The best extreme cold weather tents are costly. In fact, many camping enthusiasts ask whether they should bother with them.
The answer is yes. The solitude and the white snow blanket is picturesque! With the warmest boots for winter hiking and camping, you can do it.
Besides, as we discussed in this article earlier, it is also possible to further insulate your winter tent. You want to keep all the warmth inside, and at the same time, keep all the cold outside.
With the advancement of cold weather tents building technology, now, you no longer have to stay indoors on account of extreme cold weather.
Sure, you will need to prepare much more thoroughly when going camping in extreme cold weather. But the solitude that you will enjoy, all alone at the alpine lake, will be more than worth it. You will love everything about camping in extreme cold.
But you shall not love it if you are going to freeze your nuts (forgive me) off! That is why you need one of the best cold weather tents.
Of course, when camping in cold weather, it will take much more than just a good tent to keep you warm. You may want to bring your coffee mug to keep coffee hot.
Bring a means to insulate your sleeping space. Sleeping when your cold weather sleeping bag is in direct contact with the hard cold ground, or has just the tent floor between it, will give you a hard time.
Thankfully, there are many ways to enjoy comfortable sleep in a tent. Do make sure that you employ such.
A few of the best extreme cold weather tents
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What is extreme cold weather?
According to an article on Wikipedia, if the temperatures of a certain region drop below -35°C/-31° F and stay that way for 2 hours, that is reported as extreme temperature. In the arctic, where I am sure you are not going to camp, the temperatures can be as extremely low as -67°C/-91°F… now that is cold!
Unless you are a true camping professional and you have the very best gear, which costs a lot of money, it is definitely not worth it to go camping in such weather.
Remember, it is not only the temperature that you should worry about, but how comfortable you will be when sleeping in that kind of weather.
Should you be exposed to such weather, chances of dying are pretty high, from hypothermia. This is because the heart keeps the blood close to itself, and to the lungs, to keep those organs safe.
And the temperature in the other parts of the body drops rapidly. In a matter of minutes, you might not even feel your limbs.
Should there be some wind, that would multiply the chill even further. If you must camp in serious winter weather, you can see why you will need the best extreme weather tents.
Is it possible to camp in extreme cold weather?
It definitely is, if you have the best camping tent, made for that weather. However, by extreme weather for regular camping, we mean “palatable weather.” This means weather in which you can camp with a 4-season camping tent.
A 4 season camping tent is rated for use in spring, summer, fall and winter. However, when the weather turns too extreme up there, you will want to insulate this tent further.
Tent insulation is important because at night, temperatures drop much lower than during the day. For example, in Yellowstone National Park, in fall, the temperatures can be between 50 and 70 degrees F, and drop to below 40 in the night. That alone can show you just how far they would drop in winter.
In this kind of weather, a regular 3-season tent is not going to serve you right. You need something heavier and more appropriate.
An extremely cold weather tent is made with a heavy duty fabric than a summer or a fall camping tent. The reason for this is that it will have to withstand much more than these tents.
There will be sleet – you can count on that. Thus, this tent is designed to lat all snow and water slide down. That way, nothing sticks on the tent to make an already cold situation even worse.
10 Tips to buy the best cold weather tents
When looking for the best cold weather tents, this is not the time for you to carry a family cabin tent. You want a done shaped tent as it will allow debris, snow and water to slide down the roof.
A cabin style tent would collect all that snow on its roof and would eventually collapse. At the same time, not every dome tent for cold weather can withstand the pressure of the snow. A cold weather tent that will be used in the snow is made with that in mind.
If it is dome-shaped, it will also withstand winds in a much better way. If there will be strong gusts of wind, a dome tent is better able to withstand such winds than a cabin tent.
The smaller the tent the better. If you are camping as a couple (advisable for cold weather camping), you should look for the best tent for a couple. However, you also have to remember that you will keep your camping gear inside the tent.
Consider the tent poles too. These, just as the best hiking poles for trekking, should be light, but strong enough to hold the tent together even in a blizzard.
Cold weather tents should be made with a special heavy duty fabric. The heavier the tent fabric is, the heavier the overall weight of the tent will be.
The 4-season tent for camping in cold weather will be double walled – they are! This is a simple yet ingenious construction, what happens is that between the two walls, some air is trapped.
The trapped air creates a good buffer zone that the cold air from outside cannot penetrate. The warmer air from inside the tent too cannot penetrate this buffer to escape. So, you can consider it as a means of insulation.
The double wall construction serves another purpose too. It keeps the cold air out when there is a chill weed blowing. The wind cannot penetrate the double wall.
Thus, you have to consider how you will get to the campsite. If you will be driving, then it will be easier to carry the tent.
If you are backpacking in the snow, you might want to get a lighter tent. Either way, the tent will be heavier than a regular tent.
Make sure that the tent fabric is designed to be weatherproof. Silnylon, nylon and polypropylene have many things in common. One of them is that they are not only waterproof, but snowproof as well.
Tents made to be weatherproof are coated with polypropylene or silicone. This keeps the snow and the water out completely. You can also find out whether it is possible to have the coating reapplied after it wears off.
It is very important that you do not camp alone in cold weather. Two or more people are better than one. Sleeping inside one tent is much better and safer than sleeping in separate tents.
It can be easy to lose each other in the snow if you camp separately. Two people can keep warmer longer and faster when they share one tent. If you are camping in the cold with your partner, consider bringing a double sleeping bag.
When you share a sleeping bag, you will get warmer faster. Besides, these sleeping bags come with zips on both sides for easy entry and exit. You might also want to bring a sleeping pad for more insulation.
When the weather turns too cold during the day, you might not be able to see much sightseeing around. Thus, you may find yourself spending too much time inside the tent.
Since you are not camping alone, you will need enough space for all of you. That way, you do not stay too cramped in small spaces the whole time you are not able to go out.
Most of the 4-season cold weather tents are designed to house up to 4 people or more. Even if there are only two of you camping on the snow, buy a spacious tent for more movement and maneuvering space.
Ok, we have already discussed the double wall construction. If you care for one, there are tents that are designed with chimneys such that you can use a backpacking wood stove inside them. This, coupled with the double wall construction can keep the tent quite warm.
You should also insulate the tent as much as you can. Do not bring wet gear inside because it will make the air colder.
Also, remember to stay and sleep in dry clothes. When sleeping, your body temperature may take a dip. Sleeping in cold clothes would see you waking up to change, and that will interrupt your sleep as your body has to warm the clothes.
Bring a tent heater for camping. Battery run and rated depending on the size of the indoor space they can heat, these are a game change for you.
Tent heaters are cheap to buy and will be reused for many times. It may appear like too much extra weight to carry along but once you have used yours to heat your tent, you will be glad you brought them.
As you pack the things in your cold weather camping checklist, remember to slip in a tent heater. It will come in handy.
Again, this is one of the features that heavily determine how warm the tent is going to keep. It is a standard feature for all tents nowadays, but you will notice some differences when it comes to the cold weather tents.
For the cold weather camping tent, this rainfly is made to be weather proof. At the same time, it stretches from the top of the tent to the bottom. A rainfly reaching the ground will not only keep the tent dry, but it will also break a chilly wind.
Of course, a bigger rainfly means more weight. However, weight is the last thing that you should worry about when you are packing a tent for extreme cold weather camping.
This is a paramount consideration. It sounds contradictory considering that what we want most when camping in cold weather is to keep the cold air outside.
However, if you do not have enough ventilation in the tent, it means that when your body perspires, that perspiration will freeze, making the air inside colder. The body produces moisture and besides, the warm air inside the tent will condense with time to form moisture.
Ventilation is going to let this moisture out. If there is no ventilation, this moisture will condense on the walls of the tent. This will cause the air inside to feel colder, and you do not want that to happen.
For very cold temperatures, this moisture on the walls of the tent will then turn to frost. When you switch the tent heater on or you light the camping stove, the frost starts to melt. This water will then find itself into places you would want to keep it out of.
If it finds its way into your sleeping bag, and this could mean a very uncomfortable night for you. To avoid such ugly scenarios, camping tents for extreme weather are made with zippered ventilations. Although these ventilations are fully covered on account of the nasty weather, they are still very effective.
Price of the tent
Should you pay a high or low price of the tent? This depends on many things.
Considering all the features that we have mentioned above, you will think that the best extreme weather tents must be very costly. Well, to be frank, the costlier it is the better if the features compensate the price.
However, it still does not mean that you should break the bank to buy a tent for extreme weather camping. Remember , you still need to buy other camping gear like portable coffee maker and the best hatchet for camping.
Now, if the tent is light in weight and still has double wall construction, and is 4-season rated, it will be more expensive. The good thing is that these tents will last a long time. Eventually, you will get the best value for your money.
Consider also the warranty. The longer it is the better.
You can compare the prices and reviews of different 4-season tents before buying. You may also buy these tents on amazon.com.
Portability of the tent
If you will be backpacking in the snow, you will need a cold weather tent that is light in weight. This means paying more money perhaps. Lightweight tents for backpacking which can be used for cold weather camping would be costlier.
A cold weather tent that is bigger, bulkier and heavier would be less costly. However, this would have to be ferried in a car.
Just like any other camping gear to take with you for cold weather adventures, you should know that a camping tent for extreme weather is most likely very heavy.
Warm weather camping tents are light in weight. So consider this when planning your camping adventure so that you can decide whether to backpack or to take a car with you.
Weather proof camping tent
As you have no doubt noticed from the subheading, it is about how weatherproof the tent is. For the warm season camping tents, what matters most is how well it can hold against water.
When camping in extreme temperature, it is another matter altogether. You have to choose a tent knowing that there is going a lot of snow weight, which could cause the tent to collapse. That would be nasty.
You must not take chances with your tent. It must be totally waterproof. This means looking for a cold weather tent with 100 percent polyurethane coating for waterproofing.
The tent must be staked to the ground. This means good stakes too, since you expect it to hold back against the wind. Sometimes, winds can be seriously fast and chilly.
You want the best stakes. If the snow is deep, you may need something bigger than a normal tent stake. This could be something like a pair of skis, sharpened sticks and even trekking poles can be used to hold the tent securely on the snow.
We will repeat here again – dome shape is the best. It lets water and snow slide down fast, thus saving you from the risk of a collapsing ceiling. At the same time, consider getting a low profile tent. That one would be more secure against the winds.
When choosing the best place to camp, look for a place that is sheltered from strong winds. It could be near a grove of trees, behind a big rock or bolder. Always have the tent higher up than down in the valley, incase snow starts moving.
The tent must have sealed seams and zippers. You want to keep as much of the cold weather out, as much as possible.
Waterproof floor tarp
The best tent for cold weather camping should have a good waterproof floor tarp if you want to stay dray. Besides, this adds some insulation between you and the sleeping bag, and you very well know that you can use all the insulation that you can get.
You might want to try the heavy duty floor tarps that come with pegs to hold them down. Such tarps are best for windy conditions. They also protect the floor of your tent, thus prolonging its lifespan.
Even if you bring your camping air mattress, it needs to be protected from the cold floor. It will do a perfect job of protecting you from the cold. A floor tarp is also some sort of insurance for your gear.
These are a few things that you need to consider when looking for the best extreme cold weather tents. Thankfully, these tents come in all sizes, styles, colors and to meet different budgets. Thus, nasty weather need not keep you indoors when you would rather be outside having some fun. In addition to buying the best tent, also remember to get the right cold weather camping clothes. Protect your hands with the best gloves. You may also want to try a hammock pod camping system to sleep fully elevated from the ground.