Best Cold Weather Winter Tent – Expert Review (2022)

There is an insane amount of good 3-4-weather tents, which is a great thing. You just need to find the right one for your adventure.

If you're not tight on your budget and need a long-lasting extreme wind/rain/snow tent then ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 2 or Black Diamond Mission are both excellent and have been tried and tested by thousands of mountaineers and pros.

For the budget option, it's a toss up for me between GeerTop 4-Season and a slightly more sophisticated Big Agnes C Bar, they might not be as good in strong winds or proper winter conditions.

Best Cold Weather Winter Tents (Top Picks)

ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 2 Person

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GEERTOP 2 Person Camping Tent Lightweight 4 Season Waterproof Double Layer All Weather Outdoor Survival Gear for Backpacking Hiking Travel - Easy Set Up

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Best for Extreme Weather

Black Diamond Mission

Black Diamond Equipment - Mission Tent - Sky Blue - 2 Person

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Top Cold Weather Winter Tents For Camping

We reviewed over 23 different cold weather / winter tents for camping for this article. Below are the best cold weather / winter tents that made our short list.

  1. ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 2 - Best Overall
  2. Black Diamond Mission - Best for Extreme Weather
  3. Black Diamond HiLight 3P Tent - Best Lightweight
  4. GeerTop 4-Season - Best Value
  5. Big Agnes C Bar 

Read our complete buyers guide for cold weather / winter tents.

Best Overall Cold Weather Winter Tents

1. ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 3 Season Tent for 2P

ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 2 Person

5/5 Overall Rating

The ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 2 is the perfect all-rounder and it is surprisingly affordable for what it has to offer.

With a continuous pole system, it is quick to set up and has sufficient space for two people and their accompanying gear. While it's not the most rugged, it will be more than capable of enduring an average winter.

Main Features
  • Aluminium alloy poles
  • Free standing pole system
  • Easy snap on pole clips for quick assembly
  • Weatherproof shock cords
  • Full coverage, UV-resistant, coated polyester rainfly
  • Rugged 75-denier 5000 mm coated poly taffeta floor
  • Aluminium stakes and guylines included
  • Two doors with zippered mesh windows
  • Factory sealed seams
  • Two vestibules
What we like
  • Several mesh storage pockets to help organize and store your gear
  • Lightweight
  • Great price
  • Easy to set up
  • Spacious for a 2-person tent
What we dislike
  • Doesn't pack very small
  • Doesn't have space for a lot of gear

2. Black Diamond Mission for Extreme Weather Mountaineering

Black Diamond Equipment - Mission Tent - Sky Blue - 2 Person

4.5/5 Overall Rating

The Black Diamond Mission for 3 people is a fast pitching double wall tent was created for extreme weather conditions - it's normally used by pro mountaineers or expeditions at higher altitude. It's a bomb shelter for basecamp layovers.

Although quite sturdy, it's easy to pitch even in horrid weather with the help of the pre-attached fly and the hoop and hub exterior pole design.

We haven't tested the tent in extreme wind from multiple directions, but the manufacturers claim that its dome+tunnel architecture should protect you even in such drastic conditions.

It's made with the 30d high tenacity polyester fabric which is then properly seam-sealed, ensuring that it's durable for much longer and doesn't sag under heavy rain. 

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Main Features
  • Double wall for extreme conditions
  • Twin doors and double vestibules allow downwind access
  • Large vents for good airflow
  • 30d polyester fabric does not sag in wet conditions
  • Fully taped seams
  • DAC Featherlite poles
  • 8 internal mesh pockets
What we like
  • External design provides a quick and easy pitch
  • Dual vestibules maximize storage
  • Removable inner tent for basecamp shelterLarge rainfly that covers the entire ten
What we dislike
  • Cheaper than most extreme weather tents, but still expensive

3. Black Diamond HiLight 2 Tent

Black Diamond Equipment - HiLight Vestibule - Sky Blue - 2 Person

4.5/5 Overall Rating

The Black Diamond HiLight is an excellent compromise between rugged and lightweight. This is a single wall tent, which is quick to set up, and designed with steep sides to prevent snow buildup.

This tent is a classic design, bare basics tent. There are optional add-ons that you can buy to upgrade this tent if you need to.

Main Features
  • Flow manifold for superior air circulation and ventilation
  • 100% taped seams
  • Two doors
  • Strong two and a half cross pole design
  • Reinforced internal pole grips
  • Drip Free awning
  • Floor has a waterproof rating up to 3000 mm
  • Fly has a waterproof rating up to 1500 mm
  • Strong Dyneema reflective guylines with protective polyester sheaths
What we like
  • Set up from the inside
  • Repair kit for tent poles included
  • Add-ons like a footprint or an extra vestibule are available for purchase
  • Lightweight
  • Super compact when packed
What we dislike
  • Very tight squeeze for 3 people
  • Vents don’t have mesh covering so if used in summer, bugs can get in

4. GeerTop 4-Season

GEERTOP 2 Person Camping Tent Lightweight 4 Season Waterproof Double Layer All Weather Outdoor Survival Gear for Backpacking Hiking Travel - Easy Set Up

4/5 Overall Rating

The GeerTop 4-Season Tent is a versatile and affordable option for the recreational camper. It packs down small so you can even take it backpacking.

The GeerTop 4-Season Tent has good water-resistance and UV protection and can be used without the outer layer in warmer weather, truly making it a 4-season tent.

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Main Features
  • 210T polyurethane rainfly with taped seams
  • 210T breathable polyester and nylon mesh inner
  • 210D Polyurethane Oxford floor
  • Snow skirt to keep snow and moisture out
  • 2 D-style doors for easy access
  • Mesh inner door for improved ventilation
  • 2 closable vents for air flow
  • Gear loft
What we like
  • Lightweight
  • Large stuff sack for easy storage and packing
  • A lot of tent pegs supplied for extra stability
  • Easy to set up
  • Reinforced corners
What we dislike
  • Storage pockets are very small
  • Excessive condensation build up
  • Poor quality zippers

5. Big Agnes C Bar 3-Season Tent for 2-3 P - Best Value

Big Agnes C Bar Backpacking Tent, 2 Person

4.5/5 Overall Rating

Big Agnes C Bar another affordable 3-season 2-3 person tent. Yet, it's also quite light and not too hard to set up. It's ideal for novice hikers and for short camping trips in poor weather conditions.

The C Bar is a good lightweight shelter tent using modern design features to allow more space inside. Although compact, it has a vestibule to store gear, a large ceiling pocket, and 3 more mesh pockets for extra strage. 

It's perfectly waterproof thanks to its durable fly and floor makeup.

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Main Features
  • DAC angle hubs and attached cross pole for space 
  • Fly and floor have 1500mm waterproof polyurethane coating
  • Single pole architecture for easy set up
  • Velcro tabs connect fly to pole structure for perfect pitch and good stability
  • Freestanding
  • Large ceiling storage pocket and 3 mesh pockets
What we like
  • Lightweight
  • Ready to pitch
  • Cheap
What we dislike
  • Footprint not included

Cold Weather / Winter Tent - Buyer's Guide

What is a 4-Season Tent?

The name “4-Season Tent” is slightly misleading as you will generally only use a 4-season tent in winter. A winter tent is designed to handle inclement weather like strong winds, hail, and snow.

4-Season tents are designed to protect you from snow and ice as well as block freezing wind from getting inside. They have thicker, stronger frames to ensure that they survive the harshest of conditions. 

Your tent is your first line of defense against the extreme winter weather, so the decision to buy one should not be taken lightly. 

Unless this is a once off trip, buy the best you can afford. The initial investment will quickly pay itself off each time you use the tent.

Can a 3-season tent be used in winter?

3-Season tents are designed for mild weather and summer camping. They are not has durable or robust as 4-season tents and will provide little protection from strong winds and snowy conditions. 

Unlike 4-season tents, 3-season tents have mesh windows to provide plenty of ventilation. This would not be helpful in winter as the cold wind and rain would be able to penetrate the mesh and get inside the tent. 

If you are planning on going camping in a harsh climate, make sure you invest in a 4-season tent as a 3-season would not hold up well or protect you from the elements. 

Other Features of Cold Weather / Winter Tents

Protection 

A winter tent should not have any mesh panels. This will ensure body heat is captured and kept inside, while the cold stays outside. All the walls and floors should be made of a strong polyester or nylon fabric that is waterproof, windproof and rugged. A fly on a winter tent should extend to the ground, thus keeping the cold wind out and ensuring that snow does not drift in.

Structure

Stability is generally determined by the pole configuration and the structure of the tent. A typical cross intersection is a proven design that holds up well to strong winds. Look for steep walls that don’t allow snow to build up and add compromising weight to the tent.

A round dome shape will stand up better to strong winds than a cabin style tent.

Quality

Opt for tried and tested fabrics. Fabric is measured in denier – which indicates the denseness, durability and thickness of the fabric. A higher denier count is preferred in a winter tent.

Any fabric that is described as ''Ripstop'' is great. Ripstop refers to the weave pattern of the fabric; usually nylon that inhibits tears and rips, making your tent more durable.

Aluminium poles are generally strongest and preferred for stability.

Waterproofing

Waterproof coatings are rated in millimeters (mm). A higher number equates to better waterproofing. A 1000 mm rating indicates that the fabric can withstand a 1000 mm column of water for over a minute before some moisture will seep through the fabric.

Waterproof tents will have features like taped seams, strong footprints and reinforced corners so make sure you look out for these things in a 4-season tent. 

Ease of setup

You don’t want to spend 20 minutes in the freezing cold, with gloves on, trying to set up your tent. Look for something quick and easy. Some tents can actually be set up from the inside. While this might take getting used to, it is very convenient being able to be protected from the elements while you pitch your tent. As always, practice setting up and taking down your tent before you head out on your camping trip.

Usability 

Trying to open a tent door in a blizzard with gloves on is downright hard. Large zipper tags are easier to grip. Having more than one entrance will allow you to take advantage of wind direction and also, if an entrance is blocked up with snow, you still have access from an alternate opening. If there are a number of you sharing the tent, it is also much more practical having more than one entrance point.

Comfort and ventilation 

It might seem counter-intuitive that you want to allow cold air into the tent when you are trying to keep warm, but if you don’t ventilate properly, the condensation from breathing will result in an uncomfortable and humid environment. Having smart vents that allow you to control the internal temperature will make it easier to stay in the tent and wait out bad weather.

Size 

Considering that you will have to do most things inside your tent if the temperature outside is too extreme, it is helpful to have some extra space in addition to a sufficient sleeping area. A large, enclosed vestibule is a useful feature of a 4-season tent as you may also need to store your gear inside to avoid it being snowed under or blown away. As with all tents, if you want more living space, use the manufacturer capacity rating as a suggestion only and considering upsizing.

Price 

Not all tents are created equal, and not all affordable tents are of poor quality. It is worth comparing tents within the same price bracket and seeing which one ticks the most boxes from your list of requirements. If you are a frequent camper, buy the best quality that you can afford.

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