Selecting a Winter-Worthy Tent

Don't get bullied by winter's wind and snow. Fight back in a weathertight fortress.
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Many backcountry lovers I know would sooner carry their belongings down the trail in plastic grocery bags than sleep outside in a tent in winter. Little do they know that the fourth season is a great time to take extended backcountry trips and revel in the beauty and absolute quiet of a snowy landscape. With know-how and the right equipment, like a winter-worthy tent, you'll be comfortable no matter what Old Man Winter dishes out.

A winter tent has to live up to steep expectations, which your trusty three-season tent (spring, summer, and fall) would be hard-pressed to meet. It should keep out the cold, stand up to strong winds, brush off heavy snow, and generally repel all forms of precipitation. It also should ventilate well. In dry, cold air, you exhale about a liter of moisture overnight. If trapped inside the tent, that moisture will transform into a shimmering skin of frost covering your walls and ceiling come morning—frost that can "snow" down on your bag and clothing or melt during the day, rendering your tent wet and heavy.

Article and photo © Michael Lanza, 2000.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 20 Nov 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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