The 10 Best 4 Season and Winter Tents for 2018

By Size, Weight, and Climate

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Get a good night's rest in the dead of winter with these insulated, waterproof, weatherproof tents

Choosing the Right Tent for Your Camp

Winter tents include different levels of durability and price, from overnight hiking to sub-zero treks. We’ll be looking at 3 categories, from light to heavy use, and the best tents for comfort and warmth.

4-Season Tents – Most Winter Hikes and Overnights

Almost all “normal” or backpacking tents are 3-season, designed for spring, summer and fall. They’re made to be light and durable but include mesh vents for heat and are not meant to stand up to snow. In contrast, 4-season tents are made for use in winter; the outside is a polyester or nylon, they have stronger aluminum frames and they are usually heavier, at 5 to 16 pounds.

A 4-season tent provides more insulation than a 3-season tent, but it’s more for strong barrier resistance than warmth. Expect protection from the elements of winter (snow, hail, and high wind), but rely on your gear for the temperature. This makes it a good choice for normal winter hikes and camping, but not for extreme weather conditions.

Canvas Tents with or without a Stove Jack – Longer Term and Group Camping

If you’re looking for a tent that will keep you warm, canvas is an excellent option. It’s durable, insulates better than synthetic fibers, and is sturdy at large sizes. Many canvas tents also have a “stove jack;” this is a flap in the roof specifically designed to work with a camping stove on the inside. If you’re camping in a group or plan to stay in one place for a while, canvas tents are a much better choice for warmth and comfort. Canvas is more expensive, and the stoves are heavy, but they last a long time and will keep you warm in and out of your sleeping bag.

Extreme Weather Tents – Rugged, Specialty Use

These extra-rugged tents are built with insulation, extremely durable material, and generally include a stove option for extra warmth. They’re heavy, not cheap, and if you don’t know for a fact that you need one, you probably don’t. Not for spending a quick night after a light hike, these structures are great for longer-term use, heavy-duty hunting shelters, sleeping in sub-zero temperatures and other specialty outdoor activities.  

Jump to:

4-Season Tents

2 Person Tent

Size: 80.73 in x51.87 in x 42.9 in

Material: Exterior Polyester Flysheet, Interior Nylon Mesh

Weight: 5 lbs

Setup: Standard Pole and Peg

Pros:

Light, affordable, and versatile, the Terra Hiker has a high waterproof rating and is designed to withstand most weather conditions, including snow. If you’re looking for a good budget tent that’s easy to carry over short winter backpacking trips, this is a solid option. The top includes a lamp hook and it comes with a high-rated, water resistant ground tarp.

Cons:

Floor space is on the smaller end for two people. It’s going to take longer to setup than some of the other options, and it’s less durable than more expensive models. Great for light winter camping, not intended for severe weather.

Size: 55”x 82”x43”

Material: 210T Polyester

Weight: 5.7 lbs

Setup: Standard Pole and Peg

Pros:

This is a solid all-weather tent with reinforced seams, a rip-stop rain fly, taped floor, and welded corners. It includes two large vestibules (dry gear storage areas separate from the sleeping area) that can only be opened from the inside, and interior mesh pouches for extra accessory storage.  The tent fabric uses interwoven rip-stop reinforcement threads in a crosshatch pattern and polyether threads for better durability and UV-resistance. If you’re looking for a quality tent that can withstand some rougher weather, this is a good pick.

Cons:

The carrying bag and zippers can be a bit delicate, which is surprising for an otherwise sturdy design.

Size: 5’2 x 7’8 Base, 46″ Center Height

Material: 75D 185T Polyester Fly with coating and Poly Taffeta floor

Weight: 7.2 lbs

Setup: Standard Pole and Peg

Pros:

ALPS tents are tough, durably built structures backed by a lifetime limited warranty. This heavy-duty 4-season version includes 13 sqft of vestibule area, two doors, and extra-large zippers for easy opening. The sides of the tent are lined with mesh pockets and it has a generous interior area for a two-person tent. If you’re serious about winter backpacking and plan to camp frequently, this is an excellent choice that’s built to be used for a long time. They also make a 3-person version for about the same price.

Cons:

It’s on the heavier end for a two person tent, but can be split between two packs.

4-6 Person and Family Tents

Size: 56”x82”x60”

Material: 190T 100% Polyester Fiber

Weight: 10 lbs

Setup: Fast pitch – unfold, extend, and secure

Pros:

If you’re looking for a family tent that’s suitable for 4-season weather, this would be our pick. It’s easy to assemble and disassemble, relatively light for the size, and backed by a 30 day guarantee and 2 year limited warranty. It uses durable, high-quality material and should survive the elements in light to moderate snowfall with ease.

Cons:

It’s a better size for two adults and two kids than 4 full-sized people. Expect to use it for moderate cold weather, not intense snowfall.

Size: 96″ x 120″ x 66”

Material: Rainfly 190T Polyester taffeta

Weight: 10 lbs

Setup: Shock-corded poles and stakes

Pros:

Highly durable and light for the size. This tent includes front and back vestibules, two doors, and cross ventilation. It’s designed for and best used in rain and snow; expect to be warm if you’re using this in light weather.

Cons:

The material can discolor from sunlight and the stitching around the pegs isn’t as strong as it could be.

Canvas Tents

Canvas Series, No Vent

Size: 9ft x 8ft x 6.1’ Height

Material: Hydra-Shield canvas

Weight: 55 lbs

Setup: Poles and Stakes

Pros:

Super high quality durable material made for all-weather camping. It’s made of marine-grade canvas with silicon dry finish and the poles are robust 1” steel tubes. It comes with 12” steel stakes and no-see-um mesh, along with customizable storage pockets for a strong, comfortable camping experience.  It can be used year-round and through heavy rain and moderate snowfall.

This tent is also made in 6 person and 8 person sizes.

Cons:

It’s a big, heavy tent that’s best used if you plan to be camping somewhere for a while. It’s not so much a con as a specialty use, more for long-term camping, camping close to a parking site or hunting.

Canvas Series, Vented

Size: Available in 10 ft, 13 ft, 16 ft, and 19ft diameters

Material: Bell canvas cotton fabric with 3000mm waterproof treatment

Weight: ~70 to 80 lbs

Setup: Poles and Stakes, can take up to 30 min

Pros:

These are spacious tents in a variety of sizes that can be used for large groups in winter. It’s made of 285GSM cotton fabric, which is a strong anti-ultraviolet material that’s warm in winter and cool in summer. It comes with a rubber rain cap for the stove jack and spare pegs and ropes for easy replacement.

Note: This has a side opening for the stove; for a top opening, use this model.

Cons:

The cotton can be less durable for heavy rain and long term use, and the zippers don’t stand up well to heavy tension.

Extreme Weather Tents

Size: 92”x64”x38”

Material: 40D Nylon Ripstop DWR Canopy, 70D Nylon Taffeta fly and floor

Weight: 10 lbs

Setup: Poles and Stakes

Pros:

If you’re looking for an all-weather tent that’s still light and portable, this is truly an excellent choice. The sturdy, guaranteed waterproof nylon construction includes 41 sqft of floor space with an 11 sqft vestibule. It’s rain room tested with 1200″ of rain in 24 hours and has snow flaps on front vestibule to seal out spindrift, so you know you’ll be sleeping dry and secure.

Cons:

There’s no vent flap which limits some cold-weather use, but otherwise this is an exceptional two person tent.

Size: 11.4 ft diameter, 6.6 ft height

Material: Oxford 240D with Aviation Aluminum and Steel frame

Weight: 55 lbs tent, 22 lbs stove

Setup: Poles and Stakes

Pros:

This can be used for short-term living in the snow, and even includes a zipper-flap in the floor for ice fishing. It comes complete with everything you need to stay safely warm, including not just the stove vent, but the stove and piping itself. It’s air-tight enough that it can be used as a steam room by loading the stove with stones and equipped with mosquito nets for steam and summer venting. The double walled construction prevents condensation no matter what the temperature and it’s made for use in truly harsh climates.

Cons:

The solid materials make it heavy, especially for a 3 person tent.

Size: 12.4’ x 12.4’ x 7’2” Height

Material: Dual-layer nylon

Weight: 64 lbs

Setup: Poles and Stakes  

Pros:

The gold standard for commercially available extreme weather tents, the Arctic Oven has been used for elite winter camping from the North to South pole. It sleeps up to 5 people when using a stove, or 6 to 7 when heating isn’t needed, with 152 sqft of livable space, and an additional 46 sqft vestibule. It works as a base camp for research and hunting expeditions and is truly top-notch for serious cold weather environments.

Cons:

It’s not cheap, but for what it is, that’s to be expected. Unless you’re camping in dangerously cold weather, this is probably more tent than you’ll ever need. Its best use is for experienced hikers who genuinely need next-level gear.

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