Sea to Summit Ikos TR 3 review in a sentence: spacious, easy-to-pitch two-person tent made from quality materials disguised as a 3-person tent. Slightly heavy for backpacking, but if inside space is your top priority, this is the tent for you.
Aussie brand Sea to Summit, as featured in T3's best backpacking tent guide, have added to their range of adventurous camping equipment with two tents aimed at car campers and beginner backpackers – the Ikos TR 2, sleeping two people, and the Ikos TR 3, sleeping three.
While these models are simply new takes on the ever-popular cross-pole dome tent design – the ‘TR’ in the tents’ name stands for ‘Tension Ridge’ – with an added third inverted pole that offers extra head height and breathability to the final structure. I tested out the larger of these two models to see if the Ikos TR 3 was, as Sea to Summit suggest, ideal ‘comfort-oriented backpacking and vehicle-supported camping’.
(First reviewed June 2023)
Sea to Summit Ikos TR 3 review: price and availbility
The Sea to Summit Ikos TR 3 was released in March 2023 and is available to buy now at Sea to Summit UK, Sea to Summit US and Sea to Summit AU for a recommended retail price of £525/ $529/ AU$ 850. The smaller 2-person version is lighter and cheaper at £425/ $429/ AU$ 700. The Ikos TR3 Bigfoot Footprint is sold separately for $70.
Sea to Summit Ikos TR 3 review: specifications
- Sleeps: 3
- Seasons: 3
- Design: two-skin
- Packed weight: 3,168 grams
- Packed size: 200 x 500 mm
- Floor area: 4.6 m2
- Peak height: 1,230 mm
- Waterproofing: Non-PFC waterproofing treatment
- Hydrostatic Head: 1,800mm
Sea to Summit Ikos TR 3 review: design and features
The Sea to Summit Ikos TR 3 doesn’t reinvent the wheel – this dome tent takes a mesh-lined inner tent, adds two crossed poles and pops a waterproof fly on top for a roomy and sturdy backpacking-style tent that’s easy to use and transport. What Sea to Summit do add to the classic dome design is an inverted pole over the top of the tent called a ‘Tension Ridge’, which adds extra internal height – while you can’t stand up in the Ikos 3, it’s definitely taller than your average dome tent, which comes in very handy for sorting kit or getting changed without feeling claustrophobic.
Plenty of vents and that extra height also keep condensation to a minimum inside the Ikos 3 and make the tent feel pleasingly breathable even on hot summer days. The inner tent, which can be used alone, is mesh-lined and lets in additional airflow but keeps mosquitos and midges firmly on the outside of the living space.
Step inside the tent through one of two roomy porches (there are two doors on the inner tent for easy sharing), and you’ll find lots of well-placed pockets, ideal for storing bits and bobs of kit. The ceiling of the tent has a clip for holding a camping lantern but other than that; the interior is a simple square space that will take three sleeping bags sardine-style or two bags with room for a kit.
We also liked the looks of the Ikos on test – the dark red inner tent looks very smart (and makes a nice change from garishly bright tent designs), and the forest green outer fly is ideal for wild camping, where it’s always a good idea to blend into your surroundings.
Sea to Summit Ikos TR 3 review: pitching and performance
The Ikos 3 comes in a stuff sack that’s a little too bulky and heavy at 3kg once packed to be suitable for proper backpacking trips – you’ll need to either split the tent between two people or pick something more lightweight if you’re going to be carrying it over long distances. For more casual car camping and pack camping, though, the Ikos is not prohibitively heavy and doesn’t take up much room in storage or in the boot of a car.
Pitching this tent is a cinch – lay out the inner tent and peg out the four corners, then clip in the two main poles. The Tension Ridge pole pops on top, and the outer flysheet is pegged out and ready all in a matter of minutes. The whole thing is easy and innovative to erect, even on your first go. You can also leave the inner mesh-lined tent pitched as a standalone tent on hot nights or for a spot of stargazing.
We tested out the Ikos TR 3 on a hot summer’s evening and found it breathable enough to keep us cool and comfortable, and we loved the roomy interior and insect-proof mesh lining. While we couldn’t test out this tent in really heavy rain, the flysheet’s waterproofing technology (which doesn’t use PFC - perfluorinated compounds, harmful chemicals for the environment) kept a light shower at bay brilliantly. What stood out while pitching, dismantling and using this tent was how solid and good-quality all the separate components of the Ikos 3 felt – unlike some dome tents we’ve tested, this solid structure feels like it should last for years.
Is this really a three-man tent? While three people could lay side by side, this design is definitely better suited for use as a really roomy tent for two people, as the double porches make it simple to get in and out in the night without waking your camping buddy, and there’s lots of room to store kit both inside the tent and in the porches. It’d be ideal for a weekend camping with a car or for more casual adventure camping when you’re bringing plenty of camping and cooking kits, or just for taking to a festival if you want a decent amount of storage space. The downside to the Ikos 3 is that it’s on the heavy side if you do want to head out on a more intrepid multi-day hiking or wild camping trip where keeping the weight of your pack down is essential.
Sea to Summit Ikos TR 3 review: verdict
The Sea to Summit Ikos TR3 ticks lots of boxes – it's easy to pitch and use, very comfortable to sleep in, is weatherproof and bugproof and isn't prohibitively bulky when you're on the go. It's a pity it's a shade too heavy to be a true backpacking tent, but if you already own a small featherweight backpacking tent and want something roomier to share with a buddy on more relaxed camps, this would be an excellent choice. Certainly one of the best tents for those wanting extra space in the tent without too much extra heft.
Sea to Summit Ikos TR 3 review: also consider
If you're after an actual 2-person tent with plenty of room, check out The North Face Trail Lite 2-Person Tent. It's an impressive lightweight backpacking tent with plenty of room for two people. It's also easy to assemble and dismantle, weatherproof and quick to dry. If you like the outdoors and prefer to travel light, buying this tent isn't an expense – it's an investment. And a good one at that. Read Matt's full The North Face Trail Lite 2-Person Tent review.
More expensive but much lighter and more suited for backpacking, the Sea to Summit Alto TR2 packs and is pitched easily and offers lots of space and ventilation. It's super lightweight, but it might be a bit of a squeeze for two people. Read my full Sea to Summit Alto TR2 tent review.
Want even less weight? Sierra Designs has done away with the added weight and faff of metal poles and designed a clever tent that stands up to the elements using just two trekking poles and some pegs. This is a niche design that won't suit everyone, but hardy hikers who value lightweight kits and who are heading out to tackle long distances will love it. Read my full Sierra Designs High Route 1 3000 1P tent review.