Even though camping can be a year round activity, many people don’t camp during late autumn and winter months because low temperature can be very uncomfortable for campers. Don’t you agree that very cold temperature can make or break a camping trip? Fortunately, there is no shortage of cold weather tents that you can buy to keep you warm and safe outdoors.
Cold weather tents are designed specifically for low temperature camping. Unlike 3-season tents which can be used from spring to early fall, the cold weather variety are specifically created so that they can be easily pitched in snowy terrain and cold weather. They are also called 4-season tents, mountaineering tents or winter tents. They are heavier compared to 3-season tents but offer better protection against the elements.
But how do you shop for a tent for cold weather? Well, we are here to help! This article will tackle all you need to know about cold weather tents. We will talk about some of the most important features you need to consider before buying a tent and a review of some of the most popular products available in today’s market. Let’s take a look!
Our Top Picks
|Product||Capacity||Specific Features||Best Use||Price|
|Hilleberg Nammatj||2-person||Kerlon 1800 outer tent fabric, strong Spectra guy lines, spacious interior, extended vestibule||4-season camping, backpacking, mountaineering, polar expeditions||Check price on Amazon|
|ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian||2-person||Weatherproof shock cord, polyester fly, great ventilation with mesh windows, mesh storage pockets||4-season camping||Check price on Amazon|
|Black Diamond Eldorado||2-person||Compact mountaineering design, vestibule for gear storage, zippered vents at the peak, ToddTex single-wall fabric||4-season camping, mountaineering, backpacking||Check price on Amazon|
|Arctic Oven 12||4-5 persons||Condensation-free and breathable tent, superior strength-to-weight ratio, vestibule space for storage||4-season camping||Check price on Amazon|
|Black Diamond Fitzroy||2-person||4-pole, steep-sided design, double doors, ToddTex single-wall fabric||4-season camping, mountaineering, backpacking||Check price on Amazon|
|TETON Sports Mountain Ultra||3-person||Durable micro mesh fabric, only 3 poles for set-up, reinforced/heat taped seams, lightweight aluminum poles||4-season camping||Check price on Amazon|
|Mountain Hardwear Trango 3||3-person||2 dual canopy and mesh doors, snow flaps, dry entry vestibules, DAC Featherlight NSL poles||4-season camping||Check price on Amazon|
|Hilleberg Jannu||2-person||Kerlon 1200 fabric, dome construction with multiple pole crossing points||4-season camping, mountaineering, backpacking||Check price on Amazon|
Things to Consider Before Buying
The best winter tent needs to be able to protect you from low temperatures and strong winds. It should be easy to pitch in cold frosty grounds or snowy terrain. Choosing a good 4-season tent can be confusing the for the first time which is why you need to know the important features of a tent that can make warm, comfortable and protected.
Here are some features you need to watch out for.
Cold weather tent have features that are specifically designed so that they can be pitched in snowy or hard terrain. Winter tents are usually double walled or single walled. A single wall tent is constructed using only 1 fabric and is usually used by mountaineers. A double wall tent has an inner tent made of breathable material and outer tent consisting of the fly.
A single wall 4-season tent is lighter and cooler than a double wall. They are also easier to set up. However, single walled tents are usually more expensive than a double wall and have potentially more condensation.
A double wall 4-season tent is cheaper than a single wall and is also warmer. It offers better ventilation and has less condensation. On the down side, it is also heavier and more difficult to set up compared to a single wall.
Choose a tent type that meets the requirements of your cold camping itinerary. If you’re going to move from camp to camp, a single wall is more ideal because they are lighter and easier to set up. However, if you’re camp is static, a double wall tent is the better option for you.
Tent size usually refers to the number of people that can be comfortably housed inside a tent. Tent manufacturers usually use the term “berth” to refer to the number of people it can fit. Hence, a 2-berth tent is a 2-person tent and a 3-berth tent can fit 3 people and so on.
Although the “berth” is a good indication of size, you also need to consider that you need room for your camping equipment. Space for cooking, biking or hiking could mean that a bigger size is needed. Some tents come with porch areas or vestibules that are covered with a fly sheet and can be used for storage especially if the ground sheet covers this area as well.
The performance of your tent relies heavily on your poles. One of the reasons why tents are expensive is because of the materials used by the poles. Popular materials include e glass fiber, carbon fiber and metal. The type of pole the tent uses can greatly impact its price.
Carbon fiber poles are extremely lightweight and very strong. They are usually bundled with lightweight, high-end tents. Glass fiber is not as strong or lightweight as carbon fiber but is good enough for 4-season camping and mountaineering. Metal poles are perhaps the most common. It is an effective and affordable material.
A flysheet is the primary barrier to rain or snow. They are made from many materials with nylon being the most popular option. This is because nylon is strong and lightweight while offering a high degree of protection against the elements.
Not all cold weather tents have flysheets and not all flysheets are waterproof. Generally, the thicker the coating of the flysheet; the more waterproof and more durable the tent becomes. However, thicker flysheets also make the tent heavier. It is best to find the right balance between weight and protection if you’re considering a flysheet.
Pegs are needed to stabilize your tent. Good pegs can hold a tent in pitch against wind and snow. When buying a 4-season tent, check to see if the tents provided are sturdy and strong. Strong winds and heavy snow can knock down your tent especially if the pegs are weak.
Pgts are usually a compromise between strength, weight and their holding power. Look for snow spike pegs for 4 season tents.
During winter camping, the ground is usually hard and cold or covered in snow. A cold ground can be very uncomfortable to sleep on so you need a groundsheet or footprint as a buffer against the tent floor and the ground.
Choose a groundsheet that is lightweight and water resistant. For winter camping and mountaineering a 10,000 mm waterproofing measurement is best.
Now that you have a basic idea of the type of 4-season tent you need, it is time to take a look at some of the best products available out there. Check out reviews of cold weather tents.
Best Products on Today’s Markets
If you want to know how a product performs without buying it, you need to read reviews of previous buyers. Reviews are generally a feedback from users regarding the performance of a product. Reviews can give you a good idea if the product can perform well in real-life situations.
Here are reviews of winter tents available in today’s market.
Hilleberg Nammatj 2 Person Tent
Weight: 5.5 pounds
Specific features: Kerlon 1800 outer tent fabric, strong Spectra guy lines, spacious interior, extended vestibule
Best use: 4-season camping, backpacking, mountaineering, polar expeditions
Description: The Hilleberg Nammatj 2 Person Tent is one versatile tent. At 5.5 lb., it is light enough for backpacking and strong enough for camping in cross Polar Regions. The Nammatj is a double wall tent that pitches from the outside first. It is easy to set up and with practice a single person can have this tent up in around 2 minutes.
The Nammatj has steep walls and a spacious interior; it is more comfortable than dome tents that have low angle walls and has a good balance of comfort and strength. This product is very well ventilated with massive vents that ties out with three self-equalizing guylines.
The Nammatj uses 10.2 mm DAC Featherlite NSL Green poles, one of the best aluminum poles found in any mountaineering tent. Its low profile, aerodynamic design makes it a good choice for polar expeditions where high winds whip unrestricted across miles of ice and snow. The vestibule extends all the way to the ground so you have a lot of room for cooking or storing your camping gear.
This is a good and durable tent that can serve you for many seasons. Though on the pricey side, it can represent a good investment especially if you love to go camping or backpacking during the winter months. The Kerlon 1800 is resistant to tearing so you can expect this tent to last for many years and is recommended for outdoorsmen who are looking for comfort, low weight, and high performance in low temperature conditions.
- Durable fabric and design
- Only 1 door
Related: The Nammatj’s footprint is expensive but you can cut your own using DuPont Tyvek HomeWrap. This alternative is a favorite among backpackers and hikers because it is more affordable and is waterproof, highly puncture resistant and very durable.
ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 2-Person Tent
Weight: 7.4 pounds
Specific features: Weatherproof shock cord, polyester fly, great ventilation with mesh windows, mesh storage pockets
Best use: 4-season camping
Description: The ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 2-Person Tent is perfect for campers who are looking for a roomy tent. The vestibule and floor space is huge and there is no need to get into your hands and feet to enter this tent. The Tasmanian is 43.5 square feet inside with 21 square feet of vestibule space. It’s not a big difference with other tents but the height difference of the Tasmanian will make it seem larger compared to others.
This is a good and affordable choice for people who are looking for a warm and reliable 4-season tent. It can stand up really well under driving rain. It also performs suitably when pitched in snowy areas. The Tasmanian uses a double Y poll system, making it easy to set up even if you’ve never pitched a tent before.
This tent has a lot of storage pockets and a gear loft. The height inside makes the tent more comfortable to move around and does not feel cramped. Like most tents it doesn’t come with a footprint but luckily it only costs $20.
Weighing in at at 8 lb 10 oz, this product is too heavy to be a backpacking tent. The rainfly is also a bit tricky to set up so you better practice at home first so you get it right once your outdoors. Overall, it is a good and sturdy tent with lots of headroom and space so you’re comfortable and warm.
- Good height
- Too heavy for backpacking
- Rainfly is tricky to set up
Related: An extra blanket can keep you toasty warm during winter camping but who has more room inside their backpacks? Luckily the Yodo Oxford Waterproof Pocket Blanket folds down to 6.3 x 2.8 x 3.9 inches for easy storage and weighs only 0.8 lbs. so you can clip it outside your backpack for extra heat.
Black Diamond Eldorado Tent
Weight: 4.41 pounds
Specific features: Compact mountaineering design, vestibule for gear storage, zippered vents at the peak, ToddTex single-wall fabric
Best use: 4-season camping, mountaineering, backpacking
Description: The Black Diamond Eldorado Tent is a good choice for an alpine climbing tent and winter camping tent. It is constructed using three-layer ePTFE membrane that is more durable compared to other polyurethane coated fabrics used in most tents.
Setting it up can be hard at first mostly because the ends of the poles needs to be inserted into reinforced corners and the plastic twist ties that wrap around the poles need to be secured. However, with practice it gets easier.
The fabric is fabric is extremely strong and the tent offers full-on expedition style protection. The Eldorado represents a significant investment for the buyer, but you won’t regret it if you’re looking for a durable tent.
Delamination will likely happen eventually however it will still take a long time since the three-layer construction that is not prone to hydrolysis (chemical breakup of the coating). The tent weighs 4 lb 8 oz; at an average packed weight of 5 lb 1 oz, so it’s a good choice for those looking for a lightweight option. It is best used as a high altitude and general mountaineering tent
The only thing we don’t like is the lack of a 3rd pole which can increase strength, headroom and improve the tent’s ability to handle more snow loads. Livability is average on the Eldorado mainly because of the poor ventilation.
- Very durable
- Lacks a 3rd pole
Related: A winter tent needs a sleeping bag made for low temperatures. Keep toasty warm as you sleep in the TETON Sports Celsius Regular. It is survival rated for cold temperatures (rated at zero degrees for cool to frozen conditions). Made with sturdy lightweight taffeta, it has a pack weight of only 5 pounds.
Arctic Oven 12 Tent
Weight: 10 pounds
Capacity: 4-5 persons
Specific features: Condensation-free and breathable tent, superior strength-to-weight ratio, vestibule space for storage
Best use: 4-season camping
Description: The Arctic Oven 12 is a premier cold/wet weather camping tent. It is a true winter tent, specializing in cold and wet climates with its condensation-free interior and the option of putting a stove inside for warmth. This tent is bigger than some apartments providing 152 square feet of livable space and 46 square feet of vestibule space. This means that it has more than enough room to keep you and your gear warm and dry.
This tent is the perfect size for 4-5 people and their gear for winter camping and up to 6 people for summer camping. It also includes a 4.5″ oval stove jack if you choose to use a stove in your tent. The tent is made from Vapex, a proprietary material designed to wick condensation and other moisture out of the tent to create a dry interior. The rainfly is strong and study and can withstand heavy winds in exposed conditions.
Purchase of this product comes with L-shaped rod stakes which are good enough for general winter camping. However, if you want more holding power; buy larger steel stakes with wider flanges that will hold better in tundra or sand.
You will also want to buy additional tiedown cords securing of all the tiedowns to give you more protection during strong winds. However tips the scales with 78 lbs packed weight including tent and poles, making it too heavy for backpacking.
- Very large and roomy
- Sleeps 5 people with room for cooking
- Very expensive
- Too heavy for backpacking
Related: Make use of the AO 12’s oval stove jack and cook your meals inside with the oval Camp Chef Everest High Output 2 Burner Stove. It features two 20,000 BTU burners, stainless steel drip tray for easy cleanup for fast and efficient cooking.
Black Diamond Fitzroy Tent
Weight: 2 pounds
Specific features: 4-pole, steep-sided design, double doors, ToddTex single-wall fabric
Best use: 4-season camping, mountaineering, backpacking
Description: The Black Diamond Fitzroy Tent is a strong and durable single-wall tent. It uses four quality Easton poles setup and a waterproof breathable three-layer ePTFE membrane for durability and effective protection against the elements. The Fitzroy is designed with weather and wind resistance in mind and its drum tight walls can resist even the fiercest of wind gusts. Living space inside the tent is a bit tight but it does have enough from for 2 people and their gear. It is best used for high altitude mountaineering, base camps, and alpine climbing.
This product has 2 doors, one on each side. This is a good feature since you don’t have to climb over your tent mate whenever you need to go outside. The ToddTex fabric handles moisture very well and the tent offers adequate ventilation.
At more than $700, this is an expensive tent, and this price is without the vestibule included. It is also not easy to pitch especially the first time around. You pitch this tent from the inside by inserting the edge of the poles into reinforced sections of the tent and then using plastic twist ties that wrap around the poles to keep them locked in place.
We recommend practicing a few times at home before trying it out for real when you’re camping. It is also not as lightweight and compact as other less expensive single walled tents.
- Good wind and weather resistance
- Strong fabric
- Small living space
Related: Increase the Fitzroy’s living space by purchasing the Black Diamond Fitzroy Vestibule. It is constructed with lightweight, waterproof SilPoly fabric and can increase floor space by 0.8 square meters (9 sq. ft.) which can be used for storage and to de-clutter your tent interior.
TETON Sports Mountain Ultra Tent
Weight: 6 pounds
Specific features: Soft, durable micro mesh fabric, only 3 poles for set-up, reinforced/heat taped seams, lightweight aluminum poles
Best use: 4-season camping
Description: The TETON Sports Mountain Ultra Tent is a unique tent with an interesting ridge pole system, designed to give you a wider ceiling and vestibules. Set up the micromesh tent to get 360-degree view of the campsite. Put up the provided rain fly for privacy and weather condition.
The rainfly also creates a nice vestibule area where you can store your gear to keep them safe from the elements. This tent uses only 3 poles and is very easy to set up. The rainfly has built in cut away vents to prevent condensation build-up.
Unlike other tents, the Mountain Ultra comes with a durable Oxford footprint to protect your tent floor. The tent floor is constructed using 150D Oxford canvas with reinforced/heat taped seams and anchor points for extra durability.
The product also comes with lightweight aluminum poles that can outlast carbon-fiber varieties. Pitch size for the tent is 90 x 78 x 49 inches so you have more than enough room for sleeping and storing your gear. It has 2 doors, making entry or exit more convenient for the residents.
Pack weight is around 8.2 pounds, so it is not really suitable for backpacking. While it holds up well during strong winds, the inside of the tent can feel noisy due to the squeaking of the rainfly. However, it is still a good choice if you’re looking for a good sized and affordable 3-person tent.
- Comes with footprint
- Reports of squeaking in high winds
Related: If you can’t sleep due to the cold the Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater can warm you up inside your tent. This portable space heater is perfect for camping, hunting, and cool weather outdoor activities.
Mountain Hardwear Trango 3 Tent
Weight: 11.3 pounds
Specific features: 2 dual canopy and mesh doors, snow flaps, dry entry vestibules, DAC Featherlight NSL poles
Best use: 4-season camping
Description: The Mountain Hardwear Trango 3 Tent is built for winter mountaineering and has enough room to shelter up to 3 people and their gear. It is easy to set up since the cords and straps are color coordinated; you won’t need to read the instructions to pitch this tent up. The Tango 3 can repel rain, sleet, ice, snow and wind without difficulty. The tent can keep taut even during high winds and heavy rain and feels stable and secure.
The Trango 3 has a lot of room and living space for 3 people and has a lot of storage options. You can easily move and sit up inside the tent. This tent features 2 vestibules with the front vestibule larger than the back. This is a great space to store your backpack and to enter and exit without bothering the other occupants. The tent is tough and durable and the zippers work very well. The tent fabric can also handle rain and snow easily.
On the downside, this tent is not very well ventilated. It can get stuffy especially once the doors are closed and there are 3 people inside. It also weighs a whopping 11 lb and 3 oz, so it is not a good choice for backpacking.
- Good living space
- Easy to setup
- Can resist high winds, rain and snow
- Poor ventilation
Related: Winter tents keep you warm when you’re inside but when you’re outside you need the Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Jacket with 750-fill Q.Shield down to keep you warm. This jacket repels moisture and maintains loft even when wet for ultimate comfort and warmth during and before any cold weather activity.
Hilleberg Jannu 2 Person Tent
Weight: 5.4 pounds
Specific features: Kerlon 1200 fabric, dome construction with multiple pole crossing points
Best use: 4-season camping, mountaineering, backpacking
Description: The Hilleberg Jannu 2 Person Tent is an ideal tent for mountaineering and alpine climbing. It offers fast setup and bombproof storm protection. It is a self-supporting dome tent that can be set up in 4 steps. It has a pitch-the-outside-first design that is superior to traditional double wall tents and can be set up by 1 person.
The Jannu 2 can also handle severe snow loading and winds that batter it from all sides. It uses Kerlon 1200 with a 26.5 lb tear strength, making it one of the strongest tent fabrics in the market.
The 36.6 sq ft is decent enough for 2 people and their gear and features a 13 sq ft vestibule that can be used for storage or as a cooking area. It also has a large customizable top vent with numerous possible configurations, making it one of the best ventilated tents.
The Jannu does not use the heaviest fabric but it is surprisingly durable. The tent is super tough even though the 7 lb 1 oz is a bit heavy.
- Durable fabric
- Easy setup
- Decent living space
- A bit heavy for backpacking
Related: Increase your warmth and comfort by purchasing the Hilleberg Jannu Footprint. Aside from warmth, this is a tough ground sheet that protects the tent’s floor from rips, dirt, and ground moisture from rising in the vestibule area.
This wraps up our product reviews. Cold weather tents are designed for low temperature use and can greatly enhance your winter camping experience. Before buying a tent, consider how you will use the tent so that you will be able to choose the tent most suited for your activity. You also need to consider the size, materials and build of the tent to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth.
Using a winter tent can make camping in the snow more enjoyable and tolerable. Winter tents also allow you to go camping all year round. Cold weather camping can be a new experience even to old hands as it is more peaceful, picturesque and without the presence of mosquitoes and other insects.
Do you think you will try winter camping with a 4-season tent? What do you think of our featured products? Tell us by leaving your comments below.