Most new campers prefer to camp during the warmer, mild spring, summer, and fall seasons. However, if you are ready for an elevated, slightly different camping experience, then winter camping may just be for you. Camping in cold, snowy climates during the “off” season can be beautiful and refreshing, but in order to stay safe, you need to be prepared. If you plan to camp in winter conditions, you will need a four season tent to protect you from the harsh elements.
Four season tents are arguably improperly named, for they are designed specifically to withstand the cold, snowy, windy conditions of winter camping. They have features designed to provide insulation and protection, such as thicker fabrics, sturdier structures, and a unique ventilation system. These features are crucial in cold weather, but when it comes to the warmer months, you may find that four season tents are not breathable enough to have a comfortable night’s sleep.
As with any three season tent, four season tents can vary in size, capacity, material, and design. Whether you are camping solo or with a large group of people, you can find a four season tent to accommodate your group size. The most common design that four season tents come in is dome shaped, however A-line shaped four season tents are not uncommon.
The benefit of a domed shape tent is the sturdy structure it provides. The intricate assembly of poles in a domed shaped tent provides stability, which can better withstand wind. The dome shape also serves to direct snow off of the tent, preventing it from piling up during snowstorms.
In addition to quality, capacity, price, and size, there are additional considerations to make regarding your future four season ten that are especially important when camping in harsh, cold conditions.
To provide insulation, four season tents are designed to have limited ventilation and air flow. However, proper ventilation is still very important when camping in cold weather. Though you want your tent to conserve as much heat as possible, poor ventilation can cause frost and moisture build up inside of the tent. While you breathe as you sleep, your breath releases moisture into the air. Such moisture can collect and condense on the walls of the tent and freeze. Hence, it is important to have proper vents that carry water moisture out of the tent before it has a chance to build up on the tent walls.
Often, three season tents are made of a breathable fabric to prevent such issue. However, when camping in the cold, the fabric must be thick enough to keep out the frigid air and wind. Many four season tents are designed with small vents, serving as an alternative to breathable fabrics.
Four season tents can either be single walled or double walled. Double walled tents have an extra, outer layer that is water resistant. The benefit of this extra layer is added protection from the wind and another layer of insulation, which creates an extra comfortable environment to sleep in. However, single walled tents are made of less fabric and are therefore lighter and easier to pack and carry. Both are viable options for cold weather camping; it is up to you to decide your preference.
The durability and sturdiness of your four season tent is crucial to have a comfortable night camping. You need a sound tent structure that can withstand windy and snow conditions. There are multiple features that can dictate the durability of your tent’s structure.
Firstly, the pole design and assembly plays an important role in your tents stability. Poles that interlock or cross over make for a sturdy structure. The shape of the structure also impacts its strength. Dome shaped four season tents, as mentioned above, are most popular for winter camping because such shape is very sturdy. Not only does it direct snow off of the roof of the tent, this shape also holds up well to winds.
The material of your tent is also important. You want to look for a durable, waterproof material, such as nylon or polyester. Materials that have been treated with silicone or other chemical compounds hold up extra well in rough conditions.
Lastly, if you really want extra support, consider investing in guylines. Guylines are cables that are attached to the tent and then mounted to the ground, providing your tent with extra sturdiness. Some four season tents come with guylines, but they are also sold separately. If you are going to be camping in especially windy conditions, we recommend packing some guylines just in case.
Insulation is a critical aspect to any four season tent, for it serves to keep you warm and comfortable while camping in freezing conditions. To do this, many four season tents use thicker materials and limit the amount of ventilation to ensure little heat escapes the tent. However, remember that even in cold conditions, ventilation is still important.
Another form of insulation to pay attention to is your sleeping bag. A quality, well insulated sleeping bag made for cold conditions is important to having a safe winter camping trip.
Now that you know more about four season tents and what features to consider, it is time to start shopping. There are many innovative, cool, four season tents on the market. To help you narrow down your choice, we have compiled reviews of our favorite tents for winter camping. Here are our top five recommendations to give you some inspiration.
If you and a partner need a tent for your next winter backpacking trip, then we recommend the ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 2 Person Backpacking Tent. This two person, mountaineering tent is designed to withstand the cold, windy, snowy conditions of four season camping. With strong polyester material and a double walled design, this tent provides good protection against the winter elements. Best of all, this four season tent is very lightweight. Weighing just under eight pounds, it is perfect for your next backpacking trip. For a quality, lightweight tent suitable for all season, take a look at the ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 2 Person Backpacking Tent.
If you are on the market for a quality, two person, four season tent, then we recommend the Hilleberg Jannu 2 Person Tent. This quality, double walled, four season tent has a two person capacity. Weighing just over six pounds, this ultralight tent is made of durable Kerlon nylon material that can withstand the wear and tear of winter elements. Its sturdy, self supporting, dome structure is designed for high altitude use in harsh, conditions. With crossing poles, this structure can hold up against heavy snow. It also has guylines to provide extra stability. The Hilleberg Jannu 2 Person Tent is a durable four season tent ideal for any winter backpacking or base camping trip.
The Black Diamond Firstlight 2 Person Tent is the best single walled, four season tent. Made of durable nylon material, this tent is designed to withstand harsh winter conditions, including strong winds. Small mesh panels provide proper ventilation without sacrificing insulation, which minimizes frost during cold nights. Because this tent is single walled, it is extremely light: weighing just over three pounds. Its alpine design maximizes space, providing enough space to sleep two people comfortably. The Black Diamond Firstlight 2 Person Tent is a great, lightweight option for all season camping.
Because of their added durability and weather protection features, four season tents can be quite expensive. If you want to try out winter camping, but do not have a large budget to spend on a tent, then we recommend the Flytop 3-4 season 2-person Double Layer Backpacking Tent. This all weather tent has a sturdy, dome shaped design that can be set up quickly and easily. Its high quality, waterproof, double stitching and tape sealed seams provide durability and protection in rough conditions. This tent performs well in all four seasons. It has mesh ventilation suitable for warm months, but can easily be transformed into a winter tent with the addition of a snow skirt, which is included. You do not have to break the bank to be able to enjoy a comfortable night of winter camping. For an affordable, yet quality four season tent, consider buying the Flytop 3-4 season 2-person Double Layer Backpacking Tent.
If your family is feeling adventurous enough to embark on a winter camping trip, then we recommend investing in the SEMOO D-Shape Door, 3-4 Person, 4-Season Lightweight Family Camping Tent. This four season tent is designed to perform well in all seasons: it provides durable storm protection for the winter months while also having mesh ventilation to keep you cool in the warm, summer season. Its high strength fiberglass frame and six guylines provide stability and support in stormy, windy conditions. It is spacious enough to sleep four people: perfect for a small family. If you are looking for a family tent suitable for all four seasons, then the SEMOO D-Shape Door, 3-4 Person, 4-Season Lightweight Family Camping Tent may be the tent for you.
Winter camping provides a unique, intense outdoors experience that brings camping to a whole new level. To stay safe and comfortable on your winter camping trip, you want to invest in a tent that can protect you from harsh, winter elements. Hopefully our buying guide has provided you with the basic information and advice you need to find the best winter tent for you. If you are still in need of outdoor inspiration, continue to explore our website to find more buying guides and review articles about our favorite camping and outdoor equipment.