Best Winter Tents For Camping In The Cold Weather

Don’t get caught out in the cold in a three-season tent! When the campfire goes out, you’ll be wanting one of these toasty shelters to keep the frostbite at bay...
REI Base Camp 4 - 1
The REI Base Camp 4: Our Best Choice Overall

Single-walled or double-walled? Mountaineering or expedition? Polyurethane or silnylon? If we’re speaking your language, you’re in the right place. If that all sounds foreign to you, well, you’re also in the right place. This is our guide on everything you need to know about the best winter tents currently available. If you get lost into all this complicated jargon, don’t forget check our winter tech cheat sheet (or our detailed buying guide for even more explanations)

Winter tents vary widely in both size and intended use. We’ve reviewed countless examples of big sturdy tents for expedition basecamps, fast and light mountaineering tents for high-speed ascents, and casual backcountry winter tents for hiking and sleeping beneath the treeline.

Overall, we found that the REI Base Camp 4 was the best winter tent currently available for pretty much anything but hardcore mountain expeditions. It’s warm and tough enough to handle cold wind and snow, yet roomy and livable enough for family camping trips year-round.

The Base Camp won’t be the best bet for everyone though, and that’s ok. Some folks want to venture deep into the snowy backcountry, some want to take tackle overnight skiing trips, and others need an ultralight blizzard-proof shelter for that last stretch up to the peak.

Wherever you fall in the winter camping continuum, we’ve got a tent below that’s perfect for your next dash through the snow.

TentSummary
REI Base Camp 4: Best Winter Tent OverallA highly versatile winter camping tent with tons of storage and livability. High quality materials and adjustable ventilation make for the ideal shelter for your typical year-round camper. See review
MSR Access 2: Best Overall QualityArguably the most versatile winter tent on the market, capable of tackling spring backpacking trips and snowy backcountry excursions alike. A double-wall shelter boasting four-season performance in an impressively lightweight package. See review
Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian 2: Best On A BudgetGreat casual cold weather camping option with a price tag that’s hard to believe. A great choice for winter outdoors fun. See review
MSR Remote 2A double-wall mountaineering tent that’s surprisingly light and compact. Blizzard-proof construction and fast setup combined with a degree of livability you just can’t get in a single-wall design. See review
Nemo Chogori 3A premium basecamping tent with excellent interior space. Innovative double-wall design pitches as fast as a single. See review
Marmot Thor 2PRock solid winter tent that’s ready for the gnarliest weather. Fantastic two person option with room to spare. See review
Black Diamond BombshelterUnique single-wall basecamping tent with room for four. Weighs less than some two person models and breathes surprisingly well. See review

Winter Tent Tech Cheat Sheet:

Before we dig into the nitty-gritty, fair warning: There’s a good bit of technical jargon and unique features associated with the best winter tents you may not be familiar with. Here’s a quick primer to make sure we’re understanding each other. For even more details, don’t forget to check out our buying guide!

Best Winter Tent - Cheat Sheet
Photo by Jan Kopriva

Four-season tent: This is the technical term typically used to describe winter and cold weather tents. Note that although all four-season tents are built for general winter conditions like cold and snow, some are built much more ruggedly than others to cope with 70 mph winds and several feet of snowfall.

Single-wall tent: As the name implies, these are tents that use a single layer of fabric for protection rather than the seperate canopy and rainfly systems we typically see on three-season camping and backpacking tents. Single wall tents weigh less, pack smaller, and set up easier than double-wall tents, but they don’t typically ventilate as well.

Double-wall tent: Many winter tents use double-wall construction like the camping and backpacking tents described above, but with a unique twist: They don’t use much (if any) mesh netting. These tents are heavier than the single wall models described above, but typically breathe much better, are a good bit roomier, and feature more creature comforts and storage than single wall designs.

Pole construction: For winter tents, just know that fiberglass poles aren’t allowed, aluminum poles work if they’re designed for cold temperatures, and flexible carbon composites are expensive but worth every penny.

Fabric thickness: The thicker a fabric, the more robust and warmer it tends to be. Fabric thickness is notated in “denier” or “D” ratings, so just know if one tent has a “20D” rainfly and another has a “30D” rainfly of the same material, the 30D rainfly should have the longer lifespan.

Fabric coatings: Winter tents use fabric coatings to improve their water resistance. The most common are polyurethane (PU), silicone treated nylon (silnylon), and durable water resistant finishes (DWR). PU coatings are the most common and most affordable. They may not last quite as long as silnylon, but you’ll still get several years of reliable performance out of them. Silnylon fabrics are more expensive but tend to be lighter weight and  longer lasting. DWR coatings can be applied to any tent material, and are always a nice bonus from the factory.

Our Picks For Best Winter Tents

REI Base Camp 4: Best Winter Tent Overall

REI Base Camp 4 - 2

Specs:
Weight: 16.8 lbs (7.6 kg)
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 rooms: 1
Shape: Dome
Best for: 4 season camping
Occupancy: 4 (6 person also available)
Construction: Double-wall
Price: $$

Rather than make the fastest, lightest or most technical tent imaginable, REI’s Base Camp 4 is a great all-around cold weather tent that’s perfect for the car campers out there who don’t want the fun to end when winter rolls around.

What the Base Camp lacks in technical prowess, it more than makes up for in innovation and livability, and for that, we’re giving it the nod as the best winter tent overall this year. Standout features of the Base Camp include oodles of interior space, an impressive vestibule area, fantastic organization, and some of the best ventilation we’ve ever seen in a four-season model.

The double doors are huge, the windows are outstanding, and there’s even enough mesh in the ceiling for summertime use. While that would normally limit a tent to three-season duty, the folks at REI have a trick up their sleeve: Essentially every bit of mesh on this tent includes a zippered backing of solid material, which allows you to dial in the perfect amount of airflow v. warmth for wherever you’re camping. Combine that with an easy-to-pitch design, tough fabrics throughout, and 60 inches of peak height, and you’ve got a winning combination of performance and livability.

With that being said, it should come as no surprise that the Base Camp won’t cut the mustard on your next mountaineering trip and probably isn’t the best shelter if you’re expecting three feet of snowfall. Still, it’s a fantastic option for your everyday winter camper, and an especially strong candidate for family camping in the winter, especially in the larger 6 person model.

Pros:Cons:
– Outstanding livability
– Year-round versatility
– Adjustable ventilation is fantastic
– Not built for extreme weather
– On the heavy/bulkier side



MSR Access 2: Best Overall Quality

MSR Access 2

Specs:
Weight: 4.1 lbs (1.9 kg)
Packed size: 18” x 6” x 6” (46cm x 15cm x 15cm)
Floor size: 84” x 50” (213cm x 127cm)
Peak height: 42” (107cm)
Number of rooms: 1
Shape: Dome
Best for: Four-season camping/backpacking
Occupancy: 2 (3 person also available)
Construction: Double-wall
Price: $$

If you want the lightness of a single-wall tent but the creature comforts of a double-wall model, look no further than the MSR Access 2. As far as winter tents go, this one is almost too good to be true.

Take all the things you look for in a great backpacking tent like double doors, double vestibules, a roomy interior, and excellent rain protection, then add in extra warmth and snow-worthiness and you’ve got the MSR Access. The Access was an easy pick for best overall quality because it’s so incredibly versatile.

Its combination of Easton Syclone poles, a central support frame for snow loads, and snow flaps along the vestibule make the MSR truly winter-ready, yet its excellent ventilation (thanks to a touch of mesh in the canopy), watertight rainfly, and four-pound packaged weight make it a viable candidate for year-round backpacking duty.

Honestly the only real drawback of the MSR Access is that it’s not quite tough enough for hardcore expedition duty or mountaineering in heavy snows and strong winds, but truth be told most winter campers aren’t looking to climb Everest anyways. If you’re looking for the best winter tent for adventures below the tree line, the Access is just the best in the business.

Pros:Cons:
– Premium Easton Syclone poles
– Outstanding weather protection
– Snow-ready yet light enough for backpacking
– Fabrics are thinner than most
– Not suited for extreme snow/expeditions



Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian 2 : Best On A Budget

Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian 2

Specs:
Weight: 7.4 lbs (3.4 kg)
Packed size: 7” x 19” (18cm x 48cm)
Floor size: 92” x 62” (234cm x 157cm)
Peak height: 46” (117cm)
Number of rooms: 1
Shape: Dome
Best for: Casual winter camping
Occupancy: 2 (3-person also available)
Construction: Double-wall
Price: $

If there’s one thing most four-season tents have in common, it’s a high price tag. Granted some are much more expensive than others, but for the most part, they just don’t exist for under $500. Enter the Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian 2.

For under $300, here is a tent that is ready and willing to handle temperatures well below freezing, wind, snow, and rain. On top of that it’s awfully roomy for a two-person model, sports double doors and double vestibules, and has a respectable peak height to boot.

With that being said, as you might imagine a tent at this price has some serious limitations. Let us be abundantly clear here: This is not a mountaineering tent, this is not a tent you go off climbing mountains with, and generally speaking this is not thetent you want your life to depend on in a serious winter storm.  Those tents are expensive for a reason.

What the Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian is, however, is a great option for front country camping in the dead of winter. Just don’t stray too far from your vehicle…

Pros:Cons:
– Incredible price for a 4-season tent
– Roomy interior for two
– Plenty of vestibule space for gear
– Absolutely not for high-altitude pursuits
– Heavy
– Packs bulky for its size



MSR Remote 2

MSR Remote 2

Specs:
Weight: 6.7 lbs (3 kg)
Packed size: 20” x 7” x 7” (51cm x 18cm x 18cm)
Floor size: 87” x 55” (221cm x 140cm)
Peak height: 44” (112cm)
Number of rooms: 1
Shape: Dome
Best for: Four-season backpacking/mountaineering
Occupancy: 2
Construction: Double-wall
Price: $$

Most mountaineering tents stick to single-wall construction to keep their packed size and weight down, but they can be awfully lacking in creature comforts. Enter the MSR Remote 2, a double-wall mountaineering tent that’s built to go the distance in even the harshest weather.

We love the Remote 2 because it takes full advantage of the perks of double-wall design, and includes a storage vestibule with an impressive 22 square feet of storage, a generous 33 square feet of floor area, and a respectable 44-inch peak height. That’s awful close to three-season backpacking tent livability, but the MSR Remote is no slouch in harsh weather.

With top-of-the-line Easton Syclone poles, reinforced guyouts, and snow flaps, the Remote is every bit a hardcore mountaineering tent that’s ready to tackle mountain peaks and extended backcountry escapades. Add to that the convenience of a clip in canopy, heavy-duty ripstop nylon fabric, and a freestanding frame, and you’ve got a bombproof shelter that’s easy to set up and is built to go the distance for season after season.

The main tradeoff with the Remote 2 is the same as most double-wall designs: All that extra fabric (especially fabric this tough) adds up. While it’s still a far cry from your typical double-wall winter tent at just 6.7 lbs, the MSR Remote is significantly heavier than the beloved MSR Access. We think that’s a welcome price to pay for a hardcore winter tent with some added livability, but if you’re used to the single-wall lifestyle, it might be tough to swallow.

Pros:Cons:
– Blizzard-proof materials throughout
– Spacious interior for a mountaineering model
– Excellent vestibule storage space
– Doublewall construction adds weight
– Somewhat bulky when packed



Nemo Chogori 3

Nemo Chogori

Specs:
Weight: 8.6 lbs (3.9 kg)
Packed size: 19” x 10” (48cm x 24cm)
Floor size: 89” x 80” (226cm x 204cm)
Peak height: 46” (117cm)
Number of rooms: 1
Shape: Dome
Best for: Basecamping
Occupancy: 3 (2 person also available)
Construction: Double-wall
Price: $$$

Although the Nemo Chogori 3 certainly commands a high price for a “mountaineering” tent, it’s got some seriously premium features worth considering.

For starters, you’ll notice the Chogori is a double-wall design, but still uses an entirely external pole system. That means single-wall speed setup with all the benefits of double-wall ventilation.

Nemo also specs a nice large vestibule on this snow camping tent, which provides ample space for gear storage and even includes a little window to keep the cabin fever at bay when waiting out serious storms. Materials are top-notch, with silicon-treated fabric throughout and DAC Featherlite NSL poles.

Possibly the single coolest thing about the Chogori is that it’s designed to be directly connected to a second Chogori tent to expand the living space for groups of campers.

We’ve gotta point out that although Nemo markets their Chogori as a mountaineering tent, its weight, size, and features tell a different story. 8 pounds is a bit of stretch for proper mountaineering duty, but if you want some extra comforts it may be worth it.

Storage is fantastic, for instance, with six large internal mesh pockets, as is overall floor space with over 44 square feet to stretch out in. The Chogori also gets double doors, double vestibules, and top-notch ventilation thanks to its double-wall design and smart guy-out points.

Pros:Cons:
– Typical feature-rich design from Nemo
– Double-wall design with single-wall setup
– Spacious floor plan
– 8 pounds seems high for a mountaineering tent
– 20D nylon canopy seems thin for a basecamping tent  



Marmot Thor 2P

Marmot Thor 2P

Specs:
Weight: 10.2 lbs (4.6 kg)
Packed size: 29” x 9” (72 cm x 22cm)
Floor size: 88” x 60” (224 cm x 157 cm)
Peak height: 46” (117 cm)
Number of rooms: 1
Shape: Dome
Best for: Basecamping
Occupancy: 2 (3-person also available)
Construction: Double-wall
Price: $$

The Marmot Thor 2P is a bombproof expedition-ready tent with a surprising amount of space for a two-person model.

While strength is important for any serious snow camping tent, the Marmot Thor goes the extra mile for added sturdiness. All the fabrics are reliably heavy duty, from the 40D nylon canopy to the 50D polyester rainfly. The floor steps it up another notch with a burly 70D nylon construction, and all fabrics are treated with water-resistant coatings.

In terms of the poles, the Marmot Thor has two things going for it that make it special. First is the overall pole count, as the Thor’s six pole construction (most of the best winter tents on our list stick with four or five) give it a leg up on structural stability in strong winds and heavy snowfall. The second thing we like here is that Marmot made each of the 6 poles the same length, so there’s no second-guessing or color-coordinating to worry about when you’re trying to get your tent pitched and your body out of the weather as quickly as possible.

Of course the fact that this is a double-wall model with six poles means setup takes a bit longer than single-wall options (or the innovative double-wall Chogori above), but we think the premium double-vestibule silnylon rainfly on the Thor is worth a little extra effort.

Pros:Cons:
– All the trappings of a serious expedition tent
– Generous floor space
– Clever equal-length
– 6-pole design for fool-proof setup
– 6 pole design is sturdy, but takes a little longer by default
– On the heavy side for a two-person model



Black Diamond Bombshelter

Black Diamond Bombshelter

Specs:
Weight: 9.7 lbs (4.4 kg)
Packed size: 20” x 8” (51cm x 20cm)
Floor size: 90” x 80” (229cm x 203cm)
Peak height: 44” (112cm)
Number of rooms: 1
Shape: Dome
Best for: Basecamping
Occupancy: 4
Construction: Single-wall
Price: $$$

The Black Diamond Bombshelter holds a unique spot on our list as a basecamping tent with a mountaineering twist.

For the same packed size and weight as your typical two or even three-person model, the Black Diamond Bombshelter boasts room for four, two doors, two vestibules, and a frame that’s ready to take on the nastiest winter storms.

So how do they do it? Simple: It’s a single-wall tent.

Yes, using a single layer of ToddTex (basically Gore-Tex with a fire-resistant treatment), the Bombshell manages to pack 50 square feet of floor space into an absolutely weatherproof tent that weighs under ten pounds. Quite possibly the sweetest fabric on our list, ToddTex also has the added benefit of being highly breathable (albeit just shy of double-wall designs), and also features a soft interior surface that wicks moisture from the inside of the tent.

Like most single-wall mountaineering tents, the Bombshelter uses an interior pole design (meaning you have to set the tent up from inside), but uses four of them in this case for added wind resistance.

Ultimately our only real hangup with the Bombshelter is that we’re not sure how useful it is for most campers. The size and weight are commendable here, but most folks would honestly do better with a two-person double-wall design for its features, versatility, and cost savings. The large footprint of this Black Diamond seriously limits its mountaineering applications, while its comparatively minimalist interior features limit its comfort when basecamping.

Pros:Cons:
– Standout space to weight ratio
– High tech single-wall fabric gives double-wall level protection
– Two doors, two vestibules
– Lacks double-wall insulation
– Expensive
– Not sure we wouldn’t prefer a 2P double-wall instead  



Buying Guide For The Best Winter Tents

In all actuality, “4-season tents” is a bit of a misnomer. See, any tent described as a 4-season tent is usually built for one season specifically: Winter. They get the name “4-season” because technically, they’ll function in all four, although you’d be pretty miserable in most 4-season tents in the middle of summer.

With that being said, it’s important to know that not all 4 season tents are built for extreme conditions. While every tent on the list above is perfect for the colder months, some are really only designed to handle light snow, where others are literally built to withstand weathering blizzards on Kilimanjaro.

There are a handful of features that decide just how much abuse a cold-weather tent can handle, so if you’re planning on some cold weather camping of your own, here are the metrics that land a tent on our list.

Best Winter Tent - buying guide intro

What makes a winter tent suitable for cold weather camping?

The main differences you’ll notice between four-season tents and their three-season cousins is a stark lack of breathable netting. Some winter designs manage to wedge in the odd window or mesh vent here and there, but because these tents need to keep you warm first and foremost, you’ll find that where you’d typically find mesh, heavy-duty waterproof fabrics have taken its place.

In addition to the focus on warmth and waterproofing, you’ll also find that the pole designs of four-season tents are much more robust. We’ll dig more into both topics below, but for now just know these differences are largely to blame for the extra weight you see on the best winter tents.

Floor Size And Center Height

Best Winter Tent - Size
Photo by Eddie Lawhead

By their nature, even the best winter tents tend to have less interior space than their three-season counterparts. True, some general-use front country options feature comparable dimensions, but as you get into more serious climbing and mountaineering territory, interior space has a habit of shrinking.

No, camp manufactures aren’t trying to give anyone cabin fever: These tents are more compact by design.

Remember, the more serious the conditions you’re camping in (wind, snow, wind-blown-snow etc.), the more streamlined you want your tent to be. That’s why most winter tents are either (a) compact with very steep walls or (b) larger and rounded, but with lower center heights.

Both shapes are meant to cut through strong winds and shed snow as efficiently as possible, but as you might suspect, neither comes close to the roomy three-season cabins currently available.

Weight And Packed Size

Weight and packed size play a major role for certain types of cold weather camping.

For instance, if you’re looking to go backpacking in winter weather, the usual size and weight rules apply (the lighter and smaller, the better), but with another factor thrown in: Warmth.

We’ll dig deeper into the insulation problem in the section below, but for now just know that winter backpacking tents must maintain a difficult balance between robust, weather-proof materials and portability. Because the conditions of typical backpacking or even winter car camping (also called front country camping) trips aren’t meant to be extreme, these cold-weather tents strongly resemble your typical three-season tent, but with the aforementioned adjustments which limit their star-gazing potential.

Aside from general use winter camping tents like these, you’ll find two main types of 4 season tents: Mountaineering tents and basecamp tents. Both of these tents are made for tackling freezing cold, high elevation camping (you know, like Mt. Everest or the North Pole… stuff like that), but they take very different approaches.

Mountaineering tents are unique in that they must be both as light as possible and as rugged as possible. This typically translates into lightweight, single-walled designs (we’ll get into single v. double-wall below as well) that sacrifice comfort and interior space for compactness, durability, and weatherproofing.

Basecamp tents, on the other hand, are the exact opposite of their mountaineering cousins. These are much larger, heavier tents that aren’t designed to be carried day-after-day. In fact, as the name suggests, these cold-weather tents serve as “home base” for winter expeditions. As such, they can (and will) be much larger and heavier than any other type of tent for snow camping.

Insulation: Double-Wall vs. Single-Wall Tents

Best Winter Tent - Insulation
Photo by Wolfgang Lutz

The best winter tents come in two flavors: Double-wall and single-wall. Double-wall tents are the kind most of us are accustomed to seeing, and consist of the main body (also called the canopy), as well as an outer rainfly that protects the inner layer from wind and precipitation.

Single-wall tents, on the other hand, are a simplified design that saves weight and space by combing the rainfly and the canopy into a single waterproof layer. These tents value “fast-and-light” over everything else, and as a consequence won’t be nearly as comfortable or well-ventilated as a double-wall design. You can think of a single-wall tent as the “ultralight” option for high-speed mountain ascents.

Honestly about 99% of us are better suited using a double-wall design. Nearly all of the “creature comforts” we value in three-season tents can be found in double-wall four-season tents (interior space, storage, extended vestibules, multiple doors), and several of the smaller size double-wall options are also surprisingly lightweight.

Storage: Vestibules And Interior Pockets

Just like their three-season cousins, storage and organization play a major role in best winter and cold weather tents.

Remember you’re much more likely to spend time stuck inside mountaineering and basecamping tents waiting out a storm at some point, so having as much interior storage as possible frees up precious floor space for your stay.

Vestibules are also as important as ever here, if not more so. Keeping as much wet/snow-covered gear out of the tent as possible cuts down on condensation dramatically. The more space you’ve got to stash gear outside your front door, the better.

Ventilation And Condensation

Best Winter Tent - Ventilation
Photo by Nathan Karsgaard

Winter tents are designed to keep your hard-earned body heat inside their walls where it belongs. That means they have the tough task of keeping bitter cold winds at bay while also letting condensation from your breath (plus any wet gear or snow that finds its way into the tent during setup) escape.

Generally speaking, double-wall tents are much better at dealing with condensation since they can get away with much larger vents in the canopy. With that being said, the fabrics of single-wall tents have come a long way, and the gap isn’t as wide as it once was.

Still, buying a single wall tent pretty much always means limited ventilation and dealing with some degree of condensation. If you’re willing to put up with the occasional wet wall or midnight drip in the name of outright performance and simplicity, these tents are tough to beat.

Durability, Materials, and Weather Protection

Because these tents are often used in the most rugged conditions, durability is paramount in a cold-weather tent.

Again, if you’re not buying a tent to use in driving snowstorms or extreme-elevation mountaineering pursuits, you can relax a little here, but if deep-snow is your destination, don’t cut any corners.

Tents for snow camping have three main factors that determine the reliability of their materials: Pole design, fabric thickness, and fabric coatings.

Best Winter Tent - Durability
Photo by Ocean Fishing

Pole Design:

We’ve always preached the importance of having sturdy tentpoles from reliable brands like DAC or Easton, but when the temperatures drop, this becomes absolutely mandatory.

Four-season tent poles can be aluminum (most of them are), but they should also be much more robust than your typical three-season poles. You’re looking for poles that are both thicker in diameter as well as more securely connected. Remember, bitter cold makes for brittle materials.

Fiberglass poles are an absolute no-no below freezing, but even your average lightweight aluminum designs can snap under pressure from heavy winds or deep snow if it’s cold enough outside. You’ll also start to see poles made from composite materials (like carbon fiber) at this level, so remember there are viable alternatives to aluminum as well.

Fabric Thickness:

We always recommend referencing fabric thickness as a benchmark of durability, but similar to the poles above, there’s a lot more riding on the fabric of a winter tent.

The typical wear-and-tear of use is there as always, but snow itself is particularly hard on a tent. That’s because snow has a tendency to pile up on and around the walls of your tent (whereas rain simply rolls off), which puts weight and pressure on the fabrics. It’s also worth noting that the sun’s rays are more intense in a snowy/mountainous environment (being surrounded by white can feel a lot like being shoved inside a solar oven), so thicker fabrics will hold up to the rigors of UV-rays for much longer than thin ones.

Fabric Coatings:

When it comes to serious waterproofing, rugged, thick fabrics aren’t always enough to keep moisture at bay. That’s why you’ll see additional waterproof coatings applied to even the thickest fabrics on many of the snow camping tents above.

The most common you’ll see by far is Polyurethane (typically abbreviated PU), which is a high-performance, abrasion-resistant waterproof coating. The other coating is silicone, which is exclusively applied to nylon tent fabrics, and thus often referred to as “silnylon.”

Both coatings are time-tested and battle-proven. PU tends to be more affordable and easier to live with day-to-day, but not quite as durable as silicone. Silicone-treated fabric, on the other hand, is typically lighter weight and more packable, and therefore (by the laws of outdoor gear) much more expensive.

Ease Of Set-up

Best Winter Tent - Ease of Set Up
Photo by E. Stewart

All other things equal, an easy-to-pitch tent is always better than a difficult one. We like to think that factor is multiplied exponentially at the end of a long day when you’re tired and the snow starts really coming down.

The faster you can get your tent set up and staked out, the sooner you can start warming up inside it, and the less likely you are to get any undue moisture on the inside.

With that being said, because the best winter tents are built to beat even the gnarliest weather, their set-up can be a little more involved than your average backpacking tent. The concept is exactly the same, but because the stakes are much higher for an improperly secured tent (just imagine having a tent collapse in a snow storm), getting it properly tensioned requires time and attention.

And, because you’ll often be setting these tents up in several feet of snow, you can’t just hammer in a typical six-inch stake and call it a day either. Pitching a winter tent involves burying multiple anchors. Whether that’s specially-designed snow stakes (which are broader, longer, and much more rugged), skis, or trekking poles depends on what you hike in with, but you’ll need something substantial to keep your tent secure.

Conclusion

Best Winter Tent - Conclusion
Photo by Mat Dupuis

Many of the best winter tents in our list are laser-focused for one job and one job only. Whether it’s fast and light mountaineering ascents in the MSR Remote 2 or a roomy basecamper like the Nemo Chogori, these tents usually only do one thing well.

Ultimately, it was the REI Base Camp that got our attention for bucking precisely that trend. Rather than tailoring its expertise to one purpose only, the Base Camp digs its heels in the name of convenience and proves a tent can handle snow in January and a BBQ in July. Granted, the weight penalty here is considerable, but the features you get in exchange are top-shelf.

With that being said, if fast, light, and dependable are your top priorities, the MSR Access 2 is one of the lightest double-wall winter tents we’ve ever seen. The Access is good for everything short of serious blizzards and alpine expeditions above the treeline, which makes it ideal for you average winter backpacker or overnight skier. Of course if those hardcore winter expeditions are your bag, the MSR Remote 2 just can’t be beaten for its quality materials and go-anywhere attitude.

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