The outdoor gear maker from down under has turned its hand to making tents, and we’re impressed. We’ve added Sea to Summit tents to our range for this season, let’s take a quick look at what they are like, and if they could be right for you.
Together with the existing Alto and Telos models, for 2023 they have also added the bigger base camp Ikos models. Well reviewed and field tested, we pitched several models at our Bristol tent show in 2022 and got some great staff and customer feedback.
So, why did we choose to stock them?
All the tents are made with clever pole designs to give you maximum space for minimum packs size and weight in their respective categories. We carry the 3 season Plus models in the Telos and Alto with more robust floors and solid fabric inners* with venting options. This adds to the weight but makes them more suitable for 3 season use in the UK.
*the amount of mesh fabrics used on the inner of backpacking tents makes a difference to the use in cooler months. Lots of mesh is great for warm summer nights, but less so for UK weather when it’s cooler or windy. This saves weight over solid fabrics but for a “3 season” spec tent we’d choose smaller vents to aid airflow rather than large panels of mesh as this gives the right balance between weight and comfort.
First up, let’s start with the Alto tents, the lightest options in the range designed for Ultralight backpacking and bikepacking. When you have seen the amount of space on offer, especially the head height, you will be amazed when you see the pack size and weight of these tents at 1.2 kg for the 1 person and 1.34 kg for the 2 person.
The Fly sheet is a crazy light 15 denier nylon with a Silicone and PeU. Sea to Summit use PeU not PU, PeU is a more durable coating that will not degrade as fast as PU. After coating the fabric, it has a HH* of 1200 mm which might sound low, but because of the quality of the fabric and coating used it will stay at this level longer than a much cheaper fabric which might have a higher rating but degrades quickly. The floor is a 20D** fabric with the same coating and is more waterproof with a 2500 mm HH. This can be boosted with a footprint made from the same fabric, which will also protect from sharp objects and abrasion.
*HH means hydrostatic head: Hydrostatic head is a measure of the waterproofing of a fabric. In simple terms, the higher the number, the more waterproof a fabric is.
**D – means denier: simply put this is a measure of the thickness of the fabric, you may see it mentioned on rucksacks or clothing. e.g a pack like this has a 500d base fabric for super tough abrasion resistance, a tough mountain Gore-Tex jacket could have an 80D fabric on shoulders. At 15D the fly fabric used on these tents is light!
Pitching & inside the Alto tents
The tent is super easy to pitch with its hubbed pole, which was co-developed by DAC, the specialist pole maker used by pretty much every premium tentmaker. With input from DAC, they have been able to make a really strong and spacious tent using a mix of different pole types and what they call the Tension Ridge.
The tent is freestanding, but does require the porch pegging out. A useful feature for backpacking is the fair share pack bag, which splits the tents into 3 bags which can be carried by different people, great for spreading the load. We also really love the pole bag, which doubles as a giant diffuser for a head torch and clips into the roof of the tent, making it a really nice place to be after dark. The tent is really well vented in the roof as well
The Telos Plus Tents
The Telos Plus Tents are a roomier, more durable option. Made with the same Fly sheet fabric as the Alto but with a 30d floor fabric that measures a 8000mm HH.
This tent is also freestanding. Pitching inner first, and utilising the tension ridge system, the inner requires no pegs to pull out into shape. This gives the tent loads of interior head height and walls closer to vertical, making it feel even roomier. We really like the massive vent in the top of this tent, as it is fully adjustable. This allows you to easily control the climate in the tent, either letting hot air and condensation out. Or you can batten it down on cold or windy nights.
You get the same clever pack you can split out and turn into a lightbar and storage pockets on the inner. This is perhaps a better option tent if comfort and space is a consideration over weight. We also stock the big foot groundsheet for the Telos tents which covers the porch area as well, protecting your gear from the wet ground and keeping condensation levels down
Finally the Telos can be pitched outer only, perhaps for an uberlight summer trip and also in “hang out mode” as a shelter, good for a group wilderness trip perhaps.
New model for 2023; the Ikos tents
The Ikos tents are new for this season, and use the same clever “tension ridge” pole design. With a spec aimed at entry point adventure with a more affordable price, the Ikos tents are bigger inside than the other tents but a bit heavier. Still great for backpacking for maybe for shorter trips where weight isn’t such an issue or compact car camping.
These have a full mesh inner, great for warm summer nights as the ventilation is excellent, but might be a bit chilly on colder nights. Fabric wise, the fly is a 68D ripstop polyester fabric with the same PeU coating found on the other models, but they lose the silicon coating on the outside. The fabric spec is a 1800mm HH fly and the floor is 4000mm HH.
The Ikos is rectangular rather than tapered, so there is plenty of room inside to get changed and move around, even when sharing the tent. The inner also has plenty of storage, including a gear loft, which is perfect for keeping gear off the floor but organised and in reach.
The tents are new for this season, we’ll share more info on the Ikos in an upcoming blog and video, so look out for a more in depth review coming soon.
So to wrap up, we have a great selection of tents from Sea to Summit. We’ve sold gear from them for many years and know the quality is there from the popular sleeping mats and bag range.
From the tent collection, whether you are going ultra light Solo with the Alto 1, want room while backpacking with a friend in the Telos 2, or are looking for a quality tent for weekends away with the Ikos 3 it’s worth checking them out. Watch out for more content on these tents on our YouTube channel and here on the blog to share more review and staff thoughts.