If you’re running late, the best budget 4-season tent is the Teton Sports Mountain Ultra Tent.
In today’s smartphone-savvy society, it’s hard to get away from the screen for more than a few hours. For me, that’s where camping comes in. There’s no easier way to escape the internet than to go pitch a tent in the middle of nowhere.
That being said, camping is a challenge in the winter. Cold weather makes it hard to sleep outdoors, no matter how thick your skin is.
If you want to camp year-round, you’ll need a four-season tent. Unfortunately, these tents are pricier than their summer cousins. Today, I’ll show you my favorite budget 4-season tents, so you can camp in the cold without spending a pretty penny.
Best Budget 4-Season Tents: Our Top 5 Recommendations
Most tents are only rated for three seasons. Tent brands know that winter is tricky and usually requires more durability and insulation.
That being said, there are plenty of 4-season tents on the market, so here are some options that won’t break the bank, along with a guide to purchasing at the end.
Teton Sports – Mountain Ultra Tent
When it comes to four-season camping, I’ve always been a fan of Teton tents because of their quality workmanship and versatile designs. I wasn’t disappointed with the Mountain Ultra Tent because it frankly exceeded most of my expectations.
First of all, it’s super light for a tent of its size. This made it really easy for me to carry it to the campgrounds. Once I got there, it was simple to set up, and I was able to get it done in a couple of minutes flat.
Teton is also historically responsive when it comes to customer service. If I ever run into a problem with this tent — which I highly doubt — I’m sure they’ll assist me like they always have.
- Very affordable for a four-season tent of this quality.
- The waterproof rainfly has always kept me dry even during heavy downpours.
- It comes with a storage bag that makes it very easy to pack up after camping.
- Built-in vents provide proper ventilation during the summer months.
- Mesh top helps you admire the beautiful night sky without getting pestered by nighttime insects.
- As light as three pounds when empty, which makes it a breeze to transport.
- The footprint is included with the tent and is also top quality.
- It can be a bit tricky to close the zippers if you’re only using one hand, but the solution for that is rather apparent.
- The poles were made to be lightweight, so they aren’t the strongest. You might consider picking up a pair of aftermarket poles.
Best for: budget-conscious campers who still want a lightweight, easy tent.
Naturehike – Cloud-Up Tent
The Cloud-Up is a bit heavier than the Mountain Ultra Tent, but you can barely notice the difference. It was about a half-pound disparity when I weighed both tents on my scale, so the Cloud-Up still lives up to its name.
Its setup process is so intuitive, even beginners won’t have trouble setting this tent up. There’s only one way that you can install the poles, and they’re all connected to one another, making setup a breeze.
If you liked the mesh top of the Mountain Ultra Tent, then you’ll be glad to hear that the Cloud-Up has one too. The four-season classification of this tent is debatable though since it doesn’t insulate you very well during the colder months of the year.
- Effortless setup.
- Mesh top for stargazing at night.
- Free-standing design means you can set this bad boy up on any terrain with no headaches.
- Light and compact making it easier to hike with.
- Has a ventilation slot to prevent condensation during hot weather.
- Isn’t a strong insulator so you likely can’t use it during winter — arguably defeating the purpose of a four-season tent.
- Higher price than the Mountain Ultra Tent despite the latter performing better based on my experience.
- Pretty cramped if you try to fit multiple people inside. I got the three-person variant since my boys and I always camp together, but it still felt crowded.
Best for: winter enthusiasts who want a free-standing tent that can work on any ground.
ALPS Mountaineering – Tasmanian Tent
I’ve reviewed ALPS tents in the past, and they always provide exceptional performance. They’re pretty pricey though, so if your budget is restrictive, then they may not be the right pick for you. This tent is very durable and versatile — definitely living up to its four-season title.
The interior is very spacious despite claiming that it was designed for only two adults. My boys and I had so much room to spare that we could’ve gotten another adult in the tent without things getting cramped at all.
There’s also a gear loft that comes in handy along with mesh pockets on the sides for other items that you might wanna keep inside your tent. Overall, while this is a more premium option compared to the other tents that we’re reviewing today, I would say that it’s well worth the cost.
- Spacious interior ensures you won’t feel cramped while spending time inside the tent.
- Lots of storage options inside the tent for all your gear.
- The free-standing pole system makes it really easy to set up.
- Sealed seams keep you dry even under rainy conditions.
- Lifetime warranty is proof that ALPS has faith in the durability of this product.
- Campers who are working on a smaller budget may not be able to afford this tent due to the comparatively higher price.
- Its fabric looks stretched at the corners and could rip as a result, but mine thankfully hasn’t yet.
Best for: experienced campers who want a premium tent that’ll keep them extra warm and cozy.
GEERTOP – 4 Season Backpacking Tent
For the most spendthrift of campers who want the four-season experience, the GEERTOP is definitely a prime choice. It’s about as affordable as a tent of this quality can get and still performs well despite the lower price.
It has a snow skirt that keeps you insulated during cold camping trips and features a free-standing design for easy setup. The two ventilation windows improve airflow during hotter weather.
I’m more accustomed to warm weather so I can be a bit out of my element when camping during the last quarter of the year. Despite that, this tent always keeps me comfortable even when the snow kept on coming.
- Impressive performance in cold weather.
- The snow skirt makes it very easy to insulate yourself.
- Easy to set up even for beginners.
- Affordable enough to fit any budget.
- Bright yellow color sticks out like a sore thumb in the snow (making it hard to get lost).
- The rainfly, although warm, is not the best against water protection. I recommend bringing a repair kit for extended trips.
Best for: winter lovers who prioritize budget over other factors or features.
MoKo – Waterproof Family Tent
I’ve set up countless tents throughout my life, so something that boggles my head is bound to confuse other campers.
It performs well under snowy conditions — keeping me warm and dry for the full duration of the trip despite some harsh weather that I encountered.
- The multiple layers give you dependable waterproofing.
- Easily sealable to keep water out and warmth in.
- The included carry bag is comfortable to transport.
- Won’t break the piggy bank, great for any budget.
- The small outside vestibule is super convenient for storing your pack.
- Difficult to set up. Just looking at it you can tell you’ll have to read the instructions.
- The quality difference with the GEERTOP is far more pronounced than the price difference.
Best for: budget-conscious campers who want a spacious vestibule to protect their gear.
What To Look For In A Budget 4-Season Tent
Now that you’ve seen my top five picks, let’s go into what factors helped them make the list. Keeping an eye out on these features will make sure you choose the right tent, no matter which one you end up going with.
If you’re used to buying single-wall tents, then you might be wondering why you’d need a double-wall tent. The reason is that the double-wall tents are more suited to year-round use because they put an extra layer between you and the elements.
The inner layer of the tent is super breathable. This layer prevents condensation, while the outer layer keeps the rain, wind, and snow out. Think of double-wall tents as an armadillo that can protect itself with an outer shell if a threat comes around.
Double-wall tents are also warmer since there’s twice as much fabric being used. This is ideal for camping in cold conditions where a single-wall tent may not be enough to insulate you from the chilly weather outside.
Pay close attention to the pole design when picking out a four-season tent. You should try to find a tent that has more clips on the poles as this will keep the tent well-attached even if the wind picks up.
The poles themselves should be firm but still flexible so that they can roll with the punches rather than snapping. Aluminum poles are the most common choice for four-season tents as they’re durable and weather-resistant.
You should also look at the pole diameter. Thin poles may snap in strong winds while thicker variants will stand their ground. If you can’t find any tents with suitable poles, then you could buy an aftermarket set that’s more fitted to four-season use.
Some people prefer interior pole setups because they’re lighter than exterior pole setups. However, you have to factor in the elements that you might encounter in some seasons of the year. Strong winds could cause the interior poles to stab the tent and tear it open.
Exterior pole setups, while generally heavier, are far more versatile. Some of the best four-season tents use exterior poles. They’re also a whole lot easier to set up. You don’t have to worry about damaging your tent if you make a mistake.
Poles that are set up externally are also less likely to bend. Bent poles aren’t that big of an issue in tame weather since you can just grab a spare and swap it out. But, that’s not so easy when you’re in the middle of a thick snowstorm or torrential downpour.
Humans are warm-blooded creatures like most mammals, and that’s why you need a tent with proper ventilation lest you’ll be plagued by condensation. When you’re camping in cold areas, the temperature of your tent will drop. If your warm breath hits the tent, it will condense.
The easiest way to counteract this is with proper ventilation. Vents allow hot air to leave your tent without condensing so that you don’t come across any wet spots when you wake up.
Wet tents are heavier to carry so condensation will also make it easier for you to hike back with the tent after use.
People often ask me if breathable fabrics are just as good as vents. The answer is a stern no. Vents are far more effective at getting the hot air out of your tent than breathable fabrics. It also does this faster — leaving less time for the warm breath to condense on the surface of your tent.
The weight of your tent is always an important detail to look at. This is especially true if you plan on camping throughout all the four seasons of the year. If you’re camping under optimal conditions and use a big tent, then it’s a tiring nuisance at worst.
In contrast, having a tent that’s too heavy while in more extreme temperatures can be a problem. Do you want to lug around a pile of bricks while getting soaked in the rain, freezing in a snowstorm, or getting baked by the summer heat?
Water and snow will also bog down your tent and thus add to its weight. If you go camping enough, you might have to make a few last-minute evacuations in case conditions turn extreme. So, having a light tent will help you pack up faster and get out of Dodge.
After factoring in all the criteria for four-season tents, I can say with full confidence that the Teton Sports Mountain Ultra Tent is my top pick. It’s so versatile in its capabilities and can cope with pretty much any environment.
It’s very light and easy to set up (even in harsh weather), making it great for first-time campers. Teton is also a reputable company that I trust wholeheartedly. The storage bag that comes with it allows me to store it in a corner, undisturbed until the next trip.
You’d expect a tent of this quality to cost way more than it does. On the contrary, the price is surprisingly economical. Even campers on a tight budget can experience its stellar performance. Overall, it’s an excellent choice for four-season camping.
Did you end up using one of the tents listed in this article? If you did, pay the help forward by sharing this piece with your camping buddies so that they can find the right tent for them too. Happy camping!