When camping in the cold weather, you'll have to go up against frost, winds, and winter storms. Luckily, there are specifically-designed tents to protect you from the elements. The best tents for cold weather camping are strong, made of water-repellent fabric, and often have steep sides to keep snow from building up on top of the tent.
First, consider if the place you're camping will be snowy. If you plan to use your
tent for hiking or mountaineering, you'll want to consider lightweight options with sloping sides to help keep snow from weighing down the frame. But if you're mostly camping on flat, dry ground for short periods of time, your options are pretty open, including more spacious dome-shaped tents.
Another thing to keep in mind is the strength of the frame and fabric. For example, blizzard poles will be an essential feature to look for in a tent if you plan on camping for more than a few days in windy and frigid temperatures. On the other hand, your tent won't need as many flaps, pockets, or gear if you aren't planning on taking it up a mountain. Either way, it's important to make sure any cold-weather tent you purchase is made with fabric treated with long-lasting, water-repellent coating.
Here's a round-up of the best tents for cold-weather camping out there so you can get your nature fix all year long.
In a hurry? These are the best tents for cold weather camping in 2022: 1. The Best For Most People: Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian 3-Person Tent, $280 2. A Budget-Friendly Four-Person Tent: MoKo Waterproof Family Camping Tent, $98 3. A Lightweight Tent That Sleeps Four: Geertop 4-Person 4-Season Large Family Tent, $200 4. The Best For Mountaineering: ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent, $140 5. The Best That's Stove-Compatible: PlayDo 4-Season Waterproof Bell Tent, $439 6. A Versatile Tent That’s 100-Percent Waterproof: Marmot Limelight Trekking Tent, $322 7. The Most Affordable: Core 4 Person Dome Tent, $80 8. The Best For Large Groups: Coleman WeatherMaster 10-Person Tent, $293 1 The Best For Most People Why it's great: While this freestanding tent is labeled as a "mountaineering" unit, it functions as way more than that. First, the frame is constructed with rust-proof aluminum poles that can be snapped together in a cinch. The tent itself is treated with weather-resistant silicone to keep out snow and sleet. Even the fly buckles are weatherproof for easy handling, and all the seams in the fabric are factory-sealed so they won't allow in any moisture. Plus, this entire unit weighs only 9 pounds, so it's easy to carry anywhere. What campers say: "Fantastic tent. Easily 5-10 degrees warmer just inside alone. Slept in simply a long sleeve tee in a bag at 11k with 5 inches at 15 degrees. Exceeded expectations.” 2 A Budget-Friendly Four-Person Tent Why it's great: This weatherproof tent is a total bargain without skimping on protection and comfort. It's constructed of long-lasting, weatherproof nylon and firm, yet flexible, fiberglass poles for quick and easy assembly. There's also a large window for extra ventilation, and the 3-foot vestibule space is big enough to easily house multiple pairs of boots and gear so you don't have to track snow into your tent. The tradeoffs: Overall, this is a good quality tent for the price, but it isn't exactly made to last for the long haul. The fabric is thinner than some other cold-weather tents, and the seams aren't sealed or reinforced. What campers say: "Unusual tent setup, but one of the best, most versatile ones I’ve ever had. I bought this tent for a cross country camping trip with my 10 yr old son. Nighttime temperatures for the first half of April ranged from 8° in Custer, South Dakota (where there was already 8 [inches] of snow on the ground) to the mid 30s in Flagstaff, AZ. We had drizzling rain, as well as sleet and it actually snowed on us in Chicago. This tent kept us warm and dry. In Chicago, we actually had to take our blankets off [because] we were too hot!” 3 A Lightweight Tent That Sleeps Four Why it's great: If you're camping with a group, this lightweight dome tent is the perfect fit for up to four people. With two entrances and two ventilation windows, you don't have to worry about the tent getting too stuffy, and the vestibule flap can be propped up to allow for even more airflow. On top of that, this tent is made with high-density nylon mesh to keep you both well-insulated and completely dry. The tradeoffs: Although the snow skirt and vestibule flap allows for a lot of space to move, because of its open sides it won't keep your boots or other gear protected from any snow that gets blown in during the night. What campers say: "I ordered this tent to expand my camping season into the winter. My son and I took it out shortly after receiving it and used it in -1C (30F) weather with snow and it performed well. There was some wind as well and this tent kept the wind out. Was easy and straightforward to set up.” 4 The Best For Mountaineering Why it's great: If you're ready to scale a mountain, you'll want to invest in this breathable mountaineering tent. Weighing just 1.8 kilograms, it’s light enough to take out in the backcountry, and it has a two-pole design that’s easy to set up. The waterproof polyester fly also doubles as a vestibule to keep your gear protected from inclement weather, and the seams on the fly are factory-sealed for added protection. This tent is super breathable when you want it to be thanks to the partial-mesh walls, and the extra-large zippers on the single door make it easy to open and close. The tradeoffs: Since this is a three-season tent, it may not be the best for extreme cold and snow, but reviewers on Amazon say they’ve taken it out in cold weather with appropriate sleeping mats and bags without any issues. What campers say: "I have used this in wet, cold, windy and hot temperatures backpacking in the North Carolina and Georgia Appalachians. Cold temps below 10F and some swampy hot nights in the summer. Its a great tent for the price [...] If you change up the right layers, pads and sleeping bag you should be ok making this a four season shelter. I wear my 800 down jacket, balaclava in my 0 degree mummy bag for the sub 20 nights and sleep comfortably. I’ll probably use it for years to come.” 5 The Best That's Stove-Compatible Why it's great: With ample room for a stove, this yurt-style tent doesn't mess around when it comes to keeping you comfortable. The 5-inch stove hole is large enough for most standard tent stoves, and when you're not using it, it can easily be covered and sealed with the adjustable flap. Constructed with thick, weatherproof-treated cotton, this tent is also excellent at keeping in heat, no matter how cold it gets outside. As a bonus, it's almost 10 feet tall at the center pole, so there's plenty of room to stretch. The tradeoffs: While this tent is completely wind and waterproof, the description mentions that it's best for "moderate rains," most likely due to how long it will take the cotton fabric to dry out. Be sure to check the radar before you head out with this tent. What campers say: "[T]his tent did endure 40-45 mile an hour winds in an open site without trees. The pole shook and tent flapped a lot but stayed staked down and we felt completely safe. No damage at all." 6 A Versatile Tent That’s 100-Percent Waterproof Why it’s great: This tent is made from durable polyester and polyester mesh that will keep you (and your gear) protected from everything from no-see-ums in warmer weather to wind and rain when the temperatures drop. It has a sturdy design that’s easy to set up, and the unique shape of this tent provides extra living space, so you can use it either as a particularly roomy two-person tent that can also comfortably sleep three if you’re traveling with an extra person. It has two doors and a seam-taped floor that will keep water out of your tent — even if it’s not on a totally level surface. The drawbacks: This tent doesn’t come with a footprint, so you’ll need to purchase one separately. It’s also a three-season tent, so while it will keep you warm through the end of fall and into early winter, you would not want to use this one in extremely cold or snowy conditions. What campers say: “I just purchased my second limelight tent to replace my old one. My latest one is still functional just showing its wear after over 500 nights of camping. As an avid camper and scout leader, my first tent has been all over the country including Philmont in New Mexico and BWCA in Minnesota. Most of its nights camping were done in Kansas with the troop. Even though this is a [three-]season tent I have used it all year. It has held up to Kansas high winds (up [to] 60mph), snow and thunderstorms. When it came time to retire my old tent I had no doubt about what I was going to buy.” 7 The Most Affordable What’s great about it: This true four-season tent costs just $80, making it the best bargain option on this list. It’s made from 68-denier polyester that will keep you shielded from the wind and rain, and the rain fly is seam-sealed for added protection. Adjustable air vents in the rain fly and a mesh panel in the canopy make this tent breathable as well as warm, and the interior of the tent has both pockets and a gear loft to keep your belongings organized. The drawbacks: At 8 pounds, this tent is not particularly lightweight, so it’s better suited for car camping than backpacking. Some reviewers also say that it’s more appropriate for two or three people rather than four, as advertised. What campers say: “This is a great tent. Withstood 12 hours straight of rain, so much fun, and was perfectly dry inside. It was easy to set up, and bigger inside than I thought it would be. Could sleep 2 adults comfortably. I'd recommend this tent to anyone.” 8 The Best For Large Groups What’s great about it: This Coleman tent sleeps anywhere from seven to 10 people comfortably, making it the best option on this list for larger groups of campers. The brand’s WeatherTec system features inverted seams and a waterproof floor as well as a sturdy frame that actually responds to (rather than simply resisting) windy conditions for maximum protection against the elements. It’s large enough to fit three queen-sized air mattresses, and has a hinged door. The drawbacks: At 30 pounds, this tent is by far the heaviest option on this list, so it can’t really be used for anything other than car camping. Reviewers also say that because it’s so large, it can get drafty if you don’t have appropriate cold-weather sleeping gear. What campers say: “This thing is a house. Very well constructed. First tent I've owned where I could stand inside and not hit my head. I'm only 5'8" though, but still. It's nice to not have to duck constantly. It was fairly simple to put together. It took me about 15 minutes the first time, but that's because I put this up in the dark. I'm sure I can get this up in half the time next time I do. The construction is SOLID and no cheap frame poles.”
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This article was originally published on
November 17, 2018