Stuart in the Mountains
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Tarp Camping in Winter

Tarp Camping in Winter

Tarp tents are almost always a great idea. They cut down on a huge amount of weight and let you get closer to nature, which is never a bad thing. But how practical are they for winter? Well that depends. Before you take your tarp camping in winter ask yourself a few things....
  • What does the weather report say?
  • What kind of wind and snow conditions can I expect?
  • What kind of tarp do I have?
Camping in a dense forest with a light snowfall is a perfectly safe place to have a tarp. Camping on an exposed ridge during a storm is a good way to say goodbye to your tarp and maybe a few fingers from frostbite as well. Camping with a tarp in winter is weather dependent. It's a situation where you have to have a good idea of where you're going and what to expect in terms of weather. It helps to have experience with winter camping and with tarp camping in less than favorable conditions. Experience like that really does go a long way to providing you with some safety.

There's also the question of what kind of tarp you're taking with you for winter camping. Many tarps are nothing more than a rectangular piece of fabric that you use trekking poles or trees to help form in to the shape of a shelter. Other tarps though are made with a specific set up in mind and are really more like tents without a floor. As you can guess the rectangular piece of fabric might not be well suited to camping in winter, while the tarp tent that is a tent without a floor would be ideally suited to winter weather conditions.

Ideal Tarps for Winter Camping

Here are a few tarp tents that are a bit more robust and that would be well suited to camping in winter.
  • Black Diamond Beta Light - A two peak tarp from one of the better known names in outdoor equipment. The design is unique but offers good protection right down to the ground to cut winter winds.
  • GoLite Shangri-La 1 - A brand well known to lightweight backpacking enthusiasts, GoLite's Shangri-La 1 tarp tent is a well designed piece of equipment that has an optional floor attachment, making it particularly versatile.
  • GoLite Shangri-La 2 - Same as the Shangri-La 1 but with room for 2. GoLite also makes a three person and a five person version of this tent if you're travelling with a larger group. Both of them can be found over at the lightweight tarp tents list.
  • Sierra Designs Origami 2 UL - A unique five point design makes the Origami ideal for shedding wind no matter what direction it blows from.
  • MSR Twin Sisters - Don't let the name fool you, this shelter is men friendly too. The Twin Sisters comes with a snow skirt so you're protected right down to the ground. You wont have to worry about getting a gust of snow blown wind in the face at night.
There are more just like these over at the Lightweight Tarp Tents List.