Best Four Season Tents
Four season tents are some of the most fun products to shop for as an outdoorsman. We all love to camp, and sometimes we do it spontaneously. This is where a four season tent comes in handy because it can take on the spring, summer, fall or winter weather, while a 3-season tent is not made to handle snowy, cold conditions.
So, which 4-season tent is right for you? Take a look at these, and you’ll find one that fits your needs!
- The MSR Remote
- 30lb of snowfall
- Hilleberg Jannu
- Easy to pitch
- Great ventilation
- The Marmot Thor
- Numerous storage pockets
10 Best Four Season Tent Models
The MSR Remote
There are 4-season tents out there that do have ventilation, but many times the openings are cut too small or they are positioned in the wrong places, so airflow doesn't move through consistently as it should. On this MSR Remote model, both doors have good sized mesh openings that easily zip and unzip. And, being that they are right across from each other, you'll get that breathability that you want to prevent the accumulation of frost on your inside walls.
An Extended Stay Tent
When mother nature throws the worst cold weather at you on your ski or snow camping trip, you have no choice but to hunker down, and it could be a long time before you have a chance to start moving again. What's wonderful about this tent is that it has really roomy dimensions inside that make it very livable on those long stretches.
- Can hold almost 30 lb of accumulated snowfall
- Built to last up to 21 days I'm cold harsh conditions
- May be considered heavy for a 2-person tent
The truth is single tents are just too small for the average size person. The man or woman may not be very tall or big, but many times there's just not enough room in those to move around in. A general rule that avid campers go by is if they want a tent to themselves, they will get it a size bigger. If it's only them inside they'll use a 2-person tent, and if it's them and a friend, a 3-person tent.
The Hilleberg Jannu, on the other hand, is a 2-person tent that actually lives up to its name. There is 34 1/2 sq. ft. of floor space, enough room so that you don't crowd the other person. There are also convenient pockets for each person to store their phone, water bottles, cameras, or any other small items.
One Strong Tent
This tent is very strong, and holds up well against all types of weather conditions in any season. The weight of it is considered heavy by hikers, just over 7 lbs, but its toughness against the elements makes up for it. Another good thing about this tent is how vented it is. There is a triangle shaped zipper opening in the roof that lets this tent breathe, and another one near the head area that zips open easily when you need to feel a breeze in the warmer months, or if you're trying to prevent condensation from forming on the inside of the tent during colder months.
The outer tent is connected to the inner with elasticized toggles, so it sets up all at once. The inside walls are solid nylon, and the door unzips and opens in an arc, then tucks neatly to one side. Getting in and out of the tent is very easy too. You will primarily use the right side of the door to go in and out, and the way the zipper is set you don't have to kneel in the snow just to open the front door.
All in all, this tent provides the convenience, strength and space that makes camping in any season enjoyable.
- The sidewall is strong
- Easy to pitch
- Wonderful ventilation
- A little on the heavy side
The Marmot Thor 2
If you do more summer than winter camping in a 4-season tent, then you have no choice but to keep it ventilated nicely, because these tents are made to handle the winter months, and tend to hold more heat inside than a 3-season tent. And, without good ventilation in June or July, it would be uncomfortable to sit inside of it to put it lightly, even at night.
This particular tent has a door in the front and the back. So, if you're in an area that's dry, hot and/or humid, the tent itself will give you shade, but opening both doors on each end will render a nice constant breeze through the tent. It'll feel extra nice if you can position your tent to align with the wind so that you get even more of a cool breeze throughout the day.
You expect a tent with 'Thor’ in the name to be pretty tough.
And, when it comes to wind protection, this 4-season tent delivers. The way this tent is shaped lets wind go over and around it, even on days with the hardest gusts. The DAC poles are what make this tent super strong, and this is one of the easiest units to set up and take down quickly.
- Lots of lots of interior space
- A good number of storage pockets
- Vents are small
The Mountain Hardwear EV 2
This single wall tent has a unique pole setup. Two of them cross from corner to corner, then another pole crosses above those two. The manufacturers refer to this as an internal vestibule, and the design helps to increase the strength of the 4-season tent, which was built for the roughest conditions, such as wind, rain and snow in high mountain areas. Even though this tent is just under 6 lbs, it's deceptively strong because of its reinforced panels.
This is one of the most livable 4-season tents on the market. You'll feel safe and relaxed in it for long periods in all types of conditions. This one has four effective triangle vents that are set directly across from each other in the same positions, so continuous air flows through nicely. The other ones are on the top, and they along with the windows make this tent comfortably habitable for weeks on end.
Some tents have the effect of making you feel gloomy when you're inside of them for long periods of time. It's important to have things like windows and vents so that you can peek out at any time to see how the weather is, and so that you stay with a feeling of connection to nature. Also, the vents are not noisy in the wind like on a lot of other tents, which can make it really hard to sleep. The way they are cut, the wind either goes over or through them peacefully with no flapping.
To put it plainly, the Mountain Hardwear EV 2 is a tent that’s going to stand the test of time, no matter how hard you are on it.
- Pitches easily
- Lots of legroom
- Accumulates condensation quickly when not vented
Big Agnes Shield 2
This tent has what is called 3.5 Technology built into its fabric. Active particles that are embedded into the tent feed off your body heat, and that is what actually keeps the inside of the tent warm. This tent will hold the heat for a while, as long as you don't open and close the door too much.
Secures Tightly to the Ground
When extreme weather hits unexpectedly, you want to know that your tent will stand up to it. Big Agnes has oversized stake out loops, which provide extra protection by being able to latch your tent on to anything stable. For example, if you have to pitch your tent in snowy windy weather, you could use one of your skis with the stake out loops as an anchor in frozen snow.
- Strong stake out loops
- Warm 3.5 Technology
- Small for a 2 person tent
North Face Mountain 25
If you're purchasing a 4-season tent, it doesn't necessarily mean that you are expecting the absolute worst weather conditions (being that you will look at the forecast before going out there), but you sure are planning on being ready for it if the weatherman is wrong! While you're on your expedition for those days or weeks, it's good to know that this North Face Mountain 25 is designed in your favor, and is ready for you to set up camp just about anywhere you see fit.
The manufacturers made it compact, so that even if you have to stop spontaneously at a location where there is uneven ground, the tent will still serve you well. It's made very waterproof, so even when the rain is made worse by hard winds, you can feel secure enough to sit inside with your laptop open and not worry about any water damage to your computer.
In the summer time you don't want to carry a heavy tent because it's too hot to be lugging all that weight, and the winter you don't want to hike with one because you'll sweat underneath your layers of clothing, get them damp, and possibly get sick in the cold weather. This double-walled tent does weigh 8 lbs, but to many campers the protection it provides is an even trade off, and they plan on enjoying this North Face Mountain 25 for years to come.
- Design makes it livable
- Convenient storage pockets
- Heavy on long hikes
The Nemo Tenshi
This tent has a little of both worlds in it. On one side it's a mountaineering tent, and on the other it's suitable for backpacking. Mountaineering tents are known more for their toughness, and a backpacking tent is generally lighter in weight, manufactured with the long-distance hiker in mind. The Nemo Teshi is double-walled, but you'd never know it until you actually saw it outside of the bag, because it's only 4 lbs. It also has an extra third pole over the doorway up front for increased grounded firmness, and opposite the front door there's an overhead vent for good airflow. There are also mesh windows with easy-to-use zippers for more air if you want it.
In extremely rainy conditions, you'll always have in the back of your mind that water may get in. The last thing you want is to wake up in a damp sleeping bag, especially if it's cold outside, because you yourself could end up with a cold, or worse, depending on how low the temperature is. You want to be sure that your tent is waterproof, sealed and will remain dry on the inside, no matter how hard the rain is coming down. The floor is as tough as the sides of the tent, so you'll stay dry in even the wettest conditions.
It doesn't have a whole lot of pockets on the inside, but that doesn't take away from the safety and comfort you'll feel in this well-constructed Nemo Tenshi 4-season tent.
- Only weighs 4 lbs
- Reasonably priced
- Low number of storage pockets
Alps Mountaineering Extreme
There are easy to open and close Velcro vents on each side of the tent, so if you're camping in the summertime the air will flow through nicely. There's also a small window near the vent so you can peek out to check on the weather. It's also good for getting light inside of the tent. The window is not so large, but, because it doesn't open or close (it's built into the wall of the tent), some people still feel that having one limits their tent’s privacy. Others see it as a great feature that allows people inside the tent to not feel so closed off from nature.
Suits Taller Campers Well
What makes it hard for tall people to get a good tent is the fact that it's very difficult for them to find one that can accommodate their size and allows them to stretch out comfortably without their head and/or feet touching the inside walls. If you're over 6ft tall, then getting a tent that could hold three people, such as this one, is probably the best way for you to go.
The inside floor area of the Alps Mountaineering Extreme is 8 ft. long and 6 ft. 8 in. wide. The center height inside the tent is also pretty high, 4 ft. 2 in. With a 42 sq. ft. tent area, no one's going to get in anyone else's way. There are also doors on both sides that make it easy to exit or enter the tent at night, so you don't have to hurdle over anyone who's trying to sleep.
- Roomy interior
- Fast assembly
- Convenient two door entry
The Hilleberg Nammatj
The Hilleberg Nammatj 2 GT is one of the brands' 'Black Label' products. This means that it’s one of the strongest tents produced by the company. It weighs just under 7 lbs, and has a whole lot of space on the inside, 30 sq. ft. of it. What many people like about the tent is its unique and attractive design, and the cool looking tunnel shape actually makes the tent more effective, being that hard winds blow over and around its round frame.
The reason this tent has GT in the name it's because it comes with a longer vestibule and more storage pockets for your items.
Constructed for Snowy Conditions
This 4-season tent was made specifically for high mountain regions with high winds and snow. It is easily pitched, so when the weather says that you have to stop, you can on a dime and set up camp in a matter of minutes. While you're hiking in those icy regions, the backpacking qualities of this tent may be in your favor, depending on what you consider heavy.
This one weighs just under 7 lbs (6 lbs and 9 oz to be exact).
So, depending on how strong you are, how much physical endurance you have, and how far you'll be hiking, this reliable tent may or may not work in your favor weight wise, but one thing's for sure- you will be safe and comfortable in blizzard-like conditions once inside of it.
- Very roomy inside
- Stands up well to strong winds and snow
- You may have to dig a perimeter for best results in the snowiest conditions
The Exped Venus 2
One of the first things campers look for when buying a new tent is how many inside storage pockets it has. Radios, water bottles, cameras, phones, and other small items need to be put away, because it makes space feel bigger without all that clutter all over the floor.
In the Exped Venus, there are nice sized pockets at your feet and your head. This is not saying that the tent does not have enough room for two people, but if you are one of those campers who purposefully buys a tent one size too big because you are going to be the only one in it and you want to stretch out, then you'll sleep very, very comfortably in this tent. Plus, you'll have a lot of extra places to put your stuff!
Another good storage spot is at the inside top of the tent. It's sort of like a little attic, where you would store things to keep them up and out of the way. It looks like a small, sturdy hammock that can be used by one or both campers in the tent, and is the perfect place to put a headlamp or clothing that needs to dry. This removable overhead storage piece be taken in and out easily.
Water Blocking Floor
After doing all you can to pick a camping spot that's not going to have rising water, the last thing you need is a tent with an faulty floor. The bathtub style floor in this 4-season tent has 10 mm coating, repels water, and is sealed and strong. Also, the way that the front door is constructed to keep precipitation out, you can actually leave it open (as long as it's not too windy) and still not get any rain inside of the tent.
- Water-resistant floor
- Double doors
- Lots of fly connectors to set up during pitching
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
How Warm the four Season Tent Is
Actually, it’s not the tent that keeps you warmer, it’s other things. If you have a good sleeping bag that’ll definitely get you through the coldest nights comfortably. And some people use sleeping pads instead of an air mattress, being that an air mattress will be filled up with cold air and the pad will absorb more of your body heat. Also, make sure you have on a knit hat, thick socks, and gloves if you have to sleep in the coldest conditions.
Still, a 4-season tent is going to hold more heat on the inside than a 3-season one. So, in the warmer seasons of the year, campers keep it ventilated during hot summer nights, and they’d do the same thing in the winter to prevent condensation from forming inside of the tent, wetting their clothes, and making their body even colder.
The reason someone normally chooses to get a 4-season tent is likely because they are thinking about maybe doing some winter camping, and they want it to be as warm on the inside of the tent as possible. A tent’s main purpose is to protect you from the elements. It may keep you somewhat warmer because the wind, snow, or rain won’t be physically hitting your body, but inside the tent will not be so much warmer than outside.
So, when trying to determine how warm a 4-season tent is, you should be looking at how good it holds up against the elements. You can pay attention to how thick or heavy it is, but you should also pay look at how durable and strong it is. Do your research. Does the tent that you are about to buy have a history of not holding up good against hard winds? Is it a double or single layer tent? How good is it against rain, wind and snow? How much will the tent’s floor protect you from the wet ground during and after a thunderstorm?
How Windproof the four Season Tent Is
Your tent may be strong, but you have to position it correctly if you can foresee bad weather conditions. When you pick a spot to set up camp, try to find areas that have natural windbreaks. For example, look for lines of trees that you can pitch a tent near that will help block the harsh wind. If possible try to put the door of your tent opposite the wind, so that it hits your tent from the rear. If the rain is being blown by hard winds into the door, then there’s a bigger chance of water seeping in through the zipper.
Some 4-season tents have two doors. If this is the type that you want you could protect your tent doors more from the wind (and rain) by getting one with an add-on vestibule. This is the part of your tent that covers the front entrance area, and some tents come with ones that can go over each door. People refer to them as a “porch” on their tent, and this cover is used for things such as providing a sheltered area where you can dig a hole to use for cooking, so that you don’t accumulate all that heat inside of your tent. But they are also very effective in blocking the wind from your doors.
How Waterproof the four Season Tent Is
If you talk to any experienced camper or hunter (especially if they use a four-season tent regularly in cold conditions) they’ll tell you that precipitation is one of your worst enemies on an outdoor expedition. What you want to do is get a tent that has waterproof walls and roof.
Lots of 4-season tents come with a rain fly. This is an outer layer that is over your tent that doesn’t touch it, but protects you from the rain. If you decided to get a single layer 4-season tent, then you are pretty much inside of a rain fly. The only difference is you have a floor and a rain fly that is added on to the tent does not. A rainfly allows you to open up a vent on, say, the roof of your tent, and let air flow through without any rain coming in.
You can also further waterproof your tent by utilizing a tarp. Lay the tarp down on the ground if it’s damp or wet, then pitch your tent (which already has its own water resistant floor) on top of that.
How Ventilated the 4-Season Tent Is
When you are at home, the way that you keep the house warm in the winter is to be sure the windows and doors are closed. But, in your 4-season tent, you have to do the opposite in order to stay warm when you’re out in those conditions. I know how it sounds, especially if you’re new to winter camping, because it just doesn’t seem logical to open the window to make a tent more comfortable when it’s snowing outside. But, without letting a little air flow through that tent, you risk the chance of condensation that will show up in the form of frost the next morning on your inside walls.
You’ll probably still get a little bit of frost anyway inside the tent if it’s cold enough, whether it’s double or single layered. Still, you don’t want so much that it makes your sleeping bag and clothes wet – that could lead to hypothermia. Also, you should ventilate your mouth and nose while you sleep; don’t breathe down into your sleeping bag. Your breath creates water when coupled with your body heat. You can actually produce about a liter of water overnight if you don’t breathe outside of your sleeping bag. If you’re worrying about your face being warm while you’re asleep, put on a knit ski mask.
Q: What’s the difference between a 3-season and a 4-season tent?
A 3-season tent is made to stand up to three seasons out of the year, while a 4-season tent can handle the sometimes harsh winter. A 4-season tent is a lot heavier being that it’s made to withstand colder weather conditions, but there are many of these tents that are just as strong that are half as heavy. A beginning camper may feel like the beefier tent would always outdo a thinner one, but the truth is nowadays some of the one layer, lighter one’s perform just as well. They can take just as much heavy, rain, snow or wind, depending on how strong it’s been manufactured.
If you don’t do any camping at all in the winter months, then there’s really no reason for you to get a four-season tent, unless you just see one that’s irresistible that you just have to have. You could get a lightweight one and be comfortable in the summer time, but it’s not recommended, being that if you’re hiking from your car to your campsite that’s more weight on your back with the sun beaming down on you.
That’s not to say that a 4-season tent isn’t ever useful for certain parts of the world in the summertime. For example, let’s say that you are setting up camp near Seattle, a place that gets close to 40 inches of rain annually. If you live there you know the normal weather conditions, and if you love to camp you would need a 4-season tent because of all that precipitation.
Q: How heavy should my 4-season tent be?
Generally, a 4-season tent will provide you with more protection from the elements when the weather is harsh, wind, rain, or snow, and in many cases they are heavier than a 3-season tent. A rule most avid campers follow is if they’re going to do a lot of hiking while carrying their tent, they get a lighter one.
This would apply more to campers who are, say, exploring a snowy Tundra area and are moving from place to place. They may be out there on that expedition for weeks and have to move their tent with them every place they go, unlike someone who drove their car, truck or SUV, and have their tent just a few feet away from the vehicle at a primary campsite that they will return to every day.
Some let the weather determine whether or not they will get a heavy tent versus a lighter one. Even though the lighter 4-season tents are more expensive, and are strong, many people feel that a heavier tent would naturally stand up better against heavy winds. This is somewhat logical, but in the strongest wind storms if something weighs anything between 4 and 8 lbs it’ll get blown away regardless, and those few pounds of difference won’t mean much. Overall, how stable your tent is during very windy weather will depend more on how good it’s pitched/staked and manufactured.
Q: How much should I spend on my 4-season tent?
As with many types of outdoor products, how much you are going to use a tent should determine how much money you spend on it. When new campers first see the prices, sometimes they say “Are you crazy? I’m not spending that much on a tent!”. But you don’t want to take a chance with a 3-season tent in an area where there could potentially be harsh winter conditions, unless you want to create some bad camping memories.
A 4-season tent can serve you well in all seasons, hence the name. They’re just built more to handle hard winter weather, but as long as they’re ventilated correctly you’ll be just as comfortable in one in the spring, summer or fall. Most folks know for sure if they would camp in any season except winter. But if they are even considering buying a 4-season tent (instead of just purchasing a 3-season one), then doing a little winter camping has at least crossed their mind.
If you are one of these people, then you should not hesitate to spend at least $500 on a lightweight 4-season tent. It will have all of the qualities that you want in a summertime tent (lightness and easy portability) along with the ones that you want in a winter tent (strength and stability). This way, you’ll be ready for anything.
Q: Should my 4-season tent be a certain color?
If you’ve been camping in all types of weather for many years, then that initial fear that anything bad could happen probably left you a long time ago. It’s natural to be a little nervous if you’ve never been winter camping before, but that’s a good thing, because you should take every precaution and make sure that you’re fully prepared for the possibly very snowy, windy and cold expedition ahead of you. A tent with a bright color could be more easily seen by aircraft if you were to get lost.
But, there are other reasons why you would choose to get a tent that is yellow, orange or white. If you spend a lot of days or weeks in a 4-season tent in a remote area, the color of the inside of that tent is a big determinant of your mood. Darker colors like brown or green can really darken and depress your mood, while brighter colors will make you feel brighter, happier, and more lively.
Not only that, but a 4-season tent that’s brighter will provide more light inside of the tent. Granted a darker color tent may have vents for air flow along with a window that will provide light, a darker color will still attract more heat from the sun when using the tent during the warmer parts of the year.