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Winter Camping Tents

Updated on January 30, 2013

Winter Camping Tents - Not Just Any Tent Will Do

Planning a cold weather camping trip? Then you definitely need to look into winter camping tents. If you've ever shopped for a tent, you know that there are a lot of different sizes and styles. They all have their good points and bad, but not all of them are suitable for the extremes weather that winter can bring.

My first winter camping experience was in the winter of 1984 in Germany. The Boy Scout Troop that I was in had one set of tents that we used all year round. They were great for in the summer, but they were absolutely horrible to use in the winter! After that first experience (and freezing my toes), I almost swore off winter camping but I didn't. I have to say that I have never regretted my decision.

So, if you're about to embark on your first winter camping trip or you just froze your nether regions because your two-season tent that works great in the summer isn't so hot in the winter, keep reading to learn about winter camping tents and how to choose one that meets your needs.

Image Source: The North Face VE 25 All Season Tent on Amazon.

Photo Credit: Eureka! Alpenlite 2XT Tent on Amazon.

What you need to have in a 4 season tent depends on several different factors. Are you camping or backpacking? How windy, rainy, snowy, etc. is it going to be when you go? What are the terrain conditions where you're going to be camping? Do you need to set-up & break camp quickly? Once you've answered those questions, you're ready to narrow down your search of what to look for in a 4 season tent.

If you're camping rather than backpacking, you'll do better with a double wall tent than a single wall. Double wall tents weigh more, and backpacking is (almost) all about limiting weight. Another difference between double and single wall designs is that double wall tents take longer to setup and take down than single walls.

If it's going to be excessively windy, rainy, generally yucky, look for a tent with a vestibule that is built in. Side note: if you don't know what a vestibule is, ask yourself the following question - "Do I really want to go camping in the winter?" :)

The terrain is a factor because it determines how large the footprint of your tent and all guy-lines can be. It also determines the type of staking system you should have (more on that later).

What to look for in a 4 season tent isn't a short list. If you don't want to spend far too much money buying multiple 4 season tents, carefully consider as many potential factors as you can and try to account for them all.

Remember Bigger Isn't Always Better

When it comes to tents for cold weather camping, you want to go with a smaller (1 or 2 person) tent so it is easier to warm with your body heat.

Where to Buy 4 Season Tents

From my experience, unless you live near a Cabela's, Bass Pro Shop, REI Outfitter, or similar large outdoor sporting goods store, you're going to have an easier time finding a 4 season tent to buy online than you will looking locally. Another thing to consider when it comes to choosing where to buy a 4 season tent is that many online stores offer free shipping for orders over a certain dollar amount. There is also, generally, a better selection online than you're going to find locally. Did I fail to mention that buying online allows the consumer to save gas and shop in their pajamas? Yet another bonus!

Winter Camping Tents - How to Choose

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Benefits of Getting a Double Wall 4 Season Tent

Single wall or double wall? There are differences in both. Here are some benefits of getting a double wall 4 season tent.

  1. Better insulation
  2. Stronger construction
  3. More design options
  4. Built-in vestibule
  5. If it turns out to be warmer than you thought, take off the outer layer

Have Your Heart Set on a Double Wall 4 Season Tent?

The only two negative points (in my opinion) to double wall tents are the weight and the cost. Double wall tents have more material than single wall (obviously), but they are typically stronger. Double wall tents also tend to be more expensive than single wall. If you have your heart set on a double wall 4 season tent, here are some good choices.

A Quick Question on Winter Camping Tents

What kind of winter camping tent are you looking for today?

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Portable Tent Heaters to Keep You Toasty Warm

If it's going to be excessively cold on your next campout, but you aren't sure a double wall 4 season tent is the right purchase, here are some portable tent heaters to help keep you warm. They are less expensive than a tent, but make sure you practice good safety habits when using one.

Tent Accessories to Consider

Most tents will come with all of the parts that they need to be pitched properly (unless you purchase a used tent), but there are more tent accessories to consider.

Which of the tents featured here is your favorite? Share any comments or questions below.

Do You Have a Favorite Cold Weather Tent for Camping?

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    • ManfromModesto LM profile image

      ManfromModesto LM 4 years ago

      Weight is also a big consideration for most. and ease of set up.