Camping is always an amazing experience for its true fans, whatever the time of year. Whether it's a midsummer getaway or a winter adventure, you need a tent to sleep in. That's why an all-season tent is the best choice. If you are into winter camping and can't imagine your life without backcountry ski trips, you should choose your tent especially carefully. Fair enough, as its quality directly affects your feeling of comfort and safety in harsh conditions. Go on reading and find out how to choose the best 4-season tent for your great outdoor holiday. Also, we'll compare a 3-season vs 4-season tent, so it will be easier for you to make your choice, and give detailed answers to the most typical questions related to 4-season tents.
What to Look For in Your 4-Season Tent
A good 4-season tent is likely to become one of your most important gear-buying decisions. With a great variety of 4-season tents on offer, it might be hard to select the one that will best respond to your needs. Here is the list of features to help you pick up your best camping shelter.
#1 Tent Capacity
Depending on the number of people that are going to sleep in the tent, you can choose a 1-3-person, 4-6 person or even 8-person tent. If you're larger than average, or you just need more space to feel comfortable, go for a tent that is one person larger than your group. Also, keep in mind that for winter camping, you should take into account the need for additional space to place the camping stove.
To make your camping experience less tiresome, tent designers work hard to keep weight low. However, less weight can often mean less space, fewer features and less durability. That's why you need to choose carefully, considering all these things.
Great news is that modern ultralight tents can be astonishingly strong, but be ready that they come at a price. Plus, don't forget to carefully check the specs, because it sometimes happens that the term “ultralight” is used by brands just to attract your attention, and the tent unfortunately doesn't correspond to this description.
And we suppose it would be useful for you to have a look at the key tent specs:
- Minimum trail weight means the weight of the tent essentials: body, rainfly and poles.
- Packaged weight is the total weight of the body, rainfly, poles, stakes, stuff sack, pole sack, and instructions.
- Packed size reflects how much space the tent occupies in a pack.
#3 Tent Seasonality
Finally, let us walk you through the most essential features of a tent that make it suitable for cold weather camping.
To start off, look for a tent with fabric panels that can zip over mesh areas. They keep warmth and prevent snow from blowing inside. Next, your perfect 4-season tent should have more poles if compared to a 3-season tent. The poles provide for extra strength to keep your tent from blowing away in high winds.
It's also a good idea to go for a 4-season mountaineering tent. This gear is super resistant to strong wind gusts and heavy snow loads thanks to rounded dome designs. 4-season mountaineering tents are characterized by a greater number of poles and solid walls. Plus, these tents often feature rainflys that extend almost to the ground. As you see, a 4-season mountaineering tent might seem the most reliable solution for cold weather camping. However, take notice of its major downside: it can feel stuffy in mild conditions since it has less ventilation.
3-Season vs 4-Season Tent: What's the Difference?
This question seems to be quite popular with people who are setting off for their first time camping trip. So what's the difference between 3-season and 4-season tents? Let's jump right in.
A 3-season tent
A 3-season tent is designed to be used in spring, summer, and fall. These tents are lightweight, and they are engineered to protect you against rain and moderate winds. They are typically constructed to provide as much ventilation as possible: these tents have meshy walls and plenty of vents that let the air flow freely throughout the shelter, and are able to protect you from the wind. Not to mention, good ventilation helps to eliminate condensation inside of the tent.
3-season tents weigh less than 4-season tents of the same size, somewhere between 3 and 6 lbs. Thinner and lighter aluminum frames are strong enough to survive mild weather conditions. Most typically, the tent body is attached to poles with the help of clips, which allows for a quicker setup.
A 4-season tent
If we compare a 3-season vs 4-season tent, the main thing worth mentioning is that a 4-season tent is constructed to survive tough conditions such as cold snowy weather with high winds. No wonder it's often referred to as a winter tent. The tent walls are typically mesh free. Instead, durable fabrics and double-wall design can keep the warmth inside and shield you against extreme wind. A 4-season tent has vents to help control condensation, however, this might be less relevant in low temperatures. The rainfly or vestibule usually reach the ground, providing extra protection from wind.
All-season tents have thicker and stronger, mostly aluminum frames. A 4-season tent usually features more poles to provide better stability and higher resistance to snow loading. What is more, full fabric sleeves can be used to enhance stability, still, this means slower and more complex setup. Finally, an all-season tent typically has an extended vestibule and internal gear pockets. This sort of tent may weigh anywhere between 8 and 16 pounds, however, you can find models weighing 5 lb.
Best 4-Season Tents Comparison
If you've decided to treat yourself to an exciting outdoor adventure in the cold weather, it's high time to start your preparations. There's usually a lot of gear on the list, but 4-season tents are the first thing you need to purchase. It might be difficult for you to choose your best 4-season tent, so we've prepared a brief review of our four-season tent options. We also grouped them according to the number of persons they can house, as we perfectly know that tent capacity is the most important thing when you're choosing a tent.
Pick up your perfect 4-season family tent
If you plan an outdoor trip with your family or a couple of friends, you'll obviously need a 4-season family tent. Have a look at our best 4-season tents that can house up to eight people and pick up the one that best responds to your needs.
UP-2 is the best four-person option. It has a diameter of 135", and is 75” high. UP-2 has one entrance and two five-layer windows that can be used for additional ventilation. Their transparent layers are made of frost-resistant PVC and can be exposed to extremely low temperatures. UP-2 is a 4-season tent with stove jack and extra protection from fire, so you can safely use a tent stove inside. This all-season tent makes a comfortable shelter from both the summer sun and cold winter air. Metal bars ensure extra durability of the structure. Together with your tent you'll get a zippered floor that ensures effective protection against insects and snakes in the warm season, and against water in rainy weather.
UP-5 has the same features as UP-2, the only differences include its dimensions and number of entrances. With a diameter of 178" and 87” high, UP-5 can accommodate up to eight people. Plus, it has two entrances and two windows.
Unlike the dome tents UP-2 and UP-5, Cuboid 4.40 has an absolutely different design. Cuboid 4.40 is a 4-season cabin tent and the best six-person option. It's one of our biggest 4-season tents: at 104.41 square feet of floor area, you'll feel comfortable and safe in the wild. Cuboid 4.40 has four windows and two entrances, each equipped with a mesh insert and reinforced zippers. Without any doubt, it is the most comfortable choice for extended trips in alpine conditions.
Hexagon is our newest tent model with two windows and three entrances. Being as reliable, durable and safe as the above-mentioned models, Hexagon is an all-season eight-person tent. At 135.63 square feet, it feels like an apartment room, indeed. Not to mention, one of the walls can be opened up leaving only a mosquito net, and you can use this area as a terrace in the warm season. Hexagon has a height of 83”, allowing a person of medium height to stand upright inside it.
A 4-season 2-person tent: choose your cozy shelter
If you are a lone camper or prefer diving into an alpine winter adventure together with your best mate, you probably need to get a 4-season 2-person tent. Here are the best options you can find on our 4-season tent sale.
79 inches long, 79 inches wide and 61 inches high, Sputnik-3 is our smallest model and the best two-person tent. Despite its small size, Sputnik-3 is a four-season tent with stove jack, so you don't need to worry about safe cooking and keeping your shelter warm, you just need to install an appropriate stove inside. Sputnik-3 has one entrance and one window. This small double-wall tent is one of our lightest tents. It has relatively low weight (20.94 lbs) so you can use it as a backpacking tent for alpine hiking and set it up easily in inaccessible areas. In addition, Sputnik-3 converts into a backpack, which makes it super convenient to carry.
UP-2-mini is another two-person option for your amazing winter adventure. It's a dome tent with a diameter of 107 inches. UP-2-mini has one entrance and two windows. Its umbrella-type structure design allows you to pitch the tent in only two minutes. In addition, this shelter can boast exceptional wind resistance.
Cuboid 2.20 is our smallest double walled cabin tent. Its dimensions (87''x87"x75”) make it a perfect two-person accommodation. Cuboid 2.20 has two windows and two entrances. Like our other all-season tents, it has a stove jack and fire-resistant protection.
We hope you'll pick up an all-season tent for the best price that will serve you as a safe, reliable and comfortable shelter in the wild. Also, have a look at our universal vestibule for UP-series tents. You can use it to expand your living space, or as a garage for snowmobiles, an independent tent, a kitchen, etc. It has a fire-resistant jack for the smoke pipe, two zippered doors, and a window equipped with a mosquito net.
4-Season Tent FAQ
Lastly, we've prepared detailed answers to the most common questions concerning all-season tents.
Why do I need 4-season tent? Can I use my 3-season tent in the winter?
A four-season tent will keep you safe from extreme weather: gusty winds, extremely low temperatures and heavy snowfalls. Conversely, 3-season tents are designed to be used in milder conditions and are suitable for spring, summer and fall, including light snows. They won't survive extreme conditions such as subzero temperatures, harsh wind, and snowy weather.
How should I store my tent?
The best way to store your tent is to hang it in a cool and dry place. Keep in mind that it is absolutely essential to make sure that the tent is completely dry when you put it away. To dry the tent, you can drape it over a couple of chairs. One more advice: before you put the tent away, you should carefully examine it and make sure that it's not damaged. This way, if you detect any damage, you can get it fixed before your next trip and avoid unnecessary troubles. Don't forget to check the poles for loose parts and cracks that are likely to damage the fabric. Replace or repair damaged gear right away.
What is the rainfly?
It's the waterproof covering or top of the tent that protects the breathable inner roof. It can cover the entire tent or protect it partially. This piece of gear is sometimes included with the tent, and it's also possible to purchase it separately.
Can we use 4-season tents in the summer?
Absolutely, since they're called 4-season tents for a reason. Basically, you can use it all year round. However, you might need to make some changes. As an all-season tent is designed to stand up to wind and survive a heavy snowfall, it can get stuffy in the warm weather. So you'll need to find a shady spot and open up the vents and windows to keep it cooler.
Can I put the floor inside the tent?
Yes. Actually, it's up to you where to put the floor: inside the tent or under it.
What is a single-wall tent?
A single-wall tent is accurately what its name says: it's a tent that has a single wall of fabric. Single-wall options are typically made from solid waterproof, breathable fabric. The major benefits of a single-wall design are its simplicity of setup and weight savings: a single-walled tent weighs less than a double-walled tent of the same size.
What is the difference between fiberglass and aluminum poles?
Fiberglass poles are cheaper than aluminum ones. They are more likely to break, especially in low temperatures and windy conditions. Aluminum poles are lighter than fiberglass, less likely to break, stronger and suitable for harsh weather. Although they are more expensive, they work well in any conditions.
How do I clean my tent?
When the tent needs to be cleaned, you should pitch it and clean it with a cloth or sponge and lukewarm water. Avoid harsh soaps, and never put camping tents in the washing machine. If the tent is muddy or sandy, let it dry, then just brush or shake the dirt off.