Best Winter Tent: Best 4 Season Tents For Cold Weather Camping

Best Winter Tent

In a hurry? After a lot of research, we’ve concluded that The ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian is the best winter tent on the market today.

As a father of two great kids living in California, we’re in the best spot to experience the best that nature has to offer – and camping is something we do together as a family every year. Winter is our favorite time, but of course, you need the right gear to fit the season if you want your camping experience to be a happy one.

Here are 5 of the best four-season tents for cold weather camping and what I think about each of them. You’ll also learn more about my top pick, which is the one we’re planning to take with us on our next trip.

Best Winter Tent: Our Top 5 Choices

The ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 3-Person Tent

ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 3-Person TentThe ALPS Mountaineering 3-Person Tent is from a trusted brand with a range of other camping products including camping stoves and chairs, so I figured their tent would be worth taking a look at. I wasn’t disappointed, and this is what we’ll be taking along for our next trip.

The one problem with winter tents is that they’re mostly smaller. That’s why depending on the group, we sometimes bring two tents. A 3-person tent is a squeeze for three full-size people, so remember that when looking at tents.

Pros:

  • Both durable and lightweight
. ALPS found the right balance to make a tent that can stand up to almost any weather while not being too big.
  • Great inside storage space – this tent has inside mesh pockets that are perfect for added storage.
  • Quick setup – can be pitched in less than 15 minutes.
  • Anchors well in different terrains or angled land thanks to its longer-than-usual pegs
  • Bright orange color means you stick out like a sore thumb (in a good way!) when you’re hidden in snow-covered areas.

Cons:

  • The tent’s height could be higher
. It measures 5’4” when you’re standing – great for shorter people, but not so great if you’re pushing six-foot like me.
  • Doesn’t come with an extra set of pegs

Best for: Winter campers who don’t need much space, but want supreme winter protection.

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The MOKO Waterproof Family Camping Tent

The MOKO Waterproof Family Camping Tent
The MOKO Waterproof Family Camping Tent is made for 3 people and offers 6” by 7’ floor space. It also has the extra feature of a top covering that fits over the tent, protecting you from the elements a little more than most tents. We’ve used it before when we headed to Arizona – and our only real complaint was that the zippers got stuck.

Pros:

  • Offers comparatively more space. Great if you’re like me and have two kids who kick like windmills in their sleep.
  • It’s fire- and water-resistant. The MOKO tent had no issues getting rained on – and yes, we can confirm that it’s fire-resistant thanks to a marshmallow-melting accident.
  • Gives you a strong roof on top to help hide you from excessive wind or snow.
  • Very affordable for the winter protection provided.
  • High quality 2500mm HH rainfly provides superior water resistance.

Cons:

  • Might need a stove or heater, since it does tend to get cold inside.
  • Zippers are not the best and may get stuck.

Best for: campers that want to save a bit of money or aren’t in sub-zero climates.

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The GEERTOP Backpacking 2-Person Tent

The GEERTOP Backpacking 2-Person Tent
We own a few GEERTOP products, and I thought their 2-person tent would be an excellent choice – especially for the occasional camping trip where it’s just the two of us. The dome-shape is great for mild snow, and the double-layer makes it great for standing up against winter.

Pros:

  • The dome design is great for circulation and avoiding snow.
  • Rain doesn’t collect on the top of this dome, either.
  • It’s extremely light
. At just a little over 6 pounds, it’s lightweight enough for the kids to carry on the trail. Or, great for a quick camping trip where you don’t want to take too much gear along.
  • Anchors all the way around the dome to provide great stability at night.
  • Durable – and it really is! If the tents on this list were ranked only by how well the material holds up, this would have been the top choice on the list.

Cons:

  • Unless you like feeling every blade of grass under the surface of the tent, buy the extra floor mat. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with one.

Best for: solo campers or couples who want to snuggle up under top-of-the-line snow protection.

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The Crua Duo Cocoon 2-Person Tent

The Crua Duo Cocoon 2-Person Tent
Sometimes winter camping gets really, really cold. For the colder winter camping trips, and there are many, you’ll want to choose a warmer option. That’s the Crua Duo Cocoon – and it’s the tent my wife and I take along for camping trips without the kids just because it’s warm and toasty.

What makes it even better is the fact that the Duo is both lighter – at 5 pounds – and bigger, with just under 30 feet.

Pros:

  • The cocoon-style design allows you to use this as a solo tent or as a warming layer inside another tent.
  • It’s one of the warmest tents out there. For colder areas (or, well, more romantic toasty camping trips) this is one of the best picks.
  • Solid, aluminum frame that’s easy to set up. Pitched in the time it takes to get a kettle of water boiling on the fire.
  • Durable enough to last years, but comes at a premium price tag.
  • 29.9 sq. ft. of floor space is great for two people, maybe three. That’s a lot of floor space compared to other tents and cocoons.

Cons:

  • It’s one of the only tents out there that requires an air pump to set up. Make sure you bring one!
  • Cocoon design can be kind of loud on the inside since it’s not pulled tight like a tent.

Best for: cold-weather campers who want to stay warm in the chilliest of nights.

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The Black Diamond Eldorado Tent

The Black Diamond Eldorado Tent
The Black Diamond Eldorado tent is made with mountaineering in mind, and it’s the tent that I take along when I go out to the Rocky Mountains, usually for a once-in-a-while solitary camping trip. It’s light (just over 5 pounds) and offers more than enough ventilation, space, and protection.

Pros:

  • The bright yellow color is great for visibility in a harsh snowstorm
  • 
Air-flow is just as important as everything else, and this tent’s packed with several configurable vents throughout the tent.
  • Plenty of height for a winter tent – great for tall people like me.
  • Extremely easy to set up, especially when you consider how well this holds up in the weather.
  • Black Diamond knows not all campers want an added vestibule, so the base model doesn’t come with one. But, they do have an add-on vestibule you can purchase.

Cons:

  • Higher price tag than the other tents, but well worth it!

Best for: seasoned campers who want to invest in a tent that’ll keep them warm for years to come.

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Black Diamond Mega Snow 4P Tent

Black Diamond Mega Snow 4P Tent

This is a great all-purpose winter shelter. The combination of fabric and design allow this 4-person tent to withstand harsh conditions, so that you remain comfy and warm inside. And thanks to its unique venting system, the vapor will escape the tent even if the doors remain closed.

Pros:

  • With a single carbon fiber center pole and mid-panel guy-out points, setting up this tent is quick and easy
  • Even though this 4-person tent is spacious, it packs light and is small so even a kid can carry it
  • Instead of the included carbon fiber pole, you can use your trekking or skiing poles and save up even more on storage
  • Nylon perimeter snow skirt, together with a steep roof help ensure the snow doesn’t collect on it
  • With 78 square feet of interior space, you’ve got plenty of room to cook, store your gear and sleep

Cons:

  • The venting system could be better

Best for: cold-weather aficionados that love cooking in the wilderness

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The North Face Mountain 25 Tent

The North Face Mountain 25 Tent

This model by the North Face is the perfect tent for mountaineering.

It’s so well-made and sturdy, you can rely on it to keep you safe and warm during cold nights in the mountains. But features that stand out the most are the large front vestibule and the footprint that comes included.

Pros:

  • High-low venting, along with multiple venting options throughout the tent allows you to forget all about condensation
  • Glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls allow you to easily find your way in and out of the tent during the night
  • Comes with a footprint, which helps in extending the lifespan of the tent and keeping it dry on the inside
  • Features tons of internal hanger loops and 8 interior pockets, so there’s plenty of space to organize all of your essentials
  • While it’s an expensive investment, this tent can definitely last you a lifetime with proper maintenance.

Cons:

  • Somewhat heavy for its size

Best for: solo campers that value warmth over space.

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MarmotLair 8-Person 4-Season Tent

MarmotLair 8-Person 4-Season Tent

This dome tent looks like a structure straight out of a Star Wars movie. But the shape of this tent is specially designed to deflect winds and allow rain and snow to slide off the walls. Whether you’re going to the North Pole or just climbing the Rockies, this tent will keep you and your camping buddies dry and warm.

Pros

  • The peak height of 94 inches allows even the tallest people to stand up when inside the tent
  • With an area of 165 square feet, there’s plenty of space for your camping companions to sleep, while the additional 40 square feet of vestibule gives you more than enough storage space
  • The tent comes with 10 poles, which allows it to stay strong against high winds and snow storms
  • The floor is removable, so you can easily dig out the show underneath the tent
  • For the amount of fabric and poles this tent features, it’s pretty lightweight

Cons

  • It’s rather expensive
  • Although it’s described as a 4-season tent, it’s only suitable for really cold weather

Best for: large camping groups and families.

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MSR Remote 3 Tent

MSR Remote 3 Tent

Winter camping usually means bulky gear, but with this tent by MSR, storage won’t be an issue. While you’re sleeping soundly and comfortably inside the tent, all of your gear will stay dry and safe under the roomy vestibule at the front. This double-wall tent is perfect for long camping trips in the winter.

Pros:

  • Even though it weighs only 8 pounds, this tent is sturdy enough to withstand really harsh winter environment
  • Since it features a spacious vestibule, you can store your gear outside and have more space inside for a good night’s sleep
  • Color coded pole clips allow you to set up the tent with ease
  • The tent features snow flaps, which seal out spindrifts
  • The Easton Syclone poles this tent comes with are made of composite materials, so they flex instead of snapping in high winds

Cons:

  • Lacks storing options inside

Best for: campers traveling with tons of equipment.

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Mountain Hardwear Stronghold Tent

mountain hardwear stronghold tent

This tent looks like it came straight out of the Star Wars trilogy. It’s designed for harsh winter conditions and looks like a suitable option for camping on the planet Hoth from the V episode.

The tent has 171 square inches of floor space. While ten people can fit, considering the dome shape of the tent, they’ll be cramped. On the other hand, six to seven people will have more than enough room to hang out during a storm.

What this tent excels at is the weather protection. If you’re looking for a tent that will keep you safe and warm on a winter camping trip, this tent will do the job well. It’s double-walled and has strong DAC Pressfit aluminum poles that can withstand the strongest of winds and heavy snow.

Pros:

  • Ideal for winter, this tent can withstand even Arctic weather
  • Snowflaps and skirt help with anchoring and can double as seats
  • It has five windows, so there’s plenty of daylight inside
  • Four perimeter and one roof vent allow lots of airflow in case you’re cooking inside
  • The manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty on this tent

Cons:

  •  Footprint is sold separately

Best for: big groups who will be camping in heavy snow.

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How To Choose The Best Winter Tent

winter tent in snow

When you’re camping in winter, a proper tent is your number one priority. Now, choosing one is definitely not easy for a rookie. So I’ll go ahead and answer some questions you’re probably wondering.

What Type Of Tent Is Best For Cold Weather?

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that the larger the room, the harder it is to warm it up. That’s why you should always choose the smallest tent possible when winter camping.

That doesn’t mean five campers should try to fit in a 2-person tent. But this is not the time to show off the ample tent you’ve bought for summer festivals.

Are 4-Season Tents A Good Choice For Winter Camping?

Four-season tents are your best bet for camping in winter. These tents are designed to withstand high winds, snowstorms and other weather conditions that are expected in winter. They usually have double walls and a good ventilation system to prevent condensation.

In fact, the term “4-season” is a bit misleading. Even with the greatest ventilation features, a tent that keeps you warm during winter will be way too hot to use during hot summer days.

Can a 3-Season Tent Be Used In Winter?

A 3-season tent usually has good weather protection, but it’s not designed to keep you warm. It’s designated to be used in spring, summer and fall.

Now, you could use it during early winter when the weather is not too cold and it will perform just fine.

Once the temperature goes low, you’ll have to use additional ways of insulation to stay warm inside a 3-season tent.

How well do tents hold heat in the winter?

A tent can do a pretty decent job at retaining heat in the winter, but that depends on several factors.

The main one is the tent material. Whether it’s the canvas or synthetic, the same rule applies: the thicker the weave, the better it is at insulating.

And since we’re talking about insulation, you should know that’s the main advantage of a double-wall tent. Whether it’s summer or winter, a double-wall tent creates an air layer between the walls, and everyone knows that air is the best insulator!

Additional Ways To Insulate Your Tent For Cold Weather

If you want to warm up your tent a bit more, you need to add some insulation. Luckily, there are a few simple ways you can do that.

First things first, deal with the cold ground. The tent’s floor usually doesn’t do it. But you can place a tarp underneath, and that will create a barrier between you and the snow below. If that’s not enough, you can also add some rugs or reflective foam below your spelling bag.

As for the outside walls, you can use either the tarp or the rain fly to cover your tent. But before you do, make sure it has no holes where snow and rain could get in.

Last but not least, you can make use of the space blanket you have in your first aid kit. While they are nothing more than aluminum-coated thin sheets, they do an insane job at retaining heat. If you tape them to the inside walls, they’ll prevent the heat from getting out of the tent.

Precautions To Take When Winter Camping

If you’re first-time winter camping, there are a few safety-related things you should know.

Clear The Pitching Spot

Once you’re set on the location for pitching the tent, clear the grounds first. By that, I don’t mean just branches or rocks that can pierce the bottom of your tent. You should clear as much snow as you can as well.

You should always do that because snow can melt during the night, leaving a puddle underneath your tent. And if that puddle freezes again, you’ll end up sleeping on icy spikes that will be too uncomfortable to sleep on.

Avoid Open Space

Winds are strong during this time of the year, so you don’t want to sleep in the open. When deciding on the camp spot, pick a space that offers natural wind resistance, like trees or rocks. Of course, make sure they’re stable enough so that there’s no possibility of accidents. The last thing you want is a dead branch falling on you.

Bring The Right Stakes

Snow stakes are a must in this situation. They’re curved inwards and feature multiple holes that allow the snow to pass through and freeze, creating a proper anchor. With them, no high wind will be an issue.

Don’t Leave Your Boots Outside

Winter is that time of the year when you don’t want to leave your shoes and boots outside – because sweaty boots in the evening become frozen by the morning.

If you’re comfortable sleeping with your boots on, that would be ideal. If not, leave them by your sleeping bag. You can put them in a plastic bag to keep the dirt away from your gear, but leave it open for air to come in.

Additional Gear To Bring 4-Weather Camping

Aside from the standard equipment, there are a few other things you might make use of when camping in the winter.

Heater

For camping in the wilderness, a gas heater is your best bet. Using it inside is safe as long as the model you go for abides by the CSA 4.98 or ANSI Z21.103 certification, because that means it turns off in case the oxygen level inside the tent becomes too low.

Proper Clothing/Layers

Dressing in layers is even more important when winter camping. The inner layer is moisture-wicking, the middle keeps you warm, while the outer layer works as wind and moisture barrier.

Blankets

Sometimes, a warm sleeping bag is simply not enough. To bring coziness to the next level, a blanket is your best friend. By this, I don’t mean fluffy blankets you use at home, but those that are specially designed for camping. They usually have a waterproof, synthetic outer layer and are filled with warm materials like down or wool.

Footwear

Proper winter boots need to be waterproof, breathable and grippy. If it’s no more than a few inches of snow, you can go in your all-terrain hiking boots. But if it’s more than that, consider getting proper winter boots.

Aside from boots, you should also have crampons, microspikes, or even snowshoes, depending on the amount of snow. These traction accessories will allow you to walk over deep snow and icy terrain when hiking in snow.

Our Verdict

In conclusion, camping is awesome. However, most tents are not built for four seasons. The polyester used in standard tents simply won’t keep you warm, no matter how many blankets you have on.

That’s why it’s worthwhile buying a four-season tent. These tents will keep you warm in the winter and still provide a great camping experience in the summer.

If you’re looking for a great tent option that’s suited to winter and summer in any terrain, the ALPS Mountaineering tent is durable, easy to set up, anchors properly, and gives you the two things most important in winter camping tent: comfort and heat. Highly recommend!