Best Insulated Tents For All Winter Adventures!

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Add some warmth to your winter adventures! The best insulated tents keep body heat in and cold air out so you can keep exploring all year round.
Best Insulated Tents - Introduction
The Crua Culla insulated module (on the right): Our pick for the best overall insulated tent.

We’ve all been there: The temperature drop lower than we planned on an overnight trip, and suddenly you find yourself crawling into your sleeping bag wearing every piece of clothing you own.

Sure, you could go to bed wearing three pairs of socks and two jackets with a beanie pulled over your face, but we believe there’s a better solution: Warm up your sleeping area with an insulated tent. 

Insulated tents work by minimizing the amount of heat exchange taking place between the inside sleeping area and outside walls of your tent. By making the most of your natural body heat, the best insulated tents stay several degrees warmer than traditional shelters, making for much more comfortable camping in the cold months. 

After testing and analyzing dozens of the most popular options currently on the market, we found the Crua Culla to be the best insulated tent overall. We love the Culla because it combines highly durable materials and reliable construction with a premium quilted insulating liner, and transforms and existing tent into an insulated shelter.

The Culla won’t be everyone’s first choice though, which is why we’ve also included each of our favorite alternatives in the list below for every sort of camper. Whether you’re looking for a warm backpacking rig, a hardcore expedition tent, or just something that’s a little easier on the budget, we’ve got a shelter in the list below for you. 

We’ve also included a handy buyer’s guide down at the bottom of this article for anyone looking to get up to speed on insulated tents. Whether you’re brand new to the concept of just looking for a little refresher, we’ve got you covered. 

Alright, let’s talk tents!

ProductBenefits
Crua Culla: Best Insulated Tent OverallThe cheapest way to get your hands on Crua’s outstanding quilted insulation. A modular inner-tent that works with pretty much any camping tent you already own. See Review
Crua Tri: Highest Overall QualityBulletproof build quality combined with the best tent insulation design on the market. A warm, quiet, and dark cocoon that’s built to handle bad weather. See Review
REI Base Camp 4: Best On a BudgetHighly durable materials and a smart expedition-inspired layout make for a bombproof tent that works well into the shoulder seasons. Adjustable ventilation keeps this comfortable year-round. See Review
Sea To Summit Telos TR2 Plus: Best Insulated Tent For BackpackingTraditional fabric insulation and highly adjustable ventilation that packs small and travels light. Outstanding interior space and overall livability for a weight-conscious backpacking shelter. See Review
Mountain Hardwear Trango 4: Best For MountaineeringAn utterly bombproof expedition tent that’s been proven in the harshest locations in the world. Unparalleled material quality keeps you safe, warm, and dry anywhere on the planet. See Review

Best Insulated Tents

Crua Culla Insulated Inner Tent: Best Insulated Tent Overall

Best Insulated Tents - Crua Culla Insulated Inner Tent

Specs:
– Weight: 15.4 lbs (7kg)
– Type of insulation: Quilted
– Packed size: 28” x 15” x 15” (70cm x 38cm x 38cm)
– Floor size: 80” x 52” (203cm x 132cm)
– Peak height: 48” (122cm) 
– Number of compartments: 1
– Occupancy: 2 person (three person also available)
– Shape: Dom
– Best for: Cold weather car camping
– Price: $$

Good news: The best insulated tent on the market may be the one you already own. That’s because the Crua Culla is an insulated insert that transforms any existing camping tent into a toasty winter-ready shelter. 

We love the Culla because it delivers the high-tech quilted insulation that Crua is known for, but does it for the least amount of cash possible. You’re essentially getting the same exact insulation and sound/light reduction experience as their most expensive tent combos, but at less than half the price.

Our other favorite part of the Culla is that Crua made it with an innovative airframe design, which replaces the need for traditional poles with a simple inflatable frame. This makes for a quick and easy setup, as all you have to do is toss the insert into an already pitched tent and then inflate it using the supplied hand pump.

Our main beef with the Culla is that although it’s the least expensive way to get ahold of Crua’s outstanding quilted insulation, the insert alone is still more expensive than some full-featured tents we’ve tested over the years. We’ll also note that while the Culla’s dimensions work with pretty much any car camping tent out there, it’s designed to be compact and efficient, so it can cut into the living space you may be used to in a larger camping tent.

Pros:Cons:
– Turns your existing tent into an insulated tent
– Innovative airbeam frame means no poles to assemble
– Keeps tent darker and quieter
– Not a standalone shelter
– Limits the interior space of larger camping tents



Crua Tri: Highest Overall Quality

Best Insulated Tents - Crua Tri

Specs:
– Weight: 57.3 lbs (26kg)
– Type of insulation: Quilted
– Packed size: 35” x 23” x 15” (88cm x 58cm x 37cm)
– Floor size: (230cm x 220cm)
– Peak height: (160cm)
– Number of compartments: 1
– Occupancy: 3 person
– Shape: Tunnel
– Best for: Four-season car camping
– Price: $$$

The folks at Crua are hands-down the first name in insulated tents, so it should come as no surprise that their outstanding Crua Tri three person tent tops our list as the highest quality insulated tent. 

If you’re new to Crua tents, it’s important to understand that they make an undeniably premium product. Every inch of material used on the Crua Tri is incredibly tough, from big-ticket items like their proprietary laminated poly-cotton fabric and thick pre-bent aluminum poles to all the small things like their extra-wide zippers, thick triangulated tent stakes, and elasticated guylines.

What really makes Crua’s tents stand out, however, is their unique approach to tent insulation. Crua has essentially pioneered and perfected the use of the quilted inner tent, a soft and removable third layer that adds pillowy baffles of synthetic fill to every inch of the tent’s interior. 

In addition to this inner tent system’s outstanding temperature regulating properties, we also love that it blocks a significant amount of both light and noise from the sleeping area. That means you can sleep in well past sunrise in quiet comfort while all your camping buddies begrudgingly rise with the sun every morning. 

Truth be told, the only complaint we have with the Crua Tri is that all its cutting edge tech and high-quality materials come at a premium price, making it the most expensive tent on our list by a healthy margin. We’ll also note that the Tri’s extra interior layer adds considerable weight and bulk to the overall package when it’s packed away for storage, but it’s nothing your average adult can’t manage from the parking lot to the campsite.

Pros:Cons:
– Bulletproof construction
– Removable insulation adds versatility
– Outstanding all-weather performance
– Very expensive
– Large/heavy when packed



REI Co-op Base Camp 4: Best On A Budget

Best Insulated Tents - REI Co-op Base Camp 4

Specs:
– Weight: 16.8 lbs (7.6 kg)
– Type of insulation: Fabric
– Packed size: 20” x 10” x 10” (51cm x 25cm x 25cm)
– Floor size: 100” x 86” (254cm x 218cm)
– Peak height: 60” (152cm)
– Number of compartments:
– Occupancy: 4 person (6 person also available)
– Shape: Dome
– Best for: 3-4 season car camping
– Price: $$

While the quilted insulation of a Crua tent is hard to beat when it comes to luxuriously comfortable cold-weather camping, there’s still something to be said for the dependability of traditional fabric insulation. The REI Base Camp is our favorite example, delivering incredible quality and performance at a fantastic price point. 

We fell in love with the Base Camp during a recent camping tent field test, and all of our testers were taken with its rugged construction and outstanding versatility. We gave the Base Camp particularly high marks for its burly fabrics and expedition-inspired five pole design, which adds additional intersections to the frame for added peace of mind in high-wind scenarios. 

As for the versatility piece, it’s a rare sight to find a cold-weather tent that works just as well in the warmer months. REI incorporated zippable fabric panels into each of the Base Camp’s windows, which we found delivered enough adjustable ventilation to keep this tent comfortable in mid-day heat. 

It’ll still run a bit hotter than a mesh-heavy three-season design, and isn’t quite insulated enough to tackle the most bitter conditions in comfort, but for 99% of your outdoor needs, the Base Camp delivers a premium camping experience with extra room to spare. It’s also one of the few tents in this category that features a double door/double vestibule design, so you’ll have plenty of extra exterior storage space to keep the shelter uncluttered on rainy or snowy days. 

Pros:Cons:
– Outstanding quality at a great price
– Versatile design delivers year-round comfort
– Two door design with sizeable vestibules
– Great for shoulder season camping, but not ideal for extreme cold or snow
– Runs a bit hot in the summer



Sea To Summit Telos TR2 Plus: Best Insulated Tent For Backpacking

Best Insulated Tents - Sea To Summit Telos TR2 Plus

Specs:
– Weight: 3.6 lbs (1.6 kg)
– Type of insulation: Fabric
– Packed size: 19” x 5” x 5” (48cm x 13cm x 13cm)
– Floor size: 85” x 53”/43” (216cm x 135cm/109cm)
– Peak height: 43.5” (111cm)
– Number of compartments: 1
– Occupancy: 2 person
– Shape: Dome
– Best for: 3-4 season backpacking
– Price: $$

We’ve gotta give credit where credit is due: Sea To Summit makes some outstanding backpacking gear. The Telos TR2 Plus is their take on a 3+ season backpacking tent, and it absolutely delivers the goods in nasty weather. 

We love the TR2 Plus because it’s essentially the original 3-season TR2, albeit with a fabric heavy canopy where there used to be acres and acres of no-see-um mesh. All the other standout features of the original are here including the smart double-vestibule design, the space-making “Tension Ridge” brow pole, and the excellent double “Apex Vent” design, which provides outstanding ventilation that can be adjusted from inside the tent. 

We also appreciate that Sea To Summit not only added more fabric to the TR2 Plus for extra insulation, but they also made it thicker and more waterproof while they were at it. They also designed the TR2 Plus’ rainfly to be pole-supported, which means you can ditch the canopy entirely for weight savings in warmer months, or pitch it using two trekking poles for an impromptu sun shelter for two. 

The biggest issue with the Telos TR2 Plus is cost, as it’s even more expensive than the original TR2 we tested last year. It’s not exactly astronomical, but it’s more than any of our favorite three-season backpackers like the Nemo Dagger Osmo and Coppor Spur UL2 though, so if your backcountry shenanigans rarely drop near freezing, it may not be worth the extra spend.

Pros:Cons:
– An utterly premium backpacking tent with added warmth
– Versatile self-supported fly wears many hats
– Excellent ventilation that can be adjusted from inside the tent
– Expensive
– Bit cramped with two campers



Mountain Hardwear Trango 4: Best For Mountaineering

Best Insulated Tents - Mountain Hardwear Trango 4

Specs:
– Weight: 12.7 lbs (5.8kg)
– Type of insulation: Fabric
– Packed size: 28” x 9” x 9” (71cm x 23cm)
– Floor size: 96” x 94” (244cm x 239cm)
– Peak height: 50” (127cm)
– Number of compartments: 1
– Occupancy: 4 Person / 3 person / 2 person
– Shape: Dome
– Best for: Four season camping/ mountaineering
– Price: $$$

What better endorsement could an insulated tent have than being proven in places like Mt. Everest, Kilimanjaro, and the Himalayas? The Mountain Hardwear Trango 4 is one of the most trusted and celebrated insulated tents of all time, and our team loved every minute of it during our recent field test.

In fact, this is quite possibly the toughest tent we’ve ever tested, period. Mountain Hardwear designs the Trango specifically for alpine expedition use, which means it’s built to weather weeks and weeks of punishing winds and deep snow. Material wise, the frame is made entirely from DAC Featherlite poles, which are arguably the toughest aluminum option in the business. 

We were equally impressed by the Trango’s weather protection: In terms of waterproofing we found Mountain Hardwear’s construction, stitching, and seam taping to be the most thorough we’ve seen, and we also appreciate that the tent’s floor fabric is rated to a full 10,000mm of waterproofing, allowing it to handle biblical rains and constant snow exposure with confidence.

From a performance standpoint, we have zero complaints with the Trango. It’s incredibly strong, capable, and weatherproof, and also happens to be surprisingly easy to set up for such a technical shelter. It doesn’t have the standup height ceilings of your typical large camping tent and it definitely costs more than a recreational model (as is the case with any technical mountaineering tent), but as a tent that will keep you warm and dry literally anywhere on the planet, we found it was worth every penny.

Pros:Cons:
– Built to handle the roughest conditions on the planet
– Outstanding build quality and attention to detail
– Surprisingly livable and easy to pitch for a hardcore mountaineering tent
– Expensive
– Less headroom than a casual camping tent



Buyer’s Guide To The Best Insulated Tents

As you can see, insulated tents come in a wild variety of shapes, sizes, and intended uses. While these tents can be radically different, we’ve found a few common themes that run through any insulated tent we would consider using ourselves. 

Whether you’re considering a tent from the list above or another model that didn’t make our list, here are the metrics we use to evaluate whether or not any insulated tent is worth buying. 

Tent Insulation Explained

There are two main types of insulated tent you’ll find out in the wild: Fabric insulated tents, and quilted insulated tents. Both have their pros and cons, so let’s touch on each briefly to get you up to speed. 

Fabric-insulated tents take the classic approach to insulation by replacing the mostly-mesh designs of traditional three-season camping and backpacking tents with an inner canopy made almost entirely from solid fabric. These designs work by limiting the amount of cold air that can make its way inside your shelter while also trapping more of your body heat, naturally raising the internal temperature of the tent over time. 

Best Insulated Tents - Tent Insulation Explained 1
Fabric insulated tents like our Mountain Hardwear Trango 4 may not have the bling factor of quilted insulation, but they’ll still keep you warm and dry when it counts.

Fabric-insulated tents are typically lighter, more compact, and less complex, so they make better candidates for backcountry pursuits like backpacking and mountaineering. They’re also typically more cost-effective than their quilted cousins, so while they’re by no means inexpensive, they’re usually easier on your wallet.

Quilted insulation for tents is a relatively new phenomenon, but an interesting one to say the least. We like to think of these tents as a big puffy jacket for your entire shelter: Just like a jacket, they utilize synthetic insulation sewn into quilted baffles to trap body heat, creating a barrier of air between you and the outside.

Best Insulated Tents - Tent Insulation Explained 2
Baffled synthetic insulation like that found in the Crua Culla seen here delivers excellent warmth while still maintaining breathability.

The main advantage of quilted insulation is that it’s much more effective at limiting heat exchange with the cold outside air, and thus makes for a much warmer and cozier interior with less need for extra layers or an extra-warm sleeping bag. It also doubles as a light and sound-blocking layer, which makes quilted inner tents ideal for campers who like to sleep in well after sunrise. 

The main drawback here is price, as is often the case with new and exciting outdoor technologies. We’ll also note that because quilted insulation is designed to work inside an existing tent, you’re still on the hook to either use a tent you already own or purchase a new one that’s compatible with your quilted insert’s dimensions.

Ventilation

Insulated tents walk a fine line between warmth and ventilation: Take away too much ventilation, and your tent turns into a sweaty sauna that traps both heat and moisture in equal measure. Add too much ventilation, and you start losing heat faster than your body can generate it.

At the end of the day, it’s all about balance, and the best-insulated tents are those that deliver maximum warmth while also keeping condensation and “stale air” to a minimum. The best way we’ve found to achieve this is by adding multiple adjustable vents to the interior of a tent, preferably using mesh windows with an overlay of solid fabric.

Best Insulated Tents - Ventilation
Fabric-backed mesh like these windows inside the REI Base Camp 4 allow you to adjust the ventilation from inside the tent.

By having a “double layer” system like this in place, you can effectively add or subtract windows to the inside of your tent as needed to fine-tune airflow. For best results, we look for double wall designs that pair these double layer windows with direct ventilation openings in the rainfly, as this creates a direct path of airflow to the interior of the tent while still keeping heavy gusts of wind from blowing into the sleeping area. 

Waterproofing

Insulated tents are no different than traditional three season camping or backpacking models when it comes to waterproofing. That means we look for all the same proven features in these shelters including clean seam taping throughout the rainfly, highly water-resistant fabrics both in the rainfly and the tent floor, and ideally we also like to see one or two sizeable exterior vestibules as well for dry outdoor storage and a drip-free entrance to the interior.

Best Insulated Tents - Waterproofing
Close up detail of the stitching and seam taping found on the Mountain Hardwear Trango. Nothing is getting past these seams. 

Because ventilation is so crucial in these unique models, we also pay close attention both to the quality and quantity of the external vents built into the rainfly. You should be able to confidently leave every vent on the outside of the shelter wide open essentially zero chance of anything short of sideways rain making its way inside. Anything less and you’ll be looking at a wet night in the woods, be it from leaky walls or swampy condensation.

Space and Comfort

Typically when it comes to camping tents, our rule is “the more space the better.” Insulated tents are a bit more complex, unfortunately, because having excess internal space means having excess square footage to heat up.

Best Insulated Tents - Space and Comfort
Effective insulation often means less overall interior space, as seen on this Crua Culla insert. 

For this reason we look for tents that are appropriately sized for the number of people you’ll have sleeping in them, but no larger than you need for your sleepers and a little extra gear. That means if two people are sharing a tent, you’ll typically want either a two or a three-person model for optimal comfort. 

We’ll also note that if you’re considering a tent with a quilted inner tent for insulation, it’s the inner tent that decides your interior space, not the dimensions of the exterior tent you’re using it in. This is another major benefit of choosing a quilted setup over a fabric one, as the quilted layer can be removed from the tent itself in the off-season for a roomier tent when you want it.

Ease of Set-up

Because the percentage of fabric versus mesh is typically the only major structural difference between an insulated tent and traditional three-season models, we find all the same rules apply for ease of set-up as well. Look for tents with color-coded poles and sleeves, instant-tent designs, or clip-in canopies for the easiest set-up possible.

Best Insulated Tents - Ease of Setup
Larger tents with extra features like this Crua Tri can take a bit longer to pitch, but features like its large front vestibule are almost always worth the effort. 

If you’re considering a quilted tent system, we highly recommend opting for a model that uses an airframe design rather than a traditional pole-in-sleeve frame. We say this because insulated inner tents have to be set up inside the shelter you’re using them with, which doesn’t bode well for long rigid pole systems. With an airflame design, you simply slip the interior tent inside your existing shelter, then hook it up to an air pump and watch it pitch itself. 

This only adds about a minute or two to your normal setup time, and requires next to no effort as well. 

Durability

We gauge the durability of the best insulated tents the same way we’d judge any good three or four season tent we test: By looking at the quality of its materials and how well they’re put together. The single largest contributing factors here are the quality of the fabric and the frame, so let’s briefly recap what  makes each worth paying for. 

In terms of fabric quality, assuming we’re shopping for a car camping tent rather than a backpacking or expedition tent, we want the thickest and most durable fabric possible. Fabric thicknesses are typically expressed in “denier” ratings, so a tent with a 100D floor will likely outlast one with a 50D floor and so on. 

Best Insulated Tents - Durability
Expedition tents like the 4-season Mountain Hardwear Trango 4 here are built tougher than anything else on the planet to hold up to alpine conditions.

As far as the frame goes, the best insulated tents almost always use either tough aluminum or high tech carbon fiber composites. Whenever possible, we prefer to see our tent poles coming from brands we know and trust such as DAC and Easton, but we’ve also used our fair share of high-quality unbranded poles with great success, so this is by no means a deal breaker. 

Weight and Packed Size

Most of the insulated tents you see out there fall under the car camping tent category, and as such, neither weight nor packed size are a major consideration. As long as a tent is light enough to carry and small enough to fit inside our vehicle of choice, it checks all the important boxes as far as we’re concerned.

Best Insulated Tents - Weight and Packed Size
One of the biggest advantages of traditional fabric insulated models like the REI Base Camp 4 seen here is that they pack down much smaller than quilted models. 

With that being said, there are a few notable exceptions out there when it comes to insulated tents, especially when it comes to backcountry-focused gear like backpacking, expedition, and mountaineering tents. In those cases, we generally recommend looking for the lightest and most compact option you can find that will (a) fit in your backpack alongside other crucial gear (like sleeping bags, food, etc.) and (b) allow you and anyone else you’re sharing it with to live and sleep comfortably inside. 

This pretty much rules out insulated tents using quilted inserts due to their considerably larger and heavier packed dimensions. We recommend sticking with a doublewall fabric tent if you’re planning on carrying yours any further than from the parking lot to the campsite, as doublewall construction yields the best compromise between warmth and livability. 

Verdict: The Best Insulated Tents

Best Insulated Tents - Verdict
The Crua Tri: Our top contender for the highest quality insulated tent on the market.

For all the reasons listed above, we found the Crua Culla to be the most impressive insulated tent of the bunch. Its impressive livability combined with the luxurious warmth and light-blocking qualities of a quilted insulated layer deliver a premium feel like nothing else we’ve tested, and it works with pretty much any camping tent you already own. 

If an all-in-one-package is what you’re after, the Crua Tri is what you want. It’s expensive, but it’s absolutely bombproof and features the same top-shelf quilted insulation of the Crua Culla. 

If you’re not looking to make such a large investment, however, we highly recommend checking out either the REI Base Camp 4. The Base Camp 4 is a great pick for its outstanding material quality and versatility, and allows you to push your camping well into the shoulder seasons.

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