DIY – My Designs – Winter Tents
Send any questions or comments to the designer, Roger Caffin, using the contact form on the home page.
I had been selling them, but I had to stop making them since it wasn’t financially viable. Things might change in the future, as I am now in negotiations with a big outdoor gear seller regarding production. The tent design must be a tunnel with a double skin if it is to be used in the winter. An underground tube, rather than an elevated dome (unless you’re talking about really massive geodesic designs), is preferred since the tunnel is more stable (and because a second skin is required to keep the snow out).
During routine bushwalking in winter at modest altitudes, the summer tent would provide enough protection.
- I use my summer tent in the Australian Alps above the tree line, but I choose my campsites with consideration for the wind’s direction and strength.
- The netting on the inside, on the other hand, does keep the pests out.
- It is a single-skin tent with insect netting, and it is normally reserved for use in moderate weather only.
- It can also be found on theUltra-lightweightpage and theStovepage, among other locations.
- It was necessary to employ pre-bent aluminum poles because the radius of curvature required was far more than what could be securely achieved with straight aluminum or carbon fiber poles.
- (It happened twice during a single lengthy journey.) In order to use carbon fiber poles, as I use in all of my tents these days, you must employ bends in the poles.
- As with the summer tents, I use three bends per pole, and I have increased the number of poles from two to four to accommodate the extra weight.
It was on this (rather epic) journey that this photograph was shot that the tent was battered by gusts of more than 100 kph when I foolishly slept practically on top of Mt Anton on the Main Range in KNP the night before this morning.
What made matters worse was the fact that the majority of the Spectra guy ropes had frayed away over the night – yet the tent and we both got it out alive.
There is a lesson to be learned here about withdrawing when things go horribly wrong.
In fact, we discovered that it was quite simple to always utilize the end of the building with the superior door design as the main entrance and the other end as the packing store.
In order to get the packs to the lee end of the tent, we had to pass them through the canvas in inclement weather, which was a nuisance.
I then added a few additional men and anchors to the windward end of the boat to make it more weather resistant.
It has an asymmetric inside tent with a similar form to the outside tent to keep the wind and snow at bay.
The following are some greatly reduced line diagrams for the tent.
The storm hoods over the windows at the tops of the doors are depicted in the side view drawing by the wacky corners at the top ends of the doors.
The contour of the pole is depicted in these illustrations, but the pole form is not.
The weight of this version, which is made of silnylon and carbon fiber, is around 1650 grams (tent and poles), which is far lighter than my original orange tent, which weighed almost 2kg.
It’s worth noting that the four carbon fiber poles in the orange tent weigh far less than the three aluminum poles in the same tent.
In addition, this design is not set in stone.
However, it has been tried and tested!
This is preferable to many other tents, which feature an exterior surface made of nylon fabric (with PU on the inside) on which snow can adhere and become trapped.
The thick orange PU layer, which you can see in the images, becomes quite rigid in the cold, and the nylon fabric on the inside can absorb water and get heavier, and it can even freeze in the extreme cold conditions.
Since then, I’ve only used silnylon fabric for all of my projects.
It is necessary to space the inner tent a bit more apart within the fly in order to avoid the two tents sticking together.
I attempted a 50-mm separation at first, but this proved to be insufficient.
On one or two occasions, the inside tent became firmly attached to the fly – this was caused by ice up.
The addition of 25 mm to the height of the outer tent appears to be a minimal price to pay for the gain in performance.
The inner tent is connected to the outer tent by hook and loop joiners that are located at the corners of each arch.
Two profiles are depicted in this diagram: the larger (darker) one is for the center poles, while the smaller (lighter) one is for the end poles.
You can vary the tension with these links to achieve the best results, and they do allow you to separate the two pieces for repairs.
Reassembling the two in a storm (connecting up all of those hook loop links) is also quite inconvenient – it takes an inordinate amount of time.
The doors are positioned at the poles and extend all the way down to the groundsheet level.
This is in contrast to many dome designs, which have the door above the groundsheet and the overhang ensuring that any drips (or heavy rain) drop on the groundsheet rather than the groundsheet itself.
To keep snow out of the tent, the inner tent door is constructed of the same reasonably windproof fabric as the inner tent and is closed with a zipper.
When the weather is nice, you can leave the windproof door open and the netting door closed: this is typical procedure.
As previously stated, the inside tent is not symmetrically organized.
We can store our two packs in the vestibule (one on either side of the door) and still have plenty of space in the middle for cooking. The inner tent has been kept quite well tensioned, however, by positioning some of the poles such that they link up with some of the inner tent poles.
|Fly||Silnylon||49 gm/sqm||503 gm|
|Inner Tent||DWR breathable nylon||32 gm/sqm||342gm|
|Netting||Knitted||19 gm/sqm||30 gm|
|Groundsheet||Silnylon||49 gm/sqm||206 gm|
|Poles||Carbon fibre, SS bends, Al joiners||34 gm/m||310 gm|
|Zips||Nylon coil3||12 gm/m||104 gm|
|Sundries||Thread, bungee cord, Velcro, etc||150 gm|
The groundsheet of the original (NASA) orange tent pictured was made of white medical cloth (80 gsm), but this was excessive in my opinion. The coating was substantial (and of high quality), but the cloth was not significantly stronger. In the snow, you do not require a high pressure rating since any water that is at floor level will sink into the snow. The worst case scenario is likely to be when you are thrown upon sheet rock without a mattress. I’ve included the silnylon weight since I’ve found it to be suitable for my needs, and I also use it on my summer tents during the warmer months.
- The first poles were Easton 0.344″ poles, which weighed 34 gm/m and were rather lightweight.
- The 7075 T9 alloy that was utilized was rather dependable; the newer and slightly lighter 7178 alloys, on the other hand, are a little too brittle.
- A Victory arrow VForce 400 or an Easton Ion pole would be suitable for use with the carbon fiber tubing I am presently employing, as it is both extremely strong and significantly lighter.
- Just as with the summer tent, I use bungee cord inside the poles to hold them together and small lengths at the pole ends to strain the roof over the poles – everything is done the same way.
- In order to keep the weight down, I discovered that it was absolutely vital to scrutinize each and every part in order to keep it as light as possible.
Colin Walker’s version
Colin developed his own version of this concept near the end of 2012, which you can see here. Similar to Svenhe, the designs were created with a hardwood frame and exterior aluminum elbows. To create the designs, he stretched black plastic over the frame and secured it with tape. The fabric was provided by Outdoors Wilderness Fabrics (‘OWF’) in the United States. All of the photographs on this page were taken by him. He utilized carbon fiber kite tubing, Skyshark P300 from Goodwinds in the United States, for his poles.
- He utilized short pieces of smaller CF tubing joiners that were cemented inside with Araldite to create the straight joiners.
- Bending the aluminum tubing was far easier than bending the stainless steel tubing I used: you can purchase small tube benders on eBay that may be suitable for tubing this small.
- Others, such as Sven, have also employed external aluminum tubing for this purpose with great success.
- This has the potential to harm the CF tubing.
- This piece of tubing did, of course, become stuck in place, but it served as a stopper for the pole.
- Instead of using an overlap on the netting doors, he utilized a zip along the centre of the netting doors.
- It doesn’t matter Because half of the joy is in building the gear.
He did, however, immediately after completing it, go on a “9-day trip on the South Coast route in Tasmania around Christmas,” which allowed him to put it through its paces.
‘There’s a little wind here and there, but it’s hardly a screaming gale.’ The tent that was pitched at the Ironbounds in Tasmania is shown in the photo to the left.
I believe that a little additional stress on the bungee cords at the ends in the evenings might solve the problem.
Because the corners were angled too much, we believe this was the cause of the problem.
Colin said that the ancient whipper snipper cord he used for the borders of the verandahs at initially was extremely curly, which caused a significant difficulty for the verandahs’ structure.
Getting some fresh plastic whipper snipper cord that did not have as much of a set in it was the solution to this problem for him.
When you roll the tent up, it gets bent, but it can be straightened in the field each time. This is how certain commercial tents are constructed. Roger Caffin is a Canadian businessman. the 6th of June, 2002; the 20th of June, 2009; the 27th of January, 2013
How To Winterize a 3 Season Tent
Friends and family members frequently contact me with queries about tents and camping. As a result of growing up in Minnesota, I’ve always liked the challenges of winter camping, even as a youngster. As a result, I receive a large number of queries on winter camping, such as: Can you use a 3-season tent for winter camping? Many first-time winter campers are reluctant to spend additional money on a 4-season tent if they are unsure whether they will like it. Being too cold, on the other hand, might not only impair the experience, but it can also be potentially dangerous.
- In this essay, I’ll go through some of the most straightforward methods for winterizing your 3-season tent.
- Before we proceed any further, you must first identify the type of tent you are using.
- They will have plenty of ventilation on the tent’s body, and the rainfly will keep the interior of the tent protected from the elements like wind and rain.
- On the other hand, theoretically, you might use it in the spring, summer, and fall.
- Four-season tents are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, which are common in alpine terrain.
10 ways to winterize a 3 season tent:
Choosing whether to winterize your existing tent or purchase a 4-season tent might be influenced by the location of where you will be camping. You might consider a 4-season tent if you are anticipating exceptionally strong winds and the risk of winter storms while camping. If you’re going to be camping in mild winter circumstances, a winterized 3-season tent will do the job just as well.
1. You need a tarp (or two)
Invest in a few tarps, even if a three-season tent will not be significantly less insulated than a four-season tent. It is necessary to use one tarp to serve as a footprint below your tent. Another tarp will serve as a top cover, allowing heat to be trapped that would otherwise escape via the vents. Then, if you’re feeling very inventive, a single tarp may also be used to block the wind.
2. Insulate the tent floor
Aside from utilizing a tarp to create a footprint on the ground, insulating the floor is always beneficial for getting a good night’s sleep at night. This can be accomplished relatively easy with sleeping pads, but if you really want to go the additional mile and are vehicle camping, bring some blankets along with you as well.
A wool blanket that is large enough to cover the whole floor is a must-have for winter vehicle camping trips. Just like a sleeping pad helps to keep your body heat in, spreading a blanket across the whole floor of your tent helps to keep all of the heat inside the tent.
3. Make a windbreak
If at all possible, avoid camping in a public place. The most of the time, open places will be quite windy. Camping beneath huge trees, on the other hand, might be a safety danger. It is possible that snow will accumulate on the branches and fall upon the tent. Camping near trees and other vegetation, such as shrubs, is your best choice if you want to avoid mosquitoes. If there isn’t anything natural to block the wind, but there is a lot of snow, build a snow fort high enough to keep the wind from blowing through the tent’s opening.
You will, however, require something to tie the tarp to, which may be found in the form of trees or rocks.
4. Minimize ventilated areas
In addition to the many other differences between a three-season tent and a four-season tent, the ventilation in a three-season tent is significantly better. Manufacturers of 3-season tents expect that their products will be used in warm temperatures and locations, thus they design their products with enough ventilation in mind. The majority of four-season tents contain some form of ventilation, generally one tiny vent at the top and one near the bottom of the tent. Keeping a little quantity of airflow moving through the tent without creating a draft is important to prevent condensation.
If at all feasible, cover some of the open mesh material with plastic or a sheet that is fastened to the top of the tent under the rainfly to keep the area from becoming too hot.
5. Use all the guylines
Wind resistance is an important consideration in the construction of a four-season tent. This indicates that the tent is tight and durable, and that it is likely to have a large number of tie-down points. Most 3-season tents are equipped with a sufficient number of guylines and connection points to keep them stable in high winds. In the winter, make use of all of them at all times. It’s important to remember that you may not always have a tree or a rock to hook your guylines to. Guylines are used to keep the tent’s fabric taut and tight.
Especially when it is snowing, a tent with a tighter fabric will allow the snow to glide down the walls rather than accumulating on them.
6. Use winter-specific stakes
(Photo courtesy of msrgear.com) That’s why you may require winter-specific stakes, such as the MSR Blizzard Tent Stakes, to keep your tent in place. As you might expect, standard tent stakes will not hold up well in the snow, especially if there is a strong wind blowing. They do manufacture stakes that are intended to be driven into and held in place by compacted snow. Take note of the term compressed in this sentence. If you are staking out your tent and guylines in fresh snow, make careful to compress the snow where you are placing the stake before proceeding.
It will not hold if this is not done. Another approach is to utilize buried items in the snow, such as pebbles, to hold a guyline in place while it is being pulled. If it is essential, you can also opt to bury the corners of your tent.
7. Make sure everything is waterproof
(Photo courtesy of gearaid.com) When you’re camping in the winter, staying dry is absolutely essential for your comfort. Snow causes all of your gear to become soaked, so having a way to dry and stay dry inside the tent is essential not only for comfort, but also for the safety of your belongings. In the event that your tent is not properly waterproofed before going winter camping, you could be in for a very unpleasant experience. If it snows while you’re out, the heat from the inside of your tent will easily melt the snow, and the more snow that accumulates, the wetter the ground will become as a result.
However, if you’ve had the tent for a long time, the coating will need to be reapplied.
8. Reinforce or replace the tent poles
The strength of the tent poles is another distinguishing element that distinguishes it from a 3-season tent and a 4-season tent. However, while both types of tents should have strong enough poles to withstand the wind, not all are intended to withstand the weight of snow or the cold. It is possible that you may need to purchase new tent poles, or at the very least reinforce your existing ones, in order to properly winter camp. The most important thing to keep in mind is that they must be durable in chilly conditions.
Fiberglass tent poles are the most affordable and widely available form of tent pole on the market, although they are not as robust or durable as steel tent poles.
Aluminum and carbon fiber poles will be extremely lightweight, which will be especially beneficial if you are hiking in the colder months.
However, if you plan on hiking and winter camping, a 4-season tent will save you weight and allow you to travel lighter.
9. Bring additional heat sources
(Photo courtesy of mrheater.com) The use of a portable heater (such as the Mr Heater depicted above) may be quite beneficial when car camping adjacent to your vehicle and you have the means to transport big goods. You may leave these on for a short period of time to warm the tent’s inside just before night and just before getting out of your sleeping bag in the morning. If you use any type of portable heater, be sure that it does not run while you sleep and that there is enough ventilation in the tent to prevent any pollutants from accumulating.
10. Borrow or rent winter camping gear
The final, and maybe most critical, item on our winterizing checklist is to get winter clothing. Clothing, sleeping gear, and footwear all fall within this category. Even if your tent has been winterized, you will still need a sleeping bag and clothing that is warm enough to keep you safe while camping.
It is necessary to use a cold-weather sleeping bag even if you have a four-season tent! If you don’t already have a sleeping bag that is suitable for chilly weather, try borrowing one from a friend or renting one. You may then purchase a winter camping bag of your own if you enjoy winter camping.
Closing thoughts on winterizing a 3-season tent…
Having a 4-season tent is recommended in the majority of winter camping situations, in my opinion. It is possible to accomplish it with a 3-season tent, but it will necessitate a lot more equipment. As a result, it is only really effective when automobile camping is included. If you want to backpack in the winter, you should consider investing in a 4-season tent. This is because camping in a 3-season tent securely in freezing weather would necessitate the purchase of additional equipment. All of the extra gear adds unnecessary weight to the load and makes the journey much more difficult.
All you need to do is be prepared, and you should have a few techniques up your sleeve for winterizing your 3-season tent in advance.
Tent heaters that run on batteries?
(9 of my favorite trails in the United States) 7 Common Mistakes When Taking Part in Winter Recreation
What is a 4 Season Tent?
Mountain Hardware’s Stronghold Base Camp Tent, which sleeps ten people. The difference between a four-season tent and a three-season tent is explained in detail here. It’s an excellent question because the line between the two is unclear. The term “four season tent” is also a misnomer because it refers to winter tents, which you might not use the rest of the year because they are either too heavy or too hot to use during the other seasons. In terms of wind resistance and the capacity to handle heavy snowfall, the most significant distinctions between winter tents and three-season ones are wind resistance and snowfall resistance.
- However, the Mountain Hardware Stronghold is an extreme example of this, and it is valuable as a point of comparison.
- When combined with its high angle walls, the geodesic design effectively sheds snow while also helping to optimize inside space.
- In addition, sufficient ventilation and the presence of a vestibule are essential features of a winter tent.
- The moisture in your exhaled air will freeze on the roof and sides of your shelter as you exhale during the winter months.
- When you have snow or ice on your clothing or equipment, vestibules provide a convenient transition zone for you to remove and store your belongings.
- Otherwise, internal frost will develop up faster.
- It is possible to use a vestibule as a wind break if it is extremely windy outside and you need to melt snow or cook.
Personally, I dislike cooking and eating in a tent, but it is necessary to consume calories and fluids in order to maintain a healthy metabolism and stay warm throughout the winter.
In a winter tent or shelter, rain flies and flooring are not required components to be present.
It’s a single walled tent constructed of a breathable fabric called EPIC that weighs less than three pounds and is designed to be portable.
Floorless pyramids (also known as Mids) are popular as a lightweight choice in the winter since they can endure strong winds and considerable snowfall while also providing excellent ventilation and air circulation.
Winter tents and shelters range in price from around $250 to $6,000, depending on their size and capacity.
Numerous items in this category are exceedingly heavy and must be transported in parts by several members of your group. Bring a one-person lightweight shelter rather than a section of a larger, heavier tent, I’ve found to be more convenient in terms of weight. But that is just my taste.
If you own a 4 season tent, what do you have and why do you like it?
The most recent revision was made in 2016.
10 Best 4-Season Tents of 2022 — CleverHiker
Whether you’re going snow camping with friends for a fun weekend or heading into the mountains for a serious ascent, you’ll need a shelter you can rely on to keep you safe from the elements. Warm, durable, and important for any successful winter excursion, four-season tents are a must-have for any winter adventure. We’ve been hiking up into the mountains and putting these tents through their paces in order to compile this list of the top 4-season tents available on the market. VERSATILITY IS KEY – A tent that can be used throughout the year is an excellent choice if you’re working with a limited budget or do not intend to purchase numerous tents to accommodate different weather conditions.
- MSR Access 2, Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2, Slingfin Crossbow, and NEMO Kunai 2 are the most flexible four-season tents available.
Some of these tents are currently undergoing testing at this time. We will be updating this list with the findings of long-term testing in the near future.
This type of 4-season tents is ideal for individuals who want something that is lightweight and easy to pack for a long journey, but that is also durable enough to survive high winds and large snow loads. Tents for mountaineering are often smaller in size and have a more sophisticated pole construction than tents for treeline camping in order to achieve the optimum balance of weight and protection. TENT FOR 4 SEASONS THAT IS VERSATILE AND AFFORDABLE $499.90 MSRP: $499.90 NET WEIGHT: 4 lbs. 5 oz MEASUREMENTS (inches): 82 inches long by 50 inches wide by 44 inches high PROS: Reasonably priced, lightweight, with plenty of headroom and versatility.
- THE BOTTOM LINE: TheNEMO Kunaiis a budget-friendly 4-season tent that is lightweight and has plenty of headroom for a family of four.
- However, while the Kunai may not have as much floor area as some of the other 4-season tents on our list, the value for money that it offers is virtually unmatched.
- 4 oz.
- 4 oz.
- CONS: When it comes to erecting 4-season tents, we favor guylines over loops.
- If the wind starts to build up, it makes use of a one-of-a-kind pole structure that is extremely simple to set up and can be tensioned from within the tent.
- Attach your trekking poles to the crossbar to make them more resistant to heavy snow and wind, or leave their specific pole attachment system at home and use the provided clips to conserve weight for three-season treks in the mountains.
This 4-season tent is ideal for solo mountaineers who want to keep things simple.
CONS: Expensive, requires an additional vestibule, and only has one entrance.
The mastery of this design will take some time and effort, but it will give a robust foundation for withstanding large wind and snow loads.
8 oz., but it does not include a vestibule, which is a disappointment.
However, it is not recommended.
PROS: Excellent pricing, plenty of headroom, and two entrances.
CONS: Bulky, and not as durable as some other climbing tents on the market.
With two doors and two vestibules, it offers plenty of room for everyone.
Because of the large amount of surface area on the sides of this tent, it does not hold up as well as other tents in really strong winds, and it must be guyed out completely in order to handle higher snow loading.
This is a 4-SEASON TARP that may be used for many different purposes.
Ultralight, roomy, adaptable, robust, with good ventilation; DCF material will not droop or absorb water when wet; tiny packaged size (tarp only); extremely big doors.
HMG Ultamid 2 is a lightweight, four-season tarp with a substantial amount of living space at the bottom of the page.
In order to make this floorless shelter suitable for snow camping, you’ll need to purchase either the half insert if you’re hiking alone or the full insert if you’re hiking with a friend.
We appreciate the Ultamid’s adaptability, since it is lightweight, sturdy, and packable enough to be utilized for hiking in a wide range of weather and terrain situations. For additional information, please see our whole review.
Basecamping tents are significantly heavier than mountaineering tents, but they are also far more durable. Due to its ability to handle heavy snow loads and powerful winds, these tents are ideal for camping in exposed places that experience extreme weather conditions. Because of their weight, these tents are best suited for vacations where you will not be transporting your luggage for an extended period of time. On expeditions where we wish to explore several side routes or summit multiple summits in a short period of time, we bring basecamping tents along with us.
- $700.00 MSRP: $700.00 WEIGHT: 9 lbs.
- Dimensions (length, width, and height):92 inches long, 64 inches wide, 38 inches high Ample floor area, decent ventilation, and two doors are among the advantages.
- CONS: It is heavy, has a low peak height, and is bulky.
- While we like that the Trango has enough of floor room for two hikers and their belongings, we wish the peak height of the Trango was a little higher.
- Having said that, the Trango is simple to set up, well ventilated, and virtually indestructible when exposed to severe winds and heavy snow.
- WHEN FULLY EXTENDED, THESE MEASUREMENTS WILL BE: 86 x 54 x 41 in.
- CONS:Heavy TO CONCLUDE, the The North Face Mountain 25is an excellent choice for winter campers on a tight budget because its MSRP is more than $100 cheaper than the Trango.
- The design is extremely similar to the Trango, with the exception that it is significantly heavier and has less inside room.
- TheHMG Ultamid 2tent is a multi-purpose shelter that may be utilized in virtually any environment.
Tents for Camping Below Treeline
Treeline tents are intended for use in more temperate climates. A midway ground between lightweight 3-season tents and bulkier 4-season tents, these tents have thicker materials than 3-season tents but offer less protection than mountaineering and basecamping tents. We utilize treeline tents to keep the weight of our winter treks down when we aren’t expecting a lot of rain, wind, snow, or ice. VERY GOOD VALUE TENT FOR 4 SEASONS THAT IS PORTABLE ENOUGH TO BE USED ALL YEAR MSRP:$599.95 4 lbs. 1 oz.
PROS: Reasonably priced, lightweight, and easily transportable so that it may be used all year.
The MSR Access 2 is one of the lightest four-season tents on the market, and it’s more cheap than many of the beefier mountaineering and basecamping tents.
CONS: It’s not as spacious as some. Despite the fact that it is not the most spacious 4-season tent on our list, the Access is an excellent choice for individuals who want something light, packable, and simple to put up.
Critical 4-season Tent Considerations
TENT SIZE – When selecting a 4-season tent, you’ll want to make sure there’s enough space for each hiker and their belongings because you may find up spending more time inside to wait out severe weather than you anticipated. Make sure to include in the width of your sleeping pads when determining the width of your tent, and seek for storage options such as spacious vestibules and inside pockets to reduce the amount of floor space you’ll want for your goods. For additional information on choosing the correct fit for you, please see ourTent Size Guide.
- If you enjoy traveling into the forest after a little snowfall, a treeline tent is a good option for you to consider.
- In the event that you are not planning on transporting your tent for an extended period of time, but you are traveling to a region with harsh weather, a basecamping tent will be more comfortable for you.
- DESCRIPTION Trail hikers who don’t mind sacrificing a little comfort for the ability to move quickly and light over the mountains will benefit the most from single-wall tents.
- When choosing a tent site for a pleasant winter campground, you’ll want to be more selective, and you’ll need to dig out a tent-friendly space for your tent.
- Please refer to ourWinter Camping Tips andWinter Camping Checklistposts for further information on how to make the most of your snowy camping experience.
- It will save you from having to climb over a tentmate and two sets of gear every time you want to go into or out of your tent if you have separate entrances.
- THE USE OF A FOOTPRINT-The primary advantage of using a footprint is that it increases the durability of the floor of your tent.
Why Trust Us?
Our team is well aware of how difficult it can be to get dependable gear recommendations, which is one of the primary reasons we created CleverHiker.
We live for outdoor adventure, and we take the recommendations made by these experts very seriously indeed. Here are a few of the reasons why you may put your faith in us:
- Our decisions are fully independent of one another and are based on our own personal experiences. In our professional lives, we’ve traveled more than 10,000 trail miles and evaluate outdoor goods. Every product we recommend has been purchased and field tested by us, which is unfortunately not the usual
- We attend industry trade fairs to learn about new product advancements that are coming out. When new goods are introduced, we update our guidelines on a regular basis. We approach our suggestions as though they were for members of our own family and circle of acquaintances. We consider ourselves to be perpetual learners who are always receptive to constructive criticism. In the event that you believe we have overlooked a product or made a mistake, we would appreciate hearing from you.
We hope that this information has assisted you in finding the best equipment for your needs. If you have any more questions or would want to make a recommendation, please contact us. Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to speed on our newest posts, and then visit our Facebook page and Instagram account to participate in the conversation with other members of the community. If you found this article to be useful, please spread the word on social media and click the small heart icon to the right to give us a virtual high five!
Thank you for taking the time to read this and best of luck on your journey!
You don’t need a four-season tent. These 7 tents are better for winter camping
We’re going to come right out and say it: the concept of distinct “three-season” tents for the spring, summer, and fall, and separate “four-season” tents that can be used all year is incorrect. These terminology can be quite bewildering to a first-time camper who is trying to purchase their first tent shelter. Tents do not function in the same way as sleeping bags, which each have their own temperature rating and specialized use-case. It’s possible that a four-season tent isn’t genuinely comfy in all four seasons.
Understanding how each of these items fits into your camping pack may make you a happy camper while also saving you a significant amount of money.
What is a four-season tent?
A three-season tent is designed to keep moisture to a minimum, protect you from rain, and allow for enough ventilation. A four-season tent should perform all of the same functions as a three-season tent, with the added benefit of sheltering you from not only bad weather, but also extreme weather such as heavy snow and powerful winds. However, contrary to popular belief, a four-season tent is not intended to keep you warm in extreme temperatures. It may be able to do part of this merely by virtue of being well reinforced and effective at retaining your warm air within.
In other words, a three-season tent is ideally “warm” for camping in the colder months.
When compared to three-season tents, most four-season shelters are built with stronger poles and fabric, as well as a more robust construction overall.
If you do want to spend some time in the mountains, where a real four-season tent is necessary, would purchasing a single four-season tent be sufficient to cover you for all four seasons in one go? Although it is technically possible, it will not be as comfortable as having two separate tents. Four-season tents are often less breathable than summer tents, owing to the heavier materials used in their construction and a design that is geared at preventing high winds from blowing them over during the day.
Four-season tent designers may also save weight by making the tents immune to snow, but they may have neglected to include the thick membrane that makes them completely waterproof – a problem if you find yourself out in the rain, as you may during the summer months.
Winter in a three-season tent
If you don’t expect a lot of snow or severe winds, you’ll probably be alright in a three-season tent throughout the winter months if you plan beforehand. Keep in mind that a tent is not intended to keep you warm. This means that even on chilly journeys with calm weather, a three-season tent will provide you with all of the protection you want. The majority of first-time winter campers aren’t planning on going into the mountains or camping outside in inclement weather. Instead, you’re likely to return to the same locations where you spent your summer camping: sheltered regions in the trees with, preferably, pleasant temperatures.
- Keep in mind that a three-season tent will function just as effectively in the winter as it would in the summer.
- These tents are the most cost-effective solutions for getting started in winter camping without breaking the bank.
- We only list goods that have been independently picked by the editorial staff at Input Magazine.
- It’s hefty, weighing in at more over 14 pounds, so you’ll only want it if you’re able to drive straight up to camp.
- Because of the heavy materials and poles, it will provide you with just as much protection in the winter as it will in the summer.
- It is a fantastic start to backpacking tents and a perfect introduction to carrying your tent on your back.
- Winter camping necessitates the purchase of additional equipment, such as additional clothing, larger sleeping bags, and so on.
Because of its basic pole construction and long-lasting materials, it scatters snow effectively and can withstand low winds.
If losing weight is your primary goal, it most certainly does not.
Ultimately, the outcome is a 1.44-pound football that can be used to shield a group of people in the summer just as well as it can in the winter.
The Telos has a more waterproof floor and stronger inside fabric to keep drafts at bay than other three-season tents, yet it is still light enough to carry on all but the most frugal summer hiking treks, weighing only four pounds.
It’s no surprise that the North Face Mountain 25 is one of the most classic four-season tents available, and for good reason.
You’ll need a robust, low-profile tent like the Mountain Hardwear ACI 3 when the wind and snow are really ripping — like as when you’re on a high-altitude climbing excursion — in order to be safe in extreme conditions.
This tent is single-walled, which makes it quicker to put up and surprisingly light for a four-season tent, especially considering its size. A great deal of attention is put into the building of tents like these to guarantee that they will not collapse under the weight of snow or wind.
Everything You Need to Know About 4-Season Tents
When you join up for Outside+ today, you’ll receive a $50 discount off an eligible $100 purchase at the Outside Shop, where you’ll discover a variety of brand-name goods handpicked by our gear editors. Terry Breaux can trace the inspiration for the MSR Access, the world’s first real four-season tent in both name and style, back to a day spent hiking up Mount Rainier in Washington state. In 2012, a few of MSR workers reached the summit of the 14,410-foot mountain that serves as the background to the company’s Seattle-area headquarters.
While on a weekend trip with a nice forecast, that person presumably didn’t want to drag an eight-pound climbing tent all the way to the summit of Rainier.
According to Breaux, “six or seven years ago, practically no one was leveraging the new technology and materials we were using in three-season hiking tents to produce four-season tents that were lighter.” Modern technological advancements, as well as an increasing interest in backcountry skiing and snowshoeing, make this sector increasingly appealing.
- Winter camping is possible with them, and summer hiking is possible with them since they’re light enough (usually under six pounds).
- However, there are still some unanswered questions.
- Is there anyone who does?
- In order to discover out, I compiled data from more than a decade of tent testing, which included testing all six of these new tents in, well, all four seasons.
3-Season vs. 4-Season
When a three-season tent is set up and ready for use, the distinctions between a three-season tent and a four-season tent may not be immediately apparent to the untrained eye. However, as you look closer, the smaller details begin to show out. Let’s start with the built environment. Four-season tents are made of sturdier fabrics, and single poles are used to construct A-frame designs, which prevent snow loading, drooping, flapping, and bending in the wind during inclement weather. The designers of three-season tents have mastered the art of artfully incorporating bows and bends into the basic pole framework in order to create more boxlike tent forms that maximize the ratio of internal room to overall weight.
In addition, they tend to have more guy-out points, higher-denier fabrics, and more venting choices than their three-season counterparts, which makes them more versatile.
Do I Need a 4-Season Tent?
‘Tents are a one-of-a-kind alternative for someone who is interested in a variety of outdoor activities,’ says Emma Hunter, a gear specialist at Backcountry.com. In terms of performance, they are acceptable for summer and winter use. However, when you encounter early season snowfall or mixed weather conditions at higher elevations, they truly shine.” Furthermore, they provide an excellent value for money for someone wishing to purchase only one tent.” Purchasing one of them instead of both a three-season tent and a mountaineering tent can save you up to $500 in addition to freeing up some space in your kit closet.
- No, they aren’t equipped to deal with blizzards or feet of snow.
- “In extreme conditions, you’ll want something like that, but for regular winter camping settings in the lower 48 states, you won’t need it.” When I reflect back on practically all of my winter camping experiences, I realize that this is true.
- It was good to have nylon walls on my four-season tent while I was beach and desert camping since they prevented blowing sand from coming into my bed.
- They are around the same weight as three-season tents were a decade ago—between four and five pounds.
- The nylon walls, which are excellent at retaining heat on frigid nights, are also excellent at retaining heat on hot summer evenings.
- In addition, there are several disadvantages to winter.
- They may feel claustrophobic due to all of the extra clothing and insulation required for freezing temperatures in winter.
“Tents are also not the most durable of materials.
If the thought of subzero temperatures makes you want to book a stay at the next Holiday Inn, a three-season tent will be more than enough.
However, if you’re planning an Arctic or high-elevation excursion, a four-season tent will not suffice; instead, invest in a mountaineering or expedition tent.
You’re better off borrowing or renting if you’re only going to go winter camping once a year (or less) anyhow.
Even though they’re designed for skiing and snowshoeing camping, they’re also excellent for mountaineering in the summer when snow, wind, and cold are all possibilities.
If you want to camp in the mountains all year long, a four-season tent can be all you need to keep you comfortable.
The additional insulation will not be a problem in the heat, and the additional protection might be useful at any time. The money and space saving aspect of these tents is also quite appealing: no other specialty offers the same level of adaptability.
What to Look For
As opposed to adventure shelters, the three-season tents that I evaluated were beefed-up versions of three-season tents that I had previously tested. They all include fabric walls in place of mesh, more and harder poles to increase strength, additional guy-out points to help stabilize and stabilize the fly, and mitt-friendly contact points such as bigger clips and loops. Each has its own set of characteristics as well.
MSR Access 2 ($600)
(Courtesy MSR) TheAccess 2, anOutside Gear of the Year winner in 2017, was the first tent to feature Easton’s Syclone poles. Made from a secret sauce of carbon and ballistic fibers originally developed for military armor, the poles are 13 percent stronger and 250 times more flexible than carbon alone and about half the weight of aluminum. This makes for the optimal blend of weight reductions while yet being able to shrug off snow and bounce back against pounding winds. MSR’s Breaux describes the Access as a weekend mountaineering tent, because it’s not as roomy as a typical expedition tent, which would usually have extra space for bulky winter gear.
The two-person tent offers 29 square feet of inside space—about the same as a Hubba Hubba—but four feet less than MSR’s mountaineering-specific Remote 2.
The Access’s light weight, minimal pack size, and tough design make it the best option for longer trips or when packability is key.
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV2 Expedition ($500)
(Image courtesy of Big Agnes) This Big Agnes tent was derived from the award-winning Copper Spur range of three-season tents, which covers everything from lightweight to high-volume designs. Copper Spur tents have won several awards. To create the Expedition model, Big Agnes used a higher-volume frame and added fabric walls, larger-diameter metal poles for improved stability, inner guylines for added stability, and zipper pulls that were easier to grab. The heavier features add up to 5.3 pounds, compared to the lightest-weightPlatinum, which weighs 2.6 pounds, and the three-seasonHV UL2, which weighs little more than three pounds but has identical proportions.
The tent, on the other hand, is not as effective at sloughing off high snow loads or deflecting strong winds.
This item is now unavailable for purchase.
Sierra Designs Convert 2 ($500)
Sierra Designs provided the image. Sierra Designs designed the Convertto to be a one-shot wonder. A sturdy poly fabric tent body helps to keep the elements out, and the structure is stable enough to resist wintry weather. It’s not light, weighing in about 5.6 pounds, but it’s manageable enough to transport across long distances, especially in summer. It’s also rather spacious, measuring 30 square feet and 43 inches in height. The versatility of this tent distinguishes it from the other four-season tents on the market.
Increase ventilation by zipping down the double-layer front door and exposing the mesh to the outside.
A meticulous staking job is required for the semi-freestanding design (three hoops connected by a ridgepole), yet it sagged under a foot of snow and bowed in severe winds when tested.
However, $500 is a very attractive price for a single tent that can be used in all seasons and weather situations. Now is the time to buy
Nemo Kunai 2 ($500)
(Photo courtesy of NEMO) It was already a standout contender in the four-season tent category when Nemo made changes to it for 2020. The result is theKunai. The manufacturer steepened the profile, resulting in a more tapered form that brushes off snow and glides through the wind better. The single door and vestibule are both larger, which makes it simpler to get through them. And Nemo made it possible by increasing the mesh surface area in both the windows and the door. All three tents are double-walled, and when you zip them down, the tent body changes from being entirely made of fabric to being partly made of mesh.
According to Nemo, it is intended to disperse weights both vertically and horizontally over the whole tent.
Additionally, sailcloth reinforcements in the fly and tent seams are more resistant to ripping and wear than normal nylon or polyester reinforcements.
With a footprint of about 26 square feet, the Kunai is the smallest of the four-season tents.
The advantage of its compact design is that it makes pitching simpler in difficult terrain when finding flat ground is difficult.
With a weight of 4.3 pounds, it is an excellent choice for alpine climbers.