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Welcome Winter with a Comfortable Cold Weather Camping Tent


Winter and high-elevation camping and trekking, from the rugged Karakoram and Himalayan mountains to the snowy campgrounds a few miles from your house, require layered clothing, good bedding, and a durable cold weather camping tent. Modern convertible, 4-season and expedition tents provide protection against heavy wind and snow within a good size-to-weight ratio. You can purchase or rent a light, “high-tech” cold weather camping tent with ample interior space, sturdy fabrics and poles, superior ventilation, and a small pack-up size.

Seasonal Tent Ratings

A cold weather camping tent with a “4-season” rating will provide excellent shelter for most high country and winter camping. Compared to 3-season and summer tents, winter tents feature heavier fabrics and sturdier poles to withstand higher winds and heavier snowfalls. If you enjoy camping year-around, consider a “convertible” tent, a 4-season tent that converts into a 3-season tent through the removal (or unzipping) of panels. Convertible tents are usually not as sturdy as 4-season tents. For extreme winter conditions, or high-altitudes year-around, you’ll need a “mountaineering” or “expedition” 4-season tent. With additional poles, heavier materials, lower profiles, storm flaps, and reinforced loops for guy lines and pegs, expedition tents are designed to withstand blizzard conditions with near-hurricane-force winds.

Tent Types

Your cold weather camping tent should be rounded and double-walled with well-supported fabric in order to shed snow and withstand the wind. Both “dome” and “tunnel” type tents are popular for spring, summer and autumn camping. While they provide good space, many models aren’t stable in high winds during winter or at high elevations any time. The basic, free-standing, square-base, two-pole dome tent has been strengthened into a three-pole “modified dome” with a hexagonal footprint for better stability. Mountaineers often choose a “geodesic” tent (with three or more crossed tent poles) or a combination dome/tunnel style. For the worst weather conditions, look for a cold weather camping tent that features a tub floor and opposing doors and multiple vestibules to facilitate movement in and out of the tent and accessible gear lofts and cooking areas.

Winter and/or high altitude camping can be an exhilarating, breath taking experience. The weather extremes, which can become life threatening, necessitate careful preparation as you select clothing and equipment. In addition to the cold weather camping tent, you’ll want clothing layers that pull perspiration away from your skin while providing outer protection against snow and wind. Keeping hydrated and dry are of paramount importance. Pitch your tent on a good ground cloth and keep the vents open to avoid dripping condensation on the fabric surfaces. You’ll also want a foam pad to sit and sleep on as well as a mummy sleeping bag or an alternative that accommodates additional liners.

Once you have a durable, cold weather camping tent you’re well on your way to a memorable and exciting trek along the top of the world or through the pristine meadows and valleys of a winter wonderland.

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