Whether your idea of a camping trip is scaling the face of a mountain in sub-zero temperatures in search of your campsite, or just camping in freezing temperatures in the dead of winter, we’ve got you covered (pun intended)! For this style of camping your three-season tent is just not going to cut it. You need something with a little more backbone! You need a tent that not only can withstand the freezing temperatures but can also hold up to the bone chilling winds and snow that you sometimes have to deal with. For this, you need a dependable tent that’s made for extremely cold weather.
When it comes to the best extreme cold weather tents on the market, you have plenty of options, but we narrowed it down to just five, with the ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 3 Person Tent being our top pick. While all of the tents on the list will serve you well even in the most inhospitable conditions, the Tasmanian 3 tent stood above the rest due to its quality and price.
The other tents that made our list include:
- Eureka Alpenlite 2XT Tent: 2-Person 4-Season
- Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 Tent
- Marmot Limelight 2 Person Camping Tent w/Footprint
- Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Deluxe 8-Person Tent
Cold Weather Tent Reviews
Camping in conditions that could potentially kill you is no joke! You need a tent that’s “no joke” as well! If you’re not sure as to what to look for in a tent specifically designed for cold weather camping, then make sure to check out our extensive buying guide at the end of this article.
ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 3 Person Tent
If you’re looking for a tent that can handle almost any type of cold weather situation, then look no further than the ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 3 person tent!
Spacious and easy to set up (about 10-15 min), due to its freestanding pole system, the Tasmanian 3 will sleep three campers okay but will sleep two or even one camper extremely comfortably.
This tent comes with two vestibules, which will give you plenty of space for storing all of your gear. Also included are mesh storage pockets, a gear loft, and tent stakes and guy ropes, although if you think you’ll be camping on the harder ground or in the snow, I would suggest that you upgrade to titanium tent stakes.
There are two doors to this tent, each with zippered mesh windows. This along with its two vents will help in preventing condensation from building up. It also has factory sealed seams, and a 75 denier polyester fly with a 1500 mm polyurethane coating for keeping the water out. It also has a 75 denier Poly Taffeta floor with a 5000 mm polyurethane coating.
With a height of 54 inches, there’s adequate room for an average size man/women to move around. However, extra space does come with a price! This tent is not the lightest cold weather tent on the market. Weighing in at roughly 10 lbs, it may not be the best choice if you plan on hiking for several miles to reach your campsite.
While some people who bought this tent praise its rain fly, even going so far as to say it’s what actually makes the tent, others say that it can be a real pain to set up due to having to thread the poles through the rain fly before you can actually set it up.
With that being said, I’ve found this tent to be a really great bargain for the price!
If you would like to find out more about the Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian 3 person tent, you can find more reviews and see the price on Amazon.
Eureka Alpenlite 2XT Tent: 2-Person 4-Season
The Eureka Alpenlite is another great option when it comes to four season tents. It’s 6 pole, low profile, a-frame design will protect you from the strongest of winds as well as snow from accumulating on the tent.
It comes with six zippered vents, allowing for greater ventilation, which reduces condensation. The vents also make this tent a true four season tent, even for summer camping.
The Eureka has a full coverage fly and includes a vestibule that while small, should be adequate enough for storing your gear as long as you’re a light packer.
The tents wall and floor has a fabric rating of 70D, while the fly has a 70D StormSheild polyester Ripstop nylon fabric. The fly for this tent has a 1,800 mm coating, while the floor has a 3,000 mm coating, making this tent super strong and water resistant.
A unique feature that this tent has that the others don’t is reflective storm guy outs and logos, making it that much easier to find your way back in low light conditions. Some additional features included are 6 pockets, 2 gear loft loops, and 2 flashlight loops.
The only real negative about this tent is that although it says it’s for two people, it’s going to be pretty cramped. It seems that it works best as a one-person tent, especially if you plan on packing a lot of gear. Also, while it does come with aluminum tent stakes, if you’re going to be camping in the snow, you really need to upgrade to titanium.
Although the Eureka Alpenlite is more expensive than the Tasmanian, it’s still a really good price for a good quality cold weather tent.
If you would like to find out more about the Eureka Alpenlite 2-person tent, you can find more reviews and see the price on Amazon.
Mountain Hardwear Trango 3 Tent
Next on our list is the Mountain Hardwear three person, four season tent. While definitely not the cheapest tent on the list, it’s built with superior materials and has pretty much everything that we look for in a cold weather tent.
It’s shape and low profile design is perfect for guarding against bone-chilling winds and snowfall. It’s also double-walled, which means less condensation and more warmth.
Also, if you’re worried about strength and waterproofing, don’t! This tent comes with an industry leading DAC Featherlight™ NSL pole system and its fly has a fabric rating of 70D Nylon Taffeta and a waterproof coating of 1500. The tent floor is even stronger with a 70D Nylon 190T Taffeta rating and a 10000 mm coating.
The Trango has two entrances and two vestibules, making entering and leaving the tent a breeze, even when two campers are present. The added vestibules will provide plenty of room for storing all of your gear. Speaking of storage, the Trango also has plenty of mesh storage pockets for storing smaller items. I almost forgot to mention this, but there are also 5 interior gear loops for hanging stuff on such as lanterns and flashlights.
The only negatives on this tent that I could find were due to its size and weight. Although it states that it is a three person tent, most people have stated that while you can sleep three people in it, it’s super cramped. This really isn’t anything new when it comes to tents. Most campers know that if you want more comfortable sleeping conditions, you really need to opt for a tent that states it can sleep at least one more person than you actually need.
Also, weighing in at around 11 pounds, it’s not the lightest tent.
If you are looking for a tent that is storm proof, watertight, and can withstand high winds in the most bone-chilling conditions, then take a long hard look at this tent. It will last you a lifetime if you take care of it.
If you would like to find out more about the Mountain Hardwear Trango 3 person tent, you can find more reviews and see the price on Amazon.
Marmot Limelight 2 Person Camping Tent w/Footprint
This 2 person cold weather tent is fantastic for the price and all the things it has. Setting up this tent is simple and takes less than 15 minutes to do so. They have provided their “easy pitch” clips and poles that are color coded making set up a cinch for even a newbie to camping. Once set up, you’ll notice that the clip placement is one of the things making this tent’s interior so spacious.
You’ve heard the saying “square peg in a round hole?” This is often the way it feels trying to set up an air mattress or sleeping pad in a circular tent. With this tent providing vertical walls, it helps to maximize every bit of space in this 2 person tent.
With 40d 100% Polyester and no-see-um mesh, and all seam taped floors and fly, this tent is sure to offer you peace of mind that nothing unwanted will get into your tent. On that note, getting into the tent has never been so easy with the 2 doors available! It has an unusually large double rear door and a D shaped door with 2 vestibules. Which is super convenient if you are needing to get up in the middle of the night and don’t want to have to crawl over the other person (or dog) on your mattress! And did I mention I love having these vestibules to give you somewhere to put those shoes before stepping into your tent?
Fitting a double sized mattress shouldn’t be a problem here. With 33 sq. foot and dimensions of 43 x 54 x 88in even a tall person can sit up comfortably on their mattress in this tent.
They really paid attention to this tent when it came to details. With the jingle free nylon zipper pulls, and pockets for organizing small gear, these definitely are a huge plus. The best idea is always having somewhere to put your light, which is why the feature of having a secure headlight pocket is awesome.
Packing up and heading home is easy and after any stop, no one will complain about the 5lbs that has to be carried back to the vehicle or off on the trail. This and the features listed above are sure to make the $245 worth every penny.
If you would like to find out more about the Marmot Limelight 2-person tent, you can find more reviews and see the price on Amazon.
Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Deluxe 8-Person Tent
Last, but not least on the list is the Kodiak canvas 8 person tent. While I would never recommend this for backpackers and hikers (it weighs 85 lbs), it’s perfect for families who enjoy cold weather camping.
When it comes to keeping warm and dry, you’re not going to be disappointed with this tent! Its canvas is made of marine grade 100% cotton duck canvas and the floor is made of a 16-ounce polyester-reinforced vinyl with welded seams. This material is super strong, watertight and will keep you warm and dry in most conditions.
The tent is spacious to accommodate up to 8 campers and has a 6 ½ foot ceiling, making moving around a breeze. Speaking of “breeze”, the Kodiak also has four large windows/doors with no-see-um mesh and two funnel-flow vents that will help increase air circulation, enable you to control the inside temperature just a little bit better.
The Kodiak has a super strong metal frame too! It’s 1-inch galvanized steel frame and 3/8-inch solid spring steel Flex-Bow rods provide a solid frame that will stand up to a number of weather conditions.
A cool feature that this tent has is its awning! Even though you may be camping in the winter, there are still days where the sun can be relentless. With the Kodiaks large awning, you won’t have anything to worry about! You can also store gear under it in the event it decides to rain.
Besides the awning, this tent also has a convenient gear loft and other storage options!
While big and even a little bulky, this tent is pretty easy to set up, even for one person. Once you get the hang of it set up time should be about 15-20 minutes.
One common complaint that I had with this tent is that you have to “season” it before you use it. This is basically setting up the tent in your yard and hosing it down with water. You then have to let it dry. Once dry, you’re good to go! While this is a bit of a pain, I guess it’s good to get a little practice setting it up in a controlled environment before you get it to the woods.
If you’re not looking for a lightweight tent and are not planning on camping in open areas with high winds and major snowfall, this might just be the tent you’ve been looking for! It will definitely keep you warm and dry!
If you would like to find out more about the Kodiak Canvas 8-person tent, you can find more reviews and see the price on Amazon.
What to Look for in a Cold Weather Tent
What Type of Camping Will You Be Doing
The first thing that you have to decide on before you even start your search for a cold weather tent is what type of camping do you intend on doing with it. For instance, will you be backpacking for miles in the snow to your campsite, or will you be driving to your camping destination? Another thing to consider is how many people will be using the tent.
Deciding on how you will be using your tent will play a huge role in determining what type of tent you buy.
Never Sacrifice Quality for Cost
Something else that a lot of us have to come to grips with is how much are willing to spend on a tent. If cost isn’t a factor, then I suggest that you spend as much as needed in order to get your perfect tent.
However, for most of us, the cost is important. With that being said, never sacrifice quality for cost, especially if you are planning on camping in conditions that could actually kill you!
While it may be tempting, do not buy the cheapest 4 season tent (Ozark Trail and Coleman) that you can find and expect it to hold up to extreme weather conditions such as freezing temperatures, falling snow, and gusting winds. It will surely let you down!
The good news is that all of the tents on this list, while not the cheapest, come at a very reasonable price for the quality that they offer.
Size and Weight Matter
Once again, the size and weight of your tent really depends on how you will be using it. For backpackers, you want a tent that’s pack weight is less than 10 pounds. Sure, you’re going to most likely sacrifice a little space, but your back and legs will thank you.
If you plan on camping with the family, or are not planning on trekking for miles with a tent strapped on your back, then the weight is probably not going to be too much of a concern. You’re probably more concerned with the amount of space the tent has.
When choosing a cold weather tent, there really isn’t a “happy medium” when it comes to the size and weight. You’re not going to find a 6 person 4 season tent that weighs less than 10 pounds.
Versatility is Good
If you’re paying hundreds of dollars for a tent, wouldn’t it be nice to know that you could use it in pretty much any condition? While most 4 season cold weather tents are built to withstand extreme conditions, they are also made to use in the spring, summer, and fall, hence the term “4 seasons.”
With that being said, there is one exception to this and that’s a canvas tent. While technically you could use it in the summer, I would not suggest it. These tents are made to keep you warm and dry and I don’t think that you would be very comfortable in the heat of summer in one.
With the exception of one, I would have no problem using any of the tents in the summer and I live in Florida.
Choose a Tent With Good Ventilation
When camping in the extreme cold, there is one thing that you can be sure of and that is the air inside your tent is almost always going to be more humid than the air outside. This can result in condensation.
Condensation is basically water and as we all know, the last thing that you want inside your tent in freezing cold temperatures is water.
Choosing a tent with good ventilation can reduce, if not completely eliminate condensation from building, which in turn will keep you and all of your gear dry.
Another reason to choose a tent with good ventilation is for cooking and warming water for coffee. Chances are if it’s snowing outside, you’re not going to be outside trying to get your backpacking stove to light. You’re going to be inside of your tent, which is where a tent with good ventilation comes into play.
I recommend selecting a tent that has at least two vents.
Strength and Resistance to Cold Weather
Fabric and Coating – The strength of a tent’s fabric is measured by Denier. Denier (pronounced den-YAY) is a unit of measurement that applies to a fabrics thickness. The higher the number, the stronger the fabric. For four-season cold-weather tents, I recommend at least a 70 denier for the cold weather tents. The coating is something else that you need to consider. Coatings and deniers are different things, but equally confusing. A tents denier rating determines how strong the fabric is, it’s the polyurethane coating that makes it waterproof. For wet conditions, it’s recommended for at least a 1,000 mm coating for the tent fly and even higher for the floor. Most good quality cold weather tents will have over 1,000 mm for the fly and up to 5,000 mm coating for the tent floor.
Double Wall Construction – When it comes to cold weather tents, especially extreme cold weather, a double walled tent is a must in my opinion! Sure you’re going to sacrifice having a lighter tent and are probably going to pay a little more, but it’s well worth it. A double wall tent has two layers and a single wall has only one layer. This is important for two reasons! One, the extra layer provides more protection from the elements. Two, a double wall tent protects from condensation build up. The inner layer is breathable, allowing for better ventilation, while the outer layers keep the cold, rain and snow out.
Style and Shape – The style and shape of your tent also play a huge role in how well it will keep you warm and safe in the extreme cold. A cabin shaped tent is okay if you’re camping at lower elevations and where snow is unlikely, but I wouldn’t advise it for camping on the side of a mountain where snow is almost a certainty and strong winds are inevitable. If extreme camping is your thing, then always opt for either a dome, tunnel-shaped, or A-frame style tent. Their low profile will help protect you against the wind and their slopped shape will help to prevent snow from building up on the roof.
Storage and Entrances – Most good four season tents will have at least one vestibule for storing all of your gear. While one at least one vestibule is a must, if you can find a tent with two vestibules, that’s even better. Extreme cold weather camping tents have limited sleeping space, without all of your gear taking up even more room. Also, if you can find a tent that has two entrances, that’s great too. It just makes entering and leaving the tent that much easier, especially if you are sharing the tent with someone else.
Tent Poles and Stakes – Like a home, your tent’s foundation determines how solid your tent actually is and a tents foundation is its stakes and poles. While some cheaper tents use plastic for their tent poles, a good tent will either use aluminum or fiberglass poles for their tents. I personally prefer aluminum. They’re usually more expensive, but are not only lighter, but also stronger than fiberglass poles. Most tents will not come with tent stakes and even if they do, I doubt that they will come with premium stakes. If you’re a serious backcountry, cold weather camper, just any tent stake will not do. You need to get yourself some titanium stakes. They’re more expensive than aluminum and metal stakes, but are much lighter and will not break.
Multiple Guy Out Loops – These are the loops on a tent in which you attach your guy lines to. While most four-season tents will come with at least four guy lines, more is better when camping in an area prone to high winds. The more guy lines you have, the more secure your tent will be, reducing the chance that it could blow away.
All tents are not made the same (literally) when it comes to camping in the extreme cold. You not only need a tent that will keep you warm, but the tent has to also keep the moisture out, as well as guard against high winds and falling snow.
When choosing a tent for this type of camping, you really shouldn’t sacrifice quality for the price! Did you notice that Coleman and Ozark Trail weren’t included on this list? With that being said, I don’t think we all need to spend thousands of dollars on an Artic Oven tent either! While all of the tents on our list may not be the best of the best, they are all superior tents for what they cost and will get you through some nasty weather.
While we’ve done our best to compile a list of some of the best extreme cold weather tents on the market, I’m sure that we left a few out. Do you have a favorite tent that you use for cold weather? If so, we would love to hear about it in the comment section below!