Firewood is cracking, snow is gracefully falling and the sound of the wind outside makes you feel peaceful and cozy – all curled up with a hot drink in your temporary accommodation… Cold-weather camping can be a fun and healing experience yet it’s not for everyone. You must be prepared when you are setting out for an adventure in extreme wind or low temperatures. Many things are essential for a safe winter camping trip and the main one is a proper shelter for you and your company.
We’re not talking about standard 3-season tents which are not bad but not suited for the cold and harsh climate. In this article, we will look up and compare some of the best waterproof products designed for four seasons and marketed as shelters to keep you warm and safe all night, no matter where you decide to set it up - whether it’s in the woods or at the cold ocean’s shore.
Let’s dive into the world of bad weather camping and check out the top-rated products online. We will read the reviews to find the pros and cons of those who already tested the shelters. Hopefully, this will help you decide what kind of brand and design will be the best for your upcoming adventure.
The best tents on the market
Of course, we are not able to compare all the popular models on the internet – there is simply no time for that because there are many sizes and versions of the same products. So let’s check out the widely-known manufacturers and their best-selling products that can accommodate at least two people inside.
#5 ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 2-Person Tent
If you are familiar with winter camping then you’ve probably heard about this item. This model is simple yet very popular due to its affordable price and reasonable qualities.
As you could guess from the name, this one is recommended for mountaineering and you can accommodate two people inside. It’s constructed with polyester and mesh materials with aluminum poles which give a firm structure to the construction. Free-standing poles allow a quick set-up, which is very important on a cold weather trip. According to the seller, this shelter has factory-sealed fly, which ensures the best insulation and resists water and UV rays.
There are two doors both with zippered mesh windows, and two vestibules for extra storage. The model includes 8 mesh pockets to keep all your belongings safe.
According to the buyers, this model has acceptable ventilation and can handle anything from 90°F (32°C) to -50°F (-45°C). The limiting factor to where you can camp with this item is your gear. For example, this product doesn’t include the portable stove so you’re gonna have to buy one separately, in case you don’t have it yet.
Let’s talk more about the cons: there are some negative comments on the weight of the item – it’s 7.9 lbs (3.5 kg) which may sound not that bad while you’re hiking with someone but can be a burden if you’re climbing up the mountain while carrying other necessities: gear, clothes, and food.
Another tourist mentioned that the outer layer does not reach the floor which affects the shelter’s waterproof efficiency in rainy weather: water and wind bounce off the ground soaking the inner layer. “A 4-season tent should have skirts to avoid this” – said that user, which is something we can’t argue with.
The item comes in two colors: orange and grey. This could be a problem for some people preferring to stay less noticeable while camping, but that can be solved by purchasing some camouflage tarp covering.
Overall, this product offers good quality for its price and can be a fine choice for those who enjoy mountaineering or planning to have a quick adventure in the wild.
#4 Forceatt 2-3 Person Camping Tent
This item has a lot of similarities with the ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian: there are two doors and two vestibules, aluminum poles, and sturdy zippers. This is also a budget-friendly model which can accommodate at least two people (and maybe a toddler).
The fabric is windproof and waterproof polyester, which has a waterproof index of up to 5000mm. Full-coverage rainfly works as great protection against bad weather and this was corroborated by one of the buyers’ review that said that the waterproof item ‘held up well in heavy rain’.
The design comes in different color combinations including orange, emerald, wine red, and greyish. All of these look very modern and this is a good perk for those who care about the product’s visual appeal. It weighs 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg) which is pretty decent for a 4-season tent. Alongside the best things about this item, buyers mention easy setup, good ventilation, and enough mesh pockets for storage.
According to the seller, the welded floor design elevates the bottom of the shelter to protect you from wet grounds. Although there were reviews that said that this item lacks a thicker bottom which is quite important during winter times. Outdoors enthusiasts who used this product recommended buying additional footprint. There is also no seam sealing on all seams: just those exposed to the ground or on the fly.
In conclusion, this product is good for the price but you will have to upgrade it and buy additional equipment before facing really bad weather. For example portable stoves and pipes. The original package does not include anything besides a canopy, inner tent, frames, stakes, and guidelines.
#3 Ayamaya Pop Up Camping Tent
The best thing about this item is the setup system – as you could guess from the name, this is the pop up model which means that this shelter can be installed in a matter of seconds. The pop up constructions are the best for solo or first-time travelers – such items don’t require a group of people or a lot of experience to set up. Another advantage of such shelters is that the pop up constructions are super easy to unpack and pack in the bag after you’re done camping.
However, if you’re planning to camp in extreme weather, ensure your accommodation and ropes are properly staked down. The single greatest con about pop up shelters is that some modules have a structure that's made out of in-sewn loops and is mainly supported by guidelines on the exterior of the product. It makes them extremely susceptible to collapse when confronted with high winds or heavy rains. If you’re planning on camping in windy weather, make sure your waterproof home is placed steadily on the ground.
This pop up model is tunnel-shaped and can accommodate a small family. According to the seller, it can fit up to 6 people, but some reviews say that it’s ‘not for 6 people, 4 for a tight fit, 2-3 for a comfortable fit. Extra space is important for cold weather camping, as you may have to stay inside longer while waiting for the storm to be over. The unique vestibule design offers a separate room for lots of camping gear or muddy shoes.
According to the manufacturer, this pop up item is made of windproof and waterproof polyester with a water-resistant index of 3000 mm. One tourist who tested the item said that ‘after a severe thunderstorm with gusting winds of more than 50 km/hour, and torrential rain’ they were dry and the construction did not collapse. The other did not have such a good experience and said that the water came in under the waterproof tarp. One of the buyers mentioned that ‘due to its pop up design and size: the large middle section of the rain fly sags from the weight of the rainwater and touches the top layer, and starts to leak’.
It has two large doors with dual zippers, and mesh windows on both sides for the best ventilation. The model is designed in four different colors and is very budget-friendly.
#2 GeerTop Cold Weather Tent
The GeerTop four-season shelter is made of high-quality material which is fully waterproof and extremely lightweight. According to the product description, rugged 210T anti-tear checkered polyester resists wear and abrasions. Also, the special coating features good UV resistance, and the PU 3000mm water-resistant finish enables it to shed snow and rain quickly. Construction includes double-stitched seams and waterproofing, and strong aluminum poles for lightweight stability.
Tough, L-angle-shaped aluminum tent stakes and lines keep the construction solid in the wind. Two large mesh ventilation panels on the inner tent enhance airflow and reduce condensation, resulting in a fresher, warmer, dry interior.
Heavy-duty, two sided zipper design allows you to easily open the shelter doors from inside or outside. Built-in snow skirt carries rain and snow away from the shelter, keeping the ground underneath dry.
The model features two layers for the best weather protection and ventilation. The inner layer can be used alone in warm, dry weather for great ventilation. By adding the outer layer you can keep the wind and inclement weather out. This versatility makes it a good temporary home for bad weather season camping. The double-stitched seams are sealed to keep the rain out and for durability.
Such design works well in bad weather conditions and this is proved by some of the reviews. One of the buyers said they went on ‘camping trips ranging from highs in the 70F range down to 0F with snow’. Although, the same user mentioned that the product lacks pockets inside and the bag material is thin and tears easily.
There is enough space for two adults but it’s better to be used as a roomy one-person shelter. The package is compact enough to be carried in the backpack which should be great for hiking and trekking as it weighs 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg).
#1 RBM Outdoors Cuboid 2.20 Pop Up Tent
If you are searching for a durable and reliable shelter for 1-3 people, a Cuboid 2.20 pop up model from the RBM Outdoors with a stove jack is the best option for you. It’s an excellent solution for comfortable travel in extreme conditions and harsh climates.
This is a square freestanding structure with a pop up design, and this makes it an instant tent. Made of waterproof materials, this temporary home will protect you even in heavy rain. There are 2 doors here and they are 3-layer structures, so you have the outer panel, the central mesh door, and finally the inner fabric door. There are removable mosquito nets for proper ventilation.
The pop up all-seasons model fits people who enjoy spending time outdoors fishing or hunting. The outer layer is made with camouflage fabric and the floor is a 3-layer structure, insulated, zippered and removable.
This pop up construction is very easy to pack but it’s far from lightweight with full equipment (51 lbs or 23 kg), which is not suitable for those who’re planning on hiking or mountaineering without a vehicle.
The inner fabric is a very durable 210D Oxford with PU coating that gives it a 2000 mm waterproof rating. The outer layer is an even stronger 300D Oxford with PU coating and a 4000 mm rating. According to the reviews, there is nothing on the market with such a combination of materials.
One side of the tent is with long zippers in the corners so you can unzip it completely and create an awning with the included aluminum poles. The zippers are on both the inner and the outer layers so you can raise both layers or only the shell layer.
This is a not low-budget product but the price is more than reasonable for what you get. That pop up model has incredibly strong fabric and fully 2-layer construction. It also comes with a nicely designed stove as well so you won’t need to buy additional equipment to make your shelter hot.
Which one to choose?
All these products have earned the respect of experienced outdoors enthusiasts. Each has its pros and cons, but you can pick the one that suits your needs the best.
Some tips for surviving the bad weather
- Choose the best place to set up: always try to pick a spot that’s sheltered from the wind and free of avalanche danger. Prepare your camping site by packing down the snow.
- Prevent injuries: frostbite and hypothermia are very dangerous. Make sure to avoid them.
- Wear proper clothes: use synthetic materials like polyester or animal-based materials like wool for your inner layer. Fleece pants, midweight base layers, a coat, a waterproof jacket, and pants are good options. It would be the best choice to wear waterproof shoes.
- Use a stove correctly: make sure you know how to properly install and use your portable stove. Take a carbon monoxide detector with you.
- Don’t skip meals: try to cook a warm high-calories dish, hydrate yourself, and bring some nutritious snacks.
🏕 Is it possible to go camping in extremely cold temperatures?
Yes, some of the best four season tents can keep you warm and safe in low temperatures, such as -40°F (-40°C) or lower. But you must know the safety rules. Don’t go mountaineering or hiking in the winter if you don’t have any knowledge or experience of staying in the wild.
📦 What are the top tips for camping in the winter?
Use high-quality gear; wear a few layers of clothes; choose the best spot for your stay that’s sheltered from the wind; don’t skip your meals, stay hydrated and prevent injuries, such as frostbite and hypothermia.
💡 What is the best tent for extreme weather?
We recommend choosing any model from the RBM Outdoors, for example, Cuboid 2.20 Pop Up Tent. These products are waterproof, made of high-quality materials, easy to set up, and keep them warm. They also have high durability and lots of space.