Winter is coming, and the sub-zero temperatures come with it. Well, the winter camping gear market has certainly improved a lot, with numerous seasonal tents on offer that provide excellent shelter for cold weather. It is so easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of choices for winter tents. Want to save valuable time? Then take a look at our picks for the best tents for winter!
These are all seasonal tents fit for backpacking and mountaineering and provide a warm and cozy shelter even during the coldest of nights.
This lightweight tent is built with special care to be the most suitable backpacking tent for winter. From the get-go, you can see the integrated snow skirt, which will help keep the accumulated snow and rainfall right down from the tent. It is a waterproof tent with the outer fly material made of Polyurethane with a 3000mm water resistance rating. The tent floor is seam taped, made of Polyurethane, and has a 5,000mm water resistance rating.
The double-layered walls are excellent in keeping the interior of this four-season tent warm while providing excellent ventilation with two mesh doors and mesh windows. Along with this, there are two vestibules attached to the doors if you need space for your gear. Inside the tent, you can find storage pockets for additional storage. If you need light during the night, there is a lantern hook waiting for you on the ceiling.
What makes this backpacking tent one of the best for cold weather camping is its low weight of 6,4 lbs (2,90 kg). It is also relatively simple to set up solo in just a few minutes, with its sturdy aluminum poles and stakes for additional stability in high winds.
One gripe that we have with this tent is that it tends to condense inside due to an inability to seal the mesh windows fully. To solve this problem, you can put extra blankets on top of them. Nevertheless, if you are looking for the best 2-person tent for winter that will keep you going in the sub-zero temperatures, this is a thrilling pick!
Here is yet another one of the best tents for winter backpacking! This one comes in 2-person and 3-person variants, even though in reality, the tent is fit for 1 or 2 people at best. Nevertheless, if your aim is backpacking in winter weather, this tent from Naturehike will amaze you with its low weight of 3,8 lbs (1,72 kg) for 2-person, and 5,2 lbs (2,36 kg) for 3-person variant.
Assembling this winter tent is quite simple, as it features aluminum poles that make the tent freestanding. You can easily set it up alone in five or so minutes. Also, you get an included footprint that features clips for the rainfly and grommets for the poles. If you want to increase this tent’s wind resistance, wind ropes are included in the package.
This is probably the sturdiest tent that can endure strong winds and harsh weather, so if you’re into extreme camping, this one is for you.
When we look at this tent from the durability perspective, we can say with certainty that it is one of the most amazing four-season tents around! First of all, it features a lot of mesh for additional ventilation, but don’t let that confuse you. It comes with a rainfly made of 20D Polyester material, with a 4,000mm water resistance rating. Along with that, a bathtub-style floor with Polyurethane coating features the same water resistance rating. A snow skirt is included to carry the snow or rain down from the tent.
More than welcome extras include a vestibule, gear loft, and storage pockets. This double-layered tent excels in winter camping, thanks to its high durability and low weight.
Another 4-season winter tent on this list comes from Hillman, and it is exceptional for 2 or 3 people on a backpacking trip. The 2-person variant of this cold weather tent weighs 5,06 lbs (2,3 kg), while the 3-person variant weighs 5,6 lbs (2,5 kg). Setting up the tent can be done in a manner of minutes, as the tent comes with two aluminum poles, two reflective guy ropes for wind stability, and eight aluminum stakes for even more strength! Mind you, if you are camping out where extreme winds may hit your tent, make sure to replace the stakes with something sturdier.
As this is a winter tent, you can expect features such as double walls and a snow skirt to get that excess snow and rainwater off the tent. The walls of this double-wall winter tent are made of 210T breathable polyester and nylon mesh of high density. Mesh walls will provide ventilation that balances out the airflow to evade condensation. It also features two mesh doors for easier entry as well as more ventilation.
When the cold temperatures arrive, you can put on a rainfly that is made of 210T and has a Polyurethane coating with a 3,000 mm water resistance rating. The floor will provide additional protection with its seam-taped, Oxford fabric design, with a water resistance rating of 5,000 mm.
This double-wall tent is a real powerhouse for cold weather camping, as it offers ample weather protection in both variants.
Mainly designed as an expedition tent, the Scorpion 3 is one of the best winter tents due to its optimized construction and design, fit for 4 seasons. It is a heavy-duty freestanding tent that weighs 7,5 lbs (3,40 kg). Thanks to its freestanding ability, it is an excellent pick for camping in harsh and winter weather.
Even though it is advertised as a 3-person tent, it is more suitable for 2 people and all their gear. It features a single door and a vestibule that can be used for storing your equipment, but space inside will just barely fit 3 people. There are also storage pockets inside to keep more of your gear and valuables.
The best thing about this 4-season tent is its sheer durability. It comes with 18 alloy stakes and guy lines that will provide additional stability to the freestanding structure. Some people have tested this tent in 50+ mph snowstorms, and the tent could withstand all the potential damage. Well, this protection certainly comes from the heavy-duty 210T Polyester RipStop rainfly that features a 5,000mm water-resistance rating. The rainfly covers the 50D Polyester mesh wall that has three vents to prevent condensation.
Overall, if you are looking for one of the most stable tents for cold and harsh weather, few come close to the Scorpion 3.
To finish our list, here is one fantastic 2-person, heavy-duty tent from the tent market pioneers, ALPS Mountaineering. This one is a 4-season tent that is highly suitable for winter camping. One major downside is its high weight of 7,9 lbs (3,58 kg), which will make it a bigger load during your winter backpacking adventure.
Other than that, we can only say words of praise for this mountaineering tent. Its pole design is such that they quickly snap together, making for a relatively easy and swift setup. The material of the tent is high-quality and offers high water-resistance. Rainfly is thick but surprisingly light, with a 1,500mm water-resistance coating. The floor provides additional water-resistance thanks to the 5,000mm layer.
When placed on sub-zero temperatures, it will keep you warm while keeping the condensation to the minimum (you will notice it on the rainfly). Thankfully, all the vents on the tent can be zippered so that you can keep that condensation out of the interior of the tent.
Overall, this two-person tent is a great performer when it comes to cold weather camping. It will keep you warm and protected from the snow and water accumulation on the tent fabric. Also, it offers quite a lot of space for two people!
Best Tents For Winter Camping – Buyer’s Guide
Now that you know about the best winter camping tents, you may think that you are all set up! Before you make the final purchase, stay awhile, and learn all about the main features that make the best winter tent for your next adventure!
As a rule of thumb, 4-season tents are the warmest tents that you can find on the market, a trait that makes them ideal for winter camping. They protect you from the external elements and retain more heat inside. It is essential to keep some air flowing inside the tent, as the lack of airflow will produce more condensation. You certainly don’t want the condensed air to turn to water or ice that can drip on your face while you sleep!
You may want to learn how to heat your tent during winter since the temperatures will most likely fall sub-zero.
Usually, you want to get a tent with breathable fabric, as 4-season tents have fewer vents than other tent types. That’s why double-wall tents perform better than single-wall tents, due to more breathable fabric.
Single Wall or Double Wall
While all the winter tents on our list are double-wall tents, you will find many single-wall tents on the market. So, what’s the difference, and does it actually matter?
Single-wall tents have only one fabric layer that offers protection from the elements outside. They are lighter tents, but still can be very tough. Nevertheless, with single-wall tents, you will trade higher comfort, weather protection, and ventilation for lower weight.
On the other hand, double-wall tents feature two layers of fabric, with additional breathability and water-resistance. They tend to be heavier but often provide more space and protection against the elements.
So, when choosing between these two types, consider if you prefer to pack light over the extra space and protection. If minimalism is your choice, then go for a single-wall tent. In other situations, double-wall tents are clear winners.
When talking about the interior space of tents for cold weather, we are mainly referring to the floor area and peak height. You can find tents for cold weather that offer plenty of space for 3 or 4 people or more minimalistic tents that are great for solo camping adventures or with a partner.
If you require more floor space, look for basecamp tents. These tend to have the most space out of the bunch.
Camping during winter requires extra comfortable and padded flooring, and here are some creative ideas to make your flooring more comfortable.
Other than the floor area, there is still the peak height and the wall structure. More peak height means more space for you to stand in. Regarding the walls, study their structure on the tent images. If the walls feature slopes, the tent will have less space. On the other hand, if the walls look more like a cube, there will be more space for you.
This is one of the critical specifications of a winter tent, as you will most probably camp out in some extreme weather conditions. Think strong gusts of wind and heavy snowfall. If you are camping at higher altitudes, the sun’s UV rating will be much stronger, so look that the fabric of the tent has a high UV rating. Thus, look for tents that feature heavy-duty fabric to protect you from harsh winter weather.
Usually, tents specialized for cold weather feature sturdier and heavier poles to help with wind protection. You should definitely avoid poles with plastic tips as you don’t want them snapping in a snowstorm. The best tent poles are certainly the metal poles, as they are the hardest to fold, which makes them less likely to snap and tear down your tent.
When looking for the best tents for winter camping, you must be prepared for the unpredictable and harsh weather out there. Stakes are an afterthought for many, but if you want to be a camping pro, pay extra caution at what stakes you will bring with yourself.
We don’t know anyone who loves drinking beer during winter, but in case you’re the one, here’s how you can keep your beer cold while camping in the snowy area.
The best stakes for winter camping are most certainly that go deeper than 6 inches (15 cm) and have wide blades. If you want extra stability, galvanized steel stakes are the best, but they are quite heavy. Titanium stakes are usually more expensive but are lighter and offer the best strength-weight ratio by far.
Well, choosing the best tents for winter camping can undoubtedly be a daunting task. There are so many factors to consider, as you will camp out in harsh weather conditions. You certainly want the best possible tent that you can use more than once in such a case. Our picks reflect just that. We have carefully chosen different tents for different styles, whether you’re camping solo or with partners.
In the end, we wish you good luck with your winter camping experience! May it be a positive one indeed!