Best Cold Weather Tent of 2020 | Expert Advice
If you quickly want to find out which is the best cold weather tent, I’d recommend the ALPS Mountaineering Taurus Tent.
The standard 3 season tents may be perfect for camping in the summers or mild winters; but if you are planning to camp in a chilly weather condition, that might not be sufficient.
You need to find a tent that’s capable of keeping you safe in severe snow, wind and rain. Here’s our guide to finding the best tents for cold weather followed by some solid recommendations.
Our Top 5 Cold Weather Tents of 2020
What is a cold weather tent
A cold weather tent is generally a 4 season tent that’s made to withstand harsh conditions of hail, rains, snow and wind. Here are some general characteristics of cold weather tents:
- They are made of high quality denier fabrics that are thickly woven together to provide the best weather protection.
- They come with a full coverage rainfly for complete shielding from the elements.
- The tent material is double coated for waterproofness.
- They come with heavy duty footprints that have sealed seams and tapered floors, to prevent the rain from entering through the tent floors.
- They come with high quality zippers.
- The tent poles are sturdy and are of high quality materials like aluminium ( in most cases ) for the strength it upholds in bad weathers.
- They are expensive.
How to choose the Best Cold Weather Tent
Weatherproofing is nice, but it isn’t the only feature that makes a great tent. Here’s a list of other things to look for, in a cold weather tent.
Ease of Set up
Tents that take hours to set up are a pain, and now can you imagine doing that in cold climates.
Freestanding tents are easy to set up as compared to the conventional ones with poles and stakes. They come with an integrated pole system that allows you quick set up.
Look for lightweight models that state one person set up.
Most of the 4 season tents come with a full coverage heavy-duty rainfly for cold weather protection. With the rainfly on, the tent provides complete shielding but very little ventilation.
However, if the inner tent is made of breathable fabrics, that serves for ventilation. The rainfly can be removed when you want some fresh air to get into your tent. Some tents also have a rainfly that has popup ventilation openings on it, which can be quite useful.
If you are planning to use these in the summers as well, look out for ventilation in the model you are looking at.
Size of your group
Cold weathers outside mean you need to stay warm inside. So you might not want a lot of space inside your tent. They trap the heat generated by your body in a wide area, so the tent doesn’t get as warm.
For example, in a 2 person tent you could plan to fit in two people and some gear & supplies. However, if you are planning to use a tent heater to warm up your tent, you might need a little more square room.
Decide this based on the floor specifications of the tent.
Every tent fabric & floor come with a hydrostatic head measurement (HHM) that just tells how waterproof a tent is. A HHM of 1000mm says that you can put a column of upto 1000mm water on top of the fabric, and it doesn’t leak inside.
Tents are made waterproof from two things. First the tent material & the hydrostatic head rating of it, and second the waterproof coating sprayed on them.
In a cold weather tent, look for a 1500 mm or above for the tent fabric and 3000mm or above for the tent floor.
Look for a lightweight tent if you are going to be backpacking or mountaineering. On the other sides, if you are going to be car camping, weight can be secondary wherein you can choose a tent based on its price and feature sets.
Think of rainfly as an additional layer over your tent to protect you from dust, wind, rains and snow. There are two types of rainflies
- Full Coverage Rainfly – They cover the entire tent, from all the sides up to the floors, and are double layered with sealed seams .
- Half Coverage Rainfly – They cover the tent partly, mainly the sleeping area. The sides of the tents are shielded by the tent material.
When you are looking for cold weather tents, make sure they have a full coverage rainfly.
Advantages of a Cold Weather Tent
Since you are investing in a heavy duty product, why restrict their usage to cold weathers?
Most of the cold weather tents are well equipped to withstand 4 seasons. If you are an avid all-year round camper, these tents perform excellent in all of them.
As mentioned in the previous sections, 4 season tents are made of high quality materials in all areas – tent materials, poles, floor, rainfly etc. That makes it durable for a long time if it’s taken care of & stored properly.
Rains? The seamed floors and the tent body keep you comfortable inside. Heavy snow? The full coverage rainfly keeps you comfortable. Windy? The strong poles of the tent ensure of your comfort. Sun? The double-coated tent body prevents the condensation from soaking up from the inside, so you don’t feel the heat inside.
Choose a tent with the feathers according to the weathers that you’d be camping in.
Top 5 Cold Weather Tents
The ALPS Mountaineering Taurus tent is our pick for the best cold weather tent. It sleeps up to 4 people, is comfortable and has two vestibules spaces outside for gear. It’s easy to set up and go within 10 minutes. It weighs less than 10 lbs and is perfect for backpacking.
The tent is made of Aluminium poles that are very sturdy and stands tall, even in strong windy days. In the rainy days, the tent keeps the insides completely dry even without any water resistant treatment. Thanks to the Polyester fly that is full-coverage. You can also setup the rainfly to be full coverage or half coverage or no coverage if you wish. The tent is properly ventilated as well, with the help go mesh windows and mesh roof. The floor of the tent is made of heavy duty Nylon Oxford is solid with changing weathers.
Not to forget the zippers which are a pain in most of the tents. The ALPS tent has heavy duty zippers that are robust.
Some of the downsides of the tent could be the quality of the stakes. They are poor quality but they can be easily replaced by buying aluminium ones. You would need around 12 stakes: 8 for normal weather and 4 for the extra tie downs in case of harsh weather. The tent also doesn’t come with ropes to tie down the fly, which you’ll have to purchase separately.
- Great at withstanding strong winds
- Lightweight – less than 10 lbs
- Sturdy foor
- Heavy duty zippers
- Different options for configuring rainfly
- Poor quality stakes
- No tie-down ropes
If you overlook a few minor issues, the tent ensures you a comfortable camping experience, regardless of the weather outside.
This tent is the cheapest among the other tents reviewed here. It weighs under 6 pounds and is best for backpacking and winter camping. It features the Snow Skirt for full insulation.
The rain fly is full coverage but it also has two small openings for ventilation when it rains. The tent poles are made of Aluminium and the tent fabrics are double stitched with sealed seams for excellent rain and UV protection.
The vestibule space inside the tent may be useful for keeping your camping gear but it can become a little snug for 2 people and gears.
- Snow skirt for harsh winter
- Two doors
- Ventilation windows on rain fly
- Excellent value for money
- Vestibule for gears
- 45’’ center height
A 4 season tent that is the best bang for the buck.
This tent comes with a freestanding pole design with aluminium poles. The manufacturers claim that the tent can be set up in less than 5 minutes.
It has two rain fly sheets. Inner and the outer layers together are waterproof and windproof. However in summers, the outer layer can be removed for ventilation.
The tent fabric is made of high quality Nylon and Rip-stop Nylon that comes with a 4000mm waterproof coating of Silicone that makes it water and UV resistant.
The accessories that come with the tent include a carry bag for the tent, a gear loft, mesh storage pockets and a footprint. The footprint is removable that’s great for shaking off the dirt before packing it up. There’s also a small opening at one of the sides of the tent that can be opened for ventilation.
Some users have found the inner space of the tent to be snug, but that’s subjective. Look at the floor specifications in addition to the capacity of the tent.
- Ripstop Nylon with water- and UV-resistant coating
- Two layers for wind protection & ventilation
- Removable footprint
- Easy set up in under 5 minutes
- Good compression size
- D shaped door
- Snug for bigger people
- Condensation tends to build up inside the tent with all doors closed
Another affordable lightweight option with a good construction design & high quality materials.
Are you looking for a spacious tent for 1-2 persons and some camp gear?
It has a freestanding pole design with aluminium poles, that makes the set up of the tent quite easy & straightforward. It comes with a full coverage Polyester fly that protects the tent against UV rays and rains. Not only that, customers have found it to be think & surprisingly light.
Ventilation of the tent is taken care of by two doors and zippered meshed windows. It also has two ample vestibule spaces on either of the vertical sides, for gear storage. The rainfly comes with a 1500mm waterproof rating and the floor with 5000mm.
The tent has a well thought out design that has multiple mesh pockets inside it for easy access of small items.
However, one drawback to the tent might be the large packed size.
- Quick assembly
- Heavy duty fly & floor
- Two vestibule areas for storage
- Comes with mesh pockets and a gear loft
- High quality zippers
- Large packed size
A well constructed tent with a rich feature set.
The Geertop tent is best for backpacking because of its weight. The manufacturers claim that it can be set up easily by one person within a few minutes!
One fantastic feature of this tent is the quality of the tent material that’s made of Polyester & Nylon meshes. The tent fabric is 3000 mm waterproof rated, and the floor is of 5000mm. It also has an outer slippery surface for easy shedding of snow and rain.
Also, the tent has two layers. The outer and inner layers are wind proof and can be used in colder nights. The inner layer alone can be kept, if ventilation be needed.
It has two large doors and meshed windows for ventilation. The tent comprises of accessories such as a ceiling pocket, a ceiling lantern hook and storage pockets that’s quite handy.
One disadvantage of the tent might be its small storage space for people who are carrying camping gear.
- Lightweight at 5.73 pounds
- Two layers for wind protection & ventilation
- Two sided zippers
- Full coverage rainfly
- Anti-tear polyester with water- and UV-resistant coating
- Quick setup
- Small vestibule space
- Zippers can be difficult to manage
A 4 season lightweight tent that fits in a backpack, and is affordable.
If you are planning to hike solo, the best pick would be the ALPS Mountaineering Taurus Tent.
The ALPS tent is not only the best cold weather tent, but it also excels in other areas. It’s lightweight and a portable solution for backpackers. The rainfly is full coverage, with options for half coverage and no coverage as well. Every part of the tent is made of heavy duty materials: be it the zippers, the Polyester rainfly, the Nylon floor, or the Aluminium poles, the tent wins in almost all of the areas that make up a great tent.
Invest in this and you won’t be disappointed.
We hope this article helped you understand the factors that make a good cold weather tent. Now it’s the time for you to go ahead and choose! Which one did you pick? Did you find our guide useful?
Let us know in the comments below 🙂