5 Best Winter Tents for Cold Weather Camping (2022)
There’s no doubt about it; summer is the most popular season for camping. Most people do this because they don’t have to contend with environmental issues that come with other seasons, such as rain, cold, snow, and visibility problems. This is not to say that there aren’t a select group of people who don’t mind camping in the dead of winter. It’s simply to say that in summer, the sun is almost always shining, and the night skies are lit with stars, which makes for the ideal camping setup.
Now, if you are the kind of person who doesn’t like being dictated to by anything, including Mother Nature, you might be interested in camping during winter or in extremely cold environments. But unfortunately, simply being an experienced camp master who can pitch a tent and light a fire won’t be enough.
Cold weather camping calls for preparation. Your gear needs to be the right kind of gear for that kind of weather. Finding and buying the best winter tents for cold weather camping is important
You see, when you are facing a blizzard with a wind chill temperature diving into high negatives, you NEED adequate shelter. In fact, adequate might not be the right word to use here. You need shelter that can not only hold up to the kind of frigid temperatures surrounding you but can also keep you warm and comfortable.
With that in mind, here are some of the best cold weather tents for those daring enough to go camping during the winter.
Best Winter Tents – Winners
Check out our quick recommendations here, or keep scrolling for detailed reviews:
- Best Overall Winter Camping Tent: WHITEDUCK Regatta Canvas Bell Tent
- Best Budget Winter Camping Tent: ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 2-Person Tent
- Best Lightweight and Packable (Great for Backpacking): MSR Access Lightweight 4 season Tent for Winter Backpacking
- Best for Solo Winter Camping: Naturehike VIK 1 Person Ultralight 4 Season
- Best for Groups of 4: Black Diamond 4 Person Mega Snow Tent
Best Overall Winter Camping Tent
- Category: 4 season tent
- Packaged weight: 8.5 Ounces
- Floor area: 132 sq. ft.
- Wall(s): Single wall
- 4 season tent
- Double stitch reinforced seams
- High-quality zippers
- 2’7″ high wall that gives extra headroom
- Mesh door and windows keep critters and bugs out
- Stove jack for convenient cooking
- Easy setup
- Premium grade cotton fabric
- Breathable walls
- Lightweight tent
- Galvanized poles
There’s a lot to love about this WHITEDUCK Regatta Canvas Bell Tent. For one thing, it’s a 4 season tent that you can use all year long. In addition, the canvas, which is made out of 100% cotton (Grade-A premium, Double Fill “Army Duck Canvas”), is not only breathable, which means that your tent won’t get that musty smell they tend to get when hit by the sun. This canvas is also water repellent and UV resistant (you can also order one with a Fire Retardant finish).
Furthermore, this lightweight tent comes with a sewn-in groundsheet that does more than just provide you with insulation against the cold hard ground, and winter conditions. It also stops condensation and rainwater from seeping into the tent. This simple fact makes it extremely easy to pack your tent even in the wettest or muddiest of conditions.
This insulated tent might look complicated at first. Still, it’s pretty easy to set up as it comes with heavy-duty galvanized poles (door and center pole) that have D-rings, allowing you to hang a camping lantern for your convenience.
Other than that, it comes with a host of other ideal features, such as a 5″ stove jack. Additionally, this comes with a weather flap that is capable of withstanding extreme temperatures.
That not only makes it easier or possible for you to cook when it’s raining or snowing but also protects the tent’s fabric from catching on fire when it comes directly in contact with the stove. Another benefit of this is that it helps to keep the tent warm, making it ideal for extreme cold weather.
Finally, the canvas tent comes with durable waterproof zippers that are large and double-stitched for reinforcement. These zippers are designed to last for your tent’s entire lifetime and makes this tent a great option for winter tent camping.
Best Budget Winter Camping Tent
- Category: 4 season tent
- Packaged weight: 7.9 lbs.
- Floor area: 34.5 sq. ft.
- Wall(s): Double wall
- Easy setup
- Ample storage space
- 4 season tent
- Big enough to accommodate two people comfortably
The ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 2-Person Tent is a sturdy, 4 season tent featuring nothing but expert workmanship, guaranteeing a highly reliable camping tent. The first thing that must be mentioned is the fact that the tent comes with absolute weather protection. It’s made out of 75D 185T Polyester Fly that has a 1500mm coating.
The floor is made out of 75D 185T Poly Taffeta, which has a 5000mm coating. It also has weatherproof fly buckles and a vestibule pole, all of which combine well to give you a 4 season tent that’s a wonderful joy to use.
The setup process isn’t complicated at all since it comes with freestanding poles. These poles are multi-hub 7000 series aluminum with snap-over pole clips making the setup process quite simple and fast.
The tent itself has many features designed to make your life as a camper as simple and ideal as possible. For starters, it has a host of storage resources such as multiple mesh pockets for your camping gear within the tent, a vestibule area (13 sq. ft.) for your wet or muddy camping gear as well as ample floor area for anything else you would like to keep in the tent with you.
Best Lightweight and Packable (Great for Backpacking)
- Category: 4 season tent
- Packaged weight: 8 lbs. 9 oz.
- Floor area: 29 sq. ft.
- Wall(s): Double wall
- Easy to set up
- Poles are made out of aerospace composite materials which are tough
- Multiple storage spaces for gear
- Warm, 4 season tent
- Rainfly for reduced condensation
- The floor space isn’t very comfortable or roomy for a 2-person tent
The MSR Access Lightweight 4 season Tent for Winter Backpacking is unique in that it looks to achieve the lightweight qualities of a backpacking tent while still being warmer. It’s essentially a mountaineering tent with backpacking features and advantages.
For one thing, it uses minimal mesh on the overall tent body. This goes a long way in keeping the warmth inside, making it perfect for winter camping. Designed with a bathtub floor for extra comfort and insulation, the tent comes with extra internal pockets that allow for easy storage of gear and electronic devices. It also has a vestibule area that makes it ideal for storing any wet or muddy camping gear or clothes, so you don’t dirty the actual sleeping floor area, which is a comfortable 29 sq. ft.
When it comes to setting it up, this tent offers a simple setup and is fast too. It has only two poles, and there are easy-to-follow instructions on the storage bag should you get mixed up during the setup process. The setup is so easy you can quickly do it in the dark. Made out of aerospace composite materials, the poles are compact and resistant to breakage even in the windiest situations.
Best for Solo Winter Camping
- Category: 4 season
- Packaged weight: 2.44 lbs.
- Floor area:
- Wall(s): Double wall
- Easy and quick to set up (less than a minute)
- Super strong tent poles
- Compression bag
- Made out of durable material
- UV 50+ sun protection
- Water-resistant material
- High-quality workmanship
- Numerous storage spaces
- Gets a bit stuffy under the sun
If you enjoy camping alone, you will love this Naturehike VIK 1 Person Ultralight 4 Season. Weighing in at only 2.44 lbs., this solo camping tent is ultralight and extremely portable. Complete with an ultra-compact compression bag, this tent packs down small, making it ideal for backpacking trips pretty much anywhere.
When it comes to the setup, this tent is fairly easy. It has a “double Y type” outer structure that easily stands on its own and reduces the amount of time it takes to set it all up. Designed to save you a lot of time, this particular design is sturdy and quite convenient for those who don’t want to spend most of their day pitching their tent.
The tent itself is built to last. Featuring 20D nylon mesh (anti-scratch), the material is both breathable and quite comfortable even on a very hot or the coldest of days. It also has a rainfly that is made out of 20D rip-stop nylon.
The rainfly features PU4000mm water resistance and UV 50+ sun protection, making this tent one of the most durable on this list. The tent poles are made out of 7001 space aluminum which is lightweight and capable of supporting or withstanding extreme rain and high wind.
Best for Groups of 4
- Category: 4 seasons tent
- Packaged weight: 3.44 lbs.
- Floor area: 78 sq. ft.
- Wall(s): Single wall
- Easy to set up
- Extra strong carbon pole
- Durable guylines
- Waterproof zippered door
- 4 season tent
- Not a freestanding tent
Made out of 30D rip-stop polyester, this Black Diamond 4 Person Mega Snow Tent is an excellent option for people looking for an all-purpose basecamp tent with unique features. The first important feature you will probably notice is the unique venting system built into this tent.
It’s designed to allow vapor from any cooking done within the tent (yes, you can cook within the tent – yet another interesting feature) to escape the tent even when the door is closed. The 30D rip-stop polyester fabric features fully taped seams that are durable and rather lightweight. Also, it doesn’t sag even when wet.
When it comes to setting it up, it has a single carbon-fiber center pole supported by easily adjustable stake-out points, making the setup process quite simple and fast. Another excellent feature of the setup is that it has a Pole Link Converter included, which allows you to use your trekking or ski poles should you need to do so, even with the carbon fiber pole.
The tent has a nylon perimeter snow skirt that does a wonderful job of keeping the snow out when winter camping. It features durable guylines, providing extra-strong tension to keep it sturdy against strong winds. It’s roomy, has extra storage space, and is easy to set up.
Winter Camping Tent Buyer’s Guide
Mountaineers looking to conquer numerous peaks, backcountry snowboarders looking for unexplored lines, or just an avid outdoors enthusiast keen on camping whenever they want to opposed to when the weather allows, buying the best cold weather tent has to be at the very top of the list.
Without adequate shelter and protection from the frigid weather outside, your trip won’t be near as fun or even as successful as you hope.
You will need several things to take on a cold-weather camping experience successfully:
- Winter sleeping bags
- The best winter tent
- The spirit of adventure
While the spirit of adventure is intrinsic and can only be controlled by you, the other two pieces of equipment are things that you can buy. To improve your chances of success, you need to purchase the correct type of cold weather camping equipment, including a winter tent.
So, what are some of the factors you need to consider when shopping for a good quality winter camping tent?
Single Wall vs Double Wall
There are two main types of winter camping tents in cold weather camping: Single wall and double wall. To decide which one you need for what kind of camping, you first must understand the difference between the two.
Single Wall Camping Tents
As the name suggests, single wall camping tents are just that – tents that have been constructed with a single wall of insulating fabric. These single wall tents are often made out of waterproof, durable, and extremely tough breathable fabric. In the past, single wall tents were almost exclusively designed for mountaineering, but today, more manufacturers also make single wall tents for backpacking.
Double Wall Camping Tents
A double wall tent has two walls. Over time, manufacturers started moving away from cotton as tent wall fabric and looked at nylon rip-stop fabrics instead. Although more cost-effective, the problem was this kind of fabric didn’t accomplish the two things a tent’s wall needs to do: be breathable and waterproof. As such, manufacturers started making tents with double walls.
A rainfly made out of nylon that is completely waterproof but not breathable was placed on the outside. In addition, an inner wall was made from different materials that were completely breathable but not waterproof. Combined, these two walls achieved the ultimate goal of providing a tent that was not only light but affordable and featured walls that were both waterproof and breathable.
There are, of course, some advantages and disadvantages that come with both types of tent walls. For example, a single wall tent is lighter, easier to set up but doesn’t offer much room for gear protection, and is often prone to condensation. This type of tent is best for alpine environments where the climate is cold and often dry.
On the other hand, a double wall tent all but guarantees you stay dry even in rainy conditions. They also feature multiple doors and additional spaces such as a vestibule for gear storage. The problem is that they are often heavier and take longer to set up. This type of tent works best in rainy as well as humid conditions.
Capacity & Livability
This comes down to how many people you are bringing on the camping trip with you and if you will all be sharing the same tent. There are 2-person tents, 3-person tents, and even 10-person tents available. They all have advantages and disadvantages, but the biggest issue is always livable space and setup complexity.
If you are looking for a tent that’s easy and quick to set up, single or 2-person tents are the best. This isn’t to say that tents designed to accommodate more people automatically offer larger living spaces or better livability conditions.
You can very easily buy a tent with a lot of floor area without the amenities such as storage pockets to make living within that tent ideal. Instead, choose a tent that offers you more sleeping space and more storage options for your gear.
4 Season vs 3 Season Tents
People who enjoy extreme camping should purchase 4 season tents. These tents are designed to withstand almost anything nature throws at them, including snow, high winds, blowing sand, harsh winters, and extreme heat. A 3 season tent, on the other hand, is designed to withstand most typical conditions such as wind, rain, light hail, and maybe some cold weather but not heavy snow or freezing conditions.
Size & Weight
Even though there are spaces within which you can go car camping, the truth is that most camping grounds, at least the remote and exclusive ones, are walk-in or walk-to. This means that you will have to carry your gear for a good number of miles before you get to the ideal camping ground.
Needless to say, if you have a heavy and bulky tent, you will have a lot of weight to carry with you. That’s one of the main reasons most manufacturers strive to make their tents as compact and lightweight as possible; they are made for easy portability.
Of course, there will be other factors you need to consider, such as the number of doors (which comes into question if it is a 3-person tent or larger for ease of movement in and out of the tent), construction and materials used, which counts toward the build quality and durability of the tent as well as stakes and snow anchors, which determine just how sturdy the tent will be once pitched.
These are some of the most important factors to consider when buying a tent. The trick is to find one that works very well with your preferred camping style and specific needs.
Best Winter Camping Tent
The best winter camping tents come with a host of accessories designed to make your life easier while out there in the wild. Here are some of the best and most noteworthy winter camping tent accessories you might want to pay close attention to when shopping.
This is designed to help keep your tent warmer and dry. The ground cloth or tarp you choose is vital in ensuring that the cold from the ground doesn’t sip up into the tent, and neither does the mud or rainwater. This is particularly important if you are using a 3 season tent which is most likely to be used in wet environments. It’s also ideal in a 4 season tent for the sake of extra insulation.
If you are going winter camping, you will need snow stakes. These are long and sharp enough to dig deeper into the snow, keeping your tent pitched through the night and against high winds.
It’s difficult to imagine an overnight camping trip without a sleeping bag regardless of the weather. That becomes impossible to do when you are talking about cold weather or winter camping. When camping in extreme weather, you need to bring as much insulation as you can, and that includes a sleeping bag.
The idea is to find one with a temperature rating lower than the expected night temperatures at your desired camping ground. If you expect it to get as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit, then it’s advisable to get a sleeping bag that has a zero-degree temperature rating and so on. This way, you can be sure that your sleeping bag will keep you warm enough and maybe even comfortable should the expected temperatures drop slightly.
There are other accessories you need to bring with you, such as a backcountry shovel, a winter tent heater, and so on. But, again, the list is as long as you want it to be and as varied as your specific needs. Just remember to keep an eye on the overall weight of everything you need to carry. There’s no need to bring a mountain of gear that will only end up staying in the car because it’s too heavy.
Granted, winter camping isn’t for the faint-hearted, but it can be a lot of fun if you have the right gear. meaning the best winter camping tent and all the necessary accessories that go with it. The list above gives you a good idea of which kind of tents you need to buy.
Check out more winter outdoor gear reviews here!