Seek Outside Eolus Tent Review (2P)

The Seek Outside Eolus Tent with Nest is a 36.9 oz-tent that pitches with two trekking poles. It is very large for such a lightweight two-person tent, making it extremely livable and comfortable, especially for taller individuals, or people who have to pack a lot of gear. The tent has a unique zipperless door that opens and closes by sliding it up and down a guyline. This design makes it perfect for desert environments where zippers often fail as a result of sand. As is usually the case with Seek Outside products, the design of this tent is above and beyond what anyone else in the industry is doing. I salute their creativity as it pushes the backpacking industry forward.

Specs at a Glance

  • Capacity: 2 person
  • Type: Double-wall trekking pole tent
  • Doors: 2
  • Canopy weight: 18 oz
  • Nest weight: 18.9 oz
  • Trail weight canopy and nest (no stakes): 36.9 oz
  • Total weight with 8 MSR Groundhog stakes, guylines, and seam sealing: 42 oz claimed (50 oz measured)
  • Minimum number of stakes to pitch: 6 (8 recommended)
  • Interior peak height: 50”
  • Nest length: 90”
  • Nest Width: 50”
  • Canopy Entryway height: 29”
  • Three Variants Available: 30d Silnylon, or 30d Silnylon w/ PU, or 0.8 oz/sq yd Dyneema Composite Fabric
  • Guy lines and tensioners: Included
  • Construction: Sewn
  • For complete specs, see Seekoutside.com

Living Space

The size of the Eolus is one of its best features. It’s described as a two-person tent, but it’s significantly larger than many two-person tents I’ve used. With a length of 90” and a width of 50” I’d almost call it a two-and-a-quarter-person tent, which is really the size all two-person tents should be. Two people and a 27 lb dog fit very well inside with room to spare. The gigantic vestibules contribute to this tent’s amazing livability. Cooking in the doorways is a real pleasure. As well, tents with two doors and two vestibules are more livable than tents with one front entry door.

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Eolus in the High Uintas.
Eolus in the High Uintas.

The Zipperless Door

The door of the Eolus is the second thing that makes this tent really compelling. Before this tent came out I remember saying out loud on multiple occasions, “Why doesn’t someone make a tent without a zipper?!” I am so sick of sand getting stuck in my zipper coils and wearing out my sliders. So naturally, when the Eolus was released I pretty much bought it instantly.

The Eolus door cleverly slides open and closed along a guyline running through small plastic rings sewn to the middle seam of the door. Two back-to-back 3mm linelocs hold the door very securely open or closed. All I can say is that I’m very, very impressed with how well this design works. If you’re looking for a moderately light two-person tent without a zipper, this door is almost reason enough to purchase this tent.

The door cleverly utilizes two back-to-back linelocs to hold the door open or closed without the need for a zipper
The door cleverly utilizes two back-to-back linelocs to hold the door open or closed without the need for a zipper

Because a lot of material is needed to adequately bunch up high enough to make the door passable, this door design results in a very large vestibule. This feature is fine by me! The only downside is that the design inhibits the view of the sky.

The nest has two doors making access easy for both occupants.
The nest has two doors making access easy for both occupants.

Nest/Modularity

The Eolus Tarp can be used with or without the Nest, to shave weight, at the expense of some comfort.  The Eolus Nest is a built for durability which is going to either be exactly what you want or perceived as overkill. The materials, craftsmanship, shape, and size are all good. But it could use a few tweaks. For example, the nest doors should really include pull tabs for ease of use and the door should be rounded a bit on top to put less pressure on the zippers.

My modification to allow the nest to attach to the tarp with mitten hooks.
My modification to allow the nest to attach to the tarp with mitten hooks.

I’d also prefer it if the nest attached directly to the tarp instead of needed to be staked out separately. I modified my Eolus to work this way. I attached small pieces of shockcord to the tarp and on the nest and attached guylines with mitten hooks on the end. It’s easy to adjust bathtub height and the shockcord is forgiving. The mitten hooks allow the nest to be unclipped easily so either the tarp or nest can be pitched alone. Using my suggestion, the height of the tarp can be adjusted, and then the relative height of the bathtub floor can be adjusted to accommodate those different pitch-heights.

Another thing that could make the nest more user-friendly would be some way to quickly unclip the guyline from the peaks of the tarp and clip it to the peaks of the nest for clear, starry nights.

It’s true, you can make these mods yourself with little effort, but it’d be nice if they were available out of the box.

The Eolus is big enough for two adults and a 27 lb fruit bat.
The Eolus is big enough for two adults and a 27 lb fruit bat.

Details

The Eolus Tarp requires a minimum of six stakes to set up the tarp but is more secure with eight. Four more stakes are recommended but not mandatory for the inner. The inner guylines can be attached to the same stakes the canopy is attached to.

This tent comes in either a 30d dark green or brown silnylon or a 30d sage green silnylon with some PU in it. A 0.8oz Dyneema DCF version is also available. I went with the sage green with the added PU. Since I will be using this tent mostly in the desert southwest, I figured this would be a good option. It is likely that the sage green fabric will last longer in this environment because the sand doesn’t wear off the PU in the same way that it can abrade silnylon.

The peak is reinforced with black Xpac for strength in this high-tension area.
The peak is reinforced with black Xpac for strength in this high-tension area.

These 30d materials are perfect for the tarp and floor of the nest. The nest also utilizes a 20d solid material that keeps blowing sand and spindrift out. I love the solid material but think it could be a bit lighter. Similarly, the noseeum mesh they use seems a bit overkill. As per an email exchange with the founder Kevin Timm, their mesh is also about 20d. I think they could get away with a 15d or even 10d solid material on the inner and a .7 oz sq yd. mesh, but I understand the decision to prioritize durability.

Seek Outside uses #3 zippers on the nest doors with four sliders per door, probably to reduce the possibility of failure. I’m fine with the #3 zippers, but having four sliders is simply confusing.

The vestibules are roomy enough for cooking or storing wet gear
The vestibules are roomy enough for cooking or storing wet gear

The shape and symmetry of the tarp make it very easy to pitch. Just stake out the four corners, insert one 125cm trekking pole and stake out the peak on that side. Then go to the other side, insert the other pole, and stake out that peak. Then stake out the door guylines. Usually, my first attempt is very close, with a few re-staking adjustments expected. Setup time is very quick.

The tarp and nest both come in 10”x 12” stuff sacks, but they both fit together in only one of these including stakes! So, packability is great. It’s a very dense package, but it’s small.

Storm-Worthiness

I’ve had this tent in all night wind in southern Utah and I can say that it stands up to its name pretty well. The shape of the vestibule allows it to cut through the wind and it only started caving in when the stakes started to pull out from under the rocks anchoring them to the hard desert ground. I would recommend using separate stakes for both the door and the peak just to ensure stability in the wind. It would also be advisable to guy out the side-panels so they won’t be caving in on your head. I use some Zpacks Z-line as it is light and plenty strong for this application. My Eolus also performed well in an evening rainstorm in the Uintas.

Cooking in the vestibule.
Cooking in the vestibule.

The pitch is tight, the fabrics are good, and the shape is fairly wind-resistant. All these things contribute to considerable peace of mind in storms of all kinds.

Comparable 2-Person, 2 Door Trekking Pole Tents

Recommendation

The Seek Outside Eolus Tent with Nest is probably the best two-person desert shelter on the market. The zipperless door design makes the tent extremely reliable and it performs well in the wind. The livability and storm-worthiness are top-notch. The materials are good and the overall durability is fantastic. On top of all this, it’s inexpensive! At $398 for an incredibly burly tent, it is one of the best values out there.

However, I’d like to see Seek Outside make the changes outlined above. Most importantly, the nest should attach to the tarp instead of requiring stakes. My fully outfitted and seam-sealed Eolus and Nest comes in at 3 lbs 2 oz including eight stakes. I’d call that light considering the use of very durable materials. Of course, if the nest was made lighter, I could see this tent coming in at more like 2 lbs 12 oz with eight stakes, which would be amazing. With a few tweaks, I’d go so far as to say this is one of the very best two-person backpacking tents on the market!

Disclosure: The author purchased this tent.

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