The 5 Best Tents For Cold Weather Camping
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-repellant 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.
1. The Best For Most People
Why it's great: While this free-standing 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: "During the night it rained 3+ inches with incredible downpours then changed to snow. I stayed completely dry even with one of the vents open. Wind was also blowing 40+. The tent did an awesome job."
2. The Most Affordable
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, fiber glasses 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: "Two nights with temps down to 17F (-8C) and 6 inches of snow. With our Zero degree sleeping bags the tent was comfortable and kept us well protected from the elements."
3. The Best For Multiple People
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: "Definitely a four season tent. Very warm inside and withstood the cold elements. No condensation in the morning which was a plus for me."
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. Both the frame and fabric have been tested and engineered for high-altitude expeditions. It also features two entryways — a front door, and an escape hatch in case snow drifts over the first door. Plus, this tent won't budge in high winds. The blizzard poles keep it firmly in place, and when high winds hit the broadside of the tent, the interior automatically pressurizes for more stability.
The tradeoffs: Some reviewers mention that setting this tent up the first few times can be a pain. While it comes with a learning curve, it tends to get easier after the first few tries.
What campers say: "If you are looking for a tent light enough to carry high on a technical mountain, sturdy enough to take a wind beating and roomy enough to ride out a storm with 2 people, look no further."
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 also 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."
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