It’s reasonable to expect a few teething problems with a company’s new product, especially if it’s a category the brand hasn’t ventured into before. That’s what I expected when I first heard about the new Sea to Summit ultralight tents: the detached Telos and the slightly cheaper, semi-detached Alto† But the company, which typically makes outdoor gear bags, sleeping pads and camping cookware, came straight out of the box with some of the best tents on the market.
I tested the Alto TR1, but these are both high-end, lightweight tents aimed at backpackers who are willing to pay a premium to reduce their load and those who don’t mind being more careful with their gear than car campers.
Weighing in at 33 grams, the single Alto TR1 is one of the absolute lightest double-walled tents. It is a three season tent, so suitable for spring, summer and fall conditions. The inner wall is largely made of mesh, so you can zip the door shut in warm weather to keep the bugs out while still preventing the interior from becoming stuffy.
Above the sleeper’s head is a large vent in the outer wall that can be propped open or closed. For balmy nights it was good to ventilate the tent, although insects liked to crawl in and fly in and wander between the inner and outer walls of the tent. They couldn’t get into the actual tent as the inner wall was still closed so it wasn’t much of a problem other than seeing a bunch of mosquitoes hovering over me in the morning. I would have liked a mesh panel over the vent to prevent this.
The TR1 isn’t the only Alto tent. There is also the Alto TR1 Plus, which is called a “three season plus” tent. It adds 4 ounces and removes a lot of the mesh on the inner wall to handle colder temperatures. You can also find larger versions for two people: the TR2 and TR2 Plus†
Since it is a semi-detached tent, it is possible to largely set up the TR1 without pulling out and securing the guy ropes. For the most part. It will keep its general shape, but you’ll need to stake out certain corners of the tent to maximize interior space.
I brought the Alto TR1 to Hawaii on hikes along the Kalalau Trail on the Island of Kauai and the Muliwai Trail on the Island of Hawaii, otherwise known as the Big Island. In both places I camped along the water on the north coast and I was sometimes treated to raging winds and night storms.