Camping outside in freezing conditions is a dangerous situation without the proper gear. Especially in winter, every inch of snow and every degree colder it becomes risky. You’ll have to go against wind, frost, and storms. This is why investing in the right winter weather tent is important for your safety.
Luckily there are specially designed tents to protect you from the freezing elements. The best tents for cold weather camping are strong and made of water-repellant fabric. They also have steep sides to keep snow from building up on the tent. These warm tents will help you retain heat and rest at the end of a cold day in the wilderness.
Whether you are spending two nights in the mountains or a week in the wilderness, there are loads of different types out there for different winter camping scenarios. We recommend choosing a 4-season tent that has a solid structure, weatherproof fabric, a high level of insulation, and also ventilation.
In this article, we will review the following best cold weather tents. These cozy, winter weather tents will make camping in the cold way more comfortable:
- ALPS Mountaineering Extreme Tent – 2 Person
- ALPS Mountaineering Taurus – 4-Person Tent
- Geertop Portable Tent Double Layer – 4 Person
- Naturehike Cloud-Up Tent 2 and 3 Person
- Coleman WeatherMaster Tent – 6 or 10-Person
- MoKo Waterproof Family Camping Tent – 3-Person
- GEERTOP Backpacking Tent – 2-Person
- Azarxis Backpacking Tent – 1, 2, or 3 Person
What are the benefits of having a winter tent for extreme weather?
Stay safe, comfortable, and healthy. Without the proper equipment, extreme weather conditions could put you in jeopardy. With every inch of snow and for every degree colder it gets, sleeping outside becomes dangerous.
With an extreme weather tent, you are protecting yourself from the elements. This could become a life-threatening situation. We recommend investing in the appropriate gear. A high-quality cold weather tent is the most critical piece of winter equipment to invest in. You can traverse any weather conditions with ease and stay warm at the same time.
How to choose the best extreme weather tents for winter camping?
First, you should consider where you will be camping and if it will be snowy. If you will be using your tent for hiking or mountaineering, then you will want to consider lightweight options with sloping sides. This will help keep snow from weighing down the frame.
If you’re going to be camping on flat, dry ground for a short period of time, then your options are pretty open. You can consider more spacious dome-shaped tents.
Another thing to think about is the strength of the frame and the fabric of the tent you choose. Blizzard poles will be essential if you’re going to be camping for more than a few days in windy, freezing temperatures. If you’re planning on taking your tent up a mountain, then you won’t need as many flaps, pockets, or gear.
Wherever your adventure, it’s important to make sure your cold-weather tent is made with fabric that has been treated with long-lasting, water-repellent coating.
The ALPS Extreme tent is a free-standing aluminum pole tent. This tent has a structure that is very strong and sturdy. There is a 3-pole design that gives a frame to protect you from extreme weather elements. The polyester fly and floor have a coating for a high level of waterproof.
- Storage. Many mesh pockets and a gear loft of vestibule area.
- Ventilation. Zippered mesh windows for each door, mesh roof vent, and many fly vents.
- Free-standing pole system. Aluminum three-pole design.
- Weather Protection. Factory-sealed seams with 1500 mm coating on the fly and 3000 mm coating on the floor.
- No extra-thick flooring
- Doesn’t come with a footprint
The ALPS Mountaineering Taurus tent requires no assembly frustration. It is a freestanding, fiberglass two-pole design that can be quickly set up. The polyester tent fly is water and UV resistant with two vestibules for extra storage space. You won’t get damp in cold temperatures as there is a mesh roof, two entryways, and a zippered window on each door for easy access and great ventilation.
- Ventilation with zippered mesh windows in each door
- Stargazing roof vents
- Gear loft storage
- Free-standing pole system
- Quick and easy setup
- Weather protection with factory sealed seams
- Polyester fly with 1500mm coating
- 75D 185T Poly Taffeta Floor with 2000 mm coating to keep you dry
- The windows could be more durable
- The poles could be better quality material
The Geertop Portable Backpacking Tent has been designed for 4-season outdoor activities. It has a high quality waterproof and windproof coated polyester material. This allows you to keep safe in the tent even in the bad weather. You don’t need to worry about snow or rain! This tent has enough space for 3 or 4 people, which can support a camping trip with family or friends. It’s easy to set up and best for traveling since it is lightweight.
- 4 season tent made of high-quality material
- Fully rainproof and extremely lightweight; 210T breathable polyester inner tent, 210D PU 50000 mm Oxford fabric for the floor and 210 PU 3000 mm anti-tear checkered polyester fly tarp
- Double-stitched seams sealed perfectly to improve the waterproof
- Only weighs 9.1 lbs
- Can be packed into a compact size for backpacking travel
- Strong aluminum poles for stability
- Breathable tent with 2 entrances and 2 ventilation window
- Vestibule for awning when set up with trekking poles
- Tent snow skirt design suitable for every season
- With lots of gear and equipment is better for fewer people
- May require more ropes and sticks to tie down the tent
The Naturehike Cloud-Up tent is an ultra-lightweight tent that helps save space. This tent is great for wet weather or snow. The Cloud UP 20D with Snowskirt ultralight tent only weighs 3.8 lbs (2 people) and 5.2 lbs (3 people). It’s also fully waterproof with a 20D polyester rainfly and bathtub with PU 4000 coating. The built-in snow skirt keeps rain and snow away from the tent and the ground underneath nice and dry.
This tent can be assembled in five minutes by one person. Quality details include dual zippers, mesh interior pockets, and durable rip-stop fabric. The full-coverage rainfly and firm lightweight structure are great for your biggest adventures.
- Lightweight – the tent and snow skirt only weighs 3.8 lbs (2 people) and 5.2 lbs (3 people)
- Fully waterproof with 20D polyester rainfly
- Bathtub with PU 4000 coating
- Snow skirt to carry rain and snow away from the tent
- Easy set up in under 5 minutes
- High-quality details throughout such as dual zippers, mesh interior pockets, incredibly durable rip-stop fabric
- The interior is small and narrow
- Poles could be more durable
The Coleman WeatherMaster 10-Person Tent has enough room to fit three queen size air beds. If you are looking for something more like a house to keep your group warm, then this might be a good option. It has a WeatherTec system with patented welded floors and inverted seams to keep you dry if it rains. Also, the heavy-duty tent is easy to set up with color-coded poles and continuous pole sleeves.
- Leak-free seams. Fully-taped rainfly seams, the rainfly covers doors and windows.
- Weather-resistant fabric. Coated polyester fabric combined with anti-wicking thread.
- Protected seams. Inverted floor seams to increase weather resistance.
- Waterproof floors. Welding technology strengthens the tent floor.
- Zipper protection. Zipper cuff for added protection.
- Wind strong frame. Engineered to be strong and wind-responsive.
- Not for very severe storms
- May take time to set up
- Heavy poles and materials to transport
The Moko Waterproof Family Camping Tent is a 4-season dome tent. This tent is appropriate for any time of year. It comes with three fiberglass poles, 21 metal pegs, and six ropes. This tent offers a strong configuration that is stable in wind, rain, and snow conditions.
- Suitable for 4-seasons.
- Comfortable for 2 or 3 people sleeping.
- Easy setup. One person can assemble.
- Durable and high-quality waterproof material. 25000mm waterproof flysheet and 5000mm flooring.
- The vestibule and clear window for ventilation and views.
- Screen for windows operated from outside.
- Smaller size for two people.
- May take some time to set up.
The Geertop Backpacking Tent is a double layer 4-season tent for 2 people. This tent is easy to set up with a freestanding tent design and ideal for camping and hiking trips. Built with snow skirts, it’s an ideal tent for snowy weather and cold.
- 4-season tent. High-quality material that is rainproof and lightweight
- Double layers. Inner and outer tent superpose together as a windproof tent.
- Lightweight backpacking tent. Only weighs 6.4 pounds.
- Easy to set up. One person can set up a tent with a flysheet in a few minutes.
- 2 person tent.
- The seam on the floor is down the middle.
- Zippers could be more durable.
The Azarxis Tent is a 4-season backpacking tent. This extreme weather tent is easy to set up, has a waterproof material, and is lightweight. It also features a double layering to keep you protected in extreme elements.
- Ventilation. A window for air circulation.
- Waterproof. 3000mm and heavy-duty fabric to protect from rain and wind.
- Easy setup. Simple dome tent that one person can install with a flysheet in a few minutes.
- Dual doors and layers system.
- Portable and easy to transport.
- 3 to 4-season tent.
- Lightweight nature impacts fabric thickness.
Winter tent buying guide:
What features should you look for in an extreme weather tent for cold weather?
Waterproofing to keep you dry in winter
Any cold-weather tent you purchase should be made with fabric that has been treated with a strong, water repellent coating. Find a tent that is completely enclosed to the ground by a waterproof material. This should be in the outer tent.
Every tent fabric and floor have a hydro-static head measurement (HHM). This rating indicates how waterproof a tent is. These two things make a tent waterproof – the hydrostatic head rating of the tent and also the waterproof coating sprayed on the tent.
If you’re looking for a cold-weather tent, we recommend an HHM of 1500mm above and 3000mm for the tent floor.
Ventilation is important to avoid dampness
A ventilation system for the outer tent structure is important. When it’s cold, humidity and moisture need to be released. Otherwise, they will make everything in your tent damp – making you even colder and putting you in danger.
The ventilation system in your tent will allow the moisture to escape by venting your tent. Look for mesh panels that close and ventilation areas to help the tent breathe.
Insulation is critical to keep you warm
In cold conditions, insulation is critical and will help to keep you nice and warm. Tents are single or double-walled. Look for a tent with a double-wall or one with two pieces of fabric. This extra layer will add an extra level of protection to keep the tent warm.
A rainfly is another way to add insulation to a tent. Get a full rainfly that goes all the way around the bottom of your tent.
If you plan on using the same tent in warmer months, look for a tent where the insulation can be taken away. You can then use the tent again in the summer months.
Think about size and space in your tent
If you’re camping in freezing temperatures, you may choose less space inside the tent. With less space, the heat stays close to you rather than a larger interior area.
If you will have a lot of gear and a heater, then you may need to consider a little more space. In this instance, you might want to go a person size up in the tent you’re using.
Poles will keep your tent standing tall
With winter weather, there could be high winds. Poles will help keep your structure stand tall. Blizzard poles will be essential if you are planning on spending more than a few days in windy, and frigid temperatures.
Here are some popular pole materials and their features:
– Fiberglass: light/inexpensive
– Aluminum: strong/flexible
– Steel: strongest/heaviest
– Composite: super flexible/aerospace grade material
Flooring is a barrier to winter weather
The flooring of your tent is the barrier between you and the ground. Often overlooked by brands, this is a critical element of your cold-weather tent.
In colder conditions, look for a tent with a quilted thermal layer. This offers you 360-degree insulation as well as added comfort.
If camping in a mountainous landscape, you need a high-quality floor that won’t get torn by rocks and rugged terrain.
Weight and thickness add durability
4-season tents tend to be heavier than 2 or 3-season tents because they have thicker material.
A heavier tent weight can be an advantage in extreme conditions. It can help you stand up to strong wind much better.
What is the difference between season ratings for tents?
All tents have a rating based on the seasons they are appropriate for. For example, a 2, 3, 4, or 5 season tent. For extremely cold weather conditions (especially in winter), it’s recommended to buy a 4-season tent to stay warm.
This means that your tent will be able to protect you throughout the year and all seasons. For camping in an especially severe condition, a 5-season tent is a good choice. These tents are for the harshness of Arctic-like climates. They are not for your average winter weather. For more advice about surviving in sub-zero conditions, this Quora response has some good advice.
- 1 to 2-season tent: Designed for camping in good weather. Appropriate for the warmer parts of the year with mild precipitation in summer.
- 3-season tent: Can withstand heavier rain and winds. For moderate rain in spring or fall, the warmth of summer, and stronger winds and snow. Usually sturdier materials.
- 4-season tent: Designed for use all year round – in summer, winter, and snowy climates. This tent is able to withstand both snow and heat. Built with sturdy materials and strong poles.
- 5-season tent: This is an expedition tent and for the most extreme weather. It is like the 4-season tent, yet goes a step further with insulation and strength. You don’t need this tent unless you are going to the arctic or snow-capped mountains.
You can find a more in-depth guide on tents and seasonality guide on tents and seasonality (from hoac-bsa.org).
What are the warmest tents? Do you need a special tent for winter camping?
The warmest tents are a 4 or 5 season tent that has been for snow or extreme arctic weather conditions.
These tents are usually doubled walled to keep the tent well insulated. They are also waterproof and made with sturdier materials. These tents can withstand high winds in blizzards or storms.
You can also make your tent warmer with the accessories inside of your tent. This might include appropriate sleeping bags, blankets, flooring, and heaters.
–>If you are planning a winter camping trip, you can find cold-weather camping tips to keep you warm here.
What are the best tents for high winds?
If you are heading out in very high winds, then it’s important your tent won’t blow over with you inside! If you are looking to buy a tent that can sustain high winds, there are a few key features to look out for.
Look for tents that have strong and resilient poles systems. Also, consider aerodynamic shapes, secure guy line formations, stakes to secure your tent in place.
–> You might be interested in our reviews of winter tents with stove jacks for cold weather camping.
How cold is too cold for tent camping?
Camping in freezing temperatures can become a very dangerous situation. If you have little experience and amateur gear, avoid nighttime temperatures in the high 30s to low 40s Fahrenheit. This is too cold for tent camping. Temperatures of 50°F to 74°F are ideal camping temperatures.
For well-seasoned campers with the appropriate gear, much colder temperatures are ok. We recommend staying about 40° – especially if you plan on going somewhere remote.
To wrap it up, my personal recommendation
The extreme weather tents you choose this winter will depend on personal requirements. This might include the time of year, camping conditions, size of your group, and level of insulation required.
If I had to pick my top choice from the above, I would go with the ALPS Mountaineering Extreme Tent. This is due to the sturdy structure and a high level of waterproofing. The mesh ventilation will help prevent condensation so that you are warm and dry in cold conditions.
Choose an extreme cold tent that will keep you warm and safe. Remember that your tent is the barrier between you and the elements. It is worth the investment to keep you safe and warm. Make sure this structure has a proper design that won’t fail you when you’re outdoors. Do your research and you should find a tent that will keep you comfortable.