With an innovative design, a solid fabric inner and plenty of headroom, Chris Townsend puts the Sea to Summit Alto TR2 Plus top of the leaderboard in his review of two-person tents.
Sea to Summit has a reputation for innovative designs. They’ve done it with sleeping mats and sleeping bags and now with tents too. The key feature is called Tension Ridge Architecture. What that means is that the ridge pole that goes over the hub pole is curved upwards instead of downwards to create excellent headroom, steep walls and big porches. There are also large vents at each end of the ridge pole, right at the high points to let out the maximum moist warm air and cut down condensation. The main pole comes down to the ground at one end and forms a Y at the other, wider one.
The inner clips on to the poles and the standard way to pitch the tent is inner- first. It can be pitched in four other ways as well, including fly-first for when it’s wet. The manual that comes with the tent is the most detailed I’ve seen, giving clear instructions for each pitching method.
The Alto TR2 Plus has a solid fabric inner – that’s the Plus in the name (the Alto TR2 has a mesh inner). This means it offers a bit more protection and should be warmer than tents with mostly mesh inners. The hydrostatic head of the groundsheet is on the low side but so far it hasn’t leaked when pitched on wet ground. I’d be inclined to use a footprint for long trips though.
Headroom is the best – just – of all the tents, and inner space is excellent overall. There are two doors and two big porches for easy access for both occupants, with ample room for storing gear and cooking.
A neat touch is a pole bag that doubles as a ceiling-mounted light diffuser for a headlamp.
The Alto TR2 is an ultralight tent with masses of room that performs well. I’d like to see a groundsheet with a better hydrostatic head; but even so the combination of weight, performance and price make it my Best Buy.