Many people put their tents and sleeping bags in storage at the first sign of cold, ugly weather, but there is no reason that you cant go winter camping or backpacking. Of course if you do plan on venturing out in to the wilderness in winter, it helps to have the right gear, and there are many winter tents for camping that are ideal for such conditions.
Winter Tents for CampingA winter tent for camping will have a few things to look for.
- Low Profile - It really depends on what kind of weather you plan to go in to, but a big part of winter weather in most areas is wind, and when the wind starts you want a tent with a low profile. As someone who has spent a night in a collapsed tent, I can tell you that wind can ruin a good tent quickly. Related to a low profile, you want a tent with a good pole structure, so that it wont easily collapse.
- Waterproof - You probably always want a waterproof tent, regardless of the season, but this is especially true in winter, when snow and rain storms can dump a lot of moisture on you in a short amount of time. Often, this can actually mean using a single wall tent instead of a double wall tent. This works, however, only if you handle ventilation properly.
Examples of Winter Tents for CampingHere are a few winter tents suitable for camping, though you will find a lot more over at the compare tents page.
- MSR Dragontail - This is a winter tent unlike many other winter tents. It has a unique, ribbed design that makes it a very roomy tent. The ribbed design also gives the Dragontail a lot of strength as well, and makes it an ideal tent for weathering a winter storm. It's a two person tent, and weighs 4 pounds 6 ounces, or 1.99 kilograms, so it's not the lightest tent in the world, but decently light for a winter tent, and that extra weight will keep you dry. Plus the extra room is a nice touch if you want it.
- Mountain Hardwear EV 2 Tent - This is an ideal winter tent. It's the one pictured up above, and as you can see it has a lot of things going for it that make it ideal. The low profile, guy-lines and ample amount of poles means that you wont ever have to worry about a windstorm collapsing the sides on you. It sleeps two, and weighs 5 pounds 2 ounces, which is 2.32 kilograms, which is, again, relatively light for a solid winter tent that sleeps two. It also comes in a 3-person size.
- North Face Mountain 25 Tent - This offering from the North Face is another good option for those looking for a winter tent. It has a low profile and good pole structure to ensure that you don't have a tent hitting you in the face all night long. It has a couple good features, but it sleeps two and weighs 8 pounds 8 ounces, or 3.86 kilograms, so significantly more than the other two winter tents.
No Winter Tent? No ProblemWinter tents are expensive, and if you don't have one, and cant afford to buy a new one, there are alternatives. Tarp camping in winter, for example, is definitely a viable option if you have the right skills and expertise to pull it off. And even if you don't have a tarp, a new tarp is a lot cheaper than a new winter tent.
You can always make do with a regular tent, though like the tarp camping, this takes a little knowledge to pull off. First, you will want to make sure your tent is good and waterproof. This is one area that you really need to be sure of when winter camping. If you are confident in your tent's waterproofing, then what it comes down to is picking the right campsite.
If you can find a campsite that is sheltered enough that you will be out of the wind, there is no reason that a 3 season tent cant get the job done. But it is a risk. As I mentioned before, I've had to sleep through a windstorm in a tent that collapsed, and it sucks. It also ruined the tent poles, and made the remaining nights quite an adventure. So if you are going to take a 3 season tent when you should be taking a 4 season tent, be sure that you can get away with it.
And as usual, I recommend you check out the compare tents page if you want to see a few more 4 season tents.