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Best Tents for Cold Weather Camping

If you’re like me, your motivation for backpacking and camping tends to wane in the September to October timeframe as the chilly temperatures roll in. 

But it doesn’t need to! Some mountaineering classes, along with camping at the base of a glacier, has taught me a thing or two about cold weather camping, and now I’d like to share that knowledge with you. 

Let’s take a look at the best tents for cold weather camping and essential buying considerations, and you’ll be all set to conquer winter or higher elevation camping in no time!

Best Tents for Cold Weather Camping

The North Face Alpine Guide 2

best tent for cold weather camping
  • Capacity: 2 people
  • Height: 36.6 inches
  • Trail Weight: 5lbs, 10oz
  • Number of Doors: 1 and vestibule

Almost nothing is worse than a cold-as-a-yeti’s-backside wind whipping through your tent in the middle of the night. Chilling you to the bone and pushing the tent wall into your face. But you’ll never have to worry about that with the North Face Alpine Guide 2. 

As the name implies, this tent is designed for harsh alpine conditions and is specially constructed to resist the wind and elements. But the tent is also perfectly suited for lower-key camping, making it a perfect tent to add to your camping equipment. 

While a single door can be a hassle for two campers, I love the extra-large vestibule that provides ample space to house all your gear. Additionally, The North Face has also included a rear hatch that can be used for ventilation or an emergency exit should the need ever arise.

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Marmot Thor 2P Tent

  • Capacity: 2 people
  • Height: 44 inches
  • Trail Weight: 9lbs, 5oz
  • Number of Doors: 2 doors

Built like a tank, the Thor 2P from Marmot is an incredible shelter from harsh weather. I’m particularly fond of the internal guylines that significantly boost the tent’s resistance to winds. 

This tent also has two vents to help keep condensation to a minimum – remember that excess moisture can chill you quickly! Also, we have the option to pitch the tent in ‘barebones’ mode, with just the fly, poles, and a footprint. This extra pitching option adds to the tent’s versatility and provides an avenue to use it during the hot months. 

Perhaps my favorite aspect of this tent is the near-vertical walls. These provide a much more ‘roomy’ feel, making it a more comfortable space for changing or just relaxing during a snowstorm.

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Geertop Portable 2P Tent

  • Capacity: 2 people
  • Height: 39.4 inches
  • Trail Weight: 6lbs, 17oz
  • Number of Doors: 2 doors

Geartop offers this fantastic tent that provides an excellent balance between weight, durability, and price. 

Weighing in at just over 6 lbs., this tent isn’t the lightest on the list, but it certainly isn’t the heaviest either. Arriving right in the middle, the tent’s weight is tolerable for intense hikes or climbs yet offers excellent durability and weather resistance for cold weather. 

My main draw to this particular item is the price. In general, reliable 4-season tents can seriously harm your wallet. But Geartop offers this excellent option for a fraction of other tents’ costs, easily making it the best cold weather tent for those on a budget.

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Big Agnes Battle Mountain 2

best cold weather tent - big agnes
  • Capacity: 2 people
  • Height: 58 (head) / 35 (legs/feet) inches
  • Trail Weight: 6lbs, 10oz
  • Number of Doors: 2 doors

Big Agnes has contributed fantastic camping products to the industry for years, and the Battle Mountain 2 is no exception. 

This tent is packed with fantastic features both inside and out. For storage, we have massive mesh bin pockets along with a gear loft. On the outside, we have a tough fly liberally treated with silicon for maximum weather protection along with storm flaps around the vestibule to keep out harsh weather. 

And get this, the vestibule can be secured to protect you from intense blustery weather, or it can be opened up and secured as an awning for pleasant days – brilliant!  

The main downside to this tent is simply the price. All these features don’t come cheap, so the Battle Mountain 2 is undoubtedly an investment in your camping future. But if you’re looking for the best tent for extreme cold weather, this is it.

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Mountain Hardwear ACI 3 Tent

mountain hardwear cold weather tent
  • Capacity: 3 people
  • Height: 41 inches
  • Trail Weight: 7lbs, 2 oz
  • Number of Doors: 2 doors

Stunning retro color scheme included, the Mountain Hardwear ACI 3 is a fantastic tent for a season of alpine climbing. 

Mountain Hardwear went out of their way to make this tent as stable as possible. This resulted in a slightly lower ceiling height than other options, but rest assured that this tent will stand firm in the face of even the harshest mountain winds. I’m also a fan of the zippered snow port in the floor, which provides an easy exit point for any snow or grime build-up.

Keep in mind that even though this is a 3-person tent, the 3 of you will be sleeping with almost no space between you. But on the bright side, that’s less airspace you’ll have to warm with your body heat! 

Quite simply, the ACI 3 is one of the best tents for cold weather camping when you’re heading up the mountain with a group. I wouldn’t recommend purchasing it for general camping and occasional chilly nights due to the high price. This is a specialized tent designed for the alpine and may indeed be worth the investment if you’ve got your eye on the mountains. 

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Geertop 4 Season Tent

  • Capacity: 2 people
  • Height: 45 inches
  • Trail Weight: 6lbs, 6oz
  • Number of Doors: 2 doors

Geartop keeps their tents in a class of their own by producing rugged, 4-season tents that are also remarkably affordable. The Portable 4 Season Tent fits squarely into that category by offering ample protection from cold weather but costing only a fraction of other options. 

In many ways, this 2-person tent is just like your standard dome-shaped camping tent. Inside, we have a decent space for gear, thanks to the storage pockets and a handy lantern hook. The mid-sized 45-inch ceiling also offers good headroom for relaxing or changing. But keep in mind that the increased height may make this tent more susceptible to high winds. 

This tent doesn’t include the plethora of features and cutting edge fabrics that other brands offer. Nevertheless, it’s a solid starting point for any campers who are looking to branch into cold weather camping without breaking the bank at the same time.

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ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 3 Person Tent

  • Capacity: 3 people
  • Height: 54 inches
  • Trail Weight: 9lbs, 4oz
  • Number of Doors: 2 doors

The ALPS website features a picture of this tent completely buried in snow with only the front door dug out, and that perfectly sums up this tent’s strengths. The Tasmanian 3-Person utilizes a continuous pole design – connected via hubs at the junctions – which yields superb strength, even in a blizzard! 

As a moderate gear hog and chronic over-packer, I’m also delighted that ALPS Mountaineering has included spacious stuff pockets that run almost the full length of the tent. Perfect for keeping your gear organized and accessible. 

In terms of price, the Tasmanian falls squarely in the middle, where it’s not as expensive as premium but also not dirt cheap. For this price, you can expect excellent durability and longevity along with ALPS Mountaineering’s limited lifetime warranty.

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Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 Tent

best tent for cold weather camping
  • Capacity: 2
  • Trail Weight: 8 lbs. 9.7 oz.
  • Tent Height: 38.0″
  • Number of Doors: 2 

If you and a buddy are chasing an incredible alpine summit, then this is the tent for you. 

The Trango 2 uses several of the best features included in the ACI 3 above but adds seriously beefed up fabric (the floor is more than twice as thick) and additional poles for ultimate resilience. Therefore, this tent is built to take the elements head-on but is also noticeably heavier than other 2-person tents. 

We also have a handy rear vestibule for extra gear storage and a special diffuser pocket that bathes the entire interior space with the light from a single headlamp. So if you’re willing to shoulder the extra weight – and hefty investment – the Trango 2 could quickly become your nice toasty bunker in the mountains.

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Black Diamond Eldorado

best cold weather tent
  • Capacity: 2 people
  • Height: 51 inches
  • Trail Weight: 5lbs, 1oz
  • Number of Doors: 1 door

If you’re counting every ounce in your pack, then take a close look at the Eldorado from Black Diamond. 

This tent weighs in at just over 5 lbs, which is a fantastic weight for a two-person cold-weather tent! Set up is also a breeze with the straight forward pole system. 

However, keep in mind that to achieve such a low weight, the Eldorado makes some sacrifices in rigidity and durability. This particular tent won’t stand up quite as well to harsh mountain winds as other tents on our list. The higher peak height also adds to its susceptibility to wind. But this tradeoff may well be worth it for lightweight hikers! 

Remember that if lightweight is a huge priority for you, you’ll certainly have to pay for it with the Eldorado. This isn’t the most expensive tent on our list, but it’s close! 

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Exped Orion III Tent

  • Capacity: 3 people
  • Height: 51 inches
  • Trail Weight: 7lbs, 2oz
  • Number of Doors: 2 doors

The Exped Orion III is packed with tons of features and is ideal for intense cold weather camping as well as general summer adventures. 

My favorite feature with this tent is ‘party mode,’ where you can easily disconnect the main tent from the fly, collapse it and move it aside, and then relax in the open area under the fly with friends and family. This feature is perfect for rainy or otherwise inclement weather. 

Cool features aside, this tent is a solid performer in both weight and strength, making it a fantastic 4-season tent for just about any type of hiker. I’d feel comfortable backpacking with this tent through rainy Peru or up to a snowy glacier. Additionally, you can fit a group of three into this tent or enjoy palatial space for just two. 

The Exped Orion III is undoubtedly the best family tent for cold weather on our list. It can go anywhere and quickly turn into a relaxing shelter during rough weather where the whole family can relax.

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How to Choose a Cold Weather Tent?

Finding the best tent for cold weather camping is no easy task. There’s a plethora of features and specifications to consider, but that’s why we’ve put this handy buying guide together! Read on, and we’ll walk you through picking a tent, one step at a time. 

Pick a 4 Season Tent

Usually, we fill these guides with options and general advice, but we’re going to be very specific in this case. If you want a tent for cold weather camping, you need a 4-season tent

These tents are specially designed to stand fast in the face of intense winter winds and snow. Trust me; nothing is worse than your tent collapsing on you in the middle of the night or your fly blowing off down the mountain. 

Yes, these tents tend to be heavier and more expensive than your standard 3-season tent. But it is 100% worth it to make sure you stay comfortable and safe through the very worst conditions that the backcountry can throw at you. 

Choose an Appropriate Size & Weight for Your Trip

Your next step is to consider the tent size and weight that you need. We’re not talking about tent capacity here, but rather the packed size – how much space it will take in your pack – along with the overall square footage.

If you’re planning on backpacking into the chilly wilderness with your tent, then it’s in your best interest to try and minimize the packed size and weight. This will make it much easier to transport, free up room in your pack for additional gear, and not weigh you down like a sack of bricks. 

But beware, ultralight tents tend to sacrifice durability – so balance your priorities, and you can’t go wrong. On the other hand, if you tend to stick to drive-in campsites, then the tent’s weight is less of a concern.

In terms of the overall square-footage, pay particular attention to the vestibule size. Remember that this is frequently your main gear storage area, and skimping on this space may leave you feeling cramped with all your gear in the tent with you. 

Make Sure the Tent is Big Enough

Are you an intrepid solo explorer, or are you adventuring with a buddy or the whole family? Think about your camping habits, and then select an appropriate tent size to match. 

Be sure also to consider the tent’s overall square-footage. One brand’s 2-person tent is not the same size as a different brand’s 2-person tent. So think about the space you need to be comfortable, and make your decision from there. Don’t be afraid to measure out the dimensions on your floor! I’ve done this more than once so I could accurately visualize what I was thinking of buying. 

Also, keep in mind that a two-person tent can be a very comfortable and spacious one-person if you occasionally use it on your own – but only if you’re willing to carry the extra weight. 

Pro Tip: Please remember that any high altitude adventures or hikes through heavily snowy regions should be completed with a buddy.

What are the Storage Options?

Gear, gear, and more gear. That basically sums up our camping lives, especially for cold-weather adventures! Therefore, it’s in your best interest to consider the storage your new tent offers. 

For in-tent necessities – such as lamps and layers – most tents feature mesh stuff pockets on either side to help keep your organized. I’m also a fan of a gear loft near the ceiling for more storage or hanging a lantern. 

For the big gear like packs and boots, we have a vestibule. This is an area covered by your rain fly but not included in the tent itself. Therefore, it’s sheltered from the elements yet doesn’t intrude on your sleeping space. When browsing your choices, think about how many vestibules there are, how big they are, and if you’ll need more or less space. 

Pro Tip: While it’s fine to leave your boots out in the vestibule for regular camping, you’ll regret it when you wake up to a pair of ice blocks while camping in cold weather! Consider wrapping them in a plastic bag and throwing them in the bottom of your sleeping bag, so they’re nice and warm when you wake up. 

Price

Perhaps one of the most essential considerations for perpetual adventurers, price. It’s very tempting to find the cheapest tent on the list and charge forward from there, but hold on! 

Like most items on the market, price is very indicative of quality. Therefore, the question of price boils down to how you want your tent to perform out in the field. If you’re an avid adventurer who finds themselves out in the backcountry throughout the year, braving snow and wind to reach those epic summits, then a higher-quality and more expensive tent will be your best bet. 

On the other hand, if you’re just branching into cold weather camping and aren’t quite sure if it’s for you and how often you’ll be heading out, then the absolute priciest and best tent for extreme cold weather on the market won’t necessarily be for you. Instead, turn your attention to more entry-level and budget-friendly options. 

So all in all, think very carefully about what you need and what you’re prepared to pay for. The best tent for cold weather camping will be different for everyone, so it’s crucial that you examine your individual needs and plans. 

Final Thoughts

We get it; finding the best tent for cold weather camping can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be! We’ve put in the time and research to create this comprehensive list detailing the best 4-season tents on the market, along with their strengths and weaknesses. 

What’s more, we’ve included an exhaustive buying guide to help you focus on the features and specifications that matter most. Review our advice, browse through our list, and you’ll have all the information you need to pick out a bomber tent for your next chilly adventure! 

Have fun and stay safe, eh? 

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