Seek Outside Eolus Tent Review (2P)

Seek Outside Eolus Tent Review

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.

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

Make / ModelTypeWeightPrice
Seek Outside Eolus + NestDouble Wall36.9 oz$398
Seek Outside Eolus Ultralight + NestDouble Wall30.9 oz$668
Six Moon Designs Haven BundleDouble Wall34 oz$335
Six Moon Designs Lunar DuoDouble Wall45 oz$375
Dan Durston X-Mid 2Double Wall39 oz$300
Tarptent Stratospire 2Double Wall41.5 oz$359
Tarptent Stratospire LiDouble Wall26 oz$689
Lanshan 2Double Wall40 oz$178
REI Flash Air 2Single Wall31 oz$299
Zpacks DuplexSingle Wall19 oz$599
Gossamer Gear The TwoSingle Wall28 oz$375
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dirigo 2Single Wall28 oz$795

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.

Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the affiliate links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.

About the author

Ben Kilbourne has been backpacking at least once a month every month for the last twelve years. His explorations have taken him all over the west, but especially the canyon country of the Colorado Plateau. The geography of the west has become familiar to him. He has developed a rudimentary understanding of its geology, and an awareness of the subtle changes in flora and fauna due to soil, elevation, aspect, and precipitation and how these elemental things interact with both ancient and modern humans. His experiences on the land, whether triumphant or thwarted by events either in or out of his control, have provided the foundation for the work he does. Find Ben’s paintings, songs, and essays here http://benkilbourne.com/.

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18 comments

  1. Nice review. And cute dog!

  2. Is the bat leash trained, LOL? Will Eolus go on top 10 list? Would a mesh bivy be better than nest, like Nemo Escape Pod?

    • We haven’t decided yet. Ben will be reviewing a very similar shelter from another manufacturer. I’d also want to dig a little deeper into the weight discrepancy between the spec and the actual shelter.

      • To be clear here’s the weight breakdown:

        Tarp with seams sealed and guylines: 24.2oz
        Nest: 21.8oz
        8 Stakes: 3.5oz
        Stuffsack: 0.5oz

        It’s possible the brown or green silnylon weighs less than the sage? Or that my guylines are longer than recommended? Or that seam sealing adds more weight than you think it would?

        Those questions aside, I’m totally fine with this weight. I still think it’s very light for what it is.

  3. Great detailed review and suggested modifications, thanks.

  4. Thanks Ben for the review

    If it was factory sealed, it probably added more weight. Also sage is likely a touch heavier.

    4 pulls on nest doors, yes in case one breaks you can remove it and move on to the next. Number #5 adds a surprising amount of weight.

    We will consider some of the other changes, however the current system we advocate for attaching and detaching the nest works well and is simple. Basically we advocate, a slip knot in the nest line loc cordage, slide this over the loop in the knot for the stake loop that is on the fly and cinch it before the knot part. This keeps the whole setup together, and it detaches the nest with simply loosening the slip knots (although admittedly this is a more skillful / less intuitive by far solution). The proposed solution is far more intuitive.

    Once again thanks for the review.

    • Kevin,

      I think you’re running into a cultural sensitivity with lightweight backpackers around gear weights. There’s a history (now ancient) of manufacturers citing incorrect gear weights that backpackers are very sensitive about, doubly so amongst people who want ultralight gear. I think you’d benefit by listing the exact weight of each of the build variations you sell and refining your production process to hit those weights or less to make purchasers happy. Contrast that with your other users who are happy hauling 100 pounds of meat and antlers out and you can appreciate the contrast.

  5. It sounds as if it’s great for Ben’s application, which is desert locations with lots of space. Obviously it might not squish into small forest spots as easily.

    How was the ventilation in storm mode? I live in the East Coast rain forest; this is always a consideration.

    Also, out of curiosity, which of the other tents on the comparable list have you tried?
    Thanks as always for an informative review.

    • Despite being in a damp meadow we didn’t have any condensation with the pole height adjusted to 125cm. But I’d probably want to pitch it a bit higher if I thought condensation was going to be an issue. Which you can easily do with this tent.

      Most of the others on the list were tested by Philip. With some exceptions, which you’ll have to stay tuned for.

      • I’ve used every tent on the comparables list except the Eolus, the Haven Bundle, and the Stratospire Li. I sleep around. :-)

  6. Can you please include a distance pic with the doors open? It’s not clear to me what entering/exiting and views from inside might be. Looks promising and I love the no zipper simplicity.

  7. The Eolus was perfect for a 7 day Colorado backcountry archery hunt. No nest is needed for September since the bugs are mostly gone. Lightweight, sturdy, even in the snowstorm, and roomy

  8. For a 2 person tent I prefer a TT Stratospire 2. Better design, equal quality.

  9. How come none of the other ultralight tent reviews on the web mention this tent? When you compare it to other winning tents, the dcf version definitely up there with them. Thanks Section Hiker for bringing this tent to the mainstream.

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