When looking for a tent to use in winter camping, finding a shelter that will protect you is crucial. Winter tents are different from summer tents, but some of the same principles apply. Winter storms are unpredictable and deadly, so you need shelter to withstand anything.
Here are some tips and options for staying warm and dry during those cold winter nights;
Double Walled Tents
A double-walled tent is a must for winter camping. A single-wall tent will not protect you from moisture from the outside or condensation on the inside. Double-walled tents are better at keeping out moisture because they have two layers of fabric, one that is waterproof and another that keeps out wind and snow.
Geodesic or Dome Tents
These tents are also known as geo domes because they resemble geodesic domes in shape and structure. They are very strong and stable in high winds and heavy snowfall because they have fewer poles than traditional tents, allowing them to withstand higher winds without collapsing on top of you. The downside is that they take up more space than other types of tents, but if you are only going out for short trips, this shouldn’t be an issue since they can be packed down pretty small once they are taken down.
Strong Zippers and Waterproofing
Ensure your zippers are strong enough to withstand rough use in winter conditions; you don’t want the winter tent ripping open in the middle of a storm. You also want your tent to be waterproof so it doesn’t absorb water when it rains or snows heavily outside your tent.
Tents with Snow Skirts or Snow Flaps
These tents have an extension that goes around the bottom of the tent, keeping snow out. If it snows heavily, it will help prevent your tent from becoming snow-filled. Additionally, if it is windy, this skirt will prevent wind from blowing up into your tent as much as it would otherwise. It is also helpful when getting in and out of your tent since it doesn’t require removing all your outer layers when entering or exiting the tent, which could cause more heat loss.
A footprint is a tarp that you put under your tent to protect it from rocks, sticks, pine cones, and other sharp objects in the ground. It also protects it from getting dirty while you’re hiking in with all your gear on top of it. A stuffable footprint can be rolled up into an included pouch until needed, saving space in your pack when not needed. This is especially helpful if you’re using an ultralight backpacking backpack with little room.
Double Pitched Tents
Double-pitched tents are designed to give more headroom inside the tent than single-pitched ones, making them perfect for cold-weather camping. They also offer more living space than single-pitch tents, so they’re great if you have more than one person in your family or group who wants to sleep in the same tent or if someone has a lot of gear.
Free-standing tents come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Many of these tents have extra features like mesh windows that help keep snow out while letting in sunlight which can still be seen as white light through the mesh. Some also have vestibules where you can store gear out of the weather when not using it. Other than that, they’re pretty much just like any other tent with one significant difference. Unlike non-freestanding tents, free-standing tents can be pitched without securing them to the ground with stakes or ropes first.
Down Sleeping Bags
Down sleeping bags are ideal for winter camping because they provide more warmth than synthetic alternatives without adding too much weight or bulkiness. Look for down bags rated at least 0F (minus 18C) or higher, as this is what most people will need when temperatures dip into single digits or below zero degrees Celsius (32F).
Winter Sleeping Pads
A good quality sleeping pad is essential for any camper, especially if you’re camping in cold weather conditions. Look for one that has insulation on both sides because it will help trap heat inside while keeping moisture away from the underside of your body.
Four-Season or Mountaineering Tents
Four-season or mountaineering tents are designed to withstand the harshest winter weather. They’re made of sturdy materials and have plenty of room to pack all your gear. Four-season tents generally have two entrances, so you can go in and out without bringing snow into your tent. They also have multiple poles for extra stability and vestibules for storing gear.
Four-season tents come in two basic styles double wall and single-wall. Double wall tents are heavier than single wall models because they have a waterproof rainfly covering the entire tent body and a fly covering just the top half of the tent body called a porch. The extra weight is worth it if you intend to camp in extreme cold or wet conditions where condensation may be an issue with a single-wall design. Single-wall designs do not have an inner layer or ground cloth, so they’re lighter and cheaper than double-wall models though they’re not as waterproof.
Size and Space
The size of your tent will depend on how many people you plan to sleep in it. If you have a small family or want to camp alone, a 2-person tent is perfect. If you are going out with friends or have a large family, go for 4-6 person tents.
You should also consider how much space each person needs when choosing the right tent size. If you want more space, choose a bigger one, but if there is only one person using it, get a smaller one so as not to waste space and money on extra materials like poles and ropes.
Winter camping can be a very rewarding experience. However, using the proper gear, including a good quality winter tent, is crucial in maximizing your chances of enjoying the wilderness and not enduring it. You should also take all the precautions to prevent any unfortunate accidents ruining your experiences, such as hypothermia or frostbite. Winter camping is as much about being prepared as about having fun in nature.