Shopping for Winter Tents

For people who love camping any time of year, a winter tent or four-season tent is quite possibly the best of both worlds; comfort and quality with versatility.  The two major downsides to buying a winter tent or four-season tent are that on average they will be heavier than a similarly sized three-season tent, and they may certainly run more expensive than comparably sized tents.  Those two things set aside, a well-maintained winter tent can last a family for twenty years, and that’s not a bad deal for paying more in the short term.  Even beyond that, some manufacturers offer three-year, five-year, or even lifetime warranties on select models.


When shopping around for winter tents, customer reviews can definitely provide insight into how these tents perform in real-world conditions.  The more extreme tents are designed to handle base camp conditions or other unique considerations for mountain climbing.  Regardless, a good winter tent will be able to withstand high winds, strong rain, and should be framed and shaped to easily shed snow.  If it is a four-season tent rather than a winter tent there will be a greater number of built-in vents to vary temperature control.  If used improperly these can lead to problems with too much condensation on the inside of the tent, so some practice may be necessary to get it right.


Four-season tents do serve as good winter tents but are sometimes thought to be too heavy for summer use.  Granted, they vent well but if a tent is used specifically for only three-season camping or hiking, the camper need not be burdened with the excess weight or price tag of these tents.  Where the winter tent truly exceeds expectations is in winds in excess of 50 mph, in altitudes above 10,000 feet, with wet and heavy snowfall accumulating over a foot in an eight-hour period. 


There are some other things that make winter tents unique and often preferred.  Almost universally, these tents are easy to set up by either one or two persons, even with gloves on.  Especially at altitude, weather can move in quickly and shelter has to be established quickly.  Second, many of these winter tents can accommodate gear in their vestibules and (under extreme caution) can even accommodate cooking inside the tent if exiting the tent simply isn’t an option.  For all that a good winter tent can offer they really are worth their price, and the price of a winter tent certainly is a sound investment for the long lifespan that a well-maintained winter tent can provide.


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