I first opened the box containing the Sea to Summit Telos TR2, I was surprised to find three separate bags – a fly, inner and the pole bag, that also housed the pegs. Where was the big bag to put everything in? 

It doesn’t exist. It’s part of the FairShare storage system, making it easier to decide last minute what elements of the tent you need.

The inner and the fly bags both have pockets which slide onto the end of the pole bag, creating a tent-like bundle (13 x 13 x 48 cm).

If you decide last minute the weather is glorious and you don’t need the fly, just slide it off – no need to unpack everything and fiddle around unwinding the tightly-compressed cylinder of fabric that you meticulously folded on your lounge-room floor, to figure out which is the fly and which the inner. 


Sea to Summit’s Telos TR2 Tent Is Adaptable for Any Adventure, James Tugwell - Sponsored, Sea To Summit, pretty Beach, Pebbly Beach


It also makes dividing the weight of the tent up between backpacks effortless. The fly and inner bags clip into the corners of the interior of the tent as storage pockets – minimising weight, maximising function.

Oh and that pole bag I mentioned – clip it to the ceiling with the accompanying cloudy plastic bar, throw a torch in one end, and you’ve got yourself a lantern-like Lightbar (the Sea to Summit feature I never knew I needed but now cannot live without).

When it comes to versatility, you can’t go past the Telos TR2’s Hangout mode. Using the Hangout pole set (or just two hiking poles), the tent fly can be set up as a semi-open shelter – for shade at your lunch spot in the high-country, or sitting under when unexpected rain comes in the evening (allowing you to actually hang out with the people you went hiking with).  Best of all, this doesn’t require any changing of the existing tent set up – no untying and retying guylines, nor unclipping velcro.

Sea to Summit’s Telos TR2 Tent Is Adaptable for Any Adventure, James Tugwell - Sponsored, Sea To Summit, pretty Beach, Pebbly Beach

So what kind of adventures is the Telos TR2 suitable for? Well… pretty much everything within the three-seasons for one or two people. It’s lightweight and incredibly packable, it’s super adaptable and fabulously spacious. I’ve used it for car camping, hiking, and as a day-shelter in hangout mode.

Quick and Easy To Set Up

The poles and clips are colour coded, which makes setting up the Telos TR2 simple. Some modern tents have a right-way-up pole system – so you try to attach the top of the inner tent to the poles only to find the clip on the poles facing upwards, forcing you to start again. 

The Telos TR2 avoids this problem: the central Tension Ridge pole spins around – it’s always the right way up. There’s no trick for new players. 

The Quick Connect clip system for attaching the fly is different to traditional tents, but quick and strong and makes detaching the fly a breeze. Breeze? Don’t worry, the clips are quick to attach if the wind catches you out.

By The Numbers – Tech Specs of the Telos TR2

So what about the tech specs? The Telos TR2 is full of features, but no one wants those features to add up to excess weight. Luckily the Telos TR2 weighs in at a very acceptable 1.4kg if you’re carrying the inner, fly, pegs and poles.

The ground control light tent pegs aren’t your normal tent peg, either – I didn’t know tent pegs could be improved until Sea to Summit went and did it. They always take something that works and make it so much better, leaving me wondering how no one ever thought of something so practical and obvious before. These pegs have multiple notches to really pin your tent down. 

Meanwhile the tent floor has a 2500mm hydrostatic head rating – good for most conditions, and a groundsheet is available for particularly wet conditions. The poles are DAC Featherlite NSL poles – known for being the best available for stable, strong and lightweight poles.


Sea to Summit’s Telos TR2 Tent Is Adaptable for Any Adventure, James Tugwell - Sponsored, Sea To Summit, pretty Beach, Pebbly Beach

When can I take a Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Out For A Spin?

A tent’s not just a tent and the Sea to Summit Telos TR2 is definitely not your average tent. It’s award winning for a reason and in Aus it’ll handle just about any adventure. Get your now.