Today adventurers do not stop when it starts getting rough outdoors. Instead, they look for equipment that can partner them in harsh weather conditions. Activities like backcountry skiing and snowshoeing are witnessing an increased camping culture in low temperatures with snow and high winds.
A perfect tent is probably the most basic essential when you go camping, especially in a freezing climate. 4 season tents, also called winter tents, are specialized tents designed to endure extreme weather, withstanding heavy snowfall and fierce winds.
The Distinction between a 3 Season Tent and a 4 Season Tent
Over the surface, both 3 season tent and 4 season tent look similar, useful for an outdoor camping trip. But the most significant point of difference is the capacity to resist winds and heavy snow. The 4 season tents are specialized 'winter tents' while 3 season tents are mere 'backpacking tents.'
The materials used in a 4 season tent are more rigid, which form an A-shaped frame to prevent snow accumulation. The structure makes sure that the tent does not sag, bend, and flap in the strong winds or snow. In contrast, a 3 season tent is lightweight and breathable, more suitable for summer camping. The 3 season tent structure aims to achieve space optimization to its weight by using minimal pole structure with bows and bends.
The 4 season tent uses nylon instead of mesh, as in the case of 3 season tent. The nylon fabric helps lock in warmth and maintain the interior temperature. The material prevents the seepage of melting snow into the tent. The fabric of a 4 season tent is more durable with venting ease. In other words, a 4 season tent is a better option in harsh weather conditions.
Do I need a 4 Season Tent?
A 4 season tent is a tent for winter camping. The robust frame structure, reduced mesh area, add to the tent's suitability in the winter months. For winter camping enthusiasts and those who camp in the mountains all year round, a 4 season tent is the right product to buy. It is undoubtedly the best choice for winter camping with the right balance of weight, strength, warmth, and ease.
However, a 4 season tent might feel warm in summer evenings and not sufficient to deal with brutal storms. The tent is meant for winter camping or camping in the mountains. Though it helps to blocks blowing sand on beaches and deserts, it might feel too warm inside the tent, unlike 3 season tents. On the other hand, the tent cannot deal with blizzards at subfreezing temperatures like expedition tents.
The tent is neither too simple like 3 season tents nor too over-engineered like expedition tents. The 4 season tents are perfect for camping at high altitudes where you can encounter untimely snowfall or mixed weather conditions any time of the year. In other words, it can be said that for mountain lovers, buying a 4 season tent is enough for all year round camping.
How to choose a 4 Season Tent?
While choosing a 4 season tent, you should consider the following factors:
Before buying a 4 season tent, ask yourself the weather conditions of the place you are camping? Based on the climate, you need to decide between a 3 season tent and a 4 season tent. The winter tents or 4 season tents are designed to create intense camps with warmer interiors without adding too much weight.
Activities and terrain
Based on your activities and the location of your camp, you need to choose wisely, keeping in mind the strength, weight, and warmth. If you plan to camp in the snow below treeline, you can choose simpler tents like MSR Access Series, which are easy to set up and comparatively lightweight with a double wall for warmth. But if you plan to camp on higher altitude ledges, then go for a reliable yet light tent like Advance Pro, with a single wall design, composite poles, and a small footprint.
If you have an extreme mountaineering expedition in mind, you need a robust tent with a liberal vestibule storage space, along with a mighty double wall to handle rough weather. In such a case, your winter camping partner should be a 4 season tent with a larger footprint like the Remote Series with a strong snow flap and robust structure.
Observe critical features like,
- Sturdy geometry
- A durable pole construction
- Vestibules weight and capacity
- Built-in ventilation and lightweight
- Number of tent doors, based on the number of occupants
The above factors will help you gradually narrow down your choice to the most suitable 4 season tent for your winter camping trip.
How to set up a tent in the snow?
After you have zeroed down on the perfect 4 season tent, it is essential to know how to put up a tent in the snow.
When you reach the site, first observe your surroundings to choose the best possible location for snow camping:
- Be aware of the avalanche terrain and stay away from such dangerous zones.
- Look for the warmest place, based on wind flow and sunshine.
- Camping near running water would be a great option.
Once you have decided on a perfect location for your tent, prepare the platform by stomping and refreezing it for 30 minutes. You could dig down around 1 to 2 feet or build a wind wall to protect against strong winds.
Choose a direction so that the tent faces downwards and ninety degrees to the wind. Now, anchor your tent carefully by placing the anchors 10 to 12 feet deep and covering it with snow. Then, stuff snow around the bottom of the tent. The snow will refreeze, providing a solid foundation as well as insulation.
Your winter tent is now ready!
Tips for Camping in the Snow
The most crucial starting point of a winter camping trip is buying the right tent for the extreme weather conditions you are set to encounter during the season. Once you have packed all the essentials for snow camping, you are ready to go ahead on the trip.
- Avoid camping near any tree with dead or weak branches.
- Camp in a place which can be located easily during any situation and look for natural landmarks.
- Choose a place that shelters you from strong winds.
- Be careful when setting up the tent to make it stable even during rough weather.
- Never cook inside the tent.
- Keep yourself hydrated and eat well.
- Collect and treat running water or in a water collector
- Do light work out before bed.
- Carry sanitary bags for disposing of your waste
- Use one or even two good mattresses and hand warmers to help you be warm while you sleep.
- Before going to bed, check all stakes and guy-lines.
To sum it up, if you are a winter camper or a mountain lover, the 4 season tents are the most eligible single purchase for you. The versatile 4 season tent offers the best features for winter camps at affordable prices. The tent is manufactured keeping in mind outdoor enthusiasts ready to brave the harsh cold or other difficult weather conditions in the mountains without being too expensive.