Best Camping Gear 2021 | 2021 Popular Mechanics Outdoor Awards Leave a comment

Best Backpacking Tent

Sea to Summit Telos TR2

Ultralight backpacking tents aren’t prized for their livability. Despite manufacturers’ best efforts, these pint-size shelters can get stuffy fast. Sea to Summit found another way in the Telos—part of the Australian outfit’s first line of tents—by rethinking traditional tent architecture.

The Telos’s V-shaped Tension Ridge pole, which supports the ceiling and fly, is a striking contrast to other ridge poles that curve down. By flipping the design, Sea to Summit achieves a relatively lofty 43.5-inch peak height that made the two-​person, 28-square-foot tent feel less cramped. The Tension Ridge also helps create the fly’s massive lofted ceiling vent, which—along with a vent on each vestibule—reduces condensation inside. In the company’s testing, the Telos had over 30% better airflow and at least 17% less humidity compared to other popular tents. We didn’t verify those numbers, but we didn’t wake up to find our duds had grown soggy overnight, either. 

Importantly, the unconventional construction is also strong. The 3.3-pound tent didn’t falter sans guy lines during a night of persistent gusts on an exposed hilltop. It’s a pricey shelter but worth it if you don’t want to sacrifice weight or comfort.

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